Date set for Metsing’s return

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’Marafaele Mohloboli

FORMER Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the opposition Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), Mothetjoa Metsing, is expected to return home on 25 November 2018 to participate in the national reforms process.

This was revealed by the opposition at a press conference in Maseru on Tuesday.

Mr Metsing has been holed up in South Africa since fleeing Lesotho in August 2017 citing an alleged plot to assassinate him. The government has nevertheless refuted his claims, insisting that he fled to escape prosecution for corruption.

The opposition set Mr Metsing’s return as one of the preconditions for its participation in the process to implement multi-sector reforms that are aimed at achieving lasting peace and stability in the country.

Mr Metsing will return along with other exiled opposition leaders who include the deputy leader of the LCD, Tšeliso Mokhosi and the leader of the Socialist Revolution (SR) Teboho Mojapela.

Also expected to return are former police commissioner Molahlehi Letsoepa, former Director of the National Security Services (NSS), Tumo Lekhooa; Assistant Superintendent Bereng Ramahetlane who is an officer with the Lesotho Correctional Service and Mr Lebohang Setsomi who was head of procurement at the Lesotho Mounted Police Service.

The homecoming is the result of the agreement that was signed by the coalition of opposition parties and the government on 16 October 2018. The deal was mediated by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) facilitator Justice Dikgang Moseneke and his team.

Clause 10 of the deal states that “Mr Metsing and similarly placed persons in exile will not be subjected to any pending criminal proceedings during the dialogue and reforms process”.

The opposition and the government’s deal has however, not gone down well with the families whose relatives were killed allegedly at the hands of security forces during the time that Mr Metsing and other opposition parties were at the helm of government.

Some of the families including that of slain army commander Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao have since filed a constitutional court application challenging the legality of clause 10 of the deal.

Speaking at the press conference this week, the leader of opposition in parliament, Mathibeli Mokhothu, said the deal which stayed the prosecution of Mr Metsing and others “is the very reason why we will see the return of those persons who are currently in exile”.

He said the opposition was aware of the lawsuit filed by the families as well as another case where one Mr Moferefere Senatla wants the agreement to be nullified on the grounds that it would be unjust to others who have pending cases before the courts.

“We are aware of all these issues that have been raised due to the signed declaration but we stand by our words that these (exiled) people shall be coming back home.

“It should be noted that all these (exiled) people shall be returning on the set date (25 November) because this declaration (for their return) has already been signed,” Mr Mokhothu said.

Mr Mokhothu further said that they had also written to Justice Moseneke to push for the reinstatement of the suspended Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara.

“It is therefore imperative to tell you that we have since written to Justice Moseneke pertaining the reinstatement of Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara who we feel has been treated unfairly. We have no relationship with her whatsoever but we feel that justice has to prevail,” Mr Mokhothu said.

Justice Majara was suspended with effect from 11 September 2018 to pave way for a three-member tribunal to try her over a litany of misconduct charges including her alleged failure to ensure the timeous delivery of justice.

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