. . . AD youth leader overcome by emotions in eulogy for man he is accused of killing
ALLIANCE of Democrats (AD) Youth President Thuso Litjobo could not hold back the tears as he attempted to eulogise Thabiso Moqolo, the man he has been accused of murdering earlier this month.
A distraught Mr Litjobo had to be escorted from the podium by his AD comrades during Mr Moqolo’s funeral held last Saturday in Mokunutlung Ha Mofoka in the Koro-Koro constituency.
In the AD youth leader’s place came his elder brother, Refiloe, who told the solemn gathering that Mr Moqolo sacrificed his life by “taking a bullet meant for me”.
Mr Moqolo (37) was shot dead on 2 April 2017 during a brawl that erupted over the authenticity of the delegates for a Koro-Koro constituency primary election in Ha-Tlebere, Mazenod.
In the primary election, Refiloe and Khotso Makana were vying to represent the party in the general elections scheduled for 3 June 2017. The scuffle was ignited by counter-accusations by the candidates of bussing in people from other constituencies to boost their chances of winning the primary poll.
Refiloe eventually won the primary election and was duly nominated as the AD candidate for the Koro-Koro constituency last Wednesday.
Thuso (34) and his bodyguard, Thato Makara (38), were last Wednesday charged in the Magistrate’s Court with fatally shooting Mr Moqolo with a 7.65 pistol.
The duo was granted bail the next day and is expected to appear again before Senior Resident Magistrate Peter Murenzi on 4 May 2017.
However, Refiloe has argued that Thuso could not have been the person who shot Mr Moqolo since they were on the same side in the melee.
The AD was formed last December by veteran politician Monyane Moleleki after he jumped ship from the Democratic Congress of which he was deputy leader.
Mr Moleleki took with him a sizeable number of erstwhile DC legislators, members of its national executive committee, women and youth leagues including the influential Litjobo brothers.
There was a sombre mood at the funeral which was attended by the AD leader’s wife, Dr Malimpho Moleleki, senior party officials as well as family members and friends.
Sadness hung in the air, with Mr Moqolo’s widow and close relatives periodically wailing for a man who was the sole breadwinner for the family. Mr Moqolo is survived by his wife and three children.
Despite being accused of fatally shooting the deceased, Thuso was very much involved in the logistics of the funeral and was even the conductor of a choir that sang Mr Moqolo’s praises.
However, when called upon to deliver a eulogy for Mr Moqolo, Thuso burst into tears and fell to the ground prompting his AD comrades to escort him from the podium.
Refiloe delivered the eulogy in his brother’s stead, saying he was only alive because of Mr Moqolo’s “sacrifice”.
The elder Litjobo laid the blame for Mr Moqolo’s killing on “outsiders” whom he said meddled in the affairs of the constituency.
“If only the Koro-Koro people were allowed to carry out their activities on their own without any outsiders meddling in our constituency, Moqolo would still be alive,” he said.
“Some people from outside our constituency wanted certain people to be elected instead of me. We are here because of people who incited violence in our constituency.”
Refiloe said Mr Moqolo had been an active party member whose death was a blow to the constituency in particular and the AD in general.
“I am also pained by the knowledge that Moqolo lost his life while protecting me and wearing a T-shirt with my name and supporting my candidacy.
“I remember Moqolo’s last words after he was shot. He told the people we were fighting against that ‘you can only get him over my dead body’. I don’t know what had been said for him to say he would risk his life for me.”
Refiloe also indicated that he had already given the police his narrative of the incident, adding that the “truth would come out” once investigations into the matter were completed.
“The people of Koro-Koro saw what transpired and who did what during the fight,” he said.
“I don’t have blood on my hands and there is no AD member who has blood on their hands present at this funeral. If ever there are heroes, then Ntate Thabiso Moqolo is my hero. He showed me his support and he did so with his life.”
For his part, AD Secretary-General Mokhele Moletsane, apologised on behalf of the party to the Moqolo family for the killing, adding that they had enacted a policy of forbidding party members from bringing weapons to AD gatherings.
“We also hope that the police will soon finalise their investigations into the killing of Ntate Moqolo as his death came as a shock to the party,” Mr Moletsane said.
“We are a party founded on the premise of forging peace and building the unity of the Basotho nation after many years of political conflict. “This unfortunate incident should not have happened in our party which has committed to end the political killings in the country.”