BNP rattles United States

BNP rattles United States

MASERU – THE United States is rattled after Lesotho’s deputy foreign affairs minister Machesetsa Mofomobe announced that his Basotho National Party (BNP) will pursue a “Look East” policy.
The US Embassy wrote Foreign Affairs Minister ’Matšepo Ramakoae last week expressing concern after Mofomobe told party supporters that he was befriending North Korea.

Attempts to get comment from Ramakoae failed yesterday.
North Korea is a sworn enemy of the US.
A defiant Mofomobe told a rally in Mafeteng last Sunday that the US should not be allowed to choose the BNP’s friends.
“How are we expected to hate the people who used to help us,” Mofomobe said.

He told the rally that US Ambassador Rebecca Gonzales wrote Ramakoae telling her that the BNP’s ties with North Korea were of serious concern to the US.
Mofomobe said he wrote to North Korea recently asking for money for election campaigns, saying he is sure they will fund their party.

“I know they will give me and the Americans would not, but these people want us to hate them,” he said.
“I saw a newspaper saying BNP wants closer ties with North Korea,” he said, referring to thepost’s headline last week.
“I knew the Americans would jump and they have jumped.”

Mofomobe said when the apartheid South African government wanted to kill Prime Minister Leabua Jonathan, he sought help from the Communist east.
Mofomobe said Jonathan also got help from Fidel Castro, the then Cuban leader.

He also recalled that when Jonathan engaged Kim Il-sung of North Korea and asked for help, “they sent green boxes of bombs and guns and told our leader to defend himself”.
“But today we are made to neglect the people who stood with us during hard times and hate them just because the Americans do not like them,” he said.

“Today when the BNP wrote the North Korea party, Americans jump,” he said.
“Hey, jump if you want to jump!”
He said the North Koreans should be thanked for building the BNP Centre, Setsoto Stadium, and the Government Complex.
He said they had also decided with the BNP leader, Chief Thesele ’Maseribane, to write to their friends including Fatah.

Fatah is a Palestinian nationalist social democratic political party and the largest faction of the confederated multi-party Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the second-largest party in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).

He said the BNP is saddened together with Fatah following the death of its leader, Yasser Arafat, whom he said was killed by the Israelis.
Israel is the US’s main ally in the Middle East.
“The Fatah movement leaders are killed every day by the apartheid Israeli government and the world is silent on that,” he said.
“The BNP will not be silent. We shall release a statement soon on the matter,” he said.

He said he has already held talks with the Palestinian ambassador in South Africa informing her of their decision to be vocal about the Israel killings of the Palestinians.
He said he is grateful that the Americans are helping Lesotho by sending Peace Corps to work where the need is great in the country and by providing antiretroviral drugs for Basotho living with HIV.

He however said “this does not mean the Americans should have the right to dictate to us who we should align ourselves with”.
After lambasting the US, Mofomobe begged BNP supporters to vote for him in the leadership contest on June 13.

Mofomobe said he wants dual citizenship for Basotho adding that their people are being maltreated in South Africa where they work and some have set up families.
He also wants the death penalty imposed on those who commit heinous crimes.

Nkheli Liphoto

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