Mosito condemns ‘smear campaign’

Mosito condemns ‘smear campaign’

MASERU-Defence Minister, Lekhetho Mosito, says charges that he was unfit to hold office over crimes he allegedly committed while still serving in the army were meant to tarnish his image.
Mosito was appointed defence minister last week.

His appointment has however torched a storm with his colleague in the All Basotho Convention (ABC) party, Tefo Mapesela, alleging he was unfit to hold a ministerial position.
Mapesela alleged in an audio clip that Mosito was fired from the army after he was involved in criminal activities.
He also alleged that Mosito was an ex-convict who was found guilty by a Court Martial for rebellious acts some years ago.

But in a hard-hitting press statement this week, Mosito said the charges by Mapesela were all false and were meant to soil his image in the eyes of the public.
“As an indication that I was never convicted of any military offence or criminal offense, I have been earning my pension benefits for the past 20 years,” Mosito said.
He said back in 1998 he was charged in a civil court on allegations of theft of military guns, a charge which was said he had committed in 1994.

At the time, he was a corporal in the army.
He also said he was arrested and detained for a number of days which ran close to a full month.
“I got released on bail afterwards but my criminal case was never prosecuted and consequently the trial was discontinued for lack of evidence and or non-prosecution,” Mosito said.

He said his charges were not in the military context but were civil and he was acquitted.
This happened over 20 years ago for a crime he allegedly committed six years earlier, he said.
Mosito said the claims against him are “unfounded and fake and plainly clear to point an impression that my appointment is irrational and irresponsible”.

Mosito, the Likhetlane constituency MP, said he has been fending off a barrage of attacks from critics after his appointment last week.
He said the allegations by Mapesela are unfounded and without substance.
Mapesela went on air and on social media platforms last week arguing that Mosito was not a loyal politician.

He lashed out at Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro for appointing Mosito when he had a criminal record for “stealing guns which he used to kill people in Maputsoe”.
Mapesela asked how the army commander would report to someone who was involved in shady deals that involved killing of the people with stolen guns.

Mosito argued that his name and his family have been compromised in the public opinion.
“This regrettable crusade was further compounded by a colleague in the National Assembly and a fellow Cabinet member and comrade from ABC, Mapesela,” he said.

Mosito said Mapesela uttered some remarks on People’s Choice FM on Saturday morning that he is a rebel who was convicted by the Court Martial for military offences.
He said he also saw another video clip which made disparaging remarks about him saying he was convicted by a Court Martial.
He said the attacks did not only compromise his political career but also eroded the little esteem he had gathered over the years, adding that it is both painful and regrettable when one man “Lekhetho Mosito” will be the subject for debate in different media platforms.

“I am being harassed and attacked in my own country,” Mosito said.
Amidst the unsavoury attacks, Mosito said he sought legal intervention from his lawyers in an attempt to clear his name without compromising the esteemed office which he is now holding as a minister.
He condemned what he termed the latest trend in which politicians seek to gain mileage by assassinating others’ characters for the sake of ballots.

Mosito said “the ripple effect of this is that of continued polarisation and fragmentation of the already polarised political climate”.
Mosito was elected MP in 2015.
He said he joined the army in 1979.
He went for early retirement in 2000 after serving the army for two decades.
He retired with the rank of corporal.

Nkheli Liphoto

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