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Soulo burial set for tomorrow



Molobeli Soulo, who died two weeks ago, will be buried tomorrow in Ha-Seoli, Maseru.
Soulo was a former minister in the Prime Minister’s Office. He will be granted a state-assisted funeral.

Soulo’s eldest daughter, Lerato, told thepost that his father died after a long illness.
She said her father complained of a severe stomach ache and they rushed him to a private doctor where he was confirmed dead on arrival.

Lerato said her father had been unwell for quite some time.
Soulo, 69, was born in Semonkong, Thaba-Ntšo, in Mohale’s Hoek district but later moved to stay in Ha-Seoli, in the southern outskirts of Maseru.
He worked in the South African gold mines and came back home to work at the Coop Lesotho.

“He was a loving father who put his family before anything else,” Lerato said.

“Meat was his favourite food,” she said, adding that Soulo loved nice food generally.

Lerato said her father also loved singing political songs.
She said her father was a staunch supporter of the “congress movement”, a reference to parties that followed the Basutoland Congress Party’s pan-Africanist ideology.

“He was a straight talker who could not hide his views,” Lerato said.

Soulo became an MP for Lithoteng constituency under the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) led by Pakalitha Mosisili in 2002.
He joined Thomas Thabane when he left the LCD to form the All Basotho Convention (ABC) in 2006.
He was seen as Thabane’s right-hand man and one of those who were in the forefront in the formation of the ABC together with Lehlohonolo Tšehlana, the late Clement Machakela, and Sello Maphalla.

He was elevated to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office during the 2012 ABC-led parliament where he fought tirelessly to put an end to the spiralling famo wars that wreaked havoc both in Lesotho and South Africa.

Soulo brought together the rival groups in the famo music industry, Terene that was led by the late Rethabile Mokete aka Mosotho Chakela, and Seakhi of Bereng Majoro popularly called Lekase.

Soulo held public gatherings in the country focusing mainly on the hotspots of famo killings.
He will be remembered as a willing tool in the fight against famo gangsterism, supported by Selibe Mochoboroane who was then the Deputy Local Government Minister.
Soulo was the first Lesotho minister to officially visit famo violence hotspots in South Africa to talk to the gangsters.

This saw Mosotho Chakela shaking hands with Lekase back home in Mafeteng at an indaba that was hailed as a breakthrough to peace, which unfortunately became temporary as a spate of gang-related murders started again in just two years.
The two gang leaders had made a promise to bury the hatchet.

“Why insult people in your lyrics?” Soulo demanded answers from famo singers whose songs are full of vitriol.

“Why could you not praise the rivers and mountains of this country instead of hurling insults at each other?”

In a desperate attempt to save the spilling of blood because of the famo differences, Soulo threatened to ban the famo music genre in the country, which was quite an ambition.

“Basali ba tla qhalla thuoana holim’a ka,” he said, literally saying he would storm to the famo hotspot areas in the wee hours of the morning before women could empty out their chamber bowls.

In Basotho tradition, chamber bowls are emptied at the rubbish heap secretly before or at dawn so that men and boys do not see them, for it is considered a humiliation for any woman to be caught emptying them.
He will be remembered for coining the metaphor, masole a tla le sola, which gives an imagery of soldiers beating people with stinging nettles and thus causing their bodies to swell.
Soulo was so much in love with the army.

“He banna le masole, solang!” he would say as he urged the army to beat those who would not toe the peaceful line he was instilling among the famo gangsters.

He was giving strong orders to the army to act on crime.
Because of his relentless and frantic efforts, the killings triggered by famo differences declined.
Famo music players were mauling each other mercilessly and heartlessly.
They were hell bent to eliminate others at any given time and place.

On February 11, 2014, Thabane kicked out Soulo from his ministerial position under controversial circumstances.
Critics said Soulo reportedly fell out of Thabane’s favour over some administrative issues.
Soulo then left the ABC to re-join the LCD, now led by Mothetjoa Metsing after Mosisili defected to found the Democratic Congress (DC).

He was quoted by the local media saying he rejoined the LCD so that he could have peace of mind.
Soulo is survived by his wife and three children, two girls and a boy.
The LCD leader, Mothetjoa Metsing, said his party had lost a visionary leader.
He said he worked with Soulo at the time when he was the leader of the LCD youth league while Metsing was the secretary general of the same league.

“We worked harmoniously together while I was still a young man,” Metsing said.

“He supervised me a lot while in the youth league,” he said.

“The LCD has lost a giant,” he said.

While still at the LCD under the leadership of Mosisili, Metsing said the LCD crafted well-thought out policies that are still being enjoyed even today.
He said Soulo contributed to the good policies that are a legacy for the Basotho nation.

The leader of Senkatana Social Democratic Party, Lehlohonolo Tšehlana who was threatened with violence by Soulo and the late famo singer Lebajoa Lephatšoe when he had conflicts with Thabane, said he first interacted with Soulo while they were together in the LCD.
Tšehlana defected from the ABC to found Senkatana.
He said he interacted with Soulo after he took a baton from Matooane Mokhosi as the LCD youth league president.

“He was a brave person,” Tšehlana said. “He was a man of his own words”.
He said Soulo wanted to see his views implemented regardless of whether some people were happy or not.
But he did not want to say anything about him while he was the ABC MP on the principle of De mortuis nil nisi bonum (Of the dead say nothing but good).

’Malimpho Majoro


MP defies party, backs opposition



MOHLOMINYANE Tota, the only MP for the United for Change (UFC), has defied the party’s order to stop voting with the opposition in parliament.
Tota, the UFC’s deputy leader, told thepost this week that he will vote, guided by his own conscience, and not the party’s instructions.

His defiance comes after the party publicly chastised him for voting with the opposition in parliament.
A fightnight ago, Tota angered his party when he sided with the opposition to vote against the government’s motion to continue discussing the reforms’ Omnibus Bill despite that it was being challenged in the Constitutional Court.

The government however won with 57 votes against the opposition’s 50.
The UFC issued a statement reprimanding Tota for defying its decision to always vote with the government.
But Tota told thepost this week that he was unfazed by the party’s warning.

“I will continue to vote with the opposition where need be, and I will also vote with the government where need be,” Tota said.
He said he respects the party’s position but “I also have a right to follow my conscience”.

This, he added, is because “it is not mandatory for an MP to toe the party line even when his conscience does not allow it”.
He said whether he will vote with the government or the opposition will depend “on the issue on the table”.
He said his conscience would not allow him to vote with the government on the Omnibus Bill motion.

“It was wrong,” Tota said.
“I will do the same again given another chance.”

Tota’s response comes three days after the UFC issued a statement distancing itself from his stance in parliament.
The party said its national executive committee had an urgent meeting over the weekend to discuss Tota’s behaviour.
It said its position is to always support Prime Minister Sam Matekane’s coalition government.

“‘The issue has caused a lot of confusion in the party and among Basotho at large,” the statement reads.

The party also said Tota did not bother to inform the national executive committee about his decision so that he could get a new mandate.

“He did not even inform the committee before voting,” the statement reads.
“The national executive committee held an intensive meeting with Tota about the matter because the purpose of the party is to support the government,” it reads.
The UFC said where the government goes wrong “the party will continue to confront it with peace and not with a fight” (sic).

“We have confidence in the current government because it was voted in by Basotho.”
The UFC’s statement makes it clear that the party “will not support anything against the government”.

Nkheli Liphoto

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Inside plot to oust Matekane



THE plot to topple Prime Minister Sam Matekane thickened this week amid allegations of brazen vote-buying ahead of the opposition’s planned vote of no-confidence.

The opposition is said to be ready to push out Matekane when parliament reopens sometime in September. They accuse Matekane’s government of incompetence, nepotism, corruption and using the security forces to harass opposition MPs.

But as the lobbying and touting of MPs reaches fever pitch, there are now allegations of each side using bribes to secure votes crucial in the vote to remove the government.
Democratic Congress leader, Mathibeli Mokhothu, this week accused the government of bribing its MPs to defeat the motion against Matekane.

Mokhothu, who made the allegations at the opposition’s press conference yesterdday, did not give further details or names of those bribed and those bribing.
But on Monday, the Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) MP, Puseletso Lejone, told thepost that Mokhothu offered him a M2.2 million bribe to support the opposition’s motion to upend the government.

Lejone said Mokhothu made the offer at a secret meeting, attended by almost all opposition leaders on August 14, at Monyane Moleleki’s house in Qoatsaneng.
The Thaba Moea MP said the leaders claimed that 60 MPs were supporting the motion against Matekane and wanted his vote to make it 61.

“The money was to come directly from Mokhothu,” Lejone said.
“They asked me to provide them with my bank account so that they could transfer the money.”
Mokhuthu denied the allegations, saying he wondered if Lejone “was smoking socks”.

Lejone repeated the same allegations on the sidelines of yesterday’s press conference where Matekane assured Basotho that his government has enough numbers to fend off the opposition’s attempt to push him out.
He said apart from Moleleki and Mokhothu, other political leaders who attended the meeting were Lekhetho Rakuoane, Machesetsa Mofomobe, Nkaku Kabi, Professor Nqosa Mahao, Teboho Mojapela, Tefo Mapesela and Tšepo Lipholo.

He said the leaders gave him a document showing that six RFP MPs had pledged to support the vote of no confidence. Lejone however refused to name the RFP MPs, saying he still wants them to remain in the ruling party.
He said four MPs from parties in the RFP-led coalition had signed.

They are Mohlominyane Tota (UFC), Reverend Paul Masiu (BAENA), Mokoto Hloaele (AD) and Motlalepula Khahloe (MEC).
The deal, Lejone said, was that Mokhutho would become prime minister and be deputised by Dr Mahali Phamotse.
He said the RFP’s faction was going to be rewarded with 10 ministerial seats for their role in toppling Matekane.
Nearly all the political leaders mentioned by Lejone denied attending the meeting at Moleleki’s house.

“By the living God, I have never been in a meeting with that man (Lejone),” Mokhothu said, adding that Lejone’s allegations are “defamatory”.

Mahao said he last visited Moleleki’s house, which is up the road from his, 22 years ago. Mofomobe said Lejone is lying about the meeting because he wants to curry favour with Matekane, whom he had been criticising for months.
Mofomobe said all his meetings with Lejone were at the BNP Centre and their agenda was toppling Matekane.

“We were discussing his (Matekane) incapability to rule this country,” Mofomobe said.

Rakuoane and Mapesela said they have never been to Moleleki’s house.
So did Kabi who implied that Lejone could have smoked something intoxicating “to talk about a meeting that never happened”.
Lipholo, Rev Masiu, and Tota said they were not at that meeting while Moleleki said he had “no comment”.

Staff Reporter

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Matekane abusing state agencies, says opposition



THE opposition has accused the government of weaponising security agencies to harass and intimidate their MPs.
The accusations come as the opposition plots to push a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Sam Matekane when parliament re-opens in September.

Opposition leaders told a press conference yesterday that the government has resorted to using the army and the police against its MPs because it is afraid of the motion.
Democratic Congress (DC) leader, Mathibeli Mokhothu, said the security bosses have been willing tools for the government because their bosses are desperate for Matekane to renew their employment contracts.

He was talking about Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli, army boss Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela and National Security Service (NSS) boss Pheello Ralenkoane.

“Employment contracts for the security agencies’ bosses are the ones causing these problems because the commanders end up working towards pleasing the government for their contract extension,” Mokhothu said.

He said the army has also started setting up roadblocks closer to parliament to search MPs. Mokhothu said the army searched Nkaku Kabi and Advocate Lebohang Maema KC at the parliament premises last week.

“The government is now bringing back the security agencies into party politics,” Mokhothu said.
“This was the first time the army entered the parliament premises to search members and other people there. It is an embarrassment.”
“The responsibility of our soldiers is to guard the borders and ensure security, not to enter politics or set up roadblocks on the parliament roads.”
“They are now running the country like a shop or a company.”

Basotho National Party leader, Machesetsa Mofomobe, alleged that Matekane had a meeting with the security bosses in Teya-teyaneng to discuss how they could use their institutions to clip the opposition’s wings.

“The LDF, LMPS and NSS boss’s contracts have expired, and now they are using the institution to get extensions,” Mofomobe said.
“The LDF and LMPS are doing this deliberately to protect the government.”
thepost could not independently verify this allegation.

Tefo Mapesela, the Basotho Progressive Party leader, said Matekane’s government is taking Lesotho back to 2014 when the army was wooed into politics.
He warned that officers who allow themselves to be used as pawns in political fights might find themselves in jail while their political handlers enjoy freedom.
He referred to Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli who has been in remand prison for seven years as he faces charges of murder, attempted murder and treason.
Mapesela however said the opposition will not be intimidated because it is their democratic right to bring a motion of no confidence against the government.

“When there is time to enter a motion of no confidence it is time, it is written in the law, there is nothing wrong there,” Mapesela said.
“I once launched a motion of no confidence in the previous parliament, but I was never arrested or threatened.”

“We do not owe Matekane anything. When the time has come he has to go. We will lobby others as it is not a crime.”

The Basotho Action Party’s Nqosa Mahao criticised the police for issuing a press statement with political undertones.

In a controversial statement last week, Commissioner Molibeli said the police were aware that some MPs were coercing their colleagues to support their plot to topple the government.
Molibeli also said they were aware that such MPs were surrounding themselves with armed groups.

“Police warn those perpetrating these acts to stop immediately to avoid action that could be taken to protect the country,” Molibeli said.

Matekane made the same allegations at his press conference yesterday.
Professor Mahao said the statement shows that the police have now been entangled in politics.

“Every time parties experience internal problems the leaders conspire with the security agencies,” he said.
“The opposition leaders are now being harassed because the government wants to stop them from exercising their rights.”

The opposition’s charge sheet against Matekane

  •  Filling of statutory positions despite the reforms aiming to change the system.
  • Corruption
  • Nepotism
  • Using security agencies to deter MPs from ousting Matekane.
  • Job losses.
  • Lack of job creation.
  • Failure to fulfil campaign promises.
  • Protecting mining companies’ interests at the expense of Basotho.
  • Incompetence and lack of communication skills.
  • Arrest of MPs by the police.
  • Cherry-picking reforms that insulate his government.

Staff Reporter

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