Litjobo breaks down

. . . AD youth leader over­come by emo­tions in eu­logy for man he is ac­cused of killing

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Billy Ntaote

AL­LIANCE of Democrats (AD) Youth League Pres­i­dent Thuso Litjobo could not hold back the tears as he at­tempted to eu­lo­gise Thabiso Mo­qolo, the man he has been ac­cused of mur­der­ing ear­lier this month.

A distraught Mr Litjobo had to be es­corted from the podium by his AD com­rades dur­ing Mr Mo­qolo’s fu­neral held last Satur­day in Mokunut­lung Ha Mo­foka in the Koro-koro con­stituency.

In the AD youth leader’s place came his el­der brother, Re­filoe, who told the solemn gath­er­ing that Mr Mo­qolo sac­ri­ficed his life by “tak­ing a bul­let meant for me”.

Mr Mo­qolo (37) was shot dead on 2 April 2017 dur­ing a brawl that erupted over the au­then­tic­ity of the del­e­gates for a Koro-koro con­stituency pri­mary elec­tion in Ha-tle­bere, Mazenod.

In the pri­mary elec­tion, Re­filoe and Khotso Makana were vy­ing to rep­re­sent the party in the gen­eral elec­tions sched­uled for 3 June 2017. The scuf­fle was ig­nited by counter-ac­cu­sa­tions by the can­di­dates of bussing in peo­ple from other con­stituen­cies to boost their chances of win­ning the pri­mary poll.

Re­filoe even­tu­ally won the pri­mary elec­tion and was duly nom­i­nated as the AD can­di­date for the Koro-koro con­stituency last Wed­nes­day.

Thuso (34) and his body­guard, Thato Makara (38), were last Wed­nes­day charged in the Mag­is­trate’s Court with fa­tally shoot­ing Mr Mo­qolo with a 7.65 pis­tol.

The duo was granted bail the next day and is ex­pected to ap­pear again be­fore Se­nior Res­i­dent Mag­is­trate Peter Murenzi on 4 May 2017.

How­ever, Re­filoe has ar­gued that Thuso could not have been the per­son who shot Mr Mo­qolo since they were on the same side in the melee.

The AD was formed last De­cem­ber by vet­eran politi­cian Monyane Moleleki af­ter he jumped ship from the Demo­cratic Congress of which he was deputy leader.

Mr Moleleki took with him a size­able num­ber of erst­while DC leg­is­la­tors, mem­bers of its na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee, women and youth leagues in­clud­ing the in­flu­en­tial Litjobo broth­ers.

There was a som­bre mood at the fu­neral which was at­tended by the AD leader’s wife, Dr Malimpho Moleleki, se­nior party of­fi­cials as well as fam­ily mem­bers and friends.

Sad­ness hung in the air, with Mr Mo­qolo’s wi­dow and close rel­a­tives pe­ri­od­i­cally wail­ing for a man who was the sole bread­win­ner for the fam­ily. Mr Mo­qolo is sur­vived by his wife and three chil­dren.

De­spite be­ing ac­cused of fa­tally shoot­ing the de­ceased, Thuso was very much in­volved in the lo­gis­tics of the fu­neral and was even the con­duc­tor of a choir that sang Mr Mo­qolo’s praises.

How­ever, when called upon to de­liver a eu­logy for Mr Mo­qolo, Thuso burst into tears and fell to the ground prompt­ing his AD com­rades to es­cort him from the podium.

Re­filoe de­liv­ered the eu­logy in his brother’s stead, say­ing he was only alive be­cause of Mr Mo­qolo’s “sac­ri­fice”.

The el­der Litjobo laid the blame for Mr Mo­qolo’s killing on “out­siders” whom he said med­dled in the af­fairs of the con­stituency.

“If only the Koro-koro peo­ple were al­lowed to carry out their ac­tiv­i­ties on their own with­out any out­siders med­dling in our con­stituency, Mo­qolo would still be alive,” he said.

“Some peo­ple from out­side our con­stituency wanted cer­tain peo­ple to be elected in­stead of me. We are here be­cause of peo­ple who in­cited vi­o­lence in our con­stituency.”

Re­filoe said Mr Mo­qolo had been an ac­tive party mem­ber whose death was a blow to the con­stituency in par­tic­u­lar and the AD in gen­eral.

“I am also pained by the knowl­edge that Mo­qolo lost his life while pro­tect­ing me and wear­ing a T-shirt with my name and sup­port­ing my can­di­dacy.

“I re­mem­ber Mo­qolo’s last words af­ter he was shot. He told the peo­ple we were fight­ing against that ‘you can only get him over my dead body’. I don’t know what had been said for him to say he would risk his life for me.”

Re­filoe also in­di­cated that he had al­ready given the po­lice his nar­ra­tive of the in­ci­dent, adding that the “truth would come out” once in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the mat­ter

were com­pleted.

“The peo­ple of Koro-koro saw what tran­spired and who did what dur­ing the fight,” he said.

“I don’t have blood on my hands and there is no AD mem­ber who has blood on their hands present at this fu­neral. If ever there are he­roes, then Ntate Thabiso Mo­qolo is my hero. He showed me his sup­port and he did so

with his life.”

For his part, AD Sec­re­tary-gen­eral Mokhele Mo­let­sane, apol­o­gised on be­half of the party to the Mo­qolo fam­ily for the killing, adding that they had en­acted a pol­icy of for­bid­ding party mem­bers from bring­ing weapons to AD gath­er­ings.

“We also hope that the po­lice will soon fi­nalise their in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the killing of

Ntate Mo­qolo as his death came as a shock to the party,” Mr Mo­let­sane said.

“We are a party founded on the premise of forg­ing peace and build­ing the unity of the Ba­sotho na­tion af­ter many years of po­lit­i­cal con­flict. “This un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dent should not have hap­pened in our party which has com­mit­ted to end the po­lit­i­cal killings in the coun­try.”

AD Youth League Pres­i­dent Thuso Litjobo is es­corted off the speak­ing plat­form dur­ing Thabiso Mo­qolo’s fu­neral ser­vice held last Satur­day in Mokunut­lung Ha Mo­foka.

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