Pope wor­ries over Lerotholi

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Keiso Mohloboli

Arch­bishop Tlali Lerotholi says his ro­man catholic church (rcc) col­leagues at home and abroad, in­clud­ing the italy-based head of the church pope Fran­cis, are regularly check­ing on him fol­low­ing a mes­sage on so­cial media warn­ing he would be as­sas­si­nated.

The Arch­bishop, who is also head of the chris­tian coun­cil of Le­sotho (ccl), has been un­der the spotlight since the ‘ face­book’ mes­sage claim­ing he would be killed by 8 July 2015 ap­peared on the in­ter­net early this month.

The mes­sage did not say why the cleric was go­ing to be as­sas- sinated or by who, but still left the head of the ro­man catholic church in Le­sotho a wor­ried man.

Deputy prime Min­is­ter Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing — who had also been men­tioned in the mes­sage as be­ing part of a plot to bribe the on-go­ing south­ern African De­vel­op­ment com­mu­nity (sadc) com­mis­sion of in­quiry into Le­sotho’s in­sta­bil­ity — sub­se­quently called a press con­fer­ence dur­ing which he threat­ened to hunt down the “ru­mour­mon­gers”.

in an in­ter­view with the Le­sotho Times this week, Arch­bishop Lerotholi said the sup­port he was re­ceiv­ing from his peers and the gen­eral public, had given him strength although the ‘ face­book’ warn­ing re­mained a cause for con­cern “be­cause i am not a politi­cian”.

“im­me­di­ately i saw the mes­sage on so­cial media, i told my rcc col­leagues here in Le­sotho and abroad, pope Fran­cis in rome, gov­ern­ment author­i­ties specif­i­cally the Prime Min­is­ter, Dr pakalitha Mo­sisili, the po­lice and his Majesty King Letsie iii.

“i am con­cerned about my safety and as soon as i saw the threat, i had no choice but to re­port the mat­ter to the rel­e­vant author­i­ties, fam­ily and friends.

“in Le­sotho, such death threats spread through the in­ter­net of late have come to pass, which was why i couldn’t just keep quiet about it. De­spite be­ing an anointed man of God, i am also hu­man and a Mosotho, and can’t ex­pect any spe­cial treat­ment hence my worry.

“My col­leagues from around the world are now al­ways check­ing on me, in­clud­ing the pope, call­ing to see if i am al­right.”

Asked if he had re­quested body­guards from the gov­ern­ment fol­low­ing the “warn­ing”, Arch­bishop Lerotholi said he had not.

“i don’t think i would be happy or free if i was to be pro­vided with se­cu­rity. in fact, i don’t want the se­cu­rity. i just want to be safe and free in my own home coun­try,” Arch­bishop Lerotholi said.

Asked about his re­ac­tion when he saw the ‘face­book’ mes­sage, the Arch­bishop said it was not easy to wait for one’s pro­claimed day to die, adding what re­ally made him un­easy was sim­i­lar “warn­ings” had come to pass, among them the death of prom­i­nent Maseru busi­ness­man Thabiso Tšosane and for­mer Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) com­man­der Maa­parankoe Ma­hao.

Mr Tšosane was shot dead by un­known as­sailants in ha Thet­sane on 9 May 2015, while bri­gadier Ma­hao was killed by mem­bers of the LDF who had come to ar­rest him on the 25th of last month, for al­legedly plan­ning to top­ple the army com­mand.

Arch­bishop Lerotholi said de­spite me­di­at­ing in Le­sotho’s po­lit­i­cal dis­putes un­der the ccl ban­ner, he was not a mem­ber of any po­lit­i­cal party hence the al­leged threats on his life had come as a sur­prise.

Arch­bishop Tlali Lerotholi

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