Mokhosi laughs off op­po­si­tion threats

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - Billy Ntaote

LE­SOTHO Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) Act­ing Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Tšeliso Mokhosi has dis­missed as “des­per­ate rants” threats by op­po­si­tion par­ties to em­bark on mass stay-aways in the event LCD stal­warts they ac­cuse of dis­re­spect­ing King Let­sie are ap­pointed cabi­net min­is­ters.

In a press con­fer­ence held on Thurs­day, the op­po­si­tion al­liance, con­sist­ing of the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC), Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) and Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho (RCL) made in­fer­ences to­wards LCD leader Mr Mets­ing, act­ing spokesper­son Mr Mo­choboroane and Mr Mokhosi whom they ac­cused of “dis­re­spect­ing” King Let­sie III.

The ac­cu­sa­tion against Mr Mets­ing stems from the deputy pre­mier’s fil­ing of a sup­port­ing af­fi­davit in At­tor­ney Gen­eral Tšokolo Makhethe’s chal­lenge of King Let­sie III’s ap­point­ment of Jus­tice Kananelo Mos­ito as Court of Ap­peal pres­i­dent. The King Let­sie was cited as the first re­spon­dent in the case which has since been dis­missed by a panel of three judges from South Africa.

Mr Mo­choboroane and Mr Mokhosi had also been ac­cused of “hu­mil­i­at­ing” the monarch af­ter they ques­tioned the pro­mo­tion of then Bri­gadier Maa­parankoe Ma­hao to Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) com­man­der and the dis­missal of Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Tlali Kamoli.

Speak­ing at the press con­fer­ence, ABC deputy leader Tlali Khasu warned Dr Mo­sisili of “mass protests” and a “hos­tile op­po­si­tion” if he in­cluded the peo­ple in his cabi­net.

“We don’t ex­pect those peo­ple to be sworn in as Min­is­ters of His Majesty’s Cabi­net. Ac­cord­ing to our con­sti­tu­tion, if the King re­fuses to ap­prove any­thing from the prime min­is­ter, the pre­mier can pro­ceed, and such an act would still be taken as an act of the King,” said Mr Khasu.

“So we want to see whether Ntate Mo­sisili would go against our de­mands and have th­ese peo­ple sworn into of­fice.

“If he fails to heed our ad­vice and drop those peo­ple who dis­re­spected the King from his cabi­net min­is­ters list, then he would have started his reign on a wrong note and we would then take him on.”

Echo­ing his ABC coun­ter­part’s sen­ti­ments, BNP deputy leader Joang Mo­lapo said if Dr Mo­sisili ap­pointed them as cabi­net min­is­ters, “he would be di­rectly in­sult­ing the King”.

“It would be sur­pris­ing to hear that a judge has been ar­rested for shoplift­ing be­cause those peo­ple know they have to carry them­selves in a cer­tain way, so in the same man­ner, our ar­gu­ment is that there is a cer­tain type of be­hav­iour ex­pected of a mem­ber of his Majesty’s Cabi­net,” said Chief Mo­lapo.

“It would be hyp­o­crit­i­cal on the part of Ntate Mo­sisili to claim to be back in of­fice to re­store Le­sotho’s dig­nity and end up ap­point­ing min­is­ters who dis­re­spected the King and let them take the of oath of al­le­giance to the same King they dis­re­spected and dragged be­fore the courts.”

RCL deputy leader Mot­lo­h­eloa Phooko also chipped in say­ing drag­ging the King to court was a dis­re­spect­ful move that the “gen­eral public protested against openly”.

How­ever, Mr Mokhosi told the Sun­day Ex­press the op­po­si­tion mem­bers are “an an­gry lot fail­ing to come to terms with be­ing rel­e­gated to the op­po­si­tion by the LCD”. He said the al­liance will “do and say any­thing to vil­ify our party”.

Mr Mokhosi said ABC leader and for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane for­feited the good­will given to him by the LCD when he “abused” his po­si­tion as head of the pre­vi­ous coali­tion gov­ern­ment due to his “dic­ta­to­rial ten­den­cies”.

“The ABC be­came for­get­ful that we were the de­cid­ing fac­tor on who forms gov­ern­ment and gov­erned as though they were in a one-party gov­ern­ment by mak­ing uni­lat­eral de­ci­sions,” said Mr Mokhosi.

“So we were left with no choice but to pull the plug and re­move them from gov­ern­ment.”

On the court chal­lenge, he ar­gued that Mr Mets­ing and Ad­vo­cate Makhethe were within their rights to chal­lenge a de­ci­sion they deemed un­demo­cratic.

“If we are told we can­not chal­lenge de­ci­sions, then we would be living in a dic­ta­to­rial state. We were not chal­leng­ing the King but con­test­ing the prime min­is­ter’s de­ci­sion to ap­point the Court of Ap­peal pres­i­dent. He ill-ad­vised the King and we still main­tain our stance on that is­sue,” Mr Mokhosi said.

He said the ABC, BNP and RCL were out to cause chaos and ren­der the seven-party coali­tion gov­ern­ment un­govern­able with stay-aways and protests.

“They want to cause chaos be­cause they want to con­ceal their mal­prac­tices in gov­ern­ing this coun­try dur­ing the first coali­tion gov­ern­ment,” said Mr Mokhosi.

“They vil­i­fied us and por­trayed us as cor­rupt when, in ac­tual fact, they were the ones who were cor­rupt. Th­ese op­po­si­tion par­ties’ mem­bers are out to pro­tect them­selves and we won’t al­low that.

“The al­le­ga­tions they are mak­ing are base­less be­cause we never dis­re­spected the King but only ex­er­cised our demo­cratic rights to ques­tion the for­mer prime min­is­ter’s de­ci­sion.”

LCD Act­ing Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Tšeliso Mokhosi.

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