Pastor gunned down in suspected crime of passion

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’Marafaele Mohloboli

A CLERGYMAN has been gunned down in a suspected crime of passion.

Reverend Bohlale Phakoe, an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church pastor and director of foreign marketing at the Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL), was gunned down in cold blood on the night of 2 October 2021.

He was murdered on the day when he was launching his hospitality business, the Matholeng Gardens in Marabeng, Berea. The project boasts of entertainment and conferencing facilities.

He was allegedly murdered by one Reitumetse Lemphane of Sehlabeng sa Thuathe, Maseru. Sources close to the matter said that Lemphane had accused the pastor of having a long-running adulterous relationship with his wife.

Police spokesperson Senior superintendent Mpiti Mopeli this week confirmed that a male suspect had been arrested and remanded in custody in connection with Rev Phakoe’s murder.

“The suspect has appeared in court on charges of murder and illegal possession of a firearm whose serial number was erased,” Senior Supt Mopeli said.

“The suspicion is that the deceased was allegedly in a love relationship with the suspect’s wife,” Senior Supt Mopeli said.

According to the sources, Lemphane took the drastic decision to kill Rev Phakoe after the latter had ignored several warnings to stop his alleged affair with his wife. The wife also worked for Rev Phakoe in his business project.

“It is not surprising that he (Phakoe) died in this fashion. Lemphane was always in tears, crying over his troubled marriage which he said was being torn apart by Ntate Phakoe. Each time he would confront Ntate Phakoe, the latter would just laugh off the issue and this deeply hurt Lemphane. He said his wife had treated him like a fool because he was not working,” the source said.

Another source said on the night of the shooting, Lemphane had driven to Matholeng Gardens to confront Rev Phakoe over the alleged affair.

“It was already late after 9pm and the staff, including Lemphane’s wife, were busy cleaning up the place when Lemphane entered the premises. The place had been locked but Lemphane was allowed to enter after asking to see Rev Phakoe ostensibly to congratulate him on the opening of the facility.

“Rev Phakoe was accompanied by one of the workers when he came to meet Lemphane. The worker then left them after Lemphane asked the pastor to get into his car so that they could talk. No one knows what was said in their conversation but not long after the worker had left them, the sound of gunshots was heard,” the source said. He said Rev Phakoe’s body was found with wounds on the back of the head and neck. There were more wounds on the left ear and left shoulder.

His brother, Sekola Phakoe, said they were “deeply pained by our brother’s untimely death and we still don’t know the motive behind his murder”.

He became the latest statistic of Lesotho’s ever-increasing homicide rates.

Lesotho now tops the World Population Review rankings for the most murders in Africa. It is ranked sixth in the world after El Salvador, Honduras, Venezuela, Jamaica and the Virgin Islands.

 

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