Moleleki decries “alarming political situation”
. . . slams Majoro for the “unfortunate harassment” of Metsing, Mochoboroane,
. . . says he is horrified and dismayed by the unnecessary arrests of top ABC officials.
FORMER deputy prime minister and current official leader of the opposition, Monyane Moleleki, has attacked Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro for allowing what he describes as an “alarming political situation” to develop in the country.
In a highly charged 6 December 2021 letter to Dr Majoro, Mr Moleleki accuses the premier of allowing the “unfortunate harassment” of former Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing and Development Planning Minister Selibe Mochoboroane.
Mr Moleleki also takes aim at Dr Majoro for the “horrifying and unnecessary arrests” of Messrs Montoeli Masoetsa and Chalane Phori who are both senior members of the premier’s All Basotho Convention (ABC). The duo was arrested and detained by police on Monday on allegations of sedition. They were only freed later that same day after ABC secretary general, Lebohang Hlaele, filed an urgent High Court application for their release.
Messrs Metsing and Mochoboroane lost their High Court and Constitutional Court battles to stop the state from trying them for treason and murder alongside former army commander, Tlali Kamoli and others.
Mr Mochoboroane this week appeared in court alongside all his other co-accused. However, Mr Metsing did not turn up for the trial, prompting Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane to issue a warrant for his arrest.
Mr Moleleki was deputy premier in the previous Thomas Thabane-led government that inked a SADC brokered deal with the then opposition to stop the state from trying Messrs Metsing, Mochoboroane and other politicians for various crimes at least until after the implementation of the multi-sector reforms.
However, the October 2018 government-opposition agreement was struck down as unconstitutional by the courts, thus paving way for Messrs Metsing and Mochoboroane to be tried.
This has not gone down well with Messrs Metsing and Mochoboroane’s Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and Movement for Economic Change (MEC) parties respectively.
Mr Metsing’s LCD has since pulled out of the reforms process in protest over the decision to try its leader.
Mr Moleleki has now waded into the saga.
“As the leader of the Alliance of Democrats (AD) and Official Leader of the Opposition, I have learnt of the harassment of political leaders, Honourable Mothetjoa Metsing and Honourable Selibe Mochoboroane,” Mr Moleleki states in his letter which is copied to the African Union, Commonwealth of Nations, the National Reforms Authority, Attorney General Rapelang Motsieloa and all political parties. It is also copied to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Sephiri Motanyane, the College of Chiefs and the Christian Council of Lesotho.
“You will definitely recall, Prime Minister, that the Kingdom of Lesotho is going through a delicate and necessary national reforms process, which is, without any doubt, a priority of the Basotho nation.
“One of the most important factors in the process is to ensure that all political party leaders participate freely in the reforms process. As the Prime Minister, you seem to have forgotten that you are, and should the custodian of the success of this reforms process.
“We have all learnt with horror and dismay, of the unnecessary arrests of members of your own party’s executive committee for merely publicly disclosing that the executive committee of your party has voted to recall you from the high office of Prime Minister. I hope and pray that their public disclosure of the committee’s decision is not reason for their arrests.
“I earnestly urge you to cause those arrests and prosecutions to stop without any delay. I and the rest of Lesotho, have always believed that you, Mr Prime Minister, are a believer in the democratic process. Today’s (Monday) acts portray your government as truly intolerant of any process of the democratic discourse in present day Lesotho. It sets us back many decades,” Mr Moleleki states.
He warns that Lesotho risks angering SADC by prosecuting Messrs Metsing and Mochoboroane. He also pledges to personally avail himself for a meeting to persuade Dr Majoro to desist from persecuting his ABC rivals.
“As for the prosecution of the former fugitives from Lesotho, I warn you that you are calling upon our country, the ire of our neighbors within SADC who persuaded your predecessor (Thabane) and myself to give assurances that exiled leaders and members of parliament would not be harassed during the national reforms process.
“I urge you to ensure that that these acts of harassment stop without any further delay. These acts run counter to the very tenets of democracy in our country in favor of what could be viewed as self-absorbed attitude on the side of your good self. I will avail myself to your good self, sir to persuade you personally to desist from harassing your own party members and parliamentarians,” Mr Moleleki states.