Women want Mokhele fired

Women want Mokhele fired

MASERU – WOMEN politicians from five political parties want Police Minister ’Mampho Mokhele fired following the “disappearance” of ’Makarabo Mojakhomo two months ago.
The women said they are shocked that Mokhele had turned a blind eye to the suffering of another woman. The women said Mokhele was no longer fit to remain police minister.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, a senior official with the Movement for Economic Change (MEC), ’Malichaba Tšiu, said they were appealing to Mokhele to help the First Lady ’Maesaia Thabane to find ’Makarabo or she should be expelled from office. ’Makarabo was an employee at the First Lady’s trust.

The women’s press conference was meant to address issues of women’s rights, trafficking and gender-based violence.
They had invited women from four ruling parties of the All Basotho Convention (ABC), Alliance of Democrats (AD), Basotho National Party (BNP) and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL). The parties snubbed the invitation.

The press conference was called by the MEC, the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), Tsebe Social Democrats (TSD), Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC) and Socialist Revolution (SR).
“We do not know why government parties did not attend,” Tšiu said. SR’s Women’s League Secretary General, Rethabile Kahlolo, said ’Makarabo was called to the police station and when she complied with the order, “she was made to disappear”. “She disappeared there and we are surprised that even the police are surprised,” Kahlolo said.

The opposition women also called on Mokhele and Police Commissioner Molibeli Holomo to find those who killed Lipolelo Thabane, the former wife to Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.
Lipolelo was gunned down near her home just two days before her estranged husband was sworn in.
They also urged the government, especially Mokhele, to take action against people who threatened SABC journalist, Nthakoana Ngatane, with rape during last year’s election campaign.
“Even Nthakoana Ngatane was threatened with rape but nothing was done until she decided not to come to Lesotho again,” Kahlolo said.

She also said Mokhele must take action against trade union protesters who chanted the ‘Keketso Rantšo must be raped song’ during a recent protests march in Maseru.
Kahlolo complained that no arrests have been made after identifiable people loudly sang in the streets calling for the rape of a minister.
She also called on Mokhele to take action against police officers who stripped a woman naked during interrogation. Inspector Lerato Motseki was beaten after she was accused of leaking information related to Lipolelo Thabane’s investigations.

“Lerato Motseki was also assaulted by the police while on duty but even today nothing was done to the perpetrators,” she said.
“We are aware that in parliament there is a women committee that is supposed to protect our rights as women but surprisingly even now they said or did nothing,” she said.
She said the Minister of Police is a woman therefore they expected much better from her.

The government’s spokesman, Nthakeng Selinyane, said it is well known that Mokhele issued a statement addressing ’Makarabo Mojakhomo’s issue.
“The government is not mad but if they want to expel her they should do it themselves,” Selinyane said.
Mokhele’s phone went unanswered.

The chairwoman of the Women’s Caucus in parliament, ’Matšepo Ramakoae who is also the ABC’s Matsieng constituency MP, said they are yet to discuss these issues with Mokhele.
Ramakoae said they have only been in office for a month.  “I have been away for two weeks and I agree that our committee had to intervene on all matters that affect women,” she said.
Ramakoae said they have not even set mandates for the caucus.

“We are yet to sit down with the Minister of Police as she is part of the caucus to get clarifications on ’Makarabo Mojakhomo,” she said.
“It is not that we ignored her, even the Minister of Labour’s matter is on our agenda.” Ramakoae said they do not have a mandate to look for missing people.

“We have a right to know exactly what happened (to Makarabo) as she is part of us,” she said. “As (Mokhele) is one of us she will help us with everything that transpired as she has more knowledge than us on that issue,” she said.

Nkheli Liphoto

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