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Reforms back on track



Coalition government, opposition smoke peace pipe……….

MASERU – SADC Facilitator, Justice Dikgang Moseneke, says the government and opposition parties have finally agreed to continue with the reforms even in the absence of Mothetjoa Metsing.
Metsing, leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), has been holed up in South Africa for more than a year since fleeing the country after alleging that his life was in danger.
The opposition has been refusing to participate in the reforms until Metsing and other exiled leaders and officials return home.
But Justice Moseneke says that impasse has been broken, paving way for dialogue that has been mired in delays as the parties quarreled.
The agreement was signed at a press conference yesterday by the Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki, for the government, and Mathibeli Mokhothu, for the opposition.
The agreement put the reforms process back on track after months of squabbling. Justice Moseneke said the parties unequivocally committed themselves to the declaration of the National Leaders Forum.

He said the parties affirmed the composition of the National Dialogue Planning Committee (NDPC) and confirmed that it would be the vehicle to prepare for the National Dialogue.
He also said the current terms of reference of the NDPC for the implementation of the multi-stakeholders’ National Dialogue and any agreed amendments should be the framework that binds all parties.
Justice Moseneke appealed to the government of Lesotho to respect and comply with all court orders and the rule of law and “to uphold the independence of the judiciary and continue to be the custodian of the law”.

The parties have agreed to have a National Leaders’ Forum in the first week of November 2018.
The forum will consider the recommendations of the NDPC on the thematic areas, the nature of participation in the thematic areas of the dialogue and the duration of the dialogue.
Justice Moseneke said the parties have agreed to avoid making public statements that erode the credibility or integrity of the reform process.

“The parties unequivocally affirmed their respect for the integrity and honesty of the facilitation team and its leaders for the work done by the facilitation team on behalf of SADC and also the role and responsibility of SADC Preventive Mission in Lesotho (SAPMIL) and the SADC Oversight Committee,” Justice Moseneke said.
He said the government agreed to coordinate resources availed by the United Nations Development Programme, the European Union and government to support fully the work of the NDPC and the National Dialogue process.

“The parties have agreed to participate fully in this process and in the utmost good faith until the completion of the reform process,” he added.
Justice Moseneke also said the government of Lesotho should ensure the safety of all citizens in exile and must provide adequate security for Metsing and other similar placed exiled.
“Metsing and other similar placed persons in exile would not be subjected to any pending criminal proceedings during the dialogue and reforms process,” he said.
“They further undertook to persuade Metsing to return to Lesotho no later than the commencement of the National Dialogue,” he said.
But he said even if Metsing does not come, the national reform process would continue.

The facilitator also said the government of Lesotho has agreed that it would grant reasonable access to all inmates and would continue to respect human rights.
He said in order to resolve disputes the parties have agreed to create a dispute resolution mechanism comprising two representatives from each side.
If that mechanism fails, the retired judge said, the dispute would be referred to the leader of the facilitation team for mediation and resolution.
He said the government of Lesotho should issue a government gazette confirming the constitution of the NDPC and its terms of reference within 72 hours of the meeting of the NDPC on 16 October 2018.

He said the parties should create a mechanism within parliament in due course to process recommendations emanating from the National Dialogue for implementation.
Justice Moseneke said no party should make statements inciting violence or a threat of violence or threaten the security of the state or the inhabitants of Lesotho.
He said the coalition of opposition parties have presented the government of Lesotho with a list of persons who are alleged to have died in police custody.
“The government of Lesotho has undertaken to investigate and report to the coalition of opposition parties in due course,” he added.

He further said the coalition of opposition parties have raised their concern with the government of Lesotho relating to MoAfrika FM, a privately owned radio station.
The radio station has had incessant fights with the government which even landed in courts.

The radio station alleges that the government has cut coverage in some places in the country.
In response to the accusation, the government says “this is due to expansion of the transmission infrastructure, the government trusts that the expansion project would be completed as soon as possible and would report to the coalition of the opposition parties”.
Motlalentoa Letsosa, Democratic Congress chairman, said Metsing is prepared to come back provided the government meets his conditions.

Nkheli Liphoto

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Police hunt former minister



THE police have launched a hunt for former police minister, Lepota Sekola, who is suspected of involvement in stock theft.
Police want to arrest Sekola in connection with two cattle carcasses that were found at his grandfather’s funeral in Borokhoaneng three weeks ago.

During the initial interview, Sekola had insisted that the cows belonged to his late grandfather who had kept them in South Africa for better pastures.

The police didn’t arrest him at that time because investigations were still in the early stages. Further investigations have however led the police to believe that the animals were stolen from South Africa.

But when they were ready for the arrest, Sekola could not be found at his home or on his phone.

Police say Sekola will be charged with unlawful possession and illegal importation of two cows from South Africa.

The National Stock Theft Coordinator, Senior Superintendent Mapesela Klaass, told thepost last night that they “have completed investigations but he (Sekola) is nowhere to be seen”.

“We cannot get him on his mobile phones,” S/Supt Klaass said, adding that the police have been “visiting his home but he is not there”.

“His family members are aware that we are looking for him,” he said.

S/Supt Klaass said they are continuing with their search and as soon as they find him, they are going to drag him to the courts.

He said the police suspect the cows were brought from South Africa to be slaughtered for Sekola’s grandfather’s funeral.

Police sources told thepost that one of the cows had new branding while another had nothing. Both had holes on the ears that signalled that they used to have ear tags.

Majara Molupe

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Magistrate saves WILSA boss



A Maseru magistrate, Nthabiseng Moopisa, this week stayed the criminal prosecution of Advocate ’Mamosa Mohlabula who is accused of tax evasion, money laundering and corruption.

In her application Advocate Mohlabula, who is the director of Women and Law in Southern Africa (WILSA), said the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) should not charge her pending finalisation of her tax evasion case.

Advocate Mohlabula is out on bail after she was formally charged with tax evasion in July last year.

She told Magistrate Moopisa that the DPP, Advocate Hlalefang Motinyane, was wrong to have agreed with the Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) to bring charges against her.

“In my viewpoint, the DCEO cannot be heard to charge me in relation to matters already seized with this Honourable Court,” she said in an affidavit.

She also said there is a pending civil case in the High Court in which the DCEO’s abuse of power is referenced, saying the precise way the case is handled will depend “on the way an alleged offence comes to the light”.

“Before that pending case is finalised, DCEO has no jurisdiction to detail me to court over isolated phenomenon of tax evasion and or over grievances of former employees of WILSA,” she said.
Advocate Mohlabula was charged together with the WILSA’s chief accounting officer.

She argued that it was WILSA that was being investigated, not individuals, further saying that was “a significant safeguard that the DCEO was impartial from an objective viewpoint”.

“To exclude any legitimate doubt in this respect the DCEO returned the items it seized from WILSA,” she said.

“This was a realistic and practical step towards administering justice and to avoid premature embarrassment to the management of WILSA.”

She said the Board of Trustees of WILSA were sent briefing notes which in certain respects reflected that the DCEO returned the properties of WILSA without warning them that they were suspects.

“In any event, we proceeded to fashion our arguments before the High Court. There was, and could be, no evidence to back up the decision of the DCEO to apply for the search warrant,” she said.

Advocate Mohlabula said before they took the matter to the High Court, she cooperated with the DCEO and it conducted an inquiry into the alleged crimes.

“Now that the matter is pending before the High Court, there is no more reason for the DCEO to remand me before the pending cases are finalised,” she said.

Staff Reporter

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Mphaka barred from ABC deputy’s race



THE All Basotho Convention (ABC) has barred former Government Secretary Moahloli Mphaka and three others from contesting for the deputy leader’s position at an elective conference set for this week.
The three are Kefeletsoe Mojela, Katleho Molelle, and Lekhetho Mosito.

Mosito was an MP who was appointed Defence Minister for a day and removed the following day during Dr Moeketsi Majoro’s premiership.
The elective conference is set to be held at the Leqele High School hall this weekend.

A circular from the ABC said the three did not qualify to enter the race because they had not held any positions in the party’s committees.

The decision to bar the three is reminiscent of the same tactics that saw former leader Thomas Thabane block Professor Nqosa Mahao from contesting for the party’s deputy leader’s position.
Professor Mahao subsequently walked away and formed the Basotho Action Party (BAP).

A weakened ABC has never recovered from that split.

Mphaka and his colleagues were vying for the deputy leader’s position until they were stopped in their tracks by the circular which was issued out on Monday this week.
Dr Pinkie Manamolela is the current deputy leader.

She was plucked from the women’s league to replace Dr Majoro who had resigned from the national executive committee after losing the leadership race to Nkaku Kabi in 2022.

There is a high chance that the four could drag the ABC to court to assert their right to contest. The legal wrangles will likely destabilise the party that is still smarting from a thorough thrashing in general elections held in October 2022.

Mphaka this week told thepost that he will challenge the decision to block him in the courts of law.
“They are crazy people,” Mphaka said.

“I will not allow this to happen,” he said.

“I have already instructed my lawyers to launch an urgent application in the High Court to challenge the decision before Friday this week.”

He complained that it was not clear why the party had decided to kick him out of the race after he spent a lot of time and resources campaigning.

Mphaka said the national executive committee “usually allows members to contest for positions without considering whether they were ever in the constituency committees or not”.

The contenders in the race are former Water Minister Samonyane Ntsekele, ex-Police MP Lehlohonolo Moramotse, former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Leshoboro Mohlajoa, and Maseru Star Taxi Association member Sekhonyana Mosenene.

A member of the national executive committee told thepost that “many of us support Mphaka and Kefeletsoe at all costs”.

“We were dismayed when we saw the circular removing the duo from the race,” he said.

He said many ABC members were rallying behind Mphaka because “he has been campaigning even before everyone could start”.

“They know he has lots of followers.”

He said it is unfair that Mosenene has been allowed to run but he has never held any position in any constituency except that he represented his taxi association in the ABC national executive committee.
“Why has he been allowed to contest yet he is just like Mphaka and Kefeletsoe?”

He complained that Sekhonyana, while representing taxi operators in the committee, was eventually made the deputy party spokesman despite not being in any constituency committee after ’Matebatso Doti resigned from the position.

“Mphaka was chosen by the party to lead the 2022 elections campaign teams and develop a party manifesto,” he said.

“He was allowed to do all that without being involved in any party structures.”

The party’s spokesman Montoeli Masoetsa declined to comment.

Dr Manamolela told thepost that “the decision was not made by the party’s national executive committee”.

“I do not want to talk much …but it is not true that the party’s NEC decided to remove Mphaka and Kefeletsoe”.

Kabi could not be reached for comment.

Nkheli Liphoto

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