THE Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) says it is worried about its leader Mothetjoa Metsing’s security after his army bodyguards were temporarily withdrawn by their supervisor leaving him without any protection during a weekend event in Maseru.
Senior LCD members this week told the Lesotho Times that party supporters had to step in to guard Mr Metsing at the Dr Ntsu Mokhehle Memorial Lecture that was held at the Lehakoe Recreational Centre on Saturday.
Mr Metsing also confirmed to the Lesotho Times that his bodyguards were withdrawn without any explanation during the lecture.
“I don’t know what to think about what happened in regard to my my security but it is worrisome because Prime Minister Thomas Thabane was formally aware of my trip to Lesotho on the day. He had also been invited to the lecture in his capacity as the leader of his party,” Mr Metsing said.
“I do not think that my security was breached by the government but this could be a move by some rogue individuals within the government or in the security sector.
“However, we have taken up the matter with the SADC Oversight Committee to figure out what really transpired and how best to avoid a repeat as I shall be coming (to Lesotho) on several occasions for the reforms.
“I didn’t feel scared but that on its own got me thinking on what could be happening and why it happened.”
Mr Metsing said he could tell that most of the people who attended the lecture, including some ministers, were equally puzzled and did not approve of the move to withdraw his bodyguards.
LCD spokesperson Teboho Sekata said it was not surprising that the bodyguards were recalled since the LCD is not “in good books with the government”.
“We were told that they (bodyguards) were only recalled to establish their whereabouts but we are not convinced because we know that the LCD is not in good books with the government and anything can happen at any time.
“It defies logic how their supervisor could say he didn’t know where they were because they always report whenever they are going to meet Ntate Metsing,” Mr Sekata said.
Fellow opposition leader Advocate Lekhetho Rakuoane also deplored the withdrawal of Mr Metsing’s bodyguards.
“I called those in charge to enquire what was happening and I was told that the matter would be addressed.
“On Monday the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Oversight Committee told me that it had already referred the matter to Justice Dikgang Moseneke. We are worried because the Leaders’ Forum (to kickstart the process) is just around the corner and how can Ntate Metsing freely participate if his security is compromised.
“We just pray and hope that by next week the whole matter will have been put to rest because if it’s not, this might impact negatively on many other processes that are part of the reforms process,” Adv Rakuoane said.
LDF spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Mashili Mashili said the matter had been referred to the Ministry of Defence’s Principal Secretary Tšeliso Mokoko.
On his part, Mr Mokoko said: “the soldiers are answerable to the commander and it is also worth noting that they were not recalled permanently”.
“Ntate Metsing is expected to follow the proper channels next time when he comes and he will still get his body guards,” Mr Mokoko said.