Moleleki wants amnesty for soldiers
MASERU – A faction of the Democratic Congress (DC) party led by Monyane Moleleki wants a general amnesty for all soldiers accused of crimes.
The Amnesty Bill 2016, which was prepared by the Ministry of Defence and is now under discussion by a parliamentary portfolio committee responsible for justice, seeks to give general amnesty to soldiers and civilians who could have committed crimes between 2007 and December 2015.
Moleleki told a press conference last Thursday that the party wants the amnesty to be extended to all soldiers including those accused of mutiny.
The Bill says soldiers who are in the Maseru Maximum Security Prison facing charges of mutiny and those who are in exile in South Africa having run away from arrest by the army should be relieved of their duties after being granted amnesty.
It also says other soldiers who are suspected of committing crimes during the specified period should be granted amnesty and should continue to hold their positions in the army.
But Moleleki said the soldiers who are incarcerated in the maximum security prison and those who are exiled should be allowed to keep their jobs after being granted amnesty.
“This is what we are pushing for as the DC,” Moleleki said.
“Is it not a good thing that these soldiers who are in prison and their colleagues in exile should enjoy being together with their families during this Christmas celebration?” he said.
The DC youth league leader, Thuso Litjobo, told a press conference yesterday that the Amnesty Bill should only be passed in parliament if it includes everyone.
Litjobo said when Moleleki agreed to the passing of the Bill in parliament many people did not understand why he did so.
“There was a misunderstanding of why he would agree to the Amnesty Bill. We are now clarifying that we stand by the Amnesty Bill only if it is equally applied to every Mosotho,” Litjobo said.
“The Amnesty Bill must not hinder any one’s human rights,” he said.
Litjobo said the relevant parliamentary portfolio committee working on the Bill “should look into forgiveness for all and should strive for fairness for all”.
“If the soldiers in the maximum prison are given forgiveness they should have their jobs back, soldiers in exile should be forgiven and have their jobs back just as those that are suspected or will be found to be guilty of any crime while serving as soldiers should be forgiven and have their jobs back,” Litjobo said.
“We don’t want anyone losing their jobs in the event of being forgiven. Taking away one’s job would be killing them, where will they get money to feed their families, to take care of their families?” he said.
Litjobo said everyone needs to be forgiven when they ask that they be forgiven as “you saw Ntate Moleleki asked for forgiveness publicly”.
“When someone is aware of their wrong doing and acknowledges that, they need to be forgiven,” he said.
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