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Khetheng family speaks out

 

  • Claims he was murdered for refusing instructions

Bereng Mpaki

THE family of slain Police Constable (PC) Makakole Khetheng yesterday vowed to “die in pursuit of justice,” saying he was brutally murdered for his refusal to be used to implicate senior political figures in criminal activities.

The sensational claims were made by one of the relatives during PC Khetheng’s burial in Mokhotlong.

Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki, Acting Police Commissioner, Holomo Molibeli, ministers, Tefo Mapesela (Trade and Industry), Thesele Maseribane (Public Service), Joang Molapo (Communications), Keketso Rantšo (Labour), Chalane Phori (Small Business), Mokoto Hloaele (Energy), deputy ministers, Nthabiseng Makoae (Agriculture) and Machesetsa Mofomobe (Home Affairs), were among dignitaries at the massively attended funeral.

Also in attendance were relatives of slain army commander, Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao, slain police officer, Mokheseng Ramahloko, principal secretaries and members of the Lesotho Mounted Police (LMPS).

One of the PC Khetheng’s relatives, Mabula Khetheng, said the former was killed because of his “bravery” in refusing to carry out instructions to implicate some senior politicians in criminal activities.

He said PC Khetheng may have been forced to drink a chemical substance, had his wrists cut and was burned in the genital region in a gruesome killing.

“We are ready to die in pursuit of justice for Mokakale,” Mr Mabula said.

“We will not just look on while our loved ones are murdered. Let them kill us if they want to but they should remember that they are also going to die.”

Mr Mabula also thanked the four parties’ coalition government led by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane for expeditiously solving the mystery of PC Khetheng’s disappearance after assuming power in the wake of the 3 June 2017 snap elections.

The Dr Thabane-led All Basotho Convention, the Alliance of Democrats, the Basotho National Party and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho are partners in the government which replaced the former seven parties’ regime that was led by Pakalitha Mosisili of the Democratic Congress.

PC Khetheng was stationed in Mokhotlong and last seen being arrested by his colleagues at a traditional feast in Sebothoane, Leribe on 25 March 2016.

This prompted his father, Thabo Khetheng, to lodge an application before the High Court on 18 July 2016 for the police authorities to produce him dead or alive.

PC Khetheng had been arrested and charged on allegations that he torched the house of his superior in Mokhotlong district where he was deployed.

He was allegedly last seen with Inspector Mofolo, PC Ntoane, PC ‘Mabohlokoa Makotoko and Senior Inspector Matona.

The LMPS had argued that PC Khetheng had left the Hlotse police station without permission and they did not know where he was. For its part, the Khetheng family argued that the police should know where he was because they arrested him.

A body believed to be that of PC Khetheng was exhumed at Lepereng Cemetery in the Maseru district on 11 August after the police were granted a court order by the Magistrate’s Court in light of the ongoing investigations into his disappearance and suspected murder.

Senior Superintendent Thabo Tšukulu (51), Senior Inspector Mabitle Matona (39), Sub Inspector Haleokoe Taasoane (44) and Inspector Mothibeli Mofolo (49) have since been arrested and charged with murdering PC Khetheng.

PC Khetheng’s father, Thabo, said he was relieved that the remains of their son had been found and brought home for burial.

“We thank God for helping us to get his remains that we looked for for so long.

“We were expecting him to surface alive but nonetheless, we are thankful that his remains have been found,” Mr Thabo said, adding his son had died due to the lack of respect for human rights of citizens by the previous government.

“When the government does not respect human rights, such things will happen.

“When public servants deliver poor services, things like this will happen,” he said.

For his part, Mr Moleleki, said it was encouraging to see Mr Thabo Khetheng had been comforted by finding of his son as well as the massive attendance at the funeral by people from different parts of the country.

“Behold the magnitude that has poured in for the funeral to offer their support. This shows that you are not alone in bereavement,” Mr Moleleki said.

Mr Moleleki also commended Acting Police Commissioner Molibeli for his work in restoring the image of the police in the eyes of the public.

“He (Commissioner Molibeli) has restored the   trust of the nation in the police service.

“I hope the prime minister will soon confirm him as the substantive police commissioner.

“May I also recommend that the two policewomen, Makotoko and Mphutlane who showed bravery this Women’s Month by being key to finding the remains of Khetheng be considered for promotions,” Mr Moleleki said.

For his part, Commissioner Molibeli apologised to the nation, saying the police were not mandated to kill suspects but hand them over for prosecution as was the case with the four police officers currently in custody in connection with PC Khetheng’s death.

“We do not terrorise people and if we did, why didn’t we kill the four police officers suspected in Khetheng’s killing? Instead we handed them over for prosecution. We are working hard to regain the people’s trust in the police service.

“When I look at Ntate Khetheng my eyes fill up with tears because the police took away his son who was a suspect. But now he can never come back. Why couldn’t we prosecute him instead? This is why on behalf of the LMPS I hang my head in shame to ask for the family’s and peoples forgiveness,” Commissioner Molibeli said.

For her part, Police Minister, Mampho Mokhele vowed that all unsolved cases would be speedily attended to, including the killings of Lt-Gen Mahao and Police Officer Ramahloko.

She also urged police to resolve other pending cases that she said were easy to solve.

“There are many cases like this one that were not being followed up on and I don’t know whose instruction it was,” Ms Mokhele said.

She also appealed to Commissioner Molibeli to ensure that police promotions were based on merit and not a reward for killing people.

She also said that police women like Makotoko and Mphutlane deserved promotion and not the four detained police officers.

 

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