MASERU — All Basotho Convention (ABC) party leader Thomas Thabane says the police must investigate the murder of popular famo artist Lephats’oe ‘Selomo’ Lebajoa with “an open mind” because he does not believe the killing is linked to the ongoing famo gang wars.
Selomo was gunned down by four unknown men at Lakeside in Maseru last Saturday.
There has been speculation that Selomo’s death was linked to the ongoing violence in the famo music sector that has so far left over a hundred artists dead.
But in an interview with the Sunday Express Thabane said the police should widen their investigations beyond the famo gang wars.
“He had long cut ties with famo gangs and the clandestine activities they are popular for,” Thabane said.
“We believe his ‘assassination’ has nothing to do with famo. Selomo had completely withdrawn from the famo gangs. He wanted nothing to do with them.”
He added: “The police investigations should not be limited to famo. Police should be objective in their thinking and look beyond what they currently have before them.”
When the government launches an investigation into the murder, Thabane said, it should do so without pre-conceived ideas that Selomo was killed by famo gangs.
Selomo was a member of the ABC national executive committee. He was popularly known as ‘Selomo “Toala” Thabane’ after the party and its leader.
He was popular for mobilising support for the ABC among initiates and herders nationwide.
“There will never be another Selomo. He executed his duties with unequalled devotion and excellence,” Thabane said.
According to Thabane, Selomo had completely turned his back on famo gangs to the extent that while attending funerals in his native Matelile he would only pay tribute as a member of the community instead of “a famo music representative”.
“He had totally been rehabilitated. One time while attending a funeral in Matelile, he decided to pay tribute as an ordinary villager. From then on, he totally turned his back on gangs,” Thabane said.
He said although their own investigations as a political party had not yielded anything a week after the brutal murder “we will continue to get in touch with those who were with him”.
“We will talk with them and ask questions on the events of the day. Then we’ll draw our conclusions from there.”
Meanwhile sources told this paper on Friday that an unidentified man driving a car with Swaziland registration numbers was arrested by the police sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning in connection with the murder.
The man, the sources said, was kept in police custody until Thursday when he was released as there was no sufficient evidence linking him to the gruesome killing.
“The police had been looking for him because he had got into his car and fled the scene just minutes after the shooting. There was suspicion that his leaving soon after meant he might have been involved,” one of the sources said.
Thabane said he was not aware of this development adding that his principle had always been to step aside and allow the police to “do their job without interference”.
Acting police spokesperson Lekhotla Mokete could neither refute nor confirm the purported arrest and release of the unidentified suspect.
He however told this paper that although no arrests had been made yet, the police had brought in some people for questioning during the course of the week.