Exiles blast govt for sabotage ‘claims’
EXILED Basotho living in South Africa have accused Defence Minister Tšeliso Mokhosi and other government officials of peddling “unfounded and misleading” accusations that they were behind the spate of arson and acts of sabotage.
In a statement read on their behalf yesterday by ex-premier Thomas Thabane’s former press attaché Thabo Thakalekoala at the Maseru Bridge border post, the exiles take issue with Mr Mokhosi’s alleged claims that the criminal acts were perpetrated by Basotho based in SA.
“These malicious, irresponsible and highly provocative statements made by Mr Mokhosi and other government officials in the media in the past few days concern the recent burning of a shopping complex in the Butha-buthe district, the burning of the Pitso House in Leribe and other acts of criminality such as the heinous, cold blooded and callous murders of innocent Basotho residing within the borders of the Kingdom of Lesotho,” Mr Thakalekoala said.
He said Lesotho had become a “lawless state” since the seven-party coalition government led by Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili took over in 2015.
“The spate of crime including murder, intimidation, harassment and attacks on members of opposition parties, lawyers, soldiers and innocent people have increased at an alarming rate,” said Mr Thakalekoala.
“That being the case, we have not, at any given point in time seen the government standing up and condemning such horrible acts. We have not seen the government putting in place concrete and tough measures to curb the escalating rate of crime and lawlessness, and bringing perpetrators of such uncivilised acts to book.”
He said the Defence minister had no basis for insinuating exiled Basotho were behind the attacks since they could not afford to “abuse the hospitality afforded us by the (SA) government” by using their country as a springboard for an armed attack in Lesotho.
“As individuals here, we have not been involved in any crimes happening in Lesotho and it is inappropriate for Ntate Mokhosi to make such serious allegations about us,” Mr Thakalekoala said.
“These actions of state sponsored terrorism are merely intended to make the Basotho nation lose focus on pressing issues such as the implementation of the recommendations of the SADC Commission of inquiry, the matter that put the government in a dilemma and a tight corner.”
Efforts to get a comment from Mr Mokhosi yesterday were fruitless at the time of going to print.