. . . ac­cuse govt of plan­ning to am­bush ex­iled lead­ers be­fore they tes­tify

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Bongiwe Zih­langu

Prime min­is­ter Pakalitha mo­sisili is set to meet Pres­i­dent Filipe Nyusi of mozam­bique next week over the SADC Com­mis­sion of in­quiry cur­rently un­der­way in maseru and South Africa.

mr Nyusi is the new chair­per­son of the SADC Or­gan on Pol­i­tics, De­fence and Se­cu­rity Co­op­er­a­tion (OPDSC), hence Tues­day’s meet­ing sched­uled for ma­puto.

re­gional lead­ers en­dorsed Dr mo­sisili’s sub­mis­sion to es­tab­lish the com­mis­sion to in­ves­ti­gate the death of for­mer army com­man­der, maa­parankoe ma­hao, at the hands of his mil­i­tary col­leagues three months ago as well as other se­cu­rity chal­lenges fac­ing the coun­try.

im­pec­ca­ble sources told the Le­sotho Times that Dr mo­sisili, who is cur­rently in New York at­tend­ing the 70th Ses­sion of the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly, met with Pres­i­dent Nyusi on the side­lines of the meet­ing and dis­cussed the com­mis­sion and “other re­lated is­sues”.

Ac­cord­ing to the sources, the two lead­ers did not have enough time to fin­ish their dis­cus­sions, and agreed to meet again next week.

Dr mo­sisili’s Press At­taché, mo­tumi rale­joe, con­firmed Tues­day’s meet­ing but said he did not have the agenda.

“it is true that the prime min­is­ter will have a spe­cial meet­ing with Pres­i­dent Nyusi in mozam­bique on Tues­day, but i don’t have the de­tails or agenda,” mr rale­joe said.

mean­while, Dr mo­sisili’s meet­ing with mr Nyusi comes amid al­le­ga­tions in a des­per­ate bid to con­ceal ev­i­dence, some gov­ern­ment and army el­e­ments are plan­ning to as­sas­si­nate ex­iled op­po­si­tion party and mil­i­tary wit­nesses whose tes­ti­monies be­fore the SADC Com­mis­sion be­gin to­day in South Africa.a to­tal of 21 wit­ness will ap­pear be­fore the com­mis­sion led by Jus­tice mphaphi Phumaphi of Botswana.

All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion leader and for­mer Prime min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane, Ba­sotho Na­tional Party leader The­sele ‘maserib­ane and re­formed Congress of Le­sotho (RCL) leader Keketso rantšo are some of the ex­iles sched­uled to ap­pear be­fore the probe team when it con­venes in Thaba ‘Nchu this morn­ing.

The lead­ers, their fol­low­ers and some mem­bers of the LDF fled to South Africa claim­ing the mil­i­tary was out to as­sas­si­nate them.

Dr Tha­bane’s spokesper­son, Thabo Thakalekoala, yesterday told the Le­sotho Times: “We have ex­posed a plan to am­bush some of the politi­cians and mil­i­tary wit­nesses so that they don’t ap­pear be­fore the com­mis­sion. They want to scare peo­ple and ham­per the smooth-run­ning of the com­mis­sion.

“We be­lieve it is be­cause they are scared the ev­i­dence these peo­ple are go­ing to give be­fore the com­mis­sion will in­crim­i­nate and com­pro­mise some of them.”

How­ever, mr Thakalekoala said the plan would not suc­ceed “be­cause come rain or sun­shine, they won’t be de­terred.”

Ac­cord­ing to mr Thakalekoala, the ex­iles were more than de­ter­mined to “fur­nish the com­mis­sion with facts”.

“Peo­ple like Ntate Tha­bane have been in gov­ern­ment and know ev­ery­thing there is to know. They are ready to pro­vide the com­mis­sion with facts to help it find last­ing so­lu­tions to Le­sotho’s po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity prob­lems,” mr Thakalekoala said.

“No threats from gov­ern­ment or any quar­ter will stop Ntate Tha­bane and his col­leagues from ap­pear­ing be­fore the com­mis­sion.”

Con­tacted for com­ment yesterday, the min­is­ter of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Science and Tech­nol­ogy Khotso Let­satsi first laughed be­fore mock­ing mr Thakalekoala for “say­ing child­ish things”.

“i mean, how can we ask SADC to set up the com­mis­sion, only to sabotage it? How could we even be­gin to think of com­mit­ting crim­i­nal acts in another coun­try us­ing the mil­i­tary?” mr Let­satsi asked.

The min­is­ter fur­ther sug­gested the ex­iles were “ped­dling lies prob­a­bly be­cause they don’t want to ap­pear be­fore the com­mis­sion”.

“maybe for one rea­son or another, they don’t want to ap­pear be­fore the com­mis­sion and are now com­ing up with fee­ble ex­cuses,” mr Let­satsi said.

“We have granted these peo­ple the free­dom to tes­tify be­fore the com­mis­sion in South Africa in vi­o­la­tion of our coun­try’s laws, yet they still find rea­son to com­plain.”

So far, the 10-mem­ber com­mis­sion has in­ter­viewed, among oth­ers, Dr mo­sisili, De­fence and Na­tional Se­cu­rity min­is­ter Tšeliso mokhosi, Deputy Prime min­is­ter mo­thetjoa mets­ing, LDF com­man­der Lt-gen Tlali Kamoli, Ad­vo­cate-gen­eral Colonel Bu­lane Sechele, and Lt-colonel Tefo Hashatsi who are among the key wit­nesses from gov­ern­ment and the mil­i­tary.

BNP leader The­sele ‘Maserib­ane.

RCL leader Keketso Rantšo.

ABC lead­erthomas Tha­bane.

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