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The scourge of early marriages

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MASERU – AS a young girl, ’Mamasole* dreamt big. And marriage was not part of those dreams. Yet, she was married at 15-years-old after being abducted by her boyfriend, who was a herdboy. She is one of thousands of girls who have been forced to abandon school and lofty dreams of a bright future to become housewives at an early age.

In Lesotho, the incidences of child marriages stand at 24 percent, according to the 2016 Lesotho census report. Though lower than many other countries, the figure still paints a gloomy picture of the situation in Lesotho. Stakeholders say child marriages are a threat to the future well-being of children, especially the girl child.

Many viewed the move by the Ministry of Social Development to amend the Child Protection and Welfare Act of 2011 as a positive step towards ending child marriages. However, the 10th parliament dissolved this month before finalising the amendment.

In the meantime, children continue to be victims of this harmful practice. ‘Mamasole is one of them. Forced into marriage as a teenager in 2019, ‘Mamasole was forced to abandon her dreams. But then, she had no say in the matter, never mind that it was her life at stake.

“I was forced to abandon school to become his wife. He told me that I was now his wife when he abducted me. I did not want to go with him and I told him how I felt. But he did not listen, he forced me,’’ she said.

Her mother tried to rescue her. But then, that is a man’s decision to make in Basotho culture so her father overruled the rescue plan and insisted that she stay married.

‘‘I felt so angry but there was nothing I could do except to accept the situation even though it was difficult. I stayed because I felt like I had no choice,’’ said ’Mamasole, who suffered physical and emotional abuse in the relationship.

‘‘Getting married and having a child at a young age was very challenging. We fought a lot with my then husband over my cell phone because he suspected me of cheating on him. He called me names and he would beat me,” she said.

She escaped the ordeal after her sister invited her to visit for the holidays last year.

“I never looked back. I didn’t return to him.”

Now aged 18, she is yet to recover from the ordeal. Her experience is one of many in a country where six out of ten girls aged between 15 and 19 years are mothers or pregnant with their first child, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)’s 2021 report.

Despite efforts by stakeholders to end child marriages, the problem still persists and stakeholders bemoan contradictory laws, harmful cultural norms and practices, poverty and teenage pregnancies. Stakeholders also blame working in silos, parenting negligence, orphanhood, a culture of abduction, peer pressure, alcohol and substance abuse for the rampant cases of child marriages.

Like many countries in the SADC region, child marriages in Lesotho are a scourge that needs to be eradicated. Advocate Libakiso Matlho, a human rights lawyer with the Lesotho Council of NGOs, said contradictions in the pieces of legislation regarding marriage are working against efforts by stakeholders to end the problem.

Advocate Matlho said the complexity in the law might hamper Princess Senate Mohato Seeiso’s tenacious fight against child marriage. Princess Senate is widely regarded as a national champion in the fight against child marriage.

Under customary law, one can get married upon reaching puberty. According to the Marriage Act, a girl can legally marry at 16 and a boy at the age of 18 with consent.

“This law even seems to be biased against the girls as their age of marriage is lower than that of boys,” Advocate Matlho said.

She said although the Child Protection Welfare Act seeks to protect the rights of children, “it is not very helpful when it comes to harmful practices such as child marriages as it has repealed neither the customary law nor the Marriage Act”.

“This apparent lack of harmonisation of laws remains a major hurdle for prosecutors, magistrates as well as other law enforcement agencies regarding which law they have to use,” noted Advocate Matlho.

She said child marriages violate children’s rights and expose victims to abuse.

“Children born within that family can also be exposed to child marriages and it becomes a continuous cycle. And worse as they drop out of school they end up joining sex work to fight poverty if that marriage doesn’t work out.”

Advocate Matlho said marital rape and emotional abuse are very common in such marriages and the cases are hardly reported. She said the amendment of the Child Protection Welfare Act included criminalising child marriages and incorporating strong punishments amongst other measures.

“The failure to finalise the amendment means we will still have the same problems and we don’t know whether the next parliament will prioritise it,” said Advocate Matlho.

She noted that the implication is that there will be a delay in the enactment of the amendments as there will be new MPs yet to be informed and educated about amendments that were close to finalisation.

“For the new MPs to catch the momentum takes long and it also depends on how much they will be convinced on the importance of the amendments.

“Our achievement will mean nothing as we don’t know whether those that will be in government will prioritise those issues. There is no guarantee,” she said.

She criticised the country’s attitude towards child marriages.

“Our approach is bad when it comes to children’s rights and how we raise our children as some are born in abusive families and it affects other people. We need to change our mindsets,” she said.

The Ministry of Social Development Director of Child Protection, Mookho Motheo-Lekhanya, described child marriages as a bad practice that negatively affects a child’s life. Motheo-Lekhanya said the ministry has drafted a legal framework that criminalises child marriage through the amendment of the Children’s Protection Welfare Act.

“The ministry was going through the amendment of the Child Protection Welfare Act to include a section that makes child marriage an offence. Unfortunately, parliament dissolved without incorporating it,” Motheo-Lekhanya said.

“It is a major challenge for the ministry, law enforcement agencies and it also discourages our development partners,” she said.

Motheo-Lekhanya said Quthing and Mokhotlong districts have the highest prevalence of child marriages. She said ending child marriages should not be the ministry’s responsibility alone but should be a joint venture with other stakeholders.

“It affects everyone, hence it needs to start at the community level through our traditional leaders,” she said.

She said their intervention differs from case to case but often the ministry offers counselling amongst other measures.

“‘It isn’t easy to intervene if it is a hidden case. But, when we are alerted, we intervene, working in collaboration with the police,” she said, adding that the ministry frequently holds men and children’s forums countrywide as part of an awareness raising and empowerment campaign. She said community and district child protection teams also frequently hold sensitisation campaigns.

In addition, the ministry has developed a parenting booklet on raising a child to act as a guiding tool for parents, and has established a toll-free child helpline for people to anonymously report any form of violence against children.

“However, what we really need to do is to criminalise child marriages. It is only then that our efforts can become successful. Right now, it’s as if our efforts are going into a bottomless pit.”

She said the ministry has also embarked on community development initiatives in support of families to make a living to reduce poverty, which is another cause of child marriage. Gender Director, ’Matau Futho-Letsatsi, said child marriage is a gender issue.

The ministry has embarked on a national campaign to initiate community dialogue with parents and children to raise awareness on the negative impact of child marriages and harmful cultural practices that put the lives of children in danger.

She said the National Strategic Development Plan II highlights the importance of incorporating gender equality in all government programmes.

“We are now lobbying other ministries to include gender in their programming,” Futho-Letsatsi said.

She said the country is slow in addressing issues such as child marriages due to the history of Basotho and their slow nature to adapt to change.

“Compared to other countries, we take time to address issues of concern,” she said, adding that the reluctance to decriminalise child marriage has to do with historical practices.

“This practice is very harmful and it needs to stop as it affects children negatively.”

The Ministry of Education’s CEO for Secondary Education, ’Mabakubung Seutloali, said child marriage and pregnancy has resulted in many children dropping out of school.

“We lose a lot of pupils to child marriage and pregnancy,” Seutloali said.

“Preventing early and unplanned pregnancies and child marriage are therefore an important component of a wider response to ensuring the right to education for all,” she said.

According to a 2017 United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) report, Lesotho is among countries with high rates of early and unintended pregnancies. The report shows that 60 percent of girls between 15 and 19 years are mothers or pregnant with their first children.

In 2013, Eastern and Southern African Ministers of Health and Education committed to teaching Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) to adolescents and young girls in schools and making it compulsory from Grade 4 – 12.

“However, we learnt recently that it wasn’t taught in all schools although teachers were capacitated. Their explanation was that they were afraid to talk to the children about the subject,” Seutloali said.

“We are currently doing follow ups to capacitate teachers again, inclusive of providing psychosocial support,” she said.

In 2017, UNESCO conducted an assessment that revealed that 12-14 year olds are initiating sexual activities.

In 2021, the Ministry of Education collaborated with the UNFPA to commission a consultant to develop a policy that will manage students’ pregnancies at school and protect them from all forms of abuse. Schools usually dismiss pregnant girls and boys from initiation schools. The policy was meant to align with the Child Protection Welfare Act.

The Education Act of 2010 gives the principal, in consultation with the school board, powers to expel students. Data from School Report Cards (SRC) collected from schools participating in the School Improvement Project (SIP) indicates that pregnancy and early marriage are the number one reason for girls dropping out of secondary school at 46.7 percent in 2018 and 45.7 percent in 2019.

The Police’s Child and Gender Protection Unit (CGPU) Officer, Sergeant ’Mamorapeli Zulu, said child sexual abuse cases were rising “rapidly”. In some mountainous regions, forced and early child marriages remain major challenges and some parents or guardians encourage it for personal gain, she said.

She said most families encouraged their daughters to marry early out of poverty.

“They believe letting their children marry an old, rich man can help them survive,” said Zulu.

Zulu said the ministry uses available laws to address harmful practices that affect children.

“Not amending the Child Protection and Welfare Act makes our job difficult to address this issue in particular,” Zulu said. “Persistent advocacy is vital.”

The Lesotho Violence Against Children Survey 2018 shows that at least one in 10 girls were illegally married before the age of 18, compared to less than one percent for boys. It states that 43 percent of all female children under the age of 18 have experienced sexual, physical and emotional violence in Lesotho.

The UNFPA Programme Officer for Adolescents and Youths, ’Maseretse Ratia, said the consequences of having a baby at a young age are devastating. They include pregnancy complications that could lead to maternal mortality as their bodies are not ready to reproduce.

The 2016 Census report shows that maternal mortality is high in Lesotho with 618 deaths per 100 000 live births.

Ratia said other negative health outcomes associated with adolescent pregnancy include anemia, malaria, sexually transmitted infections (including HIV), post-partum hemorrhage, obstetric fistula, and mental disorders such as depression.

The adolescent birth rate in Lesotho is reported to be high at 94 per 1 000 girls aged 15-19, according to the UNFPA’s 2003-2018 study. Motlatsi Taaka, the World Vision Advocacy and Community Development Coordinator, says the organisation joined a global campaign of ending violence against children and they chose child marriage five years ago.

The campaign, through which the organisation sensitises children, parents and even service providers about the negative impact of child marriage, ends next year.

“We can’t succeed in ending child marriage if it is not made illegal,” Taaka said.

“We have been campaigning for so many years to regulate child marriages but still it has not happened,” he said.

Taaka said in Mokotjomela, Quthing, children aged between 14 and 16 years are being married at an alarming rate.

In a bid to end this, the organisation has partnered with church leaders to join the fight and has also developed models promoting positive parenting and empowering children. He said herdboys, moneyed illegal miners coming from South African disused gold mines and taxi drivers are largely responsible for the high rate of child marriages.

“The values and morals have deteriorated.”

The Ministry of Education’s CEO for Secondary Education, ’Mabakubung Seutloali, said child marriage and pregnancy has resulted in many children dropping out of school.

“We lose a lot of pupil to child marriage and pregnancy,” Seutloali said.

“Preventing early and unplanned pregnancies and child marriage are therefore an important component of a wider response to ensuring the right to education for all,” she said.

According to a 2017 United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) report, Lesotho is among countries with high rates of early and unintended pregnancies. The report shows that 60 percent of girls between 15 and 19 years are mothers or pregnant with their first child.

In 2013, Eastern and Southern African Ministers of Health and Education committed to teaching Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) to adolescents and young girls in schools and making it compulsory from Grade 4 – 12.

“However, we learnt recently that it wasn’t taught in all schools although teachers were capacitated. Their explanation was that they were afraid to talk to the children about the subject,” Seutloali said.

“We are currently doing follow ups to capacitate teachers again, inclusive of providing psychosocial support,” she said.

In 2017, UNESCO conducted an assessment that revealed that 12-14-year-olds are initiating sexual activities.

In 2021, the Ministry of Education collaborated with the UNFPA to commission a consultant to develop a policy that will manage students’ pregnancies at school and protect them from all forms of abuse. Schools usually dismiss pregnant girls and boys from initiation schools. The policy was meant to align with the Child Protection Welfare Act.

The Education Act of 2010 gives the principal, in consultation with the school board, powers to expel students.

Data from School Report Cards (SRC) collected from schools participating in the School Improvement Project (SIP) indicates that pregnancy and early marriage are the number one reason for girls dropping out of secondary school at 46.7 percent in 2018 and 45.7 percent in 2019.

The Police’s Child and Gender Protection Unit (CGPU) Officer, Sergeant ’Mamorapeli Zulu, said child sexual abuse cases were rising “rapidly”. In some mountainous regions, forced and early child marriages remain major challenges and some parents or guardians encourage it for personal gain, she said.

She said most families encouraged their daughters to marry early out of poverty.

“They believe letting their children marry an old, rich man can help them survive,” said Zulu.

Zulu said the ministry uses available laws to address harmful practices that affect children.

“Not amending the Child Protection and Welfare Act makes our job difficult to address this issue in particular,” Zulu said. “Persistent advocacy is vital.”

The Lesotho Violence Against Children Survey 2018 shows that at least one in 10 girls were illegally married before the age of 18, compared to less than one percent for boys. It states that 43 percent of all female children under the age of 18 have experienced sexual, physical and emotional violence in Lesotho.

The UNFPA Programme Officer for Adolescents and Youths, ’Maseretse Ratia, said the consequences of having a baby at a young age are devastating. They include pregnancy complications that could lead to maternal mortality as their bodies are not ready to reproduce.

The 2016 Census report shows that maternal mortality is high in Lesotho with 618 deaths per 100 000 live births.

Ratia said other negative health outcomes associated with adolescent pregnancy include anemia, malaria, sexually transmitted infections (including HIV), post-partum hemorrhage, obstetric fistula, and mental disorders such as depression.

The adolescent birth rate in Lesotho is reported to be high at 94 per 1 000 girls aged 15-19, according to the UNFPA’s 2003-2018 study. Motlatsi Taaka, the World Vision Advocacy and Community Development Coordinator, says the organisation joined a global campaign of ending violence against children and they chose child marriage five years ago.

The campaign, through which the organisation sensitises children, parents and even service providers about the negative impact of child marriage, ends next year.

“We can’t succeed in ending child marriage if it is not made illegal,” Taaka said.

“We have been campaigning for so many years to regulate child marriages but still it has not happened,” he said.

Taaka said in Mokotjomela, Quthing, children aged between 14 and 16 years are being married at an alarming rate. In a bid to end this, the organisation has partnered with church leaders to join the fight and has also developed models promoting positive parenting and empowering children.

He said herdboys, moneyed illegal miners coming from South African abandoned gold mines and taxi drivers are largely responsible for the high rate of child marriages.

“The values and morals have deteriorated.”

’Mapule Motsopa

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Deadlock over reforms

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MASERU – THE government’s plan to use state of emergency powers to recall parliament to pass the reforms faces serious resistance from the opposition and legal experts.
A marathon meeting this week to build consensus on the use of state of emergency powers to recall parliament could not break the impasse.

The deadlock comes as Lesotho is reeling under pressure from the international and regional community to pass the reforms. SADC, which instigated and part-funded the reforms, has promised Lesotho hell if the reforms are not passed.

The United States might pull the plug on its recently approved M4 billion development aid to Lesotho. The African Union is said to have registered its disappointment with the government and insisted that the reforms be passed.

The EU, which contributed generously to the reforms process, is not playing the ‘carrot and stick’ game but gently pushing the government to find a way to complete the reforms.

Law Minister Lekhetho Rakuoane told a meeting of political parties yesterday that the government will soon discuss how Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro can request the Council of State to advise the king to recall parliament to pass the reforms.

Rakuoane, a lawyer by profession, is still cautiously optimistic that it’s possible to use the state of emergency powers for the King to recall parliament.

That interpretation is however being rejected by some in the government and the opposition who believe the failure to pass the reforms is not an emergency.

The constitution defines a state of emergency as a war or a monumental threat to Lesotho’s sovereignty or life.

Monyane Moleleki, the Alliance of Democrats (AD)’s leader, told the meeting that he doesn’t believe the reforms constitute an emergency that justifies recalling parliament.

“In general, it is unthinkable to recall a National Assembly which was dissolved constitutionally, officially or formally by His Majesty the King,” Moleleki said.

“The country finds itself in a difficult situation. Lesotho is constitutionally in a predicament and some urge us to consider the predicament an emergency.”

“Actually, there is no state of emergency in Lesotho today but just a predicament,” he said.

Even if the government goes ahead to use the state of emergency clause to reopen parliament there will still be disagreements over which Bill parliament should pass.

The majority of the officials who were in the now disbanded National Reforms Authority (NRA) accuse the parliament of dismembering the initial Bill they submitted.

They say the parliament sneaked in new amendments and removed others to create a Bill that doesn’t reflect the people’s views.

The Senate has reservations about the parliament’s changes and appears sympathetic to the NRA’s view that the Bill should not be outrageously different to what the people suggested.

The Lesotho Council of NGOs (LCN), which facilitated this week’s dialogue, is reportedly not hostile to recalling parliament but wants parliament to pass the initial Bill from the NRA without changes.

MPs however insist they will not take instructions from any other institution because only parliament has the power to make laws.

But even if they agree to reopen parliament and find each other on which Bill to pass, there is likely to be another problem.

Advocate Tekane Maqakachane believes there is no legal loophole that the government can use to recall parliament.

“There is absolutely no loophole to use for that. There is no state of emergency to justify such,” Advocate Maqakachane said.

“The law is the law. You cannot violate it because you have created your own crisis by failing to do things on time.”

He said even if the government insists on violating the constitution by recalling parliament, the MPs will quickly find themselves in another legal jam.

He said several of the amendments that were before parliament require a referendum before they get royal assent. These include the changes to the Bill of Rights and changes to the structure of the judiciary.

“These are what we call double entrenched clauses and they are part of the Bill that some are saying parliament should be recalled to pass,” Advocate Maqakachane said.

“The trouble is that a referendum can only be held no less than two months and not more than six months after it has been passed by parliament.”

This, Advocate Maqakachane said, means there is no way the amendments can be legally passed before the October 7 election even if parliament is recalled.

His strong legal view is shared by several other lawyers who spoke to thepost.

That could indicate that there is a real possibility that a decision to recall parliament could be legally challenged. If that happens, the matter would no longer be in the government’s hands but would play out in the courts.

An epic legal battle might be looming.

Nkheli Liphoto

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Moleleki’s security guards, car withdrawn

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MASERUTHE government has withdrawn security guards and a vehicle allocated to the official leader of parliament Monyane Moleleki.

The vehicle was taken away last Friday.

Moleleki could not be reached for comment but his Alliance of Democrats (AD) spokesman, Thuso Litjobo, confirmed the development.

The position of official leader of opposition in parliament is equivalent to that of a deputy minister and is entitled to the use of a government vehicle and security guards.

Even when the King dissolves parliament and calls for fresh elections, ministers and their deputies do not lose their entitlements such as cars or security.

The same goes for the official leader of opposition in parliament, the Speaker and his deputy.

Litjobo said the withdrawal of the vehicle and security was meant to ensure that Moleleki did not have resources to campaign for the October 7 general elections.

He said this was unfair since all ministers and their deputies still have access to state resources to campaign.

“Our leader is still entitled to those benefits,” Litjobo said.

“We do not have the power to do anything about this.”

Litjobo said they were shocked when they learnt that Moleleki’s security, staff, salary and everything had been taken away.

“For now the only thing we can do as a party is to complain,” he said.

Moleleki has been the official leader of opposition in parliament since the establishment of the Moeketsi Majoro-led government in 2019.

The Thomas Thabane-led government which began its tenure in 2017, in which Moleleki was the deputy prime minister, collapsed and Moleleki’s party was the largest in the opposition, making him leader of opposition.

As the official leader of the opposition, the Constitution grants Moleleki some benefits.

Among these, he has an office, staff, salary, a vehicle, and free fuel.

Moleleki had qualified to be the leader of opposition with his 11 MPs although most of them have since joined other political parties.

The army spokesman, Captain Sakeng Lekola, told thepost that he was not aware of the removal of Moleleki’s security.

“Such things can be asked to the government,” Captain Lekola said.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman, Buta Moseme, said the premier’s office is not responsible for the installation or removal of entitlements of the leader of opposition.

The government spokesman, Communications Minister Sam Rapapa, said the questions should be directed at the Clerk of Parliament Fine Maema.

Maema’s phone was ringing unanswered last night.

Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu, who is the leader of parliament, could not be reached for comment last night.

Nkheli Liphoto

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ABC at war over Thetsane candidate

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MASERU – A fight over who should represent the All Basotho Convention (ABC) in the Thetsane constituency in Maseru spilled into court this week.

Two separate constituency committees which were elected on June 11 and July 2 respectively are now fighting over who has the right to preside over the selection of a candidate this Sunday.

The June 11 committee is made up of Silase Mokhitli, Semonko Lesenyeho, Mako Chobokoane, Khoale Thene, Thabo Nkesi and ‘Mathabo Makalanyane.

The July 2 committee is made up of Motinyane Motinyane, ‘Matsekiso Motinyane, ‘Matokelo Morie, Mphonyane Kekana, Nondabesithe Babeli and Lelimo Monese.

The June 11 committee filed an urgent application in the High Court yesterday seeking to interdict the July 2 committee from holding themselves out as the members of the constituency committee pending determination of their application.

The June 11 committee also asks the court to order the party’s spokesman, Montoeli Masoetsa, and the National Executive Committee to file a record of proceedings of the elective conference of July 2 for the constituency.

They say the court should declare the July 2 committee election null and void.

A lawyer representing the June 11 committee, Advocate Letuka Molati, in his certificate of urgency, said the July 2 committee prejudiced his clients.

Advocate Molati said the July 2 committee is unlawfully preparing the nomination of the candidate for the Thetsane constituency on Sunday.

“Applicants have no alternative remedy as the National Executive Committee of the All Basotho Convention is ignoring to pronounce itself on the matter such that the illegal body will prepare for the nominations of the candidates for the up-coming national elections,” Advocate Molati said.

The June 11’s representative, Silase Mokhitli, told the court in an affidavit that Masoetsa and Senator Mphonyane Lebesa conducted the July 2 elections fraudulently.

“On the 11th June 2022, my co-applicants and I were elected as members of the constituency committee of the All Basotho Convention for the Thetsane constituency no. 34,” Mokhitli said.

Mokhitli said there was a peaceful handover of power from the old constituency committee and he was elected as the chairperson of the new Constituency committee.

The newly elected constituency committee submitted reports to the NEC on June 13 that there was only one branch of Thetsane West that had abstained from the constituency committee elective conference.

“We worked very well as the new constituency committee with the NEC of ABC for a period of about two weeks without any complaint,” he said.

He said on June 24, he was surprised to get a call from the secretary general of ABC, Lebohang Hlaele, ordering him and the new committee to report at the party’s headquarters.

Hlaele also invited the old committee, Mokhitli said.

However, Hlaele was not in the office when they arrived on June 27.

Instead they found one ’Maseeng Maputsoe who was accompanied by Masoetsa.

Maputsoe asked why there were two committees in the Thetsane constituency.

Mokhitli said there was only one committee for which he was the chairperson.

He said there were no disputes as all went on smoothly.

Mokhitli said after the deliberations, Maputsoe left with Masoetsa.

“They said they were going to deliberate alone and when they came back they said they made the decision that there should be a repeat of elections in Thetsane constituency,” he said.

Mokhitli said they were not satisfied and they wrote the executive committee seeking intervention but they have not received any response to date.

Instead, Maputsoe and Masoetsa went to Thetsane constituency on July 2 to oversee the repeat of elections.

“They did not have any official document that shows delegation to them from the NEC of ABC,” he said.

“They conducted everything through dictatorship.”

He said during the elections Masoetsa announced that he had expelled two branches and dissolved the four remaining branch committees out of six.

“They then proceeded to conduct elections without verifying the cards of those who qualify to elect and he took 12 people from three branch areas,” Mokhitli said.

“He took 13 people from Thetsane West branch which had abstained when I was elected on the 11th June 2022,” he said.

When people objected, Mokhitli said, Masoetsa strangled one ’Mako Chobokoane with his clothing and one Semonko Lesenyeho came to his rescue.

“Masoetsa, when faced with another objection, assaulted ’Mako Chobokoane, and Lesenyeho intervened again,” he said.

He said Senator Lebesa “was electing on behalf of the electors”.

He said when Maputsoe was asked whether it was proper that Lebesa was writing ballot papers on behalf of voters, she said Lesenyeho could do what he wished.

“Masoetsa and Maputsoe scolded everyone who objected,” he said.

He said the results of the elections were not announced publicly.

Many people left in disgust, Mokhitli said.

“When there were about less than 20 remaining from the original number of more than 150 people Maputsoe announced (the results).”

Mokhitli argued that it would be wrong for people who were not rightly elected to prepare and hold an elective conference for the constituency candidate.

“The fairness and democracy shall not reign. It is clear that democracy is already under threat,” he said.

’Malimpho Majoro

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