Metsing and Mochoboroane see their day in court

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By Itumeleng Koleile

The official leader of Opposition Monyane Moleleki’s calls to Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro to shield the treason, murder, and attempted murder accused politicians from prosecution have been dismissed.

Prime Minister Majoro’s letter responding to Moleleki’s plea seemingly said both the Lesotho Congress for Democracy leader, former Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, and Movement for Economic Change leader who also serves as Minister of Development Planning Selibe Mochoboroane must have their day in court.

In the letter responding to the former Prime Minister Moleleki’s plea, Majoro was seemingly putting his foot down in emphasis of Judicial independence under his administration and no political fiddling with justice policy.

Majoro was replying to Moleleki’s letter dated December 6th, wherein the former Deputy Premier requested that the Prime Minister address what he termed “harassment of two political leaders, Metsing and Mochoboroane”.

Moleleki said the indictment of both Metsing and Mochoboroane for their role in the treason, murder, and attempted murder during an August 2014 incident where soldiers stormed police stations in the wee hours and killed Sub Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko while injuring other police officers with heavy army artillery, was harassment as the duo are protected from prosecution while national reforms are underway.

The fateful incident also saw then Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and his junior Thesele ‘Maseribane fleeing the country to neighboring South Africa where they stayed until their return under heavy Southern African Development Community sponsored protection.

Moleleki said the indictments are tantamount to harassment that affects both accused from participating in the National Reforms process.

However, Majoro responded that he does not see “how being called for a court appearance translates to being harassed”.

Metsing and Mochoboroane have been enjoined to the treason and murder case in which they are accused alongside former army commander Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli and three other soldiers.

“You will definitely recall that Lesotho is going through a delicate and necessary National Reforms Process, which is without any doubt a priority of the Basotho Nation,” Moleleki said in a letter.

Moleleki also said one of the most important factors in the process is to ensure that all political leaders participate freely in the reforms process.

“As the prime minister you seem to have forgotten that you are and should be the custodian of the success of this reforms process,” he added.

But, in his response Majoro said both politicians, Metsing and Mochoboroane were “ordered by a competent court of law to make an appearance before the court so they could be dealt with in accordance with the law.

“Unless there are facts to which I am not privy, their appearance in court following an order of the court is not harassment”.

Majoro noted he is cognizant of the reforms process but rubbished Moleleki’s plea arguing he will not “interfere with the courts of law in the exercise of their constitutional mandate”.

“If that is what you are suggesting because I observe the doctrine of Separation of Powers and I implore you to do the same riding on your decades-long experience in government.

“As I read your letter, I get a sense that perhaps you think I, as the Prime Minister, have something to do with their appearance in court,” Majoro said.

Majoro noted that he had nothing to do with Metsing and Mochoboroane’s appearance before the court.

In urging the prime minister to intervene, Moleleki said they have all learned with horror of the unnecessary arrests of members of Majoro’s very own party, All Basotho Convention’s Executive Committee for having publicly disclosed that “the Executive Committee has voted to recall you from the High office of Prime Minister”.

Last week the All Basotho Convention’s national executive committee made a decision to recall Prime Minister Majoro over various accusations of non-performance leveled by the party against him. These developments saw party deputy chairperson Chalane Phori and Spokesperson called in by the police for questioning after they said Majoro is no longer a Prime Minister but Minister of Water Nkaku Kabi who will be taking over.

Majoro had responded to the news of his recall with the sacking of Kabi as water minister.

“I hope, and pray that their public disclosure of the committee’s decision is not the reason for their reported arrest in the course of today,” Moleleki said.

However, Majoro said in regard to the arrests Moleleki made mention of, he has no power to stop arrests and prosecutions.

“Once again, without any shred of evidence, you seem to pass judgment on me that somehow I have something to do with the arrests you are making reference to. Let me be clear once again, I have nothing to do with the arrests you are making reference to,” Majoro added.

“As you know, Hon Moleleki (MP), making arrests is an exclusive province of the police and not the Prime Minister’s,” he added.

The Prime minister also said that as far as the prosecution is concerned, “that is the province of the Director of Public Prosecutions”.

He also addressed the acts of harassment that Moleleki reckons run counter to the tenants of democracy in Lesotho in favor of what could be viewed as a self-absorbed attitude on his side.

“There is no need to get personal Hon Moleleki MP. As for your offer to avail yourself to me to persuade me to desist from harassing members of my own party and members of parliament,” Majoro said.

“I thank you for the offer but there is no need to avail yourself. I am not harassing anyone,” he added.

Majoro added in a letter that he is as invested in the reforms process just as any Mosotho and that he is doing everything in his power to see that the process is a success.

“To that end, I am in constant touch with the SADC Facilitator to find ways to make this noble process a success,” Majoro said.