Police ‘disrupt’ AD event

Police ‘disrupt’ AD event

MASERU-THE police in Mokhotlong violently disrupted a gathering organised by the opposition Alliance of Democrats (AD) party in Bobatsi constituency last Friday.

AD Secretary General Dr Mahali Phamotse told thepost this week that a toddler was caught up in the commotion.
thepost could not independently verify the claims.
The AD was in Bobatsi constituency to hand over Covid-19 relief supplies to the people.

The three-year-old, whose name we have withheld, was allegedly hit with a gun butt and sustained injuries.
“We as a party are discussing what should be done with this case,” Phamotse said.

“The Bobatsi constituency MP is working on it together with the child’s parents. Action will be taken.”
Efforts to contact the Bobatsi MP Mooki Sello and the child’s parents were not successful.

The AD was in Bobatsi to distribute food parcels to the poor under the party’s Covid-19 relief fund. The Bobatsi MP, Sello, recently defected from the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) party to the AD.

Dr Phamotse said the party had fully complied with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on safety measures.
She said they were surprised when the police suddenly ordered them to disperse.

“Up until now I fail to understand why the police felt that we should be dispersed when we were engaged in an essential service of distributing food to the people,” Phamotse said.
“We broke no law,” she said.

Police spokesman Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli rejected claims there was any child who was assaulted in Mokhotlong.
“We don’t have such a report,” Superintendent Mopeli said.
He said the police were not aware of the AD event. When they enquired what was going on, they were told the AD officials had sought permission to hold the event from the local chief which was permissible.

Superintendent Mopeli said the police however discovered that the AD had “actually held a public gathering, which was in violation of Covid-19 regulations”.
“They were allowed to distribute food parcels to the people but after that they wanted to continue with the gathering and the police stopped them,” he said.

“It was now becoming a rally and the police had no option but to stop it because it was against the law.”
Phamotse said the party wanted to make a short presentation about the AD’s Covid-19 relief fund when the police stopped them.

She said party leader, Monyane Moleleki, also wanted to give a vote of thanks to people who had donated funds to the fund on behalf of the beneficiaries.
“When you give people food or any other gift, you don’t push the gift to them silently and leave without saying anything,” she said.
“That was all that was intended.”

Phamotse said while the police were disrupting their activities, 300km away in Maseru’s Stadium Area the ABC was holding a rally to welcome Khotso Nkhahle, a former AD stalwart, to the party.

She said the ABC rally clearly showed that the police were applying the law selectively.
“These ones broke the law outright but the police ignored this,” Phamotse said.

“Welcoming new party members is not an essential service. Ours was an essential service allowed by law.”

Superintendent Mopeli said the police were unaware of the gathering at the Stadium Area constituency “otherwise we could have stopped it because it violated Covid-19 regulations”.

Staff Reporter

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