Phoofolo, ex-chauffeur in bitter poll dispute

 

Lekhetho Ntsukunyane

The police were called in yesterday to mediate in a vicious dispute between Law and Constitutional Affairs minister Haae Phoofolo, and his former driver, David Seutloali, who are both seeking to represent the All Basotho Convention (ABC) in Maseru Central in the 28 February 2015 parliamentary election.

The minister reported Mr Seutloali to the Police Child and Gender Protection Unit (CGPU) at Maseru Central Charge Office for “humiliating and disrespecting” him during his campaigns.

Both Advocate Phoofolo and Mr Seutloali are candidates in the party’s primary elections, but the polls have failed to yield a winner on three separate occasions—7, 14 and 21 December—as the contenders continue to bicker.

Other party members eyeing the constituency are Molomo Molapo, Retšelisitsoe Makara and Makhothi Makhothi.

However, the dispute over the right to represent the constituency took a new twist  yesterday when Advocate Phoofolo  reported Mr Seutloali to the police for allegedly tarnishing his image.

A six-member Maseru Central Charge Office CGPU team then sat with the two erstwhile friends in an effort to find an amicable solution to their dispute.

Advocate Phoofolo, who won the constituency in 2012, confirmed to the Lesotho Times that he had to report the case to the police following numerous personal attacks by Mr Seutloali.

“All I can tell you is that it was through my instigation that this matter was put before the police. I decided to seek police intervention so that they could reprimand this child and tell him to refrain from politicking about my personal and family life during his campaigns because he wants to win the primaries at my expense.

“He should learn to address national issues if he really wants to challenge me. I don’t understand why he can’t address economic, health and other political issues. He is simply trying to humiliate me; in short, he is disrespecting me. I took him to the police so that he can stop the personal attacks he has since launched against me.  If he wants to challenge me, he should do so fairly and not by insulting me.”

Advocate Phoofolo told the Lesotho Times he could not repeat the “insults” when asked what Mr Seutloali was really saying in his campaigns, which had prompted his reaction.

“It’s pointless to give out the details because the matter has been dealt with and finalised through police mediation today.”

However, Mr Seutloali was more forthcoming when contacted by the Lesotho Times about his fight with the minister.

“I became Ntate Phoofolo’s driver when he was appointed minister in 2012. But our good relations took a nasty turn in October this year, when he realised that I was also contesting for the Maseru Central under the ABC. He then fired me as his driver for no apparent reason,” he said.

Mr Seutloali explained the reason why he chose to challenge his former boss was because he realised the minister had done “absolutely nothing” concerning the development of the constituency.

“It is unfair that Maseru Central, which is in the heart of the country’s capital city and with development agencies and resources around it, can be this underdeveloped. Ntate Phoofolo has failed to take advantage of resources so close-by to develop the constituency. Look at Ha Hoohlo, which is a village right on the forehead of Maseru. It is disgustingly deteriorating with so much dirt and dilapidated old structures, yet it has an MP, and that MP is doing nothing.

“Ntate Phoofolo has even failed to address the people of this constituency about criminal activities which continue to rock the constituency, including the attack on State House, which is located right within Maseru Central. While other cabinet ministers were busy addressing the people and showing concern about the 30 August 2014 attacks by the army on police stations and other citizens, Ntate Phoofolo remained quiet as if nothing was happening. That is why I decided to do something about it and challenge for that constituency.”

Mr Seutloali also said Advocate Phoofolo was not happy with comments he made about double-ritual murder suspect, Lehlohonolo Scott.

“He was not happy that I was accusing him of failing to fire the Director of Public Prosecutions, Leaba Thetsane, and Attorney General Tšokolo Makhethe, as the minister responsible. I was saying he should have fired them for Scott’s escape from Maseru Central prison in 2012, and he didn’t like that.”

However, Mr Seutloali said he had since withdrawn the statements and pledged to stop using any words that might offend the minister.

“The minister has also withdrawn statements he made about him, which I was also not happy with.”

Mr Seutloali also said he was not sure when the primaries would be held again but vowed to continue challenging for the right to represent the ABC in next year’s parliamentary election.

Lesotho holds an early election after the coalition government, which came to power in June 2012, failed to last its five-year term due to a power-struggle between Prime Minister and ABC leader Thomas Thabane, and Deputy Prime Minister and Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader Mothetjoa Metsing.

 

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