SOCIALIST Revolutionaries (SR) leader, Teboho Mojapela, who resides in neighbouring South Africa, has alleged a government plot to kill him and said he will not set foot in Lesotho without concrete security guarantees from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU).
The controversial businessman-turned-politician who fell out with Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC) soon after the 3 June 2017 polls, said that he had had been tipped off about the “assassination plot” by a police officer.
He subsequently missed the official launch of his SR party in Butha-Buthe on Sunday and only addressed party supporters via the phone from his residence in Ladybrand.
Mr Mojapela repeated his claims about a plot to have the police torture him to death in an interview with the Lesotho Times on Tuesday.
Police spokesperson, Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli, however refuted his claims. Supt Mopeli said the police were mandated to protect the public and not to harm anybody hence Mr Mojapela was free to visit the country anytime he chose to.
“No one is after him and besides, the police are obliged to protect lives and prevent the commission of crimes,” Supt Mopeli said, adding, “Mr Mojapela is therefore free to come to Lesotho anytime as he has always done”.
However, Mr Mojapela said he would not return to the country without security guarantees from SADC and the AU.
“I will not set foot in Lesotho until this matter has been taken up by SADC, AU and other international organisations to ensure my safety,” Mr Mojapela said.
“Naturally, I am not a fearful person but after I got a tip-off from one of the police officers that the police intended to torture me to death, I decided to stay put in South Africa.”
He said he had already reported the matter to the South African Police Service and had also applied for political asylum in South Africa.
“Although I am already resident in Ladybrand, I still had to report the matter and follow the proper channels because I am a Lesotho national and not a South African,” Mr Mojapela said.
His allegations come in the wake of an incident where the head of his security, Potlako Nalane, escaped unscathed after unknown gunmen fired shots at his car in Maseru last week.
Mr Mojapela said the shooting incident happened barely a week after he had been tipped off about a plot to eliminate him and his bodyguard.
The SR leader has also been on a warpath with Dr Thabane and his wife, publicly insinuating that the First Lady, Maesaiah Thabane, had a hand in the murder of the Prime Minister’s former wife, Lipolelo Thabane.
Ms Lipolelo was shot dead by an unknown assailant as she was about to drive into her Ha ‘Masana home on 14 June 2017. The incident occurred just two days before Dr Thabane’s inauguration as prime minister.
A female companion of Ms Thabane also sustained serious injuries in the shooting. Mr Mojapela has already been called in by the police to explain his allegations about the First Lady. He was again summoned last week before he instituted a failed court bid to stop the police from grilling him over his claims.
However, it is understood that Mr Mojapela had already named before the police the two suspects he claims to have masterminded the murder.
Mr Mojapela also spoke about his frosty relationship with the ABC which he claimed he funded ahead of the 2017 polls, saying Dr Thabane’s party was increasingly becoming threatened by his alleged success in courting some of its followers.
“I am a threat to this government because I have established my own party and I am getting followers from the coalition. So these people have decided to get rid of me because they can see that I will make it into government.
“Most people think that I am crazy and they are yet to see that I am very sane because I am going to turn this country around and take it out of its political misery,” he said.