Church leaders blast govt

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CHURCH leaders pray for the wives of detained and exiled soldiers.
CHURCH leaders pray for the wives of detained and exiled soldiers.

Billy Ntaote

CLERGYMEN this week used the memorial prayer service for slain Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) commander Maaparankoe Mahao in Mokema to castigate “corrupt” politicians they said had destroyed the country.

The priests who included Reverend Tlali Phoohlo took turns to berate political and church leaders for allegedly conspiring in corrupt deals that were supported by many Christians countrywide.

The service was held near the scene of Lt-Gen Mahao’s fatal 2015 shooting by his LDF colleagues allegedly for resisting arrest for his suspected involvement in a mutiny plot.

The prayer session was held on the same day the country held its 50th independence anniversary celebrations and it attracted hundreds of people who sympathised with the Mahao family.

It was also attended by spouses and children of soldiers incarcerated over mutiny charges and those whose husbands fled the country fearing for their lives following the detention of their colleagues.

Rev Phoohlo said corruption had become so rampant among the elite, adding “political and religious corruption killed Jesus Christ and we are faced with the same challenges today in this country”.

“It is appalling that political corruption is popular among Basotho today and it is supported by the Christians.

“These people who infiltrate churches entertain political corruption by crushing dissenting voices are shameless Christians who unreservedly support corrupt politicians.

“They do not have a sense of justice, they would rather pray for aggressors to be strengthened in their evil deeds. I am talking about those people holding a celebration using taxpayers’ money,” Rev Phoohlo said.

He said it was this type of Christians that celebrated the killing of Lt-Gen Mahao, adding they were a “disgrace” to Christianity.

“Basotho commend wicked deeds by ululating and our Christianity is saturated with corrupt individuals. We are to blame for this rampant corruption,” Rev Phoohlo said.

He further stated that the government had turned a blind eye when Lt-Gen Mahao was killed in cold blood allegedly by known soldiers.

“You cannot take an innocent man to a judge of a corrupt system and guarantee him a fair hearing and judgement.

“Our country is rotten to the core. If you challenge a corrupt system it will murder you. You see corruption in the justice system that absolves the criminals and incarcerates the innocent.

“Government uses state resources to inflict pain on Mamphanya Mahao (Lt-Gen Mahao’s spouse) and Manqosa Mahao (Lt-Gen Mahao’s mother) who now carries a cane due to the heavy burden she has because of the wounds inflicted on her.

“Mamphanya and Manqosa have been oppressed by the state that supports the army and the Prime Minister who supports the army. Let us take this opportunity to remember what our independence means,” Rev Phoohlo said.

For his part, Reverend Michael Khang said Lesotho was in a state of confusion caused by the neglect of those who championed the truth.

“Some say there is peace in the country while others are always protesting that there is no peace and stability. Others, due to their fears and others, due to their hidden desire for opportunities say there is a peace when it is known that there are no indicators that Lesotho is peaceful today,” said Rev Khang.

Another Reverend Phakiso Motaung urged government to free soldiers incarcerated in the maximum security prisons and allow others to return from exile so they could be reunited with their families.

He also called for the prosecution of soldiers who were involved in the killing of Lt-Gen Mahao saying their actions should not go unpunished.

Prominent human rights lawyer, Advocate Haae Phoofolo recalled that members of the LDF had submitted questionable evidence about the shooting which was dismissed by Justice Mpaphi Phumaphi’s commission of inquiry.

Adv Phoofolo also revealed that he had drafted a constitution for an association that would handle all matters concerning the welfare of incarcerated soldiers and those who fled into exile.

He said this had been necessitated by the realisation that well-wishers who intended to assist the soldiers could not access a single body that would speak with one voice on behalf of the soldiers.

 

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