Mokhotlong farmer arrested

Mokhotlong farmer arrested

MASERU – THE chairman of Thabang shearing stud, Khotsang Moshoeshoe, was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly insulting Trade Minister Tefo Mapesela.
Police spokesman Senior Inspector Rantoane Motsoetla confirmed the arrest to thepost yesterday.
He said Moshoeshoe was arrested for contravening some provisions of the Penal Code 2010 in that he used vulgar language against Mapesela.
Moshoeshoe is also accused of inciting violence in Mokhotlong at Thabang shearing stud.

Snr Insp Motsoetla said Moshoeshoe will be expected to appear in court as soon as they are through with their investigations.
Mapesela went to Thabang shearing stud with the intention to shut it down late last month, triggering a bitter verbal exchange with the wool and mohair farmers.
Mapesela, who is also the MP for Mokhotlong constituency, told Moshoeshoe that he was going to shut down the shearing stud, an act Moshoeshoe vociferously opposed.
Mapesela was in the company of armed soldiers and some police officers when he confronted Moshoeshoe.

Mapesela’s visit to Mokhotlong was part of a countrywide campaign to forcibly remove from government-owned shearing studs wool and mohair farmers who are opposed to the controversial new wool and mohair regulations.
The minister stormed the association’s shearing shed and ordered the shearers to vacate the shed.

But Moshoeshoe, who was shearing sheep with other farmers, would have none of it, arguing that the shearing shed belonged to the association and not the government.
Undeterred by the massive manpower accompanying the minister – about 20 police officers and soldiers armed with rifles – Moshoeshoe stood his ground, referring to Mapesela as a “boy”.
Mapesela instructed the security agents to chuck the farmers out but the move was met with more resistance.

Other farmers who had already stepped outside the shed for fear of being arrested or beaten up eventually pleaded with Moshoeshoe to leave the shed.
Moshoeshoe locked the shed, arguing that he had the sole authority to lock and unlock the building.
Mapesela and his heavily armed entourage then left.

On the same day, wool and mohair farmers marched in Maseru to petition Prime Minister Thomas Thabane to intervene.
Moshoeshoe said they decided against joining the march, and instead concentrated on working in their shed before Mapesela arrived.
This was not the first shearing stud that Mapesela visited with the intention to close it.

Mapesela had also earlier gone to Thaba-Ntšo and Makhapung shearing sheds to enforce the new 2018 Wool and Mohair Regulations.
The spokesman of the Lesotho National Wool and Mohair Growers Association, Rantelali Shea, said they are still to call a meeting to discuss the way forward after Moshoeshoe’s arrest.
“We are aware of the fight against the association,” he said.

Shea said Moshoeshoe told them that he was arrested for “insulting” the minister and blocking the minister from closing the shed.
“If they have to arrest all of us, they should do so,” Shea said.

Nkheli Liphoto

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