Min­is­ter charged with sedition

Mo­choboroane faces an ex­tra charge of in­sult­ing King Letsie III

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Keiso Mohloboli

FOR­MER Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Min­is­ter, Se­libe Mo­choboroane, has been sum­moned to ap­pear be­fore the Maseru Mag­is­trate’s Court next week charged with sedition and mak­ing state­ments “cal­cu­lated to vi­o­late the dig­nity or in­jure the rep­u­ta­tion of the Royal Fam­ily”.

Mr Mo­choboroane (37), who is the Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy ( LCD) deputy spokesper­son, was served with court sum­mons on Tues­day and is ac­cused of com­mit­ting the crimes through state­ments he al­legedly made on a lo­cal ra­dio sta­tion on 8 Septem­ber 2014.

Ac­cord­ing to the charge sheet, Mr Mo­choboroane — who was fired as Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy min­is­ter last month by Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane, but has since re­fused to va­cate the post — con­tra­vened var­i­ous sec­tions of the Pe­nal Code Act no 6 of 2010.

Reads the charge sheet: “Se­libe Mo­choboroane, a male adult aged 37 of Matheko Posholi, Lerotholi Seeiso at Malu­meng in the dis­trict of Mafeteng and presently work­ing at the Min­istry of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, is charged with the crime of con­tra­ven­ing Sec­tion 79 (1) and (2) of the Pe­nal Code Act no 6 of 2010…

“In that upon or about 8 Septem­ber 2014 and at or near Moafrika FM Ra­dio Sta­tion at Carl­ton Cen­tre Build­ing in the dis­trict of Maseru, the said ac­cused did un­law­fully, in­ten­tion­ally and or know­ingly com- mit an act cal­cu­lated to vi­o­late the dig­nity or in­jure the rep­u­ta­tion of the Royal fam­ily by ut­ter­ing words to wit, ‘leha re se re tlo­hela ho e sheba mah­long a mo­lao ke bona mona Tona-kholo a elelitse Mot­lotlehi ho tlola mo­lao a re o se­belisa mo­lao’ (The prime min­is­ter ad­vised His Majesty King Letsie III to break the law, while at the same time, the prime min­is­ter was pre­tend­ing to up­hold the law).”

Al­ter­na­tively, Mr Mo­choboroane is charged with sedition by con­tra­ven­ing Sec­tion 76 (2) (b) read with sub-sec­tions (1) & (5) (a) (b) (c) (d) & (e) of the Pe­nal Code Act No 6 of 2010.

The full sedition charge reads: “…In that upon or about Septem­ber 8, 2014 and at or near Moafrika FM Ra­dio Sta­tion at Carl­ton Cen­tre Build­ing in the dis­trict of Maseru, the said ac­cused un­law­fully and with the in­ten­tion of de­fy­ing or sub­vert­ing the au­thor­ity of the Gov­ern­ment of Le­sotho, but with­out the in­ten­tion to over­throw or co­erce the Gov­ern­ment of Le­sotho, did ut­ter sedi­tious words to wit... ‘leha se re tlo­hela ho e sheba mah­long a mo­lao ke bona mona Tona-kholo a elelitse Mot­lotlehi ho tlola mo­lao are o se­belisa mo­lao’ to bring into ha­tred or con­tempt or to excite dis­af­fec­tion against the per­son of His Majesty or the Gov­ern­ment of Le­sotho…or to in­cite the peo­ple and res­i­dents of Le­sotho…and/or to bring into ha­tred or con­tempt or to excite dis­af­fec­tion against the ad­min­is­tra­tion of jus­tice in Le­sotho…or to cause dis­con­tent or dis­af­fec­tion against the ad­min­is­tra­tion of jus­tice in Le­sotho…and/or to pro­mote feel­ings of ill-will and hos­til­ity be­tween dif­fer­ent classes of the pop­u­la­tion of Le­sotho.”

Mr Mo­choboroane said he was not go­ing to com­ment on the is­sue “since the case will be be­fore the court on the 18th of Novem­ber”.

“You can get the de­tails of the case then,” said Mr Mo­choboroane, when con­tacted by the Le­sotho Times last night.

How­ever, LCD Act­ing Sec­re­tary Gen­eral, Tšeliso Mokhosi, said Mr Mo­choboroane’s sum­mons had come as a shock to the party, which formed a coali­tion gov­ern­ment with the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) and Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) in June 2012.

Mr Mokhosi fur­ther said ABC leader, Dr Tha­bane, is con­tin­u­ing to breach the Wind­hoek and Pre­to­ria dec­la­ra­tions he signed in July and Septem­ber this year re­spec­tively, to find a last­ing so­lu­tion to the coun­try’s present po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity, which had prompted fresh elec­tion in Fe­bru­ary 2015, two years ahead of sched­ule.

“The Deputy Prime Min­is­ter (Mo­th­etjoa Mets­ing) was not con­sulted even on this is­sue and the court sum­mons come as a blow when we are all now fo­cus­ing on next Fe­bru­ary’s snap elec­tion,” Mr Mokhosi said.

“It is un­for­tu­nate there is still ten­sion be­tween the coali­tion gov­ern­ment part­ners, and it is very shock­ing that Ntate Tha­bane is charg­ing Mr Mo­choboroane about a state­ment passed on ra­dio.

“Mr Mo­choboroane did not in­sult ei­ther the prime min­is­ter or His Majesty King Letsie III but be­cause Ntate Tha­bane wants to fight his po­lit­i­cal bat­tles, he twisted what Mr Mo­choboroane said to suit his in­ter­ests.”

Mr Mokhosi fur­ther said that what Mr Mo­choboroane meant to say in his ra­dio state­ment was that Dr Tha­bane had taken ad­van­tage of his pow­ers to mis­lead the King and did not follow the ap­pro­pri­ate pro­ce­dures in re­mov­ing Le­sotho De­fence Force com­man­der, Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Tlali Kamoli from of­fice on 28 Au­gust 2014.

Mr Mokhosi, who is also en­ergy, me­te­o­rol­ogy and wa­ter af­fairs min­is­ter, said the LCD had hoped that there would be no more “disturbing in­ci­dents” in the run-up to the Fe­bru­ary 2015 elec­tion and all par­ties would now fo­cus on im­ple­ment­ing all the deals bro­kered by of­fi­cial SADC me­di­a­tor, Cyril Ramaphosa.

“It is most likely that the next gov­ern­ment is go­ing to be a coali­tion, and we were ex­pect­ing to bring clo­sure to all the dis­putes we have had and all the bit­ter­ness, and work to­wards rec­on­cil­i­a­tion so that we can go for elec­tions peace­fully,” said Mr Mokhosi, sug­gest­ing that all par­ties should try to foster good re­la­tions just in case they have to work to­gether in another coali­tion after the Fe­bru­ary polls.

Mr Mo­choboroane was fired by Dr Tha­bane last month but the LCD deputy spokesper­son has re­fused to va­cate his min­is­te­rial of­fice prompt­ing court ac­tion by the Prime Min­is­ter (see Page 4).

FOR­MER Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy Min­is­ter se­libe Mo­choboroane.

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