MASERU — Controversial Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) youth league secretary general, Lebaka Bulane, died on Monday in a car accident.
Bulane, 31, who was coming from an Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) workshop to prepare for this year’s general election, was hit by a vehicle in ’Moteng in Butha-Buthe district.
Police spokesman Senior Inspector Masupha Masupha confirmed that a young political leader had died in ’Moteng in a car accident.
“A political party youth leader aged between 30 and 31 years died in ’Moteng early yesterday evening after being hit by a vehicle belonging to the Ministry of Agriculture,” Masupha said on Tuesday.
He said the male driver of the vehicle, 46, was apprehended and detained by the Butha-Buthe police.
He was later released on Tuesday pending further police investigations.
“The male suspect was released from police custody pending further investigations. Once that has been concluded, the matter will be taken to court,” Masupha said.
The All Basotho Convention (ABC) youth leader, Libe Moremoholo, who was with Bulane when the accident happened, told this paper on Tuesday that the bus they were travelling in had stopped by the roadside to allow them to answer the call of nature.
Moremoholo said most youth leaders, including Bulane, alighted and crossed to the opposite side of the road to relieve themselves.
“Bulane was hit by a government vehicle driving on the wrong side of the lane and he fell to the ground. He sustained scratches on his ankle and stomach but was not bleeding,” he said.
“At that stage other youth leaders were fuming and wanted to beat up the driver but I appealed to them to at least allow him to rush the injured Bulane to hospital in the same car.”
Moremoholo added that he accompanied them but Bulane was certified dead upon arrival at the hospital in Butha-Buthe.
“I suspect he died when we were in Ha-Marakabei on the way to hospital,” he said.
The ABC youth leader said the doctor who attended to Bulane could not immediately reveal the cause of death but promised that an autopsy would only be conducted once his body had been brought back to Maseru.
Meanwhile, Moremoholo said Bulane’s death would leave a huge gap because he was a visionary youth leader.
He said the deceased was a selfless character who contributed immensely to Lesotho’s political landscape as well as the IEC’s youth oriented projects.
“Bulane could also criticise the LCD and was not blind to the faults of the government it led.
“He loved his political party with a passion but was never reluctant to point out the LCD government’s weaknesses. He was able to draw the line between party and government business,” Moremoholo said.
“In the process he earned himself enemies because most people in the LCD felt that he was undermining their party. He was also victimised for refusing to align himself with the party’s warring factions.”
Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC) youth leader, Bokang Ramatšella, said Bulane’s untimely death “has shocked and touched our hearts badly”.
“His death will leave a huge gap in our politics. Bulane was a decent man who played an integral part in the development of youth politics,” Ramatšella said.
The late youth leader also made efforts to unite leagues from all parties and was always humble and a true role model.
Ramatšella added that justice should prevail to bring to book the driver who killed Bulane because it was clear “he was not following proper driving rules and regulations”. Basotho National Party (BNP)’s newly elected youth league president, Tšeliso Lesenya, said the country had lost a man of substance and a true political leader.
“We’re terribly hurt to have lost a man like Bulane. He played a vital role in our politics,” Lesenya said.
“Bulane was a brave man who would never hesitate to tackle sensitive issues. He was also not biased and his colleagues from other youth leagues admired and learnt a great deal from him.”
Lesenya appealed to Basotho to unite and work together in Bulane’s memory because it was his intention to make Lesotho a better place. The LCD youth league president, Mosala Mojakisane, and spokesperson Mpaballeng Motjetjepa, said they could not comment because they had not been permitted by Bulane’s family to talk about his death in the media.
Bulane came under fire from the LCD late last year for issuing a press statement criticising the performance of four government ministers whose decisions he said were plunging Basotho into further poverty.
He took a swipe particularly at Finance Minister Timothy Thahane, Natural Resources Minister Monyane Moleleki, Trade Minister Lekekete Ketso and Home Affairs Minister Lesao Lehohla.
The ministers hit back saying Bulane’s claim was in bad taste and accused him of pursing his own personal interests.
Bulane also came under fire from his colleagues in the LCD national youth committee.
They distanced themselves from the press statement and labelled it an embarrassment.
However, undeterred by his colleagues’ attacks, Bulane called on the LCD youths to distance themselves from the party’s two warring factions and instead “focus on policy”.
This drove a wedge between him and his colleagues.
Burial arrangements are still to be announced.