Mo­fo­mobe ac­cuses po­lice of in­tim­i­da­tion

Lesotho Times - - News - Billy Ntaote

BA­SOTHO Na­tional Party (BNP) spokesper­son Mach­esetsa Mo­fo­mobe says the po­lice’s de­ci­sion to sum­mon him over a protest march which took place in June last year was meant to in­tim­i­date him and other “dis­sent­ing voices”. Mr Mo­fo­mobe had been asked to come to Pitso Ground Po­lice Sta­tion on Fri­day last week, but only went to the sta­tion on Mon­day this week.

Al­though he was not read any charges, Mr Mo­fo­mobe said the po­lice asked him to give a state­ment about his in­volve­ment in the march which took place on 9 June 2015 in Maseru. The march, which was or­gan­ised by op­po­si­tion par­ties, sought to protest the fa­tal shoot­ing of prom­i­nent taxi-owner Thabiso Tšosane the pre­vi­ous month and the ar­rest of sol­diers sus­pected of mutiny.

The pro­test­ers also wanted govern­ment to en­sure the safe re­turn of three op­po­si­tion lead­ers — Thomas Tha­bane, Th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane and Keketso Ran­tšo of the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion, BNP and Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho, re­spec­tively — who had fled into South Africa the pre­vi­ous month af­ter claim­ing the mil­i­tary was out to as­sas­si­nate them. But the out­spo­ken Mr Mo­fo­mobe says he was not one of the or­gan­is­ers of the march, and did not know why the po­lice were ask­ing him about it.

“I was told to re­port to the po­lice sta­tion on Fri­day last week but de­clined be­cause I didn’t want to spend the week­end in a cell. That’s why I de­cided to go to­day, to hear what they wanted,” Mr Mo­fo­mobe said.

“The po­lice told me that I had vi­o­lated sec­tions of the Pe­nal Code Act of 2010 re­gard­ing my in­volve­ment in the 9 June 2015 march, and I should give them a state­ment about it. But what is wor­ry­ing is that I was not the re­spon­si­ble party for the march. I was not the one who se­cured the per­mit from the po­lice for that march.

“How­ever, the po­lice still said I should give the state­ment so they could de­cide on their next step.”

But Mr Mo­fo­mobe says the po­lice move is meant to in­tim­i­date and crush “any dis­sent­ing voice”.

He added: “This is def­i­nitely in­tended to crush the op­po­si­tion through th­ese tac­tics of in­tim­i­da­tion. I have been called to the po­lice be­fore and I know if they are tak­ing my state­ment, it means they are go­ing to charge me.

“The only con­cern I have is that this is an abuse of law en­force­ment agen­cies and is sim­i­lar to what they did to Ad­vo­cate Khotso Nthon­tho.”

Ad­vo­cate Nthon­tho, who is one of the lawyers rep­re­sent­ing 23 sol­diers fac­ing mutiny charges be­fore a Court Mar­tial, was ar­rested early this month and charged with per­jury.

Con­tacted for com­ment, po­lice spokesper­son Clifford Molefe dis­missed Mr Mo­fo­mobe’s claims of in­tim­i­da­tion.

Se­nior In­spec­tor Molefe said Mr Mo­fo­mobe had been called to give a state­ment re­gard­ing a crime com­mit­ted dur­ing the protest march.

BNP spokesper­son Mach­esetsa Mo­fo­mobe.

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