LCD can­di­date in vote-buy­ing storm

Lesotho Times - - News - Keiso Mohloboli

Po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing le­sotho congress for Democ­racy (lcd) can­di­date for Koro-koro, Tšoanelo Ra­makeoana, for pos­si­ble vote-buy­ing af­ter his cam­paign team was found with a truck full of maize-meal at the week­end in the con­stituency and then gave con­tra­dic­tory state­ments about the con­sign­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice spokesper­son le­bona Mohloboli, some res­i­dents had raised con­cern over the con­duct of com­mu­nity coun­cil­lor ‘Maeket­sang Molotsi and her rel­a­tive, whose name was only given as Tšotleho, whom they ac­cused of go­ing “door-to-door” in Ha Mo­foka and Ha Tle­bere vil­lages do­nat­ing 12.5 kilo­gramme bags of maize-meal and urg­ing the vil­lagers to vote for Mr Ra­makeoana.

Se­nior in­spec­tor Mohloboli also said when po­lice of­fi­cers went to in­ter­cept the truck, which later turned out to be­long to the Maseru city coun­cil (Mcc), they found it loaded with IWISA maize-meal, and the two could not ac­count for the load.

“The two were in­vited to Ha Mo­foka Po­lice Sta­tion for in­ter­ro­ga­tion, and when of­fi­cers went to the coun­cil­lor’s house, they found 276 more bags of the same brand of maize­meal, and 115 more were found at the rel­a­tive’s res­i­dence.

“When they were asked where they got the maize-meal from, they said it been given to them by a chi­nese busi­ness­man who owns a shop in Masianokeng, but the po­lice later found this to be un­true.

“on be­ing told that the chi­nese had de­nied the claim, the coun­cil­lor said they the maize-meal had been taken from a dump­site in Ha Tšosane,” Mr Mohloboli said.

Se­nior in­spec­tor Mohloboli said af­ter the coun­cil­lor’s rel­a­tive had later said he did not know the source of the maize-meal, the po­lice de­cided to con­fis­cate the whole con­sign­ment.

“The po­lice took all the bags and are keep­ing them while in­ves­ti­ga­tions con­tinue. No one has been ar­rested in con­nec­tion with this mat­ter as yet, but the fact that the maize-meal had ex­pired and is there­fore a health-haz­ard if con- sumed by hu­mans, is some­thing the po­lice are also look­ing into.”

Ac­cord­ing to Sec­tion 163 (2) (b) of the Na­tional Assem­bly elec­toral Act of 2011, ‘a per­son com­mits an of­fense of bribery if he or she of­fers, prom­ises or gives any ben­e­fit to any per­son in or­der to in­flu­ence the per­son’s elec­tion con­duct’ and if con­victed, faces a M1 000 fine or 12-month im­pris­on­ment or both’.

con­tacted for com­ment, Mr Ra­makeoana dis­missed the vote­buy­ing claims lev­elled against him and said the maize-meal was for the coun­cil­lor’s pig­gery and poul­try projects.

“Ms Molotsi has pig-rear­ing and poul­try projects and was given that con­demned maize-meal by her friends who work for the Mcc,” Mr Ra­makeoana said.

“This is not the first she has been given this ex­pired maize-meal by her Mcc friends”

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Ra­makeoana, the po­lice were “twist­ing this is­sue be­cause it is a well-known fact that they are now politi­cised”.

He con­tin­ued: “The po­lice are no longer apo­lit­i­cal the way they should be. They are us­ing this to push their own po­lit­i­cal agenda be­cause i am not guilty of any vote­buy­ing the way this is­sue is be­ing made to ap­pear.”

How­ever, Mcc spokesper­son, lin­tle Mo­er­ane told the Le­sotho Times she was not aware the Mcc had vol­un­teered to give the maize­meal to Ms Molotsi.

“A cer­tain whole­saler in the in­dus­trial area ap­proached us for as­sis­tance be­cause they had ex­pired maize-meal and needed to dump it at the Ha Tšosane land­fill.

“The whole­saler even hired our trucks to dump the maize-meal there.

“it came as a sur­prise when we re­ceived a call from the po­lice that our trucks had been seen in Koro-koro, while they were ex­pected to dump the maize-meal in Ha Tšosane,” Ms Mo­er­ane said.

Ms Mo­er­ane fur­ther said coun­cil had started in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions to get to the bot­tom of the case.

The Le­sotho Times could not get Ms Molotsi’s side of the story as her phone rang unanswered yes­ter­day.

Mean­while, Mr Ra­makeoana is com­pet­ing against Mote­bang Koma of the All Ba­sotho con­ven­tion, Ba­sotho Na­tional Party’s Ntheka Ma­tobo, Re­filoe Litjobo of the Demo­cratic congress and ‘ Ma­matutu Mabea of the Re­formed congress for le­sotho in the snap elec­tions.

Some of the bags of IWISA maize meal that were con­fis­cated by po­lice from Koro Koro com­mu­nity coun­cil­lor ‘Maeket­sang Molotsi.

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