Treason charge hurts, says Metsing

Treason charge hurts, says Metsing

MASERU-MOTHETJOA Metsing, the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader, says he is deeply hurt after he was charged with treason last month.
He told a rally in Leribe last Sunday that although he had an opportunity to topple the government in 2014, he never attempted to do so when he served in Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s government.

Metsing says he finds it strange that he was now being charged with the very same offence which he says is a political witch-hunt.
“I highly regret not toppling the government because today we are being accused of something we did not do,” Metsing said.
The LCD leader is facing a treason charge together with Movement for Economic Change (MEC) leader Selibe Mochoboroane and jailed former army commander, Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, over the events of October 2014.

The army, then under Lt Gen Kamoli, raided the police headquarters and some police stations to “seize weapons” that it said were to be used to crush an opposition party demonstration.
The soldiers also stormed the State House, sending Thabane and his political allies scurrying into exile in South Africa.
The Thabane-led government accused Lt Gen Kamoli of attempting to stage a coup, a charge he has vociferously denied.

Metsing said during that time Thabane and others tried to accuse him of treason in front of the South African president and other SADC dignitaries.
“I wondered how I (had acted treasonously) when I did not pronounce myself Prime Minister after Ntate Thabane fled the country,” he said.
Metsing told his supporters that he was not surprised by the treason charges adding this was a common practice worldwide where dictators use the treason charge to harass their political opponents.

He said after South African president Cyril Ramaphosa was appointed the SADC facilitator in Lesotho’s political crisis, Thabane had begged for help to ensure that he and Lt Gen Kamoli were convicted for treason.

Metsing said Ramaphosa refused and told Thabane and others to work for peace and stability in Lesotho and not start another fight.
He said Thabane and Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki had both told him that they were not behind his treason charge.
Metsing said ’Maseribane had also distanced himself from the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP)’s decision to charge him.
He blamed a faction in Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC) party of being behind the push to charge him.

“I do not think it is the DPP, maybe there are people behind her,” he said.
He said the government of Lesotho is not interested in pursuing the charges, blaming his legal woes on the ABC’s factional battles.
The BNP deputy leader, Machesetsa Mofomobe, said while the party was not behind the treason charges it will not stand in the way of justice if Metsing and company are charged.

Nkheli Liphoto

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