Tempers flare at  reforms  indaba

Tempers flare at reforms indaba

MASERU– TEMPERS flared at the National Reforms Authority (NRA) indaba yesterday with some families of victims of gross human rights violations being heckled.
The heckling were from the floor.
The families were adamant that the Bill which is meant to establish the Transitional Justice Commission (TJC) should be withdrawn from parliament.

It took the intervention by Basotho National Party (BNP) leader, Machesetsa Mofomobe, to quieten the heckling.
The widow of the slain Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) commander Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao, ’Mamphanya, said the Bill should be withdrawn before anything could be discussed.
While ’Mamphanya was speaking she was booed from the floor with delegates saying “Le nahana hore mafu a lona a betere” (Are your deaths better than others?).

In defence of the heckled, Mofomobe said they are aware that the NRA had “decided not to entertain anyone who (held a different opinion on matters)”.
“If that is the case you should know that whatever you will discuss here will not help you,” Mofomobe said.
“When the meeting started some people wanted to voice out their opinions but they were hackled badly. La ba hulanya majoeng (You dragged them on stones)” he said.
“Dragging the victims will not help because it is evident that some people hate others.”

He said if the people are not brought to order “there will be a time when the people who love the victims will speak out”.
“I advise you to bring those people to order,” he said.
Mofomobe criticised the NRA for being one-sided, saying speakers were selected from parties that supported the TJC.
“The speakers were sourced from political parties that agree to the Bill, you took from PFD, MEC, and AD.”

“The programme was made to suit the direction and the outcome needed by them,” he said, adding that “this exercise will be futile, we advise you to refrain (from doing so)”.
The families told the NRA that they were not consulted when the Bill was prepared, they only learned about its existence when it reached parliament.
Mamphanya said since Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro and other government ministers were present at the indaba, they should see to it that the Bill is withdrawn.

“Before any other thing you should start first by withdrawing the TJC Bill from parliament because it was never discussed with us, the affected people,” ’Mamphanya said.
The daughter of Leselinyana la Lesotho editor, Edgar Motuba, who was killed during the Basotho National Party (BNP) rule said the NRA should go all over the country looking for other victims.

Mosebetsi Motuba said even today her father’s killers are not known.
She pleaded with the NRA to keep on looking for other victims so that justice can be served.
“It is now 40 years without knowing what happened to our loved ones,” Motuba said.
Motuba said the killers were just messengers and it is important to find who sent them “so that they are stopped from sending other people to commit other atrocities”.
Seabata Motšoane, a former soldier, said they are victims of many human rights violations in different years.
He said he was locked up in 1998 when Pakalitha Mosisili was still the Prime Minister when he was accused of rebelling.

Motšoane said on his last day he was “told to go home as mistakes were made”.
“The government never even compensated me. I was at home but still getting my salary, I was later called back to work,” he said.
He added that in 2015 when Lt Gen Mahao was killed “we fled with (Thomas) Thabane because we feared for our lives”.
The NRA chairman, Pelele Letsoela, said their mandate is to ensure unity and reconciliation of Basotho nation.

Letsoela said they need to find out what the leadership of the country and the victims say about these issues.
“The reason to call this meeting was to be with leaders and victims on what to do to build peace and reconciliation,” Letsoela said.
He said the NRA initially believed that calling victims would not be easy, “but we decided that they should be called”.
The Alliance of Democrats (AD) deputy leader, Professor Ntoi Rapapa, said they appreciate the progress made by the NRA and support by the government, SADC envoy Justice Dikgang Moseneke, political parties, and others.

“There should be stability, peace, reconciliation, and unity in Lesotho,” Professor Rapapa said.
“To do justice to the reforms its time should be extended to five years after the 2022 general elections,” he said.
He said a government of national unity for five years could be of good help for Basotho.

Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu pledged to provide financial support and leadership to the NRA in the implementation of reforms.
“Let us work hard to build the new Lesotho where the people will not humiliate each other,” Mokhothu said.
He said all should be allowed to speak their mind without the fear of being heckled.
Prime Minister Majoro asked “what went wrong between Basotho, where is the love?”.
He pledged to work hard to ensure the success of the reforms.

Nkheli Liphoto

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