Lipolelo’s ghost haunts Chakela

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As former PM is sucked in too deep into wife’s murder

By Keiso Mohloboli

Rethabile Mokete, leader of an infamous famo gang dubbed ‘Terene’ has been named together with his other three allies as major suspects who allegedly helped the former first lady, ‘Maesiah Thabane,  murder her husband’s second wife Lipolelo Thabane.

Popularly known as Mosotho Chakela, Mokete and his accomplices Seabata ‘Lieta’ Sello, Macheli ‘Lebese’ Koeshe and Molefi ‘Mokata’ Matima were promised payment of approximately M3-million, according to Paseka Mokete, Deputy Police Commissioner.

Deputy Commissioner Mokete made these revelations in evidence he adduced in his answering affidavit defending ‘Maesiah’s application for bail. ‘Maesiah remains in custody after her case was postponed to June 16.

According to Mokete, for successful execution of Lipolelo’s murder before her husband, Thomas Thabane’s inauguration as prime minister on June 16, 2017, the suspects would also be rewarded with government jobs.

The former premier Thabane is also implicated in this murder. It has now been revealed that not only his mobile phone was used to call the crime scene but he is also alleged to have formed part of the clandestine meetings with the suspected killers and helped in identifying Lipolelo’s residence.

As her divorce case with Thabane was not finalised, Lipolelo was going to ascend to the office of the first lady after her husband’s inauguration by virtue of being her legal wife.

Mokete’s submissions also show that Lipolelo and ‘Maesiah had an acrimonious relationship so much that previously, ‘Maesiah had threatened to get rid of her.

After Thomas Thabane directed the killers to the deceased’s residential home to his co-accused, Mokete disclosed that Chakela’s allies started tracing and monitoring the deceased’s movements.

“On 12 June 2017, suspect 3, 4, 5 and 6, went to the residence of the deceased at Ha Masana, Maseru, to carry out the mission to kill her but were unsuccessful in the execution of their plan and had to flee the scene. This incident was reported at Maseru Rural Headquarters Police Station and was given reference RCI 19/06/2017’’.

‘’On 14 June 2017, ‘Maesiah participated in a meeting with a Crown witness at the residence in Ficksburg. The Crown witness was requested by the deceased to mediate between the ‘Maesiah and the deceased, who were not on good terms.’’

‘’’Maesiah agreed to the mediation, subject to the Crown witness engaging with her and the deceased separately due to their acrimonious relationship. From the meeting with the ‘Maesiah in Ficksburg, the State witness met with the deceased and Thato Sibolla (the complainant in Count 2) in Ladybrand’’.

“’Maesiah was aware that the self-same Crown witness would be meeting with the deceased in Ladybrand where further discussions were had between that Crown witness, Ms Sibolla and the deceased. After the meeting, the deceased and Ms Sibolla returned to Lesotho. The deceased was driving her vehicle, a silver grey Corsa, whilst Ms Sibolla was seated in the front passenger seat’’.

‘’Whilst approaching her residence at Ha Masana, Maseru, multiple gunshots were fired at them. The deceased died on the scene, having sustained multiple gunshots, whilst Ms Sibolla sustained a gunshot injury below her right armpit and had to be hospitalised for numerous days’’.

Two months later months after Thabane’s inauguration on 16 June 2017, he tied the knot with ‘Maesiah in a matrimonial celebration held in Setsoto Stadium in Maseru.

‘Maesiah then became the first lady.

According to the affidavit before court, ‘Maesiah initially paid Chakela, M50 000 and Sello M20 000.

“She also paid Witness “SS” [Sarele Sello] M30 000, who was further rewarded by being employed as driver to a Cabinet Minister after the death of the deceased.

“Chakela, Seabata Sello, Macheli Koeshe, and Molefi Matima who are members of the infamous Famo gang, notorious for displaying violence and for brutal, became aggrieved due to not being sufficiently remunerated by Thabane and his 3rd wife.

“Following threats from Chakela and his allies, during late 2018 and early 2019, Thabane paid Chakela, Sello, Koeshe and Matima M300 000 each, who expressed their extreme displeasure with the money, which they believed to be too little.

“On 10 January 2020, warrants of arrest were obtained from the Maseru Magistrate Court, in respect of suspect Chakela, Sello, Koeshe and Matima, who have now fled to South Africa.”

“Application for their extradition to Lesotho has been sought by police and investigations are at an advanced stage,” notes the affidavit.

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