Mets­ing in­cit­ing army: SADC

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Pas­cali­nah Kabi

A SOUTH­ERN African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) Min­is­te­rial Dou­ble Troika fact-find­ing mis­sion to Le­sotho gath­ered that Le­sotho Con­gress for Democ­racy (LCD) Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing ( pic­tured) was in­cit­ing sol­diers and at­tempt­ing to “make the coun­try un­govern­able”.

How­ever, the LCD has come out guns blaz­ing in re­fut­ing the claim, say­ing it was “ut­ter rub­bish” and the govern­ment’s at­tempt to be­smirch Mr Mets­ing.

The SADC Min­is­te­rial Dou­ble Troika fact-find­ing mis­sion was in Le­sotho ear­lier this month af­ter the as­sas­si­na­tion of Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) com­man­der, Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Khoan­tle Motšo­motšo.

Lt-gen Motšo­motšo was shot dead at his Ratjo­mose bar­racks of­fice by his sub­or­di­nates on 5 Septem­ber 2017. Two of the al­leged as­sailants, Bri­gadier Bu­lane Sechele and Colonel Tefo Hashatsi were shot dead by Lt-gen Motšo­motšo’s body­guards, while two oth­ers are in cus­tody. One re­mains on the run.

The SADC Min­is­te­rial Dou­ble Troika fact-find­ing mis­sion was led by An­golan For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter, Ge­orges Re­belo Pinto Chikoti, and con­ducted an as­sess­ment of the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in Le­sotho on 7 Septem­ber 2017.

The mis­sion held meet­ings with key stake­hold­ers in the coun­try “in order to es­tab­lish the root causes of the as­sas­si­na­tion and sub­se­quently rec­om­mend the ap­pro­pri­ate cour­ses of ac­tion”.

It pre­sented its find­ings last Fri­day dur­ing a one-day SADC Dou­ble Troika Sum­mit in Pre­to­ria, South Africa.

Among its find­ings were “con­cerns” about Mr Mets­ing’s al­leged out­size in­flu­ence on the LDF for his po­lit­i­cal ends.

Mr Mets­ing, who is also a for­mer deputy premier, fled the coun­try last month cit­ing a tip-off from a “trusted source” about a plot to as­sas­si­nate him.

How­ever, the Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane-led govern­ment has since rub­bished Mr Mets­ing’s claims, say­ing the govern­ment would not achieve any­thing in per­se­cut­ing the op­po­si­tion.

The fact-find­ing mis­sion re­ported of con­cerns that Mr Mets­ing was in­tent on desta­bi­liz­ing the govern­ment through the army.

“There were con­cerns re­gard­ing the con­duct of some politi­cians, no­tably the for­mer deputy prime min­is­ter Mr Mets­ing of in­cit­ing sol­diers neg­a­tively with an in­ten­tion to sow seeds of in­se­cu­rity and to make the coun­try un­govern­able,” reads part of the mis­sion’s find­ings.

LCD deputy spokesper­son, Apesi Ratšele, laughed off the al­le­ga­tions, say­ing they were made by the govern­ment.

“That is ut­ter rub­bish. What has been hap­pen­ing is that the del­e­ga­tion held meet­ings with dif­fer­ent stake­hold­ers in­clud­ing the govern­ment, op­po­si­tion, civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions. Un­for­tu­nately, non­sense usu­ally comes from the present govern­ment,” Mr Ratšele said, adding that the peo­ple who made the al­le­ga­tions should pro­vide proof.

“There is no way Ntate Mets­ing would meet with sol­diers while he was in ex­ile.”

He said the LCD ac­cepted its role as an op­po­si­tion party, adding that they firmly be­lieved in the im­por­tance of the LDF re­main­ing pro­fes­sional, neu­tral and only sup­port­ing the govern­ment of the day.

“The army must sup­port a le­git­i­mate govern­ment, whether it is Tha­bane in govern­ment or not and un­der no cir­cum­stances will we in­ter­vene with the army,” said Mr Ratšele.

“The LDF is not a po­lit­i­cal battleground for us.”

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