MINISTRY of Local Government, Chieftainship and Parliamentary Affairs Principal Secretary, Montoeli Molefe, who was found dead in his Lithabaneng home this week, shot himself after a “domestic dispute”.
Well-placed sources told the Lesotho Times this week that Mr Molefe (42), who was appointed principal secretary in July 2013, had largely moved out of his marital home and was spending most of his time at a female friend’s home in Mafeteng.
He was nevertheless at his Lithabaneng home, which he shared with his wife, when he allegedly shot himself on Monday afternoon. He is said to have shot himself in the mouth with the bullet exiting through the back of his head.
His death immediately sent the Maseru rumour mill into overdrive with speculation he could have taken his life over financial impropriety at his workplace to avoid the possibility of being held accountable. But that version was largely discredited by authoritative government sources who said there was no planned investigation against Mr Molefe. Sources in the parliamentary public accounts committee also refuted allegations that the committee had planned to haul Mr Molefe to explain some financial irregularities.
Relatives and family friends interviewed said Mr Molefe had taken his life largely over on-going domestic feuds. None of them was ready to speak on record because of the sensitive nature of the case.
The Lesotho Times cannot detail the nature of the domestic feuds alleged by the sources at this stage for legal and professional reasons.
Although conventional wisdom among the relatives and friends is that Mr Molefe shot himself, the possibility that he could have been murdered is not being ruled out by the police.
Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) Spokesman Lebona Mohloboli said the police could not, at this stage, conclusively say whether Mr Molefe had killed himself or had been murdered.
“We have opened a case to investigate the cause of death because, at the moment, we can’t say whether its murder or suicide,” said Senior Inspector Mohloboli.
He said the police had found Mr Molefe’s body standing in a pool of blood and leaning against the wall in the bathroom.
“When the police arrived at the scene, they were directed to the bathroom where they found a 42-year-old man standing, and leaning against the wall in a pool of blood. The man was dead and a firearm, a 7.65 pistol, was also found on the floor next to him,” said Senior Inspector Mohloboli, adding the police had, at this stage, not established the exact cause of the tragedy.
When our news crew visited the Lithabaneng homestead yesterday, Mr Molefe’s grief-stricken mother, Serufe Molefe, said the family would not comment except to confirm his passing away only.
“Montoeli passed away….and the police are investigating the case. We cannot comment further as the matter is currently under investigation,” Ms Molefe said.
Mr Molefe is survived by his wife and two children — a son and daughter.