Alliance scoffs at police warning

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’Marafaele Mohloboli

THE ‘Alliance of Non-State Actors’ has scoffed at police threats that they have a case to answer for allegedly flouting conditions for holding their protest march on Thursday last week.

The Alliance, which consists of taxi operators, trade unions, the business community and ordinary Basotho, held the demonstration in Maseru to protest what they described as inordinate delays in implementing recommendations of the SADC commission of inquiry into Lesotho’s instability.

The Alliance argued that “delays” in implementing the recommendations could result in Lesotho losing key development aid which comes with certain conditions, among them respect for the rule of law. They had also called for a stay-away on the day of the protest.

However, the police initially turned down the Alliance’s application to hold the march, prompting the civic groups to file an urgent High Court application seeking to overturn the decision.

The High Court granted the Alliance’s request, but stipulated the demonstration would only start at 9.30am and end at 11am, among other conditions.

Police Senior Superintendent Motlatsi Mapola told the Lesotho Times this week, the Alliance did not abide by the court ruling, adding his calls to representatives of the Alliance for a meeting to discuss the issue  were ignored.

“I wanted us to meet and discuss a few issues and carry out a postmortem of the march,” Sen-Sup Mapola said.

“I also wanted them to explain why some of the conditions set in the limit were not respected. They also continued the demonstration beyond the stipulated hours. So it means they have a case to answer.”

Sen-Sup Mapola said the attitude of members of the Alliance left a lot to be desired, adding he was within his rights to take them to task.

“I could very well take them to court for their defiance, but that’s not what I intended to do. I called them and expected to hold a meeting with them at 2:30pm, but they chose not to come.”

However, the Alliance’s spokesperson, Makama Monese, said they had nothing to answer for to the police. Members of the Alliance met in Maseru on Tuesday to review the stay-away and demo which they deemed to be a success and were not going to be dictated to by the police, he added.

“The protest march was a huge success. We don’t owe Mapola or anyone an explanation,” Mr Monese said.

“We have nothing to discuss with Mapola because we have more important things to do. Besides, we are still very tired and recuperating from the demonstration.”

He further said Sen-Sup Mapola was “disrespectful” in summoning the Alliance “as if he was calling some small boys”.

“Mapola should have extended the invitation in writing and not have his clerk phone us as if he was calling some small boys. He needs to show us some respect,” said Mr Monese.

Asked what members of the Alliance resolved to do after the demo  and stay-away, Mr Monese said it was too early to reveal their strategy lest it would alert their detractors.

“I can’t tell you what exactly we are going to do next, but rest assured we are gearing up for more action until we are heard by the government,” Mr Monese said.

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