Ran­tšo flees Le­sotho

RCL leader joins Tha­bane and ‘Maserib­ane in South Africa

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Keiso Mohloboli

RE­FORMED Congress of Le­sotho (RCL) leader Keketso Ran­tšo has fled the coun­try for South Africa, with her party’s of­fi­cials claim­ing that her life was in grave dan­ger af­ter un­known as­sailants at­tacked her home.

Ms Ran­tšo’s de­ci­sion to flee comes hard on the heels of for­mer pre­mier Thomas Tha­bane and Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) leader Th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane’s res­o­lu­tion to flee Le­sotho last week, claim­ing they had un­cov­ered a plot by Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) mem­bers to kill them.

Ac­cord­ing to ‘ Mamolula Ntabe, the sec­re­tary gen­eral of the RCL, a splin­ter party from Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Methotjoa Mets­ing’s Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD), Ms Ran­tšo, who served as Labour and Em­ploy­ment min­is­ter in the last coali­tion gov­ern­ment un­der the LCD ban­ner, es­caped from her home wear­ing her night­dress as she could not find time to dress prop­erly. She then wrig­gled her way out of the bor­ders.

A day be­fore the attack on her home at Ma­sowe III in Ha Thet­sane on Tues­day evening, Ms Ran­tšo had launched a blis­ter­ing attack on the gov­ern­ment in par­lia­ment, in­sist­ing she was ap­palled by what she de­scribed as the law­less­ness that had now gripped Le­sotho since the seven-party al­liance led by Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili came to power af­ter the 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 snap elec­tions.

The Le­sotho Times has since learnt that Ms Ran­tšo is now “in hid­ing” in South Africa along­side All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) leader Dr Tha­bane, and the BNP’S Chief ‘Maserib­ane. Ms Ran­tšo her­self and Ms Ntabe re­fused to dis­close the for­mer min­is­ter’s where­abouts cit­ing se­cu­rity rea­sons.

“I can­not tell you where she is. All I can say is she (Ms Ran­tšo) is now out of the coun­try…,” said Ms Ntabe.

Ms Ran­tšo’s de­ci­sion to flee means there is vir­tu­ally no op­po­si­tion leader left in Par­lia­ment. She, how­ever, would not com­ment on her plight when we con­tacted her last night, but promised to speak about the is­sue in due course.

Ms Ntabe nonethe­less said she could only con­firm her party leader’s “es­cape” to a for­eign coun­try with­out di­vulging the ac­tual des­ti­na­tion “for her (Ms Ran­tšo’s) own se­cu­rity.”

“I can’t give de­tails of where she fled to but her house in Ma­sowe III was at­tacked by un­known men on Tues­day and for­tu­nately enough, she man­aged to es­cape un­harmed.

“I am not in a po­si­tion to tell you if the mat- ter has been re­ported to the po­lice or not, or where she is at the mo­ment be­cause of the sen­si­tive na­ture of the case,” Ms Ntabe said.

Ac­cord­ing to Ms Ntabe, one of Ms Ran­tšo’s mo­bile phones was found in the yard out­side her home by rel­a­tives who had rushed to her res­i­dence to find out what had hap­pened dur­ing the attack.

“She even dropped one of her mo­bile phones out­side the house, which was then found by rel­a­tives in the morn­ing to­day. I think it is a clear in­di­ca­tion that she ran for her life when she got a chance to come out of her home,” Ms Ntabe added.

In a sms mes­sage to the Le­sotho Times last night, Chief ‘Maserib­ane said Ms Ran­tšo had joined them in their mini ex­ile.

“Please in­form the Ba­sotho na­tion that ‘M’e Ran­tšo has also fled the coun­try and is with us. She fled be­cause of the state­ment that she made in par­lia­ment on Tues­day,” said Chief Maserib­ane. The BNP leader said more specif­i­cally, in lat­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion to the Le­sotho Times, that Ms Ran­tšo had joined him and Dr Tha­bane in a com­mon place of hid­ing with­out dis­clos­ing where.

Mean­while, BNP spokesper­son, Mach­esetsa Mo­fo­mobe, says it is no sur­prise that Ms Ran­tšo’s home was at­tacked in an at­tempt to “abduct” her in light of the “law­less­ness grip­ping Le­sotho”.

“This clearly shows that th­ese peo­ple who are now in gov­ern­ment are go­ing all out to crush the op­po­si­tion and en­trench their power…they want to com­pletely tor­ture and mur­der the op­po­si­tion out of ex­is­tence.

“This is just the be­gin­ning of more shock­ing things to hap­pen un­der the lead­er­ship of Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili. This all ex­plains why they brought back Lt Gen Kamoli and it also ex­plains why Kamoli is loyal to them. He (Kamoli) never took in­struc­tions nor ac­knowl­edged the com­mand of Dr Tha­bane when he was the Min­is­ter of De­fence….. But just wait and see the en­thu­si­asm he will show in do­ing their (the new coali­tion)’s bid­ding. They are hell bent on elim­i­nat­ing the op­po­si­tion and the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity must in­ter­vene now.”

ABC Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Sa­monyane Nt­sekele de­scribed as shock­ing the al­leged at­tempt on Ms Ran­tšo’s life.

“This is a com­plete dis­grace and shame to this coun­try…,” charged Mr Nt­sekele. “It’s shame­ful to go as far as at­tack­ing a woman leader when we should all be proud of the fact that women like ‘M’e Ran­tšo have risen to the chal­lenge of gen­der equal­ity by putting them­selves for­ward for lead­er­ship.”

“I urge the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to come back to Le­sotho and as­sist in re­solv­ing the se­cu­rity cri­sis in the coun­try be­fore the sit­u­a­tion wors­ens even fur­ther…,” Mr Nt­sekele said.

He said in ad­di­tion to po­lit­i­cal lead­ers, he feared that or­di­nary op­po­si­tion vot­ers would start be­ing tar­geted.

“This whole sit­u­a­tion is painful be­cause eco­nom­i­cally Le­sotho is go­ing un­der. It won’t be easy to re­cover this coun­try eco­nom­i­cally while we con­tinue mak­ing head­lines for all the wrong rea­sons,” said Mr Nt­sekele.

Po­lice Spokesper­son Se­nior In­spec­tor Clif­ford Molefe said the po­lice had not re­ceived any re­ports on Ms Ran­tšo’s house attack.

“The po­lice have not re­ceived any re­ports on Ms Ran­tšo’s house attack,” Mr Molefe said.

The gov­ern­ment has thus far not com­mented on as­sas­si­na­tion plot claims by op­po­si­tion lead­ers de­spite de­mands by op­po­si­tion par­lia­men­tar­i­ans. Op­po­si­tion MPS walked out of Par­lia­ment on Tues­day claim­ing that the gov­ern­ment had failed to ad­dress their con­cerns, in­clud­ing its fail­ure to ex­plain the mur­der of staunch ABC sup­porter Thabiso Tšosane on the 9 May 2015 and the se­cu­rity con­cerns of their lead­ers.

Mr Mets­ing had promised the MPS that the gov­ern­ment would is­sue a state­ment yes­ter­day. De­fence Min­is­ter Tseliso Mokhosi then is­sued a state­ment say­ing the coali­tion gov­ern­ment had un­cov­ered a mutiny plot in the LDF, hence the cur­rent ma­noeu­vres by the army which had seen the ar­rests of sol­diers, among other ac­tions. He did not com­ment on Mr Tšosane’s death or Dr Tha­bane and Chief Maserib­ane’s claims. (see story be­low). The Le­sotho Times is re­li­ably in­formed that Dr Tha­bane and Chief Maserib­ane were scram­bling to meet Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma to ta­ble their con­cerns.

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s gov­ern­ment has slammed the re­in­state­ment of Lt Gen Kamoli and the fail­ure to ar­rest those be­hind sev­eral crimes, sug­gest­ing that the new coali­tion can­not ig­nore any atroc­i­ties with­out in­ter­na­tional cen­sure.

RCL leader Keketso Ran­tšo.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.