Ra­matšella Rama shelves shelve US em­bassy emba march

. . . as PM set to ad­dress demon­stra­tors

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Pas­cali­nah Kabi

OUT­SPO­KEN politi­cian, Bokang Ra­matšella, has shelved plans to lead a protest march to de­mand the re­moval of United States en­voy to Le­sotho Matthew Har­ring­ton, with Sun­day’s march in Maseru only meant to show “full sol­i­dar­ity” with the govern­ment

Mr Ra­matšella also told the Le­sotho Times last night Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili and other gov­ern­ing party lead­ers would ad­dress the pro­tes­tors at the end of the march.

He said the pur­pose of the march was to show un­wa­ver­ing sup­port for both Dr Mo­sisili, the coali­tion govern­ment and the Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) com­mand.

“The much an­tic­i­pated protest march will take place on Sun­day start­ing from Le­sotho Co­op­er­a­tive Col­lege to Mach­abeng In­ter­na­tional School. The po­lice have given us a per­mit to hold the protest,” said Mr Ra­matšella who is a spokesper­son of one of the fac­tions of the Le­sotho Peo­ple’s Congress (LPC) – a mem­ber of the seven-party coali­tion govern­ment.

Dr Mo­sisili’s Demo­cratic Congress formed a coali­tion govern­ment with the Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy, Mare­mat­lou Free­dom Party, Ba­sotho Congress Party, Na­tional In­de­pen­dent Party, LPC and Pop­u­lar Front for Democ­racy af­ter the 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 gen­eral elec­tions re­sulted in a hung par­lia­ment.

Mr Ra­matšella said the protest march was meant to dis­prove claims by op­po­si­tion par­ties and “some me­dia houses” the coali­tion govern­ment would soon col­lapse due to lack of solid sup­port.

“We want to show this coun­try and the world that Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili, his govern­ment and the LDF com­mand have solid sup­port and this will be trans­lated by a huge num­ber of sup­port­ers at­tend­ing the protest march,” he said.

“When we ar­rive at Mach­abeng, the lead­ers of the coali­tion govern­ment will re­ceive us. To­gether with some select protest march lead­ers, they will go to State House to meet with and es­cort the PM to Mach­abeng where he will ad­dress govern­ment sup­port­ers. Other peo­ple will also make speeches dur­ing the event.”

Mr Ra­matšella stressed the demon­stra­tion would be a “po­lit­i­cal protest” although the par­tic­i­pants would not be wear­ing their party colours.

“Peo­ple are in­her­ently po­lit­i­cal be­ings, so whether they gather in church or for so­cial gath­er­ings, they will be pol­i­tick­ing.”

He said the ini­tial in­ten­tion to march to the US em­bassy in Maseru to de­mand the re­moval of Mr Har­ring­ton had been shelved.

Am­bas­sador Har­ring­ton has in­sisted the US, the only ma­jor West­ern power with a di­rect em­bassy in Le­sotho and one of the Moun­tain King­dom’s largest bene­fac­tors, wants to see all South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity Com­mis­sion of In­quiry rec­om­men­da­tions im­ple­mented, in­clud­ing the rec­om­men­da­tion that LDF com­man­der Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Kamoli be re­lieved of his du­ties as com­man­der of the LDF.

For this and other state­ments de­mand­ing the re­spect of the rule of law in Le­sotho, Mr Ra­matšella has called on the en­voy to be kicked out of the coun­try.

He ac­cused Mr Har­ring­ton of be­ing a “ter- ror­ist bent on desta­bil­is­ing Le­sotho” for warn­ing the coun­try risked los­ing trade and aid pref­er­ences un­der the African Growth and Op­por­tu­nity Act and Mil­len­nium Chal­lenge Cor­po­ra­tion’s if it doesn’t un­der­take “con­crete ac­tions” that ad­dress con­cerns about “im­punity and the rule of law”.

“We de­cided against in­clud­ing that mat­ter (march to US em­bassy) in the protest march, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want him (Am­bas­sador Har­ring­ton) to go.

“We did not re­move the is­sue from the Sun­day agenda be­cause we are scared. We still want him of this coun­try but we have been ad­vised to use a dif­fer­ent ap­proach to en­sure he leaves our coun­try in peace,” said Mr Ra­matšella.

Mean­while, Dr Mo­sisili’s Press At­taché Mo­tumi Rale­joe de­clined to com­ment on the mat­ter when con­tacted by the Le­sotho Times yes­ter­day.

Politi­cian Bokang Ra­matšella.

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