Metsing warns ‘rogue’ social media users

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Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing (1)
Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing

’Marafaele Mohloboli

DEPUTY Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing says the government is working “on bringing to order” people who misuse social media to unsettle others by posting “unfounded” allegations of possible threats on their lives.

At a press briefing this week, Mr Metsing described social media as a very important tool for societal development but nevertheless emphasized it needed to be used with caution.

“What we are going to do is to see to it that these people who are forever posting these lies are nabbed,” he said.

“Social media is very important as it helps in the relaying of messages fast and conveniently. But it can simultaneously be bad if not handled properly. It can be a double-edged sword. We therefore appeal to everyone who uses this platform not to misuse it.”

Mr Metsing said it was unfortunate that some Basotho had been forced to flee the country, ostensibly in fear of their lives after the posting of false messages that there were people out to kill them.

“All these are unfounded allegations meant to bring the country into disrepute and make the outside world believe there is no peace in Lesotho.”

He said there was no reason for people not to tip-off the police about any such threats, if they indeed existed, instead of placing them on Facebook and other social media platforms and unsettling others.

“There is simply no reason why people should not do that if there are any credible threats against anyone. The problem is that there are people out there acting with impunity in abusing social media …..,” the deputy premier said.

“So much lies have been told on social media that I don’t understand why nobody has been asked to account for their lies. There is no better reason why this continues to happen except of course the malicious intent of those abusing social media.”

He added: “The hand of justice is long and sooner than later we shall nab those who are causing distress to others by posting these lies.”

Democratic Congress (DC) youth league president Thuso Litjobo recently said he had received some threats via a Facebook tip off but would not flee the country.

“I have received no concrete threats except the Facebook tip-off.  But given that this is Lesotho and I am a politician, I won’t relax about it. I shall constantly be looking over my shoulder given that several politicians have died following tip-offs which they did not take seriously,” said Mr Litjobo.

He said he was not surprised that someone could be baying for his blood because “I am a hurdle and a threat to many politicians who want to destabilise the DC and I am quite strong at winning over other party cadres.”

ALL Basotho Convention (ABC) leader Thomas Thabane, Basotho National Party’s Thesele ’Maseribane and Keketso Rantšo of the Reformed Congress of Lesotho have been living in exile since May 2015 after fleeing for their lives citing threats against them. Some of the threats emanated from social media.

Three weeks ago, ABC MP for Maseru Constituency Number 32 Lesego Makgothi fled the country, while Khafung Number 23 legislator Habofanoe Lehana went into hiding claiming their lives were in danger. Their departure brings to seven, the number of ABC MPs hiding in South Africa.

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