Fake photo angers top spy

Fake photo angers top spy

MASERU – NATIONAL Security Service (NSS) boss, Pheello Ralenkoane, says there are enemies out to tarnish his image by portraying him as a political functionary.
Ralenkoane was responding to an image, splashed on social media, depicting him as wearing Basotho National Party (BNP) regalia and attending the party’s rally in Kolo constituency last Saturday.
He says the image was manipulated by transposing his face on a picture of someone wearing BNP regalia.
That image was photo-shopped “to soil and besmirch my integrity as a person and a public servant”, he told thepost this week.

“The face is mine but the body belongs to someone else, he says.
“Look at the hands, they are not mine and also look at the body, it is not mine.” Ralenkoane said he was nowhere near the rally.
“There are people who want to portray me as someone not fit to hold such an important office. They want to show me as someone who cannot be trusted.”

Ralenkoane says his patience with those people “behind the smear campaign” is “wearing thin”. “There are some people who are waging war against me. And l will have to stand up and fight.”
He said it will be easy to trace the people who manipulated the photo and distributed it through WhatsApp and Facebook media platforms.
Some of the culprits, he alleges, are “well known” and he will do everything in his power to protect his image.
He however refuses to say how he will deal with those people.
“I will definitely do something about this. I cannot just let it go like this. It could be a legal route or anything just to shield myself against these attacks.”

Ralenkoane is not new to accusations of dabbling in party politics.
Part of the reason he is accused of playing both sides of the table is that he tried his hand in politics when he initially retired from the NSS after 35 years of service.
Ralenkoane contested for the Kolo parliamentary seat under the BNP.
After his defeat, Ralenkoane was appointed director general of the NSS much to the chagrin of some people who believed his was “too political” to lead an organization of such immense national importance.
Since then, he has failed to shake off the legacy of his previous foray into party politics.
He is seen as a beneficiary of what some critics view as an arrangement by the coalition partners to parcel out strategic jobs to their supporters.

Despite his experience as a spy Ralenkoane is seen as unqualified to lead the NSS because of his previous association with the BNP.
But he says those who say his political links disqualify him from leading the NSS have misread the regulations.
Those opposed to his appointment point to the NSS rule that says agents cannot join politics.
He says that rule does not apply to him because he joined politics after retiring from the NSS.

His participation in politics when he was in retirement is not covered by the rule because he was no longer an agent, he says.
“I was a free man at the time of rejoining the institute,” he says.
Ralenkoane says he cut his ties with the BNP as soon as he returned to the NSS.
“I have forgotten about politics and I am concentrating on my job. Since my return to the NSS, no one can say I have attended political rallies.”

Majara Molupe

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