Roma murder sparks intrigue

 STAFF REPORTERS

MASERU – The murder of National University of Lesotho (NUL) lecturer, David Teboho Makafane, has left both the family, the NUL community and investigators with missing pieces in the puzzle to resolve the crime and find closure for the family. Makafane was found in a pool of blood at his home in Roma on January 6, with multiple stab wounds.

Although the suspected killer has since turned himself in and made a first appearance in court, the family says they do not need to see him behind bars but only want the truth about events leading up to the murder. The puzzling death has so far left no apparent leads with a number of questions being raised as to whether this was just a common case of theft which went horribly wrong leading to a murder case, or a crime of passion steeped in a deeper conspiracy of homophobia.

The 22-year-old murder suspect, Qenehelo Ledwaba, was remanded in custody after appearing before the magistrate on Wednesday January 19, and is expected to appear in court again on January 31. He is alleged to have confessed to the murder after handing himself over to the police earlier in the week. While the police have said investigations are continuing, reports seem to suggest the accused had a relationship with the deceased on Facebook, though the nature of the relationship is not clear.

It is believed the murder was a result of a night of binge drinking after which a scuffle ensured at the home of the deceased which ended in the violent death, likely from the 12 stab wounds the deceased sustained. Another theory suggests a possible case of attempted coercion that turned around nasty. The LGBT community has refused to issue any comment on the matter saying the deceased was a bit distant from the community.

“We cannot issue any comment as of now because even though we know the person who died, we cannot sternly say he was one of us. Maybe the authority who could say something will not be available now until late or tomorrow morning as they are still engaged in some meetings,” said one person who spoke to Public Eye at the Matrix Lesotho office said but refused to be identified since she had not been cleared to speak about it by her superiors.

Makafane, who is said to have been involved in some openly gay relationships will be buried at Roma tomorrow. The family of the deceased said they do not desire to see the accused taken to jail but expect him to tell them the truth about what really transpired between the two. In his confession, Ledwaba is alleged to have said the deceased invited him to his house for a drink but later turned on him wanting to have sex with him, and that is when they started fighting until he fatally stabbed him in self-defence.

The deceased’s aunt ’Mamotlalepula Noka told Public Eye: “The accused was prematurely apprehended before he could point out where the belongings of the deceased are.” She added: “Bags of the deceased and his phones are missing, not to mention that some of his clothes were found on the accused at the police station.” Noka said the family has no interest in the apprehension of Ledwaba, but that they desperately need him to tell them the truth about why he killed their son.

The family says the suspect’s testimonies are suspicious and the family feels he is not being completely truthful. She said the accused’s testimony given to the police indicates that he threw the deceased’s phones in a lake or dam but then does not pinpoint the exact place which is why the family suspects he is hiding some truth.

“All that we long for is for Ledwaba to be released so that he can walk freely and do as he well please because apprehending him will not bring our son back,” the family member said, explaining that all they want is closure. In a related twist of events, some students at NUL have taken to social media alleging that some lecturers engage in coercive gay relations and sex with students. Some NUL students who refused to be identified for fear of a backlash from their teachers allege some lecturers are coercing students into such relationships in exchange for good grades.

NUL is yet to issue an official statement over some of these allegations, but has said as far as Makafane’s story is concerned, the matter is now in the hands of the police and the courts and they are happy that the alleged killer has been apprehended. A NUL lecturer confirmed Makafane’s body will be laid to rest tomorrow though it is not yet clear who actually killed him. He was however quick to caution that while the suspect may have turned himself in, the NUL community is worried that the actual killer could still be hiding among them.

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