JP attacks ‘Maesaia

JP attacks ‘Maesaia

MASERU – TEBOHO Mojapela (JP), leader of the Socialist Revolutionaries (SR), has escalated his attacks on the First Lady and the All Basotho Convention (ABC) in a brawl that Prime Minister Thomas Thabane says smacks of sour grapes.
This week Mojapela launched a withering attack on ’Maesaia Thabane and the ruling party. Without providing evidence Mojapela, accused ’Maesaia of plotting to kill him. He was speaking a few days after his bodyguard, Potlako Nalane, escaped unhurt after some gunmen fired shots at his car.

The government had since issued a statement condemning the shooting.
Mojapela also insinuated that the First Lady had a hand in the death of Thabane’s late wife Lipolelo Thabane last year, an allegation for which he does not provide evidence or has reported to the police.

The police are still investigating Lipolelo’s death and are yet to make any arrests. Thabane yesterday said Mojapela was bitter because he was not appointed a minister in the government.
Thabane said his family “will not respond to the silly comments of this young disrespectful boy”.

“I wonder where he takes the courage to talk like that about my wife,” Thabane said. “We would respond if it was his father talking because perhaps he is my age mate, not this small boy who is so disrespectful that he does not know his space.”

Thabane said Mojapela “must find somewhere to play not on the dignity of my family and especially of my wife”.
“Responding to him will give him credibility.”
He said Mojapela is angry because he was “expecting that I would make him trade minister but I did not”.

“This is a coalition government and other parties I am with have a right to ministerial positions.”
“I was not making decisions alone. After all, the ABC is not a money-making business for disgruntled individuals. We are here to help the whole society live well.”

Thabane said he thought Mojapela would concentrate on business so that he could provide employment for the people, “not joining politics with the sole purpose of going up and down insulting people”.
Mojapela who claims to have financed the ABC’s election campaign last year has been on a warpath with the First Lady and Thabane’s party for the past seven months.

He has used rallies of the SR, a political party he launched a few months ago, to fire incessant salvos at the First Lady and the ruling party.
He did the same at a rally in Mokhotlong in February where he alleged that ’Maesaia wanted him and his bodyguard dead.
After his fiery press conference on Tuesday Mojapela was called by the police for questioning.

But a defiant Mojapela said he told the police not to treat him like a “small boy”.
“If they have anything to talk to me about, they should say so and sit me down and talk,” he said.

Police spokesman Mpiti Mopeli confirmed that Mojapela was called in but said he was not interrogated “because he declined to come”.
Mojapela accused the ABC of nepotism and said the party had no future.
Meanwhile, in what could be a pre-emptive strike Mojapela last night filed an urgent application asking the High Court to declare criminal defamation unconstitutional.

Mojapela wants to interdict the Assistant Commissioner of Police Beleme Lebajoa from calling him “to appear before him in relation to discussing the issue of impending charges for (criminal defamation) concerning or alleged against the First Lady”.
This, he says, is because he fears the police might torture him.

He wants the court to bar the government from interfering with his “fundamental freedoms especially those of association, movement, speech and related rights save by due process of law”. Mojapela also wants the court to order the government to provide him with security whenever he is within the country starting from next Sunday when he launches his party in his home district of Butha-Buthe.

Nkheli Liphoto & Tokase Mphutlane

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