Parties sharply criticise police

Parties sharply criticise police

MASERU-POLITICAL parties have roundly criticised the government after the police shot and arrested protesting youths last Friday.
In what was a rare meeting of minds, the condemnation is coming from governing parties and the opposition.

The Basotho National Party (BNP) Youth League president, David Letela, said they condemn the attack on the youths despite being part of the government.
Letela said they support the youths for the initiative they have taken because they are fighting for their own rights.
“If something is bad, it is bad regardless of who did it,” Letela said.
Democratic Congress (DC) Youth League leader, Moeketsi Shale, said “what the police have done is totally wrong.”

The Socialist Revolutionary (SR) chairman, Thabo Shao, said the government has dismally failed to create jobs for the youths.
“Now when they fight for their rights, the government set the police on them.”
HOPE spokesman, David Seutloali, said the police could have used water cannons instead of rubber bullets or live ammunition to disperse the protesters.

“The youths were not going to fight but to demand their needs should be addressed,” he said.
The protest, Seutloali added, happened because the government had failed to create jobs for the youths.
The police arrested 11 people at the protest that left several injured.
The Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) caucus chairman, Thato Ntsibolane, told a press conference on Monday that their party was not happy with the police’s response.

The press conference was co-hosted by the Alliance of Democrats (AD), Democratic Party of Lesotho (DPL) and a faction of the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) rallying behind leader Thomas Thabane.
“The youths protested at the parliament with good intentions to hand over their grievances without fighting or causing any disruption,” Ntsibolane said.

“It is really unacceptable.”
Ntsibolane said this was not the first time that protesters had marched to the Parliament premises.
“Parliament is where democracy is practised,” he said.
The DPL leader, Limpho Tau, said they will support those who were arrested and injured.
The AD Secretary General, Dr Mahali Phamotse, said opposition MPs have hired lawyers to represent those arrested.

Joang Molapo, a BNP MP who has fallen out with his party’s leaders and votes with the opposition AD, said the protest is a result of the government’s failure to deal with youth unemployment.
Molapo said across the world countries are focused on “making the youths part of the future but in Lesotho the youths are disenfranchised”.

“The government does not follow policies that would empower the youths. It is high time that Lesotho’s economy re-opens for Basotho,” Molapo said.
But police spokesman Senior Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli remained adamant that the police were right.
He said the youths asked the police about the procedure for getting a permit but still went into the streets without permission.

Nkheli Liphoto & Majara Molupe

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