Doti, LNFOD condemn rapist Thoahlane

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Limpho Sello

SOCIAL Development Minister ‘Matebatso Doti has condemned convicted rapist Retšelisitsoe Thoahlane for abusing his position to rape an 11-year-old minor under his care.

The Lesotho National Federation of Organisations of the Disabled (LNFOD) has also condemned Thoahlane for the “horrendous sexual abuse” of the minor.

Thoahlane, and his adult son, Tumelo Thoahlane, were on Monday jailed for 15 years each for raping the minor girl who they had taken into their custody.

Thoahlane is the Director of Disability in the Ministry of Social Development. He has previously worked at LNFOD and he is also a member of the Lesotho National Federation of the Physically Disabled (LNAPD).

As a highly influential officer well-versed with matters of the disadvantaged, Thoahlane ought to have conducted himself in an exemplary manner.

But as Maseru Magistrate ‘Manapo Motebele found on Monday, he abused his position by repeatedly raping the minor over an unspecified period of time. His son, Tumelo, also raped the minor when she turned to him to protect her from his father.

Commenting on the matter in an interview this week, Minister Doti said they were shocked by Thoahlane’s behaviour which had tainted the ministry’s image.

“As a ministry, we have been negatively affected by the bad thing that he (Thoahlane) did of abusing a child,” Ms Doti said in a brief interview.

“He neglected his responsibility to care for children and protect their rights,” she added.

Ms Doti urged all officers in her ministry to desist from criminal behaviour and to always uphold the highest ethical and professional standards.

LNFOD Executive Director, Nkhasi Sefuthi, also issued a strongly worded statement condemning Thoahlane for raping the minor.

Advocate Sefuthi said his organisation had zero tolerance for violence against women.

“LNFOD is dismayed and therefore condemns in strongest terms the horrendous sexual abuse of a 11-year-old child by Mr Thoahlane,” Adv Sefuthi said.

“Where gender-based violence occurs, LNFOD fully supports equal access to justice by all persons with disabilities. We say no to violence; no to sexual gender-based violence. We pledge to continue to work hard; to join national, regional and international advocacy efforts towards gender-based violence prevention and response.

“Let us all focus on the real monster- gender inequality- which has formed a strong base for gender-based violence prevalence in Lesotho. Let us therefore join each other to challenge gender stereotypes, harmful traditional practices and discrimination against women and girls deeply imbedded in our society. It is only by achieving absolute gender equality that violence against women can be prevented,” Adv Sefuthi said.

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