By Billy Ntaote
MASERU — The All Basotho Convention (ABC) Youth League has declared war on media houses reporting “negatively” about the personal life of party leader and prime minister Thomas Thabane.
The youths — who ended up having heated exchanges with reporters during the declaration made at a press conference held on Tuesday in Maseru — insisted certain media orgsanisations were focusing on Thabane’s “personal affairs”, particularly his relationship with Liabiloe Ramoholi, at the expense of national issues.
The media, according to the league’s chairperson, Taelo Ntsobotsane, should be respecful when reporting on the Prime Minister’s personal life “and not assassinate his character as certain radio stations and newspapers are doing”.
Ntsobotsane continued: “We had not expected media houses to focus on the Prime Minister’s personal love affair, but rather on how he governs Lesotho.
“Basotho know local media houses are fond of sensationalising issues and blowing things out of proportion as you’re doing with his case which is even before the courts.
“But there is no man who does not have his own affair so focus on your own and leave him alone or talk about national issues because we will not allow this to continue.”
To emphasise his point, Ntsobotsane made reference to the recent front-page of the Lesotho Times’ sister publication, the Sunday Express, which had a photo of Thabane in deep conversation with Ramoholi, and captioned My Valentine.
“I know for a fact that Ntate Thabane never said she was his valentine but you still wrote it on the front page,” Ntsobotsane thundered.
“When I saw the newspaper, I became so angry that I vowed there and then that I would do everything in my power to defend the Prime Minister’s honour against media houses which are so determined to destroy him.”
According to Ntsobotsane, the coalition government comprising the ABC, Lesotho Congress for Democracy and Basotho National Party was working hard to ensure the country becomes attractive to investors.
“But we risk losing the much-needed investment with such negative reporting. It appears our leader is under threat from people who are always saying all sorts of things in the media to discredit him.”
Ntsobotsane’s sentiments were echoed by the League’s spokesperson, Mphonyane Lebesa, who went on to threaten the Tšenolo FM station manager, Mohau Kobile.
“We will protect our party and leader through all means necessary, against people like Kobile, who seem to have a personal agenda against the Prime Minister. Kobile has been at the forefront of those criticising the Prime Minister’s personal life,” Lebesa said.
“Because of these attacks, the ABC Youth League will be forced to publicise the love affairs of reporters, some of whom use force in those relationships.
“What is even more disturbing is that media houses are very indepth when analysing such personal matters, yet never do the same when it comes to developmental and national issues.
“But we would want to make it clear that as the ABC youths, we stand firmly behind the Prime Minister.”
Another member of the league, Selimo Thabane, said what the youths were particularly against was the line of reporting.
“We are not saying the media shouldn’t publish issues about the Prime Minister. The problem is the line of reporting which is intended to tarnish the reputation of our leader.
“As the party’s youths, we are the first line of defence and we came here because we have realised the party is under siege. We never intend to make personal attacks on anyone but to protect our party.”