Litjobo says won’t back down

Litjobo says won’t back down

MASERU – THUSO Litjobo says the raid on his home and his arrest on Sunday shows that the police have become “tools” for politicians.  Litjobo says there is an indication that his arrest is being instigated by politicians who want to silence him. The firebrand leader of the Alliance of Democrats (AD) youth league was arrested in dramatic fashion on criminal defamation charges after he said Assistant Commissioner of Police Motlatsi Mapolais politically biased. In a programme on Tšenolo FM, Litjobo allegedly said Mapola’s refusal to grant permission for a planned march against the closure of parliament shows that he is not politically neutral. The opposition wants parliament reopened so it can pass a motion to oust Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili whom it says is now leading a minority government after he lost some MPs after the aftermath of the Democratic Congress’s factional fights. The protest march is part of efforts to pile pressure on the government to reopen parliament. Litjobo however says despite the raid, arrest and charge he will not walk back those statements.

“I still maintain so. I told him that he should leave politics to us politicians and do his job as a police officer. If he got angry when I said he looks more a politician than a police officer let him continue being angry but remain a professional policeman.” Litjobo argues that Mapola’s promotion from the rank of senior superintendent to ACP “shows that he is no longer in a position to fight with protest march applicants over their applications to hold such marches”. “He should leave such fights to senior superintendents. This is now too low for him.”
“I am not ashamed to say I called on ACP Mapola to desist from acting like a politician when he is a police officer.”
Mapola declined to comment on Tuesday saying “I don’t know anything about Litjobo’s case and I am not involved”.
Mapola denied that he was the complainant in the case “and I am not aware that his case has something to do with me”.
Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Clifford Molefe said the complainant was the state, without going into further details.

The Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Leaba Thetsane KC could not be reached for comment. Litjobo told thepost that the raid on his home by what he called a “group of police officers” has left him shocked.  The officers, he says, ignored his child’s explanation that he was bathing.  “They shook my bathroom door and nearly broke it, demanding me to get out so that they could arrest me,” Litjobo says.  “They were insensitive to my explanation that I could not open because my wife and I were naked as we were taking a bath,” he said. From his house Litjobo was taken to the police station where he spent the night in a holding cell. On Monday the High Court ordered his release from police custody and instructed the state to pay legal costs incurred in the urgent application for his release.  No date is yet to be set for his criminal defamation case which is before the Maseru Magistrate’s court.
“I am waiting for my day in court,” Litjobo said.

“It seems the police got angry and decided that I should be arrested and locked up when I say the manner in which ACP Mapola is handling our application for permission to hold a protest march looks politically influenced”.  Mapola refused to grant permission for the demonstration on grounds that one of the organisers, the Basotho National Party (BNP) spokesman Machesetsa Mofomobe, threatened that the protesters would camp at parliament until it reports.  The protest planners also want the government to implement SADC decisions on security issues and prosecution of killers of former army boss Maaparankoe Mahao so Lesotho does not lose AGOA eligibility. They wanted their procession to be from Stadium Area to Moshoeshoe I Statue for less than five hours. In a January 6 letter he said he could not grant permission because “it is not clear who are going to take part” in the procession except Mofomobe, All Basotho Convention (ABC) youth league and the Alliance of Democrats (AD) spokesmen, Mphonyane Lebesa, and Chafotsa Letuka who have signed the application.

“The application or notice shall specify the names and address of the person or body of persons organising the public meeting or procession,” Mapola quoted from the Public Meetings and Processions Act 2011. “I wish to bring to your attention that on the aforesaid alone, your application for a procession permit does not pass the test”. Mapola also told the organisers that he could not allow them to hold the procession because Mofomobe, at a BNP rally in Maputsoe, said there would be a protest march in which the protesters will not leave until parliament reopens. “I have a reasonable belief that your application for a procession permit is in relation to the very same procession that Mr. Machesetsa Mofomobe was referring to,” Mapola said. “This is because the destination that he was referring to is the very destination intended in your application (Moshoeshoe I Statue),” he said. “Due to the fact that I do not know when the parliament will be reopened I put it to you that your contention that you will not leave the place unless the Parliament reopens by itself poses a threat or harm to peace, public safety, public security and public order,” he said.

Staff Reporter

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