May 3, 2024


4 min read

Curtain comes down on long, illustrious career

Curtain comes down on long, illustrious career

The late Moeketse Vincent Malebo

Story highlights

    As diplomat, civil servant and politician Malebo dies
    Ntate Malebo was among Lesotho’s most esteemed civil servants and politicians

Metro Audio Articles

Catch our weekly audio news daily only on Metro Radio Podcast News.

listen now

MOEKETSE Vincent Malebo, a seasoned political figure and former leader of the Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP), passed away due to heart complications at his residence in Maseru West on Sunday, April 28. He was 92.

His family noted that he had suffered from mental exhaustion for a long time. Arrangements for his funeral are pending, but it is anticipated that he will be honoured with a state funeral.

Ntate Malebo was among Lesotho’s most esteemed civil servants and politicians, serving in every administration from the British-led Basotholand to the military junta of Major General Metsing Lekhanya, which overthrew the formidable Basotho National Party (BNP) government of Dr. Leabua Jonathan in 1986.

Born on November 26, 1931, in Maseru, he entered the civil service at the age of 24 during the colonial era in 1955.

In June 2017, at the age of 85 and as the oldest MP in Lesotho's parliament,  Ntate Malebo was ousted as leader of the MFP at the start of the 10th Parliament, with Tlhoriso Lekatsa elected as his successor at the party conference. Ntate Malebo boycotted the event, dismissing it as "illegal" and claiming it was "called by people who are pushing their personal agenda."

He referred to the conference as a farce. Just days before the June 3 election, a faction of the MFP led by Lekatsa announced that they had suspended Ntate Malebo as party leader.

The faction accused Ntate Malebo of running the MFP as his personal fiefdom, alleging he made arbitrary decisions without consulting his colleagues. Their main contention centred on Ntate Malebo’s decision to nominate himself as the party’s candidate for the proportional representation (PR) seats.

Furthermore, they claimed the list of 40 party members Ntate Malebo submitted to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) had not received approval from the National Executive Committee (NEC).

Despite these internal disputes, Ntate Malebo was sworn in as the MFP’s sole MP after the party secured a single seat under the PR system in the June 3, 2017 election.

He continued to serve as an MP until 2022, by which time, at the age of 91, he was the oldest legislator in the country.

The party, however, did not secure any seats in the ninth Parliament following a failure to win any in the most recent general elections, which were dominated by the ruling Revolution For Prosperity (RFP) under Prime Minister Samuel Ntsokoane Matekane.

Royalists formed the MFP in 1962 as opposed to other traditionalists (mainly chiefs), who formed the BNP as early as 1958. Ntate Malebo assumed leadership of the party in 1982.

He started his career in the civil service in 1955 as an interpreter and election educator. By 1960, he had advanced to the position of senior interpreter for the colonial administration.

He played a crucial role in launching state radio, Radio Lesotho, in 1964 and was appointed director of information and broadcasting the following year.

Ntate Malebo had an extensive and distinguished career, both in diplomacy and government. He served as a consul at the British High Commission in London, United Kingdom (UK), and in Pennsylvania, United States (USA).

His international experience extended to a deployment at the United Nations (UN) from 1967 to 1968. In 1972, he held the position of Assistant Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, eventually becoming Chief Protocol and later Principal Secretary.

From 1986 to 1993, under Major General Lekhanya's regime, he served as the Minister of Information and Broadcasting.

Enjoy our daily newsletter from today

Access exclusive newsletters, along with previews of new media releases.

He led the MFP in the general elections held from March 27 to 29, 1993, the first full elections since the ruling BNP annulled the results of the 1970 elections, which they had lost to Ntsu Mokhehle's Basotholand Congress Party (BCP).

The BCP won all 65 seats in the National Assembly, bringing Mokhehle to power.

Ntate Malebo was the chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee in the seventh Parliament from 2007 to 2012. He was also a key member of former Prime Minister Motsoahae Thabane’s 2012–2015 government, a three-party coalition consisting of the then ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC), Mothetjoa Metsing’s Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), and Chief Thesele ’Maseribane's BNP.

He continued his service in government as the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services from 2015 to 2017 under former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s seven-party coalition administration.

Beyond his political and governmental roles, the late Ntate Malebo was also an entrepreneur.

He once owned a successful dairy farm in Sehlabeng sa Thuathe and a popular takeaway, Tolafia, located at the main bus stop area in Maseru.

Tolafia was renowned for its delectable fish and chips, fat cakes, and Russian sausages.

Ntate Malebo will be remembered for his uncompromising integrity and his firm stance against corruption in both the government and the private sector. His legacy in Lesotho's political and civil spheres will be remembered for years to come.

Share the story