Mokhosi laughs off opposition threats
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.