Police face off with Mofomobe at LT Offices 



Staff Reporter       

THERE was drama at the Lower Thetsane offices of the Lesotho Times yesterday when plain clothes policemen tried to arrest Basotho National Party (BNP) spokesperson Machesetsa Mofomobe who had visited this newspaper’s offices for an interview.

For a while business effectively ground to a halt when Mr Mofomobe  faced off with  officers from an elite police unit in a tense standoff which attracted scores of mainly opposition political party supporters.

Mr Mofomobe, who is among the organisers of a protest march meant to pressurize the government to reopen parliament, had come to the newspaper’s Lower Thetsane offices for an interview over their application for a procession permit.

The protest march organisers’ application to hold a protest march in which they had hoped to attract 50 000 protesters, had initially been turned down by Maseru District Assistant Commissioner of Police, Motlatsi Mapola.

However, the organisers, who also include All Basotho Convention (ABC) youth league spokesperson Mphonyane Lebesa and Alliance of Democrats (AD) youth league Secretary-General Letuka Chafotsa, later appealed to Police Minister Phallang Monare.

Mr Mofomobe had visited the Lesotho Times for an interview to discuss the minister’s response to the protest march application when he was accosted by the police officers who were leaving this newspaper’s premises after they had also requested a meeting with our management over our reporting of the planned protest march.

Upon stopping Mr Mofomobe, the police officers — whose identities are known to us — told the BNP spokesperson that they had been looking for him.

Mr Mofomobe, however, told the two men he had business to attend to at the newspaper’s offices and would talk to them afterwards.

“Where and when were you looking for me and why here because I don’t stay here and you know where to find me?” Mr Mofomobe firmly responded.

“I am here for an interview and so you shall have to wait until I am done.”

He also asked them to furnish him with their identity documents. One of the officers introduced himself but refused to produce his identification document.

“I don’t have it on me. The issue is we are looking for you and that’s all that matters,” he retorted.

Mr Mofomobe then walked away from the officers and entered the building for the interview.

The police officers then called for backup to apprehend Mr Mofomobe who was by then being interviewed inside.

The altercation attracted a huge crowd and soon afterwards Mr Mofomobe’s opposition colleagues, including Alliance of Democrats (AD) youth league leader Thuso Litjobo, had arrived to offer support.

Mr Mofomobe’s lawyer Advocate Tumisang Mosotho also showed up at the scene along with other supporters and well-wishers.

With the crowd increasing by the minute, the police officers eventually left, but a number of cars with no registration plates had arrived in the vicinity.

Eventually Mr Mofomobe left the premises, with the crowd also dispersing.  The police reinforcements that had been called upon to assist in his arrest did not show up.


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