ABC member attacks PS

ABC member attacks PS

MASERU – TRADE unionist and prominent All Basotho Convention (ABC) member Montoeli Masoetsa is in a vicious war of words with the Principal Secretary of Defence and Security, Colonel Tanki Mothae.
Masoetsa started the fight last Saturday when he told a political meeting in Mosalemane constituency that the government should be wary of Colonel Mothae’s “questionable loyalty”.

Later he told thepost that Mothae’s “loyalty to the government is questionable because of the company he keeps”.
“Here is a senior government official whose position gives him access to state secrets and he is always in the company of dubious people,” Masoetsa said.

“He stays in Ladybrand where I suspect he meets friends of these people of dubious characters. What do you think they talk about?”
“I rightly raised concerns about his loyalty.”

Masoetsa said he was referring to Mothae’s bodyguards whom he said were Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) military intelligence members.
“They are well known and they are the same people who were close to (Colonel Tumo) Lekhooa, the man who is now out of the country and living in South Africa,” he said.

Colonel Lekhooa is the military intelligence commander former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili had seconded to head the National Security Service (NSS).  The Thomas Thabane-led government however fired him from the NSS and ordered him to return to the army.
Colonel Lekhooa has since left the country amid speculation that the police want him to answer questions over his alleged involvement in various crimes that happened under the previous regime.

Masoetsa was however cautious to add that he did not have evidence to suggest that Colonel Mothae is disloyal.
“I don’t have evidence that this principal secretary Mothae is meeting with anybody who is in exile in Ladybrand but it is highly likely that he is meeting them,” Masoetsa said.

“His bodyguards are well known men of Lekhooa and everybody knows who Lekhooa is.”
It is widely believed some military intelligence officers were used by the previous government to deal with perceived political opponents.
Masoetsa told the gathering at Mosalemane that the government should explain why Colonel Mothae is the only principal secretary with bodyguards.
But Mothae this week vehemently rejected Masoetsa’s accusations as baseless.

The allegations, he said, were meant to damage his reputation.
Colonel Mothae said he was not the only government official who has been offered military security. He said he did not decide who should be his bodyguards.

The bodyguards, he explained, had been vetted by security institutions before being assigned to him.
“It is the security agencies which saw it fit for me to have security. We do not have to explain some of the security issues in public,” Colonel Mothae said.

On why he lives in Ladybrand, Colonel Mothae said he bought a house in South Africa long before he was appointed into government.
Colonel Mothae said he bought the house before he was deployed to SADC as the Director of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs in 2007.

And he served SADC for eight years. He said he returned to his Ladybrand home when his contract ended in 2014.
He said he handled sensitive information during his days in the army.
At one point he was the deputy director of intelligence.

He also worked as the head of the Lesotho Military Training School.
“At all these critical positions I had to keep confidential information from leaking to the public,” he said.
He said he also worked at the Central Bank of Lesotho where he had to deal with security issues at the highest level.

Colonel Mothae said while he was deployed at SADC, he had to deal with confidential information of 15 countries which are member states of the regional bloc. And one of his responsibilities was to ensure that the security issues of the member states were coordinated.
“Those who have appointed me know that I could handle this position properly,” he said.

He said he does not even know where the Lesotho exiles live in Ladybrand. “Take it from people who know me,” he said.

Majara Molupe

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