Exiled MP challenges govt

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’Marafaele Mohloboli

Scores of All Basotho Convention (ABC) supporters descended on Qoaling on Sunday to show support for the constituency’s exiled Member of Parliament (MP) Chalane Phori.

Mr Phori fled the country for South Africa on 15 February this year allegedly after receiving a tip-off from a “trusted source” about a plot to assassinate him.

A week before he sought refuge in the neighbouring country, Mr Phori and three fellow ABC legislators had been suspended from the National Assembly for disrupting proceedings in the august house.

Addressing Sunday’s Qoaling rally via cellphone, Mr Phori challenged the government to ensure the protection of every citizen regardless of his or her political affiliation.

The MP also said he would continue to criticize the government as it was his duty to hold the authorities to account as an MP.

“If each time we complain about this government we are threatened and have to run away, then so be it because we will never keep quiet,” said Mr Phori.

However, Mr Phori appealed for calm and ABC supporters not to break the law no-matter how disgruntled they might feel.

“Just pray, don’t burn any shops, don’t kill anybody. Pray because we have come to the end of tyranny.

“This government is finishing off the last drops of what’s in the bottle and will soon go as they are useless to the people. If the Prime Minister, Ntate (Pakalitha) Mosisili, can’t protect us as MPs, how then on earth can he protect mere voters?”

Mr Phori also slammed the government for “protecting” Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) members implicated in the killing of former army commander Lieutenant-General Maaparankoe Mahao, Lisebo Tang and police Sub-Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko.

Ms Tang was killed on 10 May 2014 when the car she was sitting in with her friend was peppered with bullets by LDF members guarding the home of army commander Lt-Gen Tlali Kamoli.  Sub-Insp Ramahloko, on the other hand, was shot dead on 30 August 2014 when soldiers raided Police Headquarters in what the LDF later said was an operation to seize firearms from rogue police officers. On the other hand, Lt-Gen Mahao was killed in Mokema by LDF members who had come to arrest him for suspected mutiny. He was shot while resisting arrest, the army later said.

But according to Mr Phori, the government should ensure these cases are fully investigated.

“Ntate Mosisili, you have been given powers to protect us all, those you love and those that you hate. And we know very well that Mahao was killed during your administration but you just don’t seem to give a hoot; you are hatching on these culprits like a hen on its chicks. Get up and send them to the courts of law to answer for their acts,” said Mr Phori.

Hlotse MP, Keketso Sello, reiterated Mr Phori’s sentiments and called on Dr Mosisili to step down if his government could not guarantee protection for every citizen.

There was no immediate comment from the government regarding both Mr Phori and Mr Sello’s claims.

Meanwhile, 25 “defectors” were welcomed into the ABC during Sunday’s rally.

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