Prominent Lesotho Radio Presenter, Ralikonelo Joki, Assassinated in Apparent Work-Related Hit

Prominent Lesotho Radio Presenter, Ralikonelo Joki, Assassinated in Apparent Work-Related Hit

In a horrifying incident that has sent shockwaves throughout the media community in Lesotho, renowned radio presenter Ralikonelo Joki, often referred to as Qhashi or Leqhashasha, was tragically murdered in a targeted attack believed to be connected to his professional activities. The precise circumstances surrounding his untimely demise remain unclear at this time, and law enforcement officials have yet to issue a public statement regarding the incident.

Ralikonelo Joki brutal murder took place on a fateful Sunday night, immediately following the conclusion of his popular current affairs program, Hlokoana La Tsela (I heard it from the grapevine), which aired daily from 6 to 9 pm. According to Tsénolo FM station manager Mshengu Shabalala, the assault transpired just as Joki was leaving the station premises.

Given the close proximity of the radio station to the main thoroughfare, Joki found himself pausing briefly to allow passing traffic to clear before he could merge onto the road. It was during this fleeting moment of hesitation that his assailants launched their attack, ambushing him and opening fire from both sides of his vehicle.

As Joki attempted to escape the ambush, he lost control of his car, which then careened across the street and collided with the wall of the nearby Thamae Shopping Centre. His attackers, however, were relentless, continuing to fire upon him even after the crash. Responding swiftly to a distress call, members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) arrived at the scene, only to pronounce him dead.

During a broadcast on Tsénolo FM earlier today, Shabalala recounted the horrifying event, painting a chilling picture of the tragic incident. Known for his devil-may-care attitude and passion for unearthing corruption within the public sector, Joki was well-regarded within the media community. He was a respected colleague and a committed investigative journalist, unafraid to confront powerful entities or expose unsavory practices.

Reflecting on her professional relationship with Joki, fellow journalist ‘Marafaele Mohloboli described him as a persistent and fearless reporter. His refusal to be censored, even if it meant parting ways with his employers, spoke to his commitment to journalistic integrity. Despite making numerous enemies and facing criticism for his dogged pursuit of truth, Joki remained undeterred.

Expressing deep concern for the safety of media practitioners in Lesotho, Mohloboli highlighted the lack of effective security measures in place to protect journalists, and the need for society to better appreciate the vital role of the media. She also noted the dangerous power dynamics at play within media organizations, where owners often strike deals with influential figures, thereby setting the editorial agenda and potentially placing journalists in harm’s way.

In the politically charged landscape of Lesotho, where radio stations are often aligned with various political factions, this tragic incident underscores the risks faced by journalists in their pursuit of truth. Joki’s tragic demise has left his son, daughter, and heavily pregnant wife to grieve his loss, and a media community to grapple with the harsh reality of their profession.

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