Ex­iled ABC mem­ber cries foul

Lesotho Times - - News - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

An ex­iled mem­ber of the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) who fled the coun­try for South Africa three months ago fear­ing for his safety, has ac­cused the party lead­er­ship of giv­ing pre­fer­ren­tial treat­ment to cer­tain ex­iles.

Ac­cord­ing to the dis­grun­tled David Seut­loali, this “dis­crim­i­na­tion” had split the ex­iles into three ri­val groups, and now threat­ens to desta­bilise Le­sotho’s main op­po­si­tion po­lit­i­cal party.

Mr Seut­loali says he fled Le­sotho on 20 July this year, al­legedly af­ter mem­bers of the Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) had come look­ing for him at his Ha Tšosane home the pre­vi­ous day.

Bet­ter known as ‘Sekalakati sa Hoohlo’, Mr Seut­loali was one of five can­di­dates who con­tested ABC pri­mary elec­tions to rep­re­sent the party in the Maseru Cen­tral Con­stituency No 32 in the 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 na­tional polls.

The ABC was sub­se­quently rep­re­sented by Le­sego Makhothi, who won it con­vinc­ingly and is now the area’s Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment (MP).

How­ever, Mr Seut­loali says he was left with no choice but leave the coun­try for South Africa along­side other ABC mem­bers, party leader and for­mer prime min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane, Ba­sotho Na­tional Party leader The­sele ‘ Maserib­ane, Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho leader Keketso Rantšo, as well as sev­eral mem­bers of the Le­sotho De­fence Force, who all feared for their lives.

The ex­iles have since claimed they had re­ceived in­for­ma­tion that the mil­i­tary was out to as­sas­si­nate or ar­rest them prior to the flight, although the al­le­ga­tions have not been tested in any court of law.

But Mr Seut­loali’s bone of con­tention is the way some of the ex­iles are be­ing cared for, al­legedly by the ABC, at the ex­pense of the oth­ers.

The ABC stal­wart says he is now stay­ing “some­where in South Africa” un­der very dif­fi­cult con­di­tions and be­lieves it is time he speaks out against the “ne­glect” by a party he gave “so much for”, in­clud­ing putting his life and that of his fam­ily, in dan­ger.

“Since I left my fam­ily and home on 20 July sens­ing the dan­ger posed to me by the LDF, I have re­al­ized that some big peo­ple in our party have side­lined me and oth­ers, whose names I won’t men­tion now lest I jeop­ar­dise their stand­ing in the ABC.

“I have re­alised that some ABC mem­bers who are in ex­ile here regularly re­ceive as­sis­tance, ei­ther in cash or kind, from some party lead­ers. The spon­sors in­clude MPS and mem­bers of the party’s Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee (NEC). To me, this sim­ply means the party has found means to as­sist those in ex­ile, but the big ques­tion is how come oth­ers, like me, are be­ing side­lined?” he asked.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Seut­loali, he had since heard “through the grapevine” that the rea­son for this “aban­don­ment” was be­cause the party lead­er­ship did not be­lieve their lives were in such dan­ger to war­rant leav­ing the coun­try and only did so for pop­u­lar­ity’s sake.

“It’s sad that some party heavy­weights be­lieve I just came here in search of fame, as they put it. I also un­der­stand the rea­son why I am not be­ing as­sisted is the lead­ers say they do not know why and when I left Le­sotho. That is strange be­cause we did not leave the coun­try on the same day. Ev­ery­one in ex­ile here left on dif­fer­ent dates but for the same rea­son — we all feared for our safety and not be­cause we were look­ing for fame as some are claim­ing now,” Mr Seut­loali said.

Ex­plain­ing why he left Le­sotho, Mr Seut­loali said on the evening of 19 July 2015 — al­most a month af­ter the mil­i­tary shot and killed for­mer LDF com­man­der, Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Maa­parankoe Ma­hao out­side his Mokema farm al­legedly af­ter re­sist­ing ar­rest for sus­pected mutiny — four sol­diers sup­pos­edly came to his home in an LDF truck look­ing for him.

Lt Gen Ma­hao’s killing has since be­come the sub­ject of in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC).

“The men came in a 4x4 army ve­hi­cle, which they parked out­side my house in Ha Tšosane. I was not at home that evening, but my wife was. The men banged on the door de­mand­ing to be let in and that’s when my wife called me on my cell-phone.

“At the time, I was at a nearby bar. I came out and no­ticed the ve­hi­cle and the move­ment of the armed men, who were in uni­form, around my house. My wife was fright­ened by the knock and I asked her not to cut our con­ver­sa­tion but sim­ply open the door to see who was knock­ing.

“I could hear the men de­mand­ing to know where I was. They told my wife they wanted mil­i­tary uni­form and firearms that they claimed had been given to me by Ntate Ma­hao be­fore he was shot.”

Mr Seut­loali said he did not go home that night fear­ing the sol­diers would later re­turn for him, and crossed into South Africa the fol­low­ing day.

“It is both strange and dis­ap­point­ing that peo­ple from my party are now say­ing I am here for fame.

“And be­cause of this pref­er­en­tial treat­ment of other ABC mem­bers, there is now ri­val fac­tions among us here in South Africa; we don’t see eye-to-eye any­more. We have three ri­val camps here, and it is all be­cause some think they are more im­por­tant than oth­ers in the party. We are treated dif­fer­ently by the party’s ex­ec­u­tives, and this is cre­at­ing prob­lems among us.”

Mr Seut­loali said he tried to com­mu­ni­cate his con­cerns to ABC sec­re­tary gen­eral, Sa­monyane Nt­sekele, via cell­phone text mes­sages, but to no avail.

“He sim­ply ig­nored my mes­sages. I sent him sev­eral and I am aware they were de­liv­ered but he never re­sponded,” Mr Seut­loali in­sisted.

How­ever, Mr Nt­sekele told the Le­sotho Times he never re­ceived any com­mu­ni­ca­tion from Mr Seut­loali about the is­sues he is rais­ing now. Mr Nt­sekele fur­ther dis­missed Mr Seut­loali’s al­le­ga­tions as “lies by power-hun­gry peo­ple meant to desta­bilise the party”.

Mr Nt­sekele added: “The man you are talk­ing about has per­son­ally re­ceived some money from me, for as­sis­tance. He is ly­ing if he says we are sidelin­ing him and other mem­bers of the party.

The party does not have any funds re­served for peo­ple in ex­ile. What we just do as in­di­vid­u­als is fork-out money from our own cof­fers and give it to those in ex­ile. We try as much as pos­si­ble to help ev­ery sin­gle ABC mem­ber who has sought refuge in South Africa.”

He also dis­missed al­le­ga­tions of di­vi­sions among the ex­iles.

“This claim is yet another fab­ri­ca­tion; it is not true at all,” Mr Nt­sekele said.

David Seut­loali

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.