‘PM should do the right thing’
TWO weeks ago, the family of Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao made a humble plea to the Right Honourable Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili to intervene and ensure that the Lesotho Defence Force releases to the Lesotho Police Service the names of the soldiers who were involved in the assassination of General Mahao as well as certain items that belong to the General.
The family request was based on three grounds:
(1) It is the authority of the Head of Government to take responsibility and direct accordingly when elements of government violate established proper norms;
(2) the Government of Lesotho has undertaken full cooperation with the SADC Commission of Inquiry.
That entails that the Commission will be provided with all the information which may help it in the discharge of its mandate, if that information is within any organs of Government.
(3) In terms of the laws of Lesotho, items that may constitute part of the evidence in an investigation are handed to the police and not kept by those who may be complicit in the crime being investigated.
The family still keenly awaits a response from the Prime Minister’s office. While the family still hopes the government will do the right thing by ensuring accountability and the rule of law, it has been disturbed by some of the statements and developments immediately following the letter to the Prime Minister.
Firstly, the family never copied this letter to Tšenolo FM and was truly surprised when the letter was read and discussed by that radio station just a day after it was delivered to the Prime Minister’s office.
Even more disturbing was for the station to give their views on the letter as if they are the mouthpiece of the Prime Minister. If Tšenolo has become the official mouthpiece of the Prime Minister, this should be made known to the public.
Secondly, the press secretary in the Prime Minister’s office, Mr Motumi Ralejoe, went on air and said he had not seen the letter.
Then strangely he gave his opinion (quite similar to that of Tšenolo FM) that the ongoing SADC Commission of Inquiry had been established to deal with the same matter the Mahao family had written to the Prime Minister about.
The family wishes to make one thing clear: that the work SADC is doing to try and get to the bottom of the circumstances surrounding the assassination of Lt General Maaparankoe Mahao is highly appreciated and has humbled the family beyond measure.
However, the family wrote to the Prime Minister not because it does not value the work SADC is already doing but because naming the killers is about doing the right thing and safeguarding our democracy from those bent on the law of the jungle where the fittest survive.
The killers of General Mahao are members of the LDF and they are known to the LDF hierarchy and possibly to some in Government.
Giving their names to the police and to the SADC Commission of Inquiry is not only a moral duty but legal one as well.
Criminals cannot hibernate under cover of those who should protect our democracy from blatant impunity and deliberate lawlessness.
The fact that SADC is in Lesotho does not exonerate the Lesotho government from its responsibility of ensuring the observance of the rule of law and accountability. It would be surprising if the Prime Minister and his government are not seen to be on the side of justice but against it.
No leader of any country would deliberately prevent the wheels of justice from moving towards setting the citizens free from those whose inclination is to defeat justice at will.
The culture of impunity simply has to stop. We therefore humbly hope the Prime Minister’s office will do the right thing.
Mahao Mahao, Lehloenya Mahao,
Prime minister Pakalitha mosisili