‘PM should do the right thing’

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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,

Qa­mako Ma­hao

Prime min­is­ter Pakalitha mo­sisili

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