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Police charge, hunt Chakela for Lipolelo murder

  • prominent musician declared a fugitive after ignoring police summons
  • South African police asked to arrest and extradite famo artiste

Ntsebeng Motsoeli

PROMINENT famo musician and All Basotho Convention (ABC) activist, Mosotho Chakela, is the latest high-profile suspect to be charged by the police in connection with the 14 June 2017 murder of ABC leader and Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s estranged wife, Lipolelo.

Mr Chakela, whose real name is Rethabile Mokete, has been charged along with three others, namely, Seabata Sello, Molefi Matima and Macheli Koeshe. The four are however, at large and have so far failed to honour police summons to report for questioning in connection with the murder which occurred two days before Dr Thabane was inaugurated for his second stint as premier.

As a result of the four’s no show, the police have issued notices calling on the pubic to assist with information leading to their arrest. The police have also requested their South African Police Service (SAPS) counterparts to arrest the four should they locate them in South Africa where they are believed to be residing.

First Lady ‘Maesaiah Thabane has already been charged with the Lipolelo murder and the attempted murder of Lipolelo’s friend, Thato Sibolla.

She is currently out on a M1000 bail and is expected to return to court for routine remands on 17 March 2020. Dr Thabane has also been charged with the murder and attempted murder but the matter has been put on hold after he filed a Constitutional Court application to block the courts from charging him on the grounds that he is a sitting prime minister and therefore he cannot be charged with any crime while in office.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Paseka Mokete has previously told this publication that more high-profile suspects would be charged with the murder.

In the wake of DCP Mokete’s pronouncements, the police have now added Mr Chakela and the three others to their list of suspects.

According to police notices issued recently, the four are wanted for murder, conspiracy to murder, attempted murder and malicious damage to property.

The police want the public to assist with any information that help them arrest the four.

In a subsequent interview with the Sunday Express, DCP Mokete said “the four men are suspects in the murder of Mme Lipolelo”.

“They are all said to reside in South Africa but our sources have informed us that lately they have not been seen at the locations where they were residing,” added DCP Mokete.

Three weeks ago, DCP Mokete told this publication that the police were unhappy with Mr Chakela after he failed to honour a summons to report for questioning in connection with the Lipolelo murder.

He said they may have to use “other means” to get Mr Chakela to honour the police summons.

Mr Chakela was called in for questioning but excused himself saying he was already in eSwatini en route to Mozambique on a business trip.

“We might have to find other alternatives of bringing in people for questioning when they fail to report as requested,” DCP Mokete told the Sunday Express without elaborating.

“We will find them ourselves. We have not yet decided whether to arrest them. We are at a stage where sufficient evidence has already been collected that only needs to be corroborated.

“We have to be very patient when we collect the evidence. If we rush into making arrests, we would have deprived ourselves the opportunity to ask more questions.

“Making premature arrests could be detrimental to our investigations. We need to be very careful when dealing with people who are our potential witnesses lest we fail to get all the information that particular person would otherwise provide,” DCP Mokete said at the time.

In his latest interview with this publication on Friday, DCP Mokete said Mr Chakela never reported to the police and his two mobile phone numbers were no longer reachable.

“His two numbers, one his personal phone and another for his work are no longer reachable,” DCP Mokete said, adding they had requested SAPS to arrest Mr Chakela and others ahead of their extradition to Lesotho.


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