Govt, op­po­si­tion meet in SA

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Keiso Mohloboli

FOR­EIGN Affairs and In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions Min­is­ter Tlo­hang Sekhamane and his Home Affairs coun­ter­part Ad­vo­cate Lekhetho Rakuoane yes­ter­day met with the lead­er­ship of the op­po­si­tion al­liance in Mod­der­poort, South Africa.

The meet­ing was or­gan­ised by the govern­ment to dis­cuss the re­turn of op­po­si­tion lead­ers liv­ing in ex­ile in South Africa.

All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) leader Thomas Tha­bane, and his Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) and Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho (RCL) coun­ter­parts Th­e­sele ‘ Maserib­ane and Keketso Ran­tšo , fled to South Africa in May last year claim­ing their lives were in dan­ger.

Yes­ter­day’s meet­ing was also at­tended by Chris­tian Coun­cil of Le­sotho (CCL) rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Arch­bishop Tlali Lerotholi of the Ro­man Catholic Church, Bishop Adam Taaso of the Angli­can Church of South­ern Africa, and Rev­erend Tšeliso Masemene of the Le­sotho Evan­gel­i­cal Church of South­ern Africa.

Dr Tha­bane and Chief ‘ Maserib­ane did not at­tend yes­ter­day’s meet­ing but Ms Ms Ran­tšo was part of the RCL del­e­ga­tion, which also com­prised deputy leader Dr Mot­lo­h­eloa Phooko, and sec­re­tary gen­eral ‘ Mamolula Ntabe.

Dr Tha­bane told the Le­sotho Times that he did not come to the meet­ing be­cause the ABC ex­ec­u­tive agreed that since he was the sub­ject of dis­cus­sion, he should not at­tend, while Chief ‘Maserib­ane could not be reached for com­ment.

How­ever, the ABC was rep­re­sented by its deputy leader Tlali Khasu, sec­re­tary gen­eral Sa­monyane Nt­sekele and chair­per­son Mot­lohi Maliehe in the meet­ing, while the BNP del­e­ga­tion com­prised the party’s deputy leader Joang Mo­lapo, chair­per­son Dr Nthabiseng Makoae and political con­sul­tant Pro­fes­sor Kopano Makoa.

When the Le­sotho Times crew ar­rived at the meet­ing, the del­e­gates were about to break for lunch, but they re­fused to speak about their dis­cus­sions.

Mr Sekhamane said he could not say any­thing about the meet­ing be­cause the dis­cus­sions “are not yet com­plete.”

Ad­vo­cate Rakuoane also re­fused to com­ment on the meet­ing as did the op­po­si­tion al­liance.

How­ever, Ms Ran­tšo later told the Le­sotho Times that the del­e­gates re­solved that Dr Tha­bane, Chief ‘Maserib­ane and Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili should at­tend the next meet­ing.

Ms Ran­tšo said: “I can­not go into de­tails of the meet­ing but what I can tell you is that we could not come up with a plan of ac­tion be­cause of the ab­sence of Ntate Tha­bane, Ntate ‘Maserib­ane, and Ntate Mo­sisili.

The two govern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives at the meet­ing, Ntate Sekhamane and Ntate Rakuoane, said they will re­port to Ntate Mo­sisili and get back to us to con­firm the date of the next meet­ing.

The op­po­si­tion also agreed to do the same with Ntate Tha­bane and Ntate ‘Maserib­ane.”

Ac­cord­ing to let­ters writ­ten by Govern­ment Sec­re­tary (GS) Le­bo­hang Ramohlanka dated 29 Fe­bru­ary 2016, and ad­dressed to ABC, RCL and BNP sec­re­tary gen­er­als, the meet­ing fol­lowed last month’s visit to Mozam­bique and Botswana by Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing.

In her let­ter, copied to South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) chair­per­son and Botswana Pres­i­dent Ian Khama, chair­per­son of the SADC Or­gan on Poli- tics, De­fence and Se­cu­rity Co­op­er­a­tion and Mozam­bique Pres­i­dent Filipe Nyusi, SADC Fa­cil­i­ta­tor to Le­sotho and SA Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa and SADC Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­tary Dr Lawrence Ster­gom­ena Tax, Ms Ramohlanka noted: “This serves to in­vite the leader of your political party to the meet­ing re­ferred to above which will be held at Mod­der­poort near La­dy­brand in the Re­pub­lic of South Africa, on 2 March 2016, start­ing at 11am.

Lead­ers are ex­pected to be ac­com­pa­nied at this meet­ing by two mem­bers of their political party.

“The govern­ment of Le­sotho ini­ti­ates this meet­ing fol­low­ing meet­ings held be­tween the en­voy of the Right Honourable the Prime Min­is­ter, in the per­son of Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing, and his del­e­ga­tion, with the chair­per­son of the SADC Or­gan on Pol­i­tics, De­fence and Se­cu­rity Co­op­er­a­tion, His Ex­cel­lency Filipe Jac­into Nyusi, Pres­i­dent of the Re­pub­lic of Mozam­bique, and His Hon­our Mokg­weetsi Ma­sisi, Vice-pres­i­dent of the Re­pub­lic of Botswana, and his del­e­ga­tion, on be­half of the chair­per­son of SADC, His Ex­cel­lency Lt-gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama, Pres­i­dent of the Re­pub­lic of Botswana.

“Dis­cus­sions will fo­cus on the steps that need to be taken to en­able th­ese lead­ers who are out­side the coun­try to come back home to Le­sotho.

“Please note that the govern­ment has in­vited the Chris­tian Coun­cil of Le­sotho to send a rep­re­sen­ta­tive to this meet­ing

BNP chair­per­son nthabiseng Makoae (left), RCL leader Keketso ran­tšo and her deputy ‘Mamolulela ntabe at yes­ter­day’s meet­ing.

FROM left: ABC chair­per­son Motluhi Maliehe, RCL deputy leader Mot­lo­h­eloa Phooko and For­eign Affairs min­is­ter tlo­hang sekhamane chat dur­ing a break yes­ter­day.

HOME Affairs min­is­ter Lekhetho rakuoane (left) and BNP deputy leader Joang Mo­lapo.

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