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09MASERU125 2009-04-29 14:21:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Maseru
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1. A member of parliament (MP) representing the National
Independent Party (NIP), Dominic Motikoe, was shot and killed by
the husband of another NIP member and fellow MP, `Mamotonosi
Nkhahle. The fatal shooting took place Monday, April 27, 2009,
in Maputsoe, about 90 kilometers from Maseru. According to the
police, the two MPs travel to and from Maseru together daily to
work at Parliament. Reports indicate that `Mamotonosi's husband
suspected his wife was having an affair with Motikoe. Rumors
further suggest that the husband had previously warned Motikoe
to stop travelling with his wife. Upon encountering his wife in
the car with Motikoe last night, Mr. Nkhale shot Motikoe 16
times with his pistol, then immediately surrendered himself to
the police. Mrs. Nkhale was not hurt and her husband is still
in police custody.

2. Motikoe was relatively unknown in political circles prior to
the February 2007 elections. He came into the spotlight in the
media when he formed a controversial alliance with the governing
Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party against the wishes of
his party leader (ref A). This alliance came under scrutiny by
the opposition and (together with the opposition's own alliance)
has been the focus of the SADC-sponsored mediation between the
LCD and the opposition, which has attempted to resolve disputes
over the allocation of parliamentary seats that resulted from
the two alliances.

3. Comment: The shooting temporarily ignited concern in Maseru,
as rumors suggested that it was politically motivated and
perhaps connected to the failed assassination attempt last week.
That panic was quickly quelled when information revealed that
the shooting was a domestic affair. This shooting comes less
than one week after attacks on the Prime Minister's residence
and the military barracks (ref B), and about two weeks after a
member of the Lesotho Defense Force shot his wife and
sister-in-law outside a popular local cafi in an apparent
domestic dispute. Despite this violence which has marred the
Kingdom's otherwise peaceful existence, the political climate is
currently stable, though it will remain tense until further
information concerning the identity of the Prime Minister's
attempted assassins is uncovered.