IEC officials almost come to blows

IEC officials almost come to blows

MASERU -TWO senior officials of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) almost came to blows this week during a bitter argument.
The fracas is said to have started after IEC spokesman Tuoe Hantši confronted acting director, Lebohang Bulane, over a rumour he was allegedly spreading in the office.
Hantši was furious that Bulane had allegedly told a colleague that he was the one who deflated his car’s tyres last week.
Last week Bulane told a local weekly that he will bewitch the person who deflated his tyres.

While the two were at the office on Saturday Hantši is said to have asked Bulane why he made such a statement to the newspaper.
Then on Monday Hantši heard from a colleague that Bulane was telling people that his “witchcraft” is working because the person who vandalised his car had confessed over the weekend.
Hantši took it that Bulane was referring to their Saturday conversation.
On Tuesday Hantši called Bulane to ask him about the issue.
Bulane is said to have insulted Hantši before slamming the phone.

A furious Hantši is alleged to have immediately stormed into Bulane’s office and an argument ensued.
Part of the altercation was captured in a video clip that has been widely shared on social media. In the clip, Hantši can be heard threatening to shoot Bulane.
Bulane then dares Hantši to do it but also to remember that he will regret it.
“I am the acting director,” Bulane repeatedly said in the clip.
“I don’t care. I am the acting director.”
Hantši then told Bulane to stay away from him.

They also argued about the three commissioners who have been finally dismissed after refusing to relinquish their posts for the past four months.
The Council of State is now working on finding new commissioners but it seems their actions over the past three months have left a toxic environment at the IEC.
They arbitrarily suspended the director of elections, Dr Letholetseng Ntsike, for alleged insubordination.
But Bulane, who they appointed acting director, has failed to gain control amid resistance from some employees who say he lacks legitimacy because he was appointed by commissioners whose contracts had expired.

Even as Bulane and Hantši were arguing it was clear that their views on the former commissioners were diametrically different.
“Those people have refused to leave and their prayers have all been dismissed,” Hantši said.
Last night Hantši denied that he threatened to shoot Bulane. He said Bulane had instigated the argument so he could record the exchange.
He said he didn’t know that Bulane was recording their altercation.
He said he has worked with a gun for almost 12 years and has no business randomly pointing it at people.
“When I draw a gun I do it to shoot and not to just point it as someone,” he said.

Bulane said the fight started after he wrote to Hantši asking him to stop talking to the media without consulting the management.
He declined to go further into the matter, saying the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Law, Colonel Tanki Mothae, has already mediated between them.
Col Mothae said he intervened when Bulane told him that he was fighting with Hantši. He said he summoned the two to his office and they made peace.
“They even shook hands when they left my house after the negotiations,” he said.
Col Mothae said he could not comment on other issues because they are already in the hands of the police. Bulane has since reported Hantši to the police.

Majara Molupe


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