. . . as slain premier’s wife is laid to rest
PRINCE Seeiso Bereng Seeiso has called for calm in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s wife, Lipolelo, ahead of the premier’s inauguration last month.
Speaking at Ms Thabane’s state funeral on Friday on behalf of King Letsie III, Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso appealed to Basotho to refrain from politically-motivated killings, saying these could turn Lesotho into a war zone.
King Letsie III had travelled to Botswana to attend the funeral of that country’s former president Sir Ketumile Masire.
Ms Thabane was shot dead by an unknown assailant as she was about to drive into her Ha ‘Masana home on 14 June 2017. The incident occurred just two days before the inauguration of Dr Thabane as Lesotho’s prime minister.
A family member who spoke at the funeral, Selimo Thabane, said Ms Thabane died from multiple organ failure caused by the excessive loss of blood after the shooting.
Mr Thabane said four bullets hit the deceased, including two to the head, one on the right arm and another on the left arm that went on to hit her companion.
He said one bullet was removed from her head while another one remained lodged in the skull.
Among the notable attendees at the funeral was Dr Thabane, his wife MaIsaiah, Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki, former premier Pakalitha Mosisili and his wife Mathato.
Also in attendance were heads of diplomatic missions, ordinary people and supporters of Dr Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC) party who were conspicuous in their bright yellow regalia.
Addressing the gathering, Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso said politics should not be about hatred, selfishness and arrogance.
Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso said while there could be differences of opinions, it was however, important to maintain civil relations.
He implored the nation to look to God for guidance and wisdom as it was apparent it had lost its way.
Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso repeatedly appealed to Dr Thabane not to seek vengeance as this would only play into the hands of the killers whose aim was to sow division and, therefore, more bloodshed.
“To you Ntate Thomas and your partners, the challenge you are facing now is to steer clear of leading the nation with anger and revenge, but only for the good of every Mosotho so that we may have justice and peace.
“Ntate Thabane, the way to peace begins with love for one another as the Bible says love thy neighbour as thyself. Do not draw yourself into conflict with your detractors. Strive to maintain peace at all times.”
He said it was very difficult to convey condolences to the bereaved family when the death was inflicted by another person and not a natural one.
The prince also said the killing was meant to sow discontent among the people in the pursuit of revenge.
“Let us refrain from that way of thinking and ask God for truth and peaceful ways because our spirits will never find peace if we do not follow that.”
“Ntate Thabane, strive to see to it that this nation steers away from acts of vengeance as we can see vengeance is eating away at this nation.”
Chief Khoabane Theko of Thaba Bosiu, under which Dr Thabane’s Ha Abia constituency falls, echoed Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso’s sentiments.
He said the spate of killings in the country were undermining Basotho founder Moshoeshoe I’s legacy of peaceful co-existence.
“When I envision how the gunman violently killed Ms Thabane, I ask myself where we went wrong,” Chief Theko said.
He surmised that Ms Thabane’s killing was a result of the failed bid by the opposition for a government of national unity after last month’s election, which was turned down by the government.
“We have heard how people were proudly against the idea of a government of national unity when they came to power in 2015. I stress this issue because I found it as arrogance and selfishness by those in power at the time.
“But now when they have not got their wish of being elected back to power, look what is happening today. And I know there are threats being made right now.”
He said they expected the security sector to protect members of the new government to ensure political stability.
“Many issues within the security sector have caused this nation a lot of headaches because there are people who are refusing to concede defeat.”
Government representative and Public Service Minister, Thesele ‘Maseribane, called for a speedy investigation to resolve the mystery of Ms Thabane’s murder.
Chief ‘Maseribane also said the police had failed to provide a substantial report on the progress made towards finding Ms Thabane’s killer.
“We need to see the perpetrators being brought to justice,” he said, adding that “the perpetrators of this crime are known”.
“I urge the police to arrest the culprits lest it be perceived that they are pulling in the opposite direction to the rest of the government,” he said.
Brief biography of Lipolelo Thabane
‘Mampolokeng Lipolelo Alice Thabane was the daughter of Godfrey Marake Morebotsane and Mampoetsi Morebotsane (both deceased).
She was born on 24 October 1959 in Ha Moruthoane, Maseru.
She attended Hermon Primary School and Lesotho High School where she obtained a Cambridge Overseas School Certificate.
She joined Barclays Bank before leaving to further her studies at the National University of Lesotho and the University of Transkei in South Africa.
She married Dr Thabane and they adopted a daughter whom they named Regina.
She subsequently worked with Chinese Garments Manufactures in Lesotho and South Africa.
She was a founder member of the ABC in 2006 and also served as a board member of Letšeng Diamonds. She was involved in private projects at the time of her death.