Why Mo­lapoM at­tende­dat­tende Mets­ing’sMetsin party

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Billy Ntaote

BA­SOTHO Na­tional Party ( BNP) deputy leader Joang Mo­lapo says he did not go to Ma­hobong on Sun­day to at­tend Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing’s birth­day party but dis­cuss “se­ri­ous gov­er­nance is­sues”.

Chief Mo­lapo has come un­der fire from some BNP, All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) and Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho (RCL) mem­bers af­ter his pho­to­graph taken at the party was posted on so­cial me­dia.

In the photo, the for­mer Home Affairs min­is­ter ap­pears to be talk­ing to Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) deputy leader and De­fence Min­is­ter Tšeliso Mokhosi.

How­ever, Chief Mo­lapo has dis­missed ac­cu­sa­tions by some mem­bers of the op­po­si­tion al­liance that he went to the party to “wine and dine with the en­emy”, in­sist­ing he was only at the venue to meet with Mr Mets­ing and some min­is­ters re­gard­ing a deal the govern­ment was propos­ing for the op­po­si­tion.

The meet­ing, he added, was sched­uled to start af­ter the birth­day party at­tended by sev­eral min­is­ters from dif­fer­ent political par­ties, as well as Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) Com­man­der Tlali Kamoli, Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ser­vices Di­rec­tor Mohlakala Lerotholi, and Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Mo­lahlehi Let­soepa, among a host of dig­ni­taries.

Mr Mets­ing’s 49th birth­day party had been or­gan­ised by the LCD lead­er­ship, and at­tracted thou­sands of party sup­port­ers.

But ac­cord­ing to Chief Mo­lapo, his meet- ing with Mr Mets­ing was ini­tially set for last week but had to be post­poned due to the LCD leader’s busy sched­ule.

Chief Mo­lapo also said he only found out when he ar­rived at Mr Mets­ing’s res­i­dence that the birth­day party was still in full swing. The BNP deputy leader said he was then served some food and drinks be­fore meet­ing Mr Mets­ing and the min­is­ters while the birth­day cel­e­bra­tion was still tak­ing place.

“I don’t un­der­stand what could be prob­lem­atic about my visit to Ma­hobong. Right now we are happy that SADC is try­ing to bro­ker a peace deal for our coun­try and some peo­ple are an­gered by a ges­ture that could see Ba­sotho re­solv­ing their is­sues on their own,” Chief Mo­lapo said.

“There were is­sues we dis­cussed in Ma­hobong and I have duly for­warded them to our lead­ers who are in ex­ile in South Africa. They are go­ing to make a de­ci­sion on the pro­pos­als that we have been pre­sented with by the govern­ment.”

How­ever, Chief Mo­lapo would not re­veal de­tails of his en­gage­ment with Mr Mets­ing and the names of the “govern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives” he met.

“All I can say is I had a lengthy and fruit­ful en­gage­ment with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the govern­ment, who in­cluded the Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter Tlo­hang Sekhamane. What’s left now is for our lead­ers to de­cide on the mes­sage the govern­ment wanted me to re­lay to them,” Chief Mo­lapo said.

The BNP deputy leader also said he took the op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss the late for­mer army com­man­der Maa­parankoe Ma­hao. Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Ma­hao was shot dead by the mil­i­tary on 25 June last year, and the army says he was re­sist­ing ar­rest when he was gunned down close to his Mokema farm.

“When I was at the meet­ing, I also had a chance to take Min­is­ter Sekhamane to task on his un­der­stand­ing that Lt-gen Ma­hao died a Bri­gadier. We did have heated de­bate about it in a friendly set­ting,” Chief Mo­lapo said.

“There were a num­ber of is­sues we dis­cussed but which we didn’t agree on. How­ever what is im­por­tant is that we were able to talk about th­ese things and en­gaged one an­other.

“Ntate Mets­ing knows me well from the time we were in govern­ment to­gether, which is why he felt we could en­gage on their pro­posal.

“But our stance, as the BNP, is that we want peace and sta­bil­ity for Le­sotho, How­ever, the truth of the mat­ter is the govern­ment has done a num­ber of things they need to ac­count for and we are com­mit­ted to hold­ing them to ac­count.”

The Le­sotho Times could not ver­ify Chief Mo­lapo’s story with ei­ther Mr Mets­ing and Mr Sekhamane as their mo­bile phones rang unan­swered yes­ter­day.

BNP leader Th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane, and his ABC coun­ter­part, Thomas Tha­bane, who fled to South Africa in May last year af­ter claim­ing some LDF mem­bers were plan­ning to as­sas­si­nate them, could also not be reached for com­ment yes­ter­day on Chief Mo­lapo’s ver­sion of events.

But RCL leader Keketso Ran­tšo yes­ter­day said she was sur­prised to see Chief Mo­lapo’s photo on so­cial me­dia as he at­tended Mr Mets­ing’s party.

Ms Ran­tšo also said she did not know any­thing about govern­ment’s pro­posal Chief Mo­lapo was talk­ing about.

“If ever there was a meet­ing at that party, then it was a so­cial gath­er­ing of friends shar­ing drinks and in­for­mally talk­ing about a range of is­sues. They can’t dis­cuss a pro­posal that was meant for us, at a birth­day party.

“I would not ac­cept some­thing from a party held in Ma­hobong. We ex­pect to see govern­ment for­mally ap­proach­ing us in a trans­par­ent man­ner so that ev­ery­thing is out there in the open,” said Ms Ran­tšo.

BNP Deputy Leader Joang Mo­lapo.

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