Parties dismiss Mokoku report

MASERU — Lesotho opposition parties on Tuesday distanced themselves from a report that was presented to Sadc leaders at a summit held in Windhoek, Namibia, last August.

The report was presented to Sadc leaders by the Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL)’s Bishop Phillip Mokuku who is mediating in the proportional representation saga.

The contents of the report have not been made public.

The summit was held on August 16 and 17.

The co-ordinator of the Lesotho Opposition Parties Forum, Majara Molapo, told the media that they had not been given a chance to see the report and give their input into the report.

The forum is an umbrella body for Lesotho’s opposition parties.

“We did not see the report on the mediation of PR seats presented to the recent Sadc summit in Windhoek, Namibia, by Bishop Phillip Mokuku,” Majara said.

Lesotho Workers’ Party (LWP) deputy leader Sello Maphalla said: “We were not part of the report tabled before the Sadc summit in Namibia. We were excluded from it and are therefore in the dark as to what its contents are.”

“We want to see the report and familiarise ourselves with its contents.”

Maphalla said the opposition was shocked when Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili told the summit that the “LCD party and the opposition had reached agreement on the PR seats debacle”.

The Basutoland African Congress (BAC) deputy leader Mohopolo Macheli said he could not understand why the CCL allowed Mosisili to comment on the PR seats issue when they had agreed that “only the CCL had the mandate to make statements regarding the PR seats issue”.

“One cannot comprehend the distress we experienced when Mosisili suddenly made the announcement the minute he alighted from his flight,” Macheli said. 

The leader of the main opposition All Basotho Convention (ABC) party, Thomas Thabane, said the manner in which the CCL handled the matter “smacks of corruption”.

“Where have you ever heard of the accused making the announcement that he has been acquitted prior to a judge’s judgement?” Thabane said.

“This is history and very unfortunately Lesotho has the habit of making history for all the wrong reasons.”

CCL spokesman Peter Potjo declined to discuss the issue adding “this needs Ntate Mokuku himself”.

“Yes it is true the report was tabled before the Sadc summit in Namibia by Bishop Mokuku assisted by Ntate Mokhathali. I am aware of the opposition stance on the matter,” Potjo said.

“But I am not in a position to comment because I do not have details on the subject.” 

Efforts to get comment from Bishop Mokuku failed yesterday.

When contacted for comment yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Lesao Lehohla said the CCL “went to Windhoek on the opposition’s behalf”.

“They went there to update the troika on the work it has been doing on the mediation and on the instruction of the opposition,” Lehohla said.

He added that it was unfortunate that the opposition was blaming the CCL when it was made clear from the onset that their role was “solely to mediate”.

“It is sad the CCL is being accused of wrongdoing when they had made a sure point to deal with the issue in a transparent and inclusive manner,” Lehohla said.

Lehohla said Mosisili did nothing wrong because like Zimbabwe and Madagscar, Lesotho “was a case in point”.

“The prime minister therefore had to answer any questions that arose in relation to our country,” Lehohla said.

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