Likoti warns Chief Theko 

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Lekhetho Ntsukunyane

PRIME Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s Economic and Political Advisor, Fako Likoti says Thaba-Bosiu Principal Chief Khoabane Theko risks being forced out of office for allegedly engaging in “active politics,” on the side of the opposition.

Dr Likoti, a political scientist who has been at helm of the Independent Electoral Commission among other departments, accused Chief Theko of being an active member of the main opposition All Basotho Convention (ABC) and “spokesperson” of the entire opposition.

He said the chief had to desist from involvement in politics as this was in contravention of the provisions of the Chieftainship Act which stipulated that chiefs had to be apolitical.

“We are very worried about the principal chief of Thaba-Bosiu, Chief Khoabane Theko,” Dr Likoti told the Lesotho Times in an exclusive interview this week.

“Since the last elections (in 2015), he has convened rallies on the pretext that he would be explaining to Basotho what was happening in government and yet when you look closely you find that he invited the leadership of ABC to express their political manifestoes.

“In all his utterances before the 2015 elections, Chief Theko has been sort of assisting ABC and that is very worrying because the Chieftainship Act is very clear that the chief is an apolitical figure. He cannot interfere in political affairs, but he seems to be consistently walking on that path.”

Dr Likoti also alleged that Chief Theko made “very controversial statements” in his remarks to welcome home the formerly exiled opposition leaders, Thomas Thabane (ABC), Thesele ’Maseribane (BNP) and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho’s (RCL) Keketso Rantšo.

The trio returned last month, having fled the country in May 2015, citing plots to assassinate them by members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), an accusation the latter has vehemently denied.

According to Dr Likoti, Chief Theko made “very controversial statements for a chief” by saying “these (opposition) leaders are the ones who can rule this country”.

“I just want to say to Chief Theko that in this country people who get to power do so through elections. They are elected. As a principal chief, even if he has a wish as an individual, he should keep his wishes to himself and not tell people about it. The people know who they want to vote for come election time.

“Recently he was on radio telling people that the Prime Minister has been deceiving them. He should tread carefully because he consistently violates the Chieftainship Act and this is extremely worrying. We don’t know what Chief Theko is trying to do because all times he seems to be spokesperson of political parties.”

Dr Likoti further accused Chief Theko of uttering opposition  slogans during the opposition’s joint rally last Sunday at Mount Moorosi in Quthing to welcome BNP leader Mr ’Maseribane.

Dr Likoti said this was “very uncharacteristic of a principal chief and a member of the senate’, adding, “If Chief Theko wants to be a leader of ABC he should go and contest elections or he is free to register his political party like everybody else”.

“One other thing I observed is that he has an education problem.

“He doesn’t seem to understand what is happening and he should go back to school so that he can understand the role of a chief. He needs further training so that he can read and comprehend the Chieftainship Act; how a chief should conduct himself and his functions. What he is doing now is embarrassing for the office of a chief.”

Dr Likoti warned that the “government can take action against Chief Theko at any time”.

“I want him to take this as a warning that his consistent and flagrant violation of the Chieftainship Act will not be tolerated any further.

“He seems to be inviting someone to push him out of that office. Let this be a warning that Chief Theko should desist from violating the Chieftainship Act and he should desist from talking like a politician.”

Efforts to get comment from Chief Theko were fruitless as he was not reachable on his mobile phone.

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