SECHABA Chabeli finished second in the 2022 Retro Roof race over the weekend in Thaba-Bosiu, Maseru.
Unlike the motorcycles only Mother of Hard Enduro (Roof of Africa) which is held in Lesotho annually at the end of the year, the old school Retro Roof is open to cars, motorcycles, quad bikes, and side-by-side machines.
Chabeli completed the 261km bikes open race in 4:47:14 finishing behind the winner Wade Blaauw (4:42:22).
Chabeli became Lesotho’s top performer in last year’s Roof of Africa finishing 16th in his silver class debut.
It was also his first time to finish the Roof of Africa race. He first competed in the race in 2019 in the bronze category but failed to finish the race due to mechanical problems.
The weekend race saw Pietvan Tonder coming third after clocking 4:49:13.
Another Mosotho rider, Nkhasi Matete, completed the race in 5:39:29 coming 7th while his compatriot, Moiphepi Bereng, clocked 5:47:00 to come 10th.
Katleho Tlhaole finished 20th recording 7:35:15.
There were 24 participants in the category.
In the cars Retro C1 261km race, Makara Matekane and Keith Makenete were the only Basotho competitors in that category. Matekane came first completing it in 8:42:46 while Makenete failed to finish.
Mohapi Ramoseeka was the only athlete in the Bikes 200 category. He completed the 223km race in 7:32:30. Francois Smit won the Retro C2 cars in 5:41:30 while Rudolph Du Toit won the C3 class in 5:41:21.
Hennes Saaijman won the side-by-side machines race clocking 4:51:40. Iain McDonald won the vintage bikes category recording 5:48:22.
The race is returning after a two-year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year’s edition will only be the second after its inception in 2019.
Top three finishers from each race got trophies while all the riders who finished the respective races got medals.
Lesotho Off Road Association (LoRA) public relations officer, Lehlohonolo Taela who was also part of the organising team, said they were happy with the performance of local riders who used the race as part of their preparation for the Roof of Africa.
“We are happy with the performance of our local riders,” Taela said.
“They performed well and if they maintain that, we will have good results in the Roof of Africa this year.’’
The race attracted 65 riders, which Taela said was a great number considerings the two-year break.
TOKELO Klaas will miss this year’s National Chess Championships after failing to participate in the qualifiers.
This means that the country’ top ranked player will not be able to defend the title he won last year.
Klaas failed to play in the qualifiers because of work commitments.
“I am not playing this year because I failed to participate in the qualifiers due to work commitments,” Klaas told the Lesotho Times this week.
“However, missing the national championships is not a big issue as it will not affect my rankings.’’
The championships would have been his last competition this year as he will only return to competitive chess next year.
His previous competition was the Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India from 28 July to 9 August 2022. Lesotho finished 129th out of 162 teams in the women’s category. The side was equally poor in the open section finishing 164th out of 188 participants.
Klaas is one of the only three Lesotho players with Chess International Federation (FIDE) Candidate Master (CM) titles. The others are Sechaba Khalema and veteran Joang Molapo.
The defending champion in the ladies’ category, Nteboheleng Thetsane, has qualified and she will be available to defend her title, the Chess Federation of Lesotho (CFL) has confirmed.
The championships were initially set for this weekend at a yet to be confirmed. However, CFL has postponed it until further notice.
CFL secretary general, Tlhoriso Morienyane, confirmed the postponement to this publication on Monday.
‘’We have postponed the championships to a yet to be announced date. There are some logistical issues that are not yet in place,’’ Morienyane said.
COSMOS Academy will host its debut Independence Tennis Tournament in Maseru from 1 to 4 October 2022.
Cosmos president and co-founder, Rantsane Monare, told guests during the launch this week that plans were already afoot to host the event annually.
He said the preparations were going on well and they already had 58 players registered for the tournament.
The event is meant to give players a chance to earn points for their national ranking while also celebrating the country’s independence. Lesotho got its independence on 4 October 1966.
Players will battle it out in the junior, senior and veterans’ categories in both the singles and doubles.
There is also a special category for under-18 to under-20 to help the players to prepare for the African Union Sports Council Region 5 Games. The games will be held in Malawi in December 2022.
The tournament is open for all and Monare said they are already receiving enquiries from players in South Africa. Registration closes on 24 September.
“We are going to make it an annual event,” Monare said.
“The turnout is promising and so far, we have 58 players. We have top players coming from South Africa who have also registered.”
There will be prizes for winners in all the categories. However, Monare said the juniors will only get gifts like vouchers instead of cash as stipulated by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) regulations.
On his part, Lesotho Lawn Tennis Association (LLTA) interim president, Ntsie Maphathe, showered praises on Cosmos for the initiative.
“Our task is to see to it that the sport is growing and there are many players playing all over the country.
“We can’t achieve that alone but with the assistance of the clubs. So what Cosmos is doing should be an example for other clubs,” Maphathe said.
THE 2022/23 A-Division League is starting next month, the A-Division Management Committee (ADMACO) has said.
ADMACO public relations officer, Mothusi Letsie, told this publication this week that unlike the premier league, they had tentatively set the A-Division season’s starting date as 1 October 2022.
The premier league is starting this weekend.
“The official dates are not yet confirmed but the first games are likely to be played on 1 and 2 October 2022,” Letsie said.
The fixtures will also be released later.
The commencement of the games has also been delayed by the premier league and A-Division promotional play-offs which will be held on 18 September 2022 at Bambatha Tšita Sports Arena.
The play-offs will see two A Division teams, Limkokwing and Naughty Boys battle for the premier league slot left by Kick4Life when the side withdrew from the league last season.
The slot that will be left by one of the two sides in the A-Division will be filled by the B-Division play-offs winner between AC Milan and Linotsi.
Letsie said the league would also run without a sponsor in the upcoming season. It has not had a sponsor for the last two seasons. This after PostBank indefinitely deferred its sponsorship on account of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We still don’t have a sponsor since PostBank asked for a break on account of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
In the absence of a sponsor, the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) has been bankrolling the league.
- promises to surrender to SA police to clear his name
- insists he did not kill 16 people in Soweto
CONTROVERSIAL Famo gang leader, Sarele ‘Lehlanya’ Sello, wanted in South Africa for allegedly killing 16 tavern patrons and seriously wounding seven others, says he and his fellow gang members will surrender themselves to South African police and challenge all the charges preferred against them.
In the end, Sello is adamant that he and his gang will be vindicated. He insists they did not commit the dastardly 10 July 2022 crime which dumbfounded the world and left the South African Police Service (SAPS) scrambling to unravel its motive. Though he did not explain why the SAPS could just bolt from the blue and link him to the crime, the Famo gang leader is pleading his “full innocence”.
He spoke exclusively to the Lesotho Times this week in the wake of the SAPS’s recent announcement that they had launched a manhunt for him and four of his gang members.
Besides Sello, the SAPS has also issued arrest warrants for Tšepiso Elliot Radebe, Thabang Radikatara, Tšeliso Moleko and Keletso Rabasotho, all Lesotho nationals.
Sello did not say when he will surrender. All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader, Nkaku Kabi, whose political campaign Sello has been spearheading, has since urged the Famo boss to hand himself over to the SAPS and clear his name if indeed he did not mastermind the crime.
Sello and other Famo music groups have been accused of committing a spate of violent crimes in both Lesotho and South Africa, in turf wars for control of lucrative criminal networks in illegal mining as well as dominance in their music genre. Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro’s government has since branded them “internal terrorists”.
Of all their alleged crimes, the allegation that they stormed Mdlalose’s Tavern in Soweto on the night of 10 July 2022 and opened fire at joyful patrons, killing 16 instantly and seriously wounding seven others is particularly galling.
After more than two months of investigations, the SAPS finally splashed Sello and his co-accused’s faces in police stations and in newspapers last week after linking them to the heinous crime.
Sello in turn said this week their decision to hand themselves over was because they were “innocent and have nothing to hide”.
News of the SAPS manhunt against Sello and his alleged co-conspirators had prompted ABC leader, Mr Kabi, who has been routinely hobnobbing with the Famo gangsters, to address a hastily arranged press conference last Wednesday at which he publicly exhorted Sello and his cohorts to surrender themselves and clear their names if they did not commit the crime.
Mr Kabi has been hobnobbing with Sello and members of his Terene faction despite the designation of the Famo artists as “terrorists”.
The ABC leader’s decision to hastily convene the presser appears to have been part of a damage limitation exercise in the wake of the SAPS’s announcement linking the Terene gang, so central to his campaign, to the heinous crime. Before the announcement, the SAPS had allegedly tried to work with the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) to get the Famo boss and his acolytes arrested and handed over seemingly to no avail. The LMPS has since denied that allegation.
Sello has been a regular feature at ABC campaign rallies where he is often given the platform to address and even berate Mr Kabi’s detractors, including Prime Minister Majoro. At one such rally, Sello vowed to deal severely with Dr Majoro – for not attending ABC rallies despite having been catapulted to the premiership by the party – a threat that must have dispatched a cold shiver down the premier’s spine.
Normally, the issuance of arrest warrants would either cause suspects to immediately hand themselves over to the police or go into hiding – but not Sello and his associates.
They still made a grand appearance at an ABC rally in Kolonyama, Leribe, on Sunday as if nothing was happening. Clad in the black and gold coloured blankets, which have become synonymous with the Terene faction of the Famo gangs, Sello cut an expressionless figure at the rally, seemingly unworried that his face has been gracing front pages of newspapers and notice boards of police stations across South Africa.
Amid all the pomp and fanfare at the rally, he and his gang members even escorted Mr Kabi to the main podium. The only act of restraint was that Sello did not address the crowd as has become his routine at ABC rallies.
But he subsequently poured his heart out in an exclusive interview with the Lesotho Times.
He said they would heed Mr Kabi’s advice to hand themselves over to SAPS because they were ‘innocent’ of the charges levelled against them. He however, did not say when they would surrender to the SAPS.
“We are going to do as the (ABC) party leader has asked us to do,” Sello said in the interview.
“We are all innocent. Even those (SAPS) who have called us know that we have nothing to do with what we are being accused of. We have nothing to hide and we are willing to co-operate with them (SAPS) to clear our names. Even if we were to be arrested, we would still be released because we did nothing wrong,” Sello added.
The linking of Sello and his gang members to the dastardly crime remains a huge embarrassment to some in the ABC nonetheless. They question why the party should continue fraternising with alleged criminals yet fighting rampant crime in Lesotho is one of its core manifesto issues in the upcoming 7 October 2022 general elections.
Sello and his gang have sided with Mr Kabi in his power struggle with Dr Majoro.
Two months ago, Sello took to the podium at an ABC rally in Mohale’s Hoek and threatened to “deal” with Dr Majoro for snubbing ABC rallies. He did not specify what action he was contemplating against the premier but that mere warning should have been chilling for Dr Majoro.
Sello issued the chilling threat after Mr Kabi had claimed he had smoked the peace pipe with Dr Majoro, whom he had beaten in the race for the ABC leadership in January this year, before his unsuccessful acrimonious bid to then oust him as prime minister.
The ABC leader had vowed that he and Dr Majoro would be addressing joint rallies as a show of their newly found unity. The prime minister has nonetheless been a no show at all the ABC rallies held since Mr Kabi’s pledge. That seems to have incensed Sello, prompting his threat against the premier.
Mr Kabi has nonetheless urged Sello to surrender himself to the SAPS and clear himself in the South African courts in the wake of the damning allegations against him and his cohorts.
If need be, Mr Kabi said he would himself arrange for Sello and his four acolytes to be picked up at the border by the South African police.
He had warned them against delaying their surrender as that could be construed to mean they were indeed guilty of the 16 murder and seven attempted murder crimes they were being accused of.
But Sello and his co-accused have still not surrendered to the SAPS, prompting Mr Kabi to reiterate his appeal to them at the Sunday rally in Kolonyama at which they were all present.
“I have called out to these men, my fellow men, to go and report themselves as a warrant of arrest has been issued against them,” Mr Kabi said. Sello and his associates cut expressionless figures as Mr Kabi reiterated his call.
Despite exhorting them to surrender, the ABC leader is nevertheless standing by his men. He has hinted he believes in their innocence.
Instead, he has alleged a plot to kill Sello and his men in Lesotho to deprive the ABC of crucial political support. He sensationally claimed to have received “intelligence” of a conspiracy by the Majoro government to assassinate Sello and his followers using the security agencies.
The conspiracy, he said, was primarily meant to disrupt efforts by Sello and his faction to campaign for the ABC. Mr Kabi has previously credited Sello with recruiting what he claimed were more than 40 000 new supporters to the ABC in recent months. He however did not say exactly who in the ABC-led coalition was behind the alleged plot to “assassinate” Sello.
“I’ve received intelligence of a plan within this government- the very government that is led by the ABC, to have Ntate Lehlanya and his group killed so that their supporters won’t vote for the ABC in large numbers,” a visibly irate Mr Kabi charged at the rally without elaborating.
He urged Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli and Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Commander, Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela, to arrest Sello and his gang if they had any tangible evidence against them for any alleged crimes.
“Ntate Compol and the army commander, I respect you very much. If there is anything tangible against these men, please take them in. I urge you to involve other security agencies in that as well.
“There is no need for you to and taint your relations with us as we will be in government after the elections. With or without the Terene, we are still going to get votes,” Mr Kabi said.
Contacted for comment over the alleged plot to assassinate Sello and his fellow gangsters, LDF public relations officer, Captain Sakeng Lekola, simply retorted; “There is no way we are going to respond to utterances made by politicians”.
Commissioner Molibeli could not be reached for comment as his mobile phone rang unanswered.
…as ConCourt nullifies constitutional amendments,
…rules that His Majesty was “ill-advised” to recall parly to pass the constitutional bills.
THE Constitutional Court has dealt the reforms process a heavy blow by nullifying the constitutional amendments which were recently passed by the recalled parliament and gazetted into law by His Majesty, King Letsie III.
The court also nullified all other laws which were gazetted into law after their approval by the recalled parliament.
The court bench comprising of Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane and Justices Tšeliso Monapathi and ‘Mafelile Ralebese this week ruled that the King had been “ill-advised” by the Council of State to recall parliament to approve the constitutional amendments.
The court ruled that there was no threat to lives to justify the state of emergency which was declared on 16 August and used as a basis for recalling parliament to approve the amendments.
The judgement was handed down in response to a consolidated application by lawyer, Lintle Tuke, and journalist-cum-activist, Kananelo Boloetse. Law and Justice Minister Lekhetho Rakuoane has since lodged an appeal against the decision in the Court of Appeal.
Adv Tuke and Mr Boloetse had initially filed applications arguing that there was no calamity or disaster in Lesotho that warranted the declaration of a state of emergency which paved the way for the recall of parliament to pass the constitutional amendments.
In any event, a parliament recalled to deal with an emergency was only limited to taking measures to deal with the emergency. Approving constitutional amendments was not part of its responsibilities. It had no powers to transact any other business including approving the constitutional amendments, Adv Tuke and Mr Boloetse had argued.
Hence the constitutional amendments that were subsequently gazetted into law by His Majesty were illegal and of no force, they had argued.
Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro had on 16 August 2022 gazetted a notice declaring a state of emergency in Lesotho as the only tool available for him to get King Letsie III to recall the 10th parliament after its dissolution at midnight on 13 July 2022, after it had completed its five-year tenure. This would then enable it to pass the much-delayed reform bills ahead of the 7 October 2022 general elections.
The King subsequently gazetted the recall of parliament from 22 to 29 August 2022 to pass the bills giving effect to some of the constitutional reforms recommended by SADC in 2016 to help end perennial instability in Lesotho.
The recalled parliament approved the constitutional amendments on 29 August. This paved the way for the King to gazette the new act on 31 August. It is titled Tenth Amendment to the Constitution Act, 2022.
Reading the judgement on behalf of the court bench this week, Justice Sakoane said they had found that His Majesty had been ill-advised by the Council of State to recall the parliament to approve the constitutional amendments and other acts.
The chief justice said there was no danger which had necessitated the recall of parliament under the guise of dealing with an emergency. What had simply happened was that parliament had delayed approving the constitutional amendments until its term expired. This did not create an emergency to warrant its recall. The task of resuscitating and approving the amendments as well as enacting other laws now fell with the parliament which would be inaugurated after next month’s elections, the top judge said.
“The applicants are right in their contention that parliament was simply beaten to time,” Justice Sakoane said.
“This could have been avoided if parliament prioritised passing of the bills over other legislative business. Failure by parliament to pass the bills by 14 July when the proclamation to dissolve it was gazetted had an effect of annulling and cancelling them for good. They became corpses which a declaration of a state of emergency could not resurrect to be the legislative business of a recalled parliament…
“The business of a recalled parliament is to debate and pass resolutions and not legislate. I am fortified in this view that the effect of a dissolution of parliament is to terminate all its pending bills. It does not preserve them in a legislative fridge to be opened if parliament is recalled. A recalled parliament does not have jurisdiction and authority to resurrect business killed and buried by its dissolution.
“The failure by the 10th parliament to pass the bills falls far too below the threshold of being a public emergency that threatens the life of a nation. There is merit in the applicants’ contention. The imperative of passing of the bills has to be left to the 11th parliament (after the elections).”
Justice Sakoane said the King had not erred by recalling parliament; he had simply been ill-advised by the Council of State.
“His Majesty has been ill-advised. The blame should be put at the door of the Council of State. The King does not err but is caused to do so by his advisers.
“It is in my respectful opinion that the recalled parliament stands dissolved…The more we bend the constitution to become a vehicle for what some want or try to turn it into a vessel for a particular view of what society should be, the more we discredit it making it much more difficult for it to serve us. A constitution cannot achieve what politics cannot deliver.
“It is in the nature of democracy that parliament passes some bills and fails to deliver others on time. This (failure to pass some bills) does not constitute an emergency at all, irrespective of expectations or interest in the bill. The disappointment when a bill of popular interest fails to be passed into law cannot be equated to an eminent threat to the life of a nation.
“The notion that when parliament fails to do its job efficiently and on time thereby constitutes a public emergency is misplaced. Section 23(1) of the constitution which provides the power and purpose to declare a state of emergency is certainly devalued if resorted to for such tenuous reasons. If this important power can be exercised for such reasons, the country is put on a slippery slope towards rule by state of emergencies,” the chief justice said.
He acknowledged the importance of the implementation of the multi-sector reforms, saying because the dissolved parliament had failed to pass the necessary laws, the task would now fall to the 11th parliament to be constituted after next month’s elections.
“The national reforms project is a journey and not an event. The destination is an attainment of all the objectives of the national reforms. It is therefore in the national interest that the reforms project continues in the next administration for the bills not passed by the 10th parliament to be before the 11th parliament soon to be borne after the general elections which are just around the corner,” Justice Sakoane said.
He said Adv Tuke and Mr Boloetse’s application was “a victory for constitutionalism and the rule of law”.
“They (applicants) defended the constitution in the interests of the public.
“In the result the following order is made: The declaration of state of emergency by the prime minister is declared null and void; the recall of the 10th parliament to pass the bills is outside the powers of His Majesty; the recalled parliament has no constitutional authority to debate and pass the bills,” Justice Sakoane ordered.
Both Adv Tuke and Mr Boloetse have welcomed the court judgement.
Speaking at a press conference hosted by the Media Institute of Southern Africa–Lesotho (MISA) at its offices in Maseru yesterday, Adv Tuke said he had filed the court challenge because he was convinced that the dissolved 10th parliament ought not to have been recalled.
He said now that the government had indicated its intention to appeal the judgement, he was ready to oppose its application.
“I’m ready to defend the rule of law in the Court of Appeal,” Adv Tuke said.
Mr Boloetse concurred, saying there was no justification for a state of emergency to recall the 10th parliament to approve the reforms bill which had it failed to do during its tenure. He said the reforms business could still be concluded by the parliament which will be installed after the polls.
Like Adv Tuke, he said he was prepared to defend their Constitutional Court victory in the apex court.
Law Society President, Tekane Maqakachane, who has a pending similar application, has hailed the Constitutional Court judgement.
“We note with great interest and relief the Court’s decision declaring the Declaration of the state of emergency, the recall of the 10th parliament and any business conducted by the recalled parliament as unconstitutional, null and void ab initio (from the beginning).
“The net consequence of the decision is that all laws passed by the recalled parliament and assented to by His Majesty are not law,” Adv Maqakachane said.
Other laws that had been approved by the recalled parliament and gazetted by the King have also been nullified by the court decision. These are Millennium Challenge Account Lesotho Authority (Winding Up and Repeal) Act; the Specified Officers Defined Contribution Pensions Fund (Amendment) Act; the Public Officers’ Defined Contribution Pension Fund (Amendment) Act; the Harmonization of the Rights of Customary Widows with Legal Capacity of Married Persons Act and the Metolong Authority (Amendment) Act.
Adv Maqakachane said the Law Society would not rush into withdrawing its own application in case the government appeals Adv Tuke and Mr Boloetse’s victory.
Law and Justice Minister Lekhetho Rakuoane was not reachable for comment regarding whether or not the government would challenge the decision.
ECONET Telecom Lesotho (ETL) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will see women-led businesses getting a platform to market their products.
The products will be sold on ETL’s E-Commerce mobile application in the hope that they will get access to a wider market.
The project was primarily mooted to assist women who were part of the UNDP’s Her Empire mentorship initiative. Her Empire started in May 2022 and trained 18 businesswomen to promote gender equality in the business sphere.
According to the UNDP, Her Empire was informed by the realisation that men were dominant in business. Therefore, there was need to increase the number of female entrepreneurs.
The partnership signed this week will see the two entities exploring ways of using mobile technology to respond to emerging development challenges while accelerating efforts towards the attainment of sustainable development goals (SDGs), UNDP resident representative Nessie Golakai said.
“ETL has pledged to support this initiative with technologies required to enable women-led enterprise to thrive in the world filled with uncertainty,” Ms Golakai said.
She said they would cooperate in facilitating access to simple digital and mobile technology-based applications, sharing of information, supporting capacity building and development of innovative technology and identifying operational and strategic synergies.
“I’m glad to announce that this is not the first MoU between companies. ETL has helped us before in developing several digital solutions for the government in health, community policing and information systems to capture and analyse data to help strategic delivery of different ministerial mandates,” Ms Golakai said.
On his part, ETL chief executive officer (CEO), Dennis Plaatjies, said SMEs mostly struggle to access finance.
“A large percentage of the country’s economy depends on small businesses that are mostly led by women, so through this agreement, they will be assisted to access a wider market through the E-commerce application to sell their products internationally,” Mr Plaatjies said.
The post ETL, UNDP in partnership to stimulate women-led businesses appeared first on Lesotho Times.
… BNP leader says Sakoane should have recused himself
BASOTHO National Party (BNP) leader, Machesetsa Mofomobe, has claimed that Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane and other local judges were “interested parties” who should not have presided over a constitutional application to nullify the recall of parliament through a state of emergency. The application also sought to nullify all the constitutional amendments after it had been recalled.
Justices Sakoane, Tšeliso Monapathi and ‘Mafelile Ralebese this week granted lawyer, Lintle Tuke and journalist-cum-activitist Kananelo Boloetse’s application for the nullification of last month’s declaration of a state emergency by King Letsie III. The declaration had paved the way for the recall of the recently dissolved 10th parliament to pass a raft of constitutional amendments and others laws as envisaged in the national reforms process.
The court bench also nullified the amendments which had been gazetted on 31 August by the King as the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution Act, 2022. Handing down the judgement, Justice Sakoane described Adv Tuke and Mr Boloetse’s application as “a victory for constitutionalism and the rule of law”.
However, Mr Mofomobe believes there is more to the verdict than simply protecting the rule of law. In an interview this week, the Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing minister described the judgement as “self-serving”. He said Justice Sakoane and the rest of the judiciary had one eye on protecting their own interests as the amendments passed by parliament ultimately entailed judicial reforms.
Had it, the Act would have created a new Supreme Court of Appeal and reformed High Court. As a result of these changes, Justice Sakoane’s current post would have had to be advertised while that of president of the Court of Appeal would have been abolished.
Therefore Justice Sakoane and his colleagues should have recused themselves from the constitutional application, Mr Mofomobe said. He also called on Court of Appeal president, Kananelo Mosito, to recuse himself now that the government had indicated that it would appeal against the Constitutional Court verdict.
“I suspect that Chief Justice (Chief Justice Sakoane) made a judgment of this nature to protect himself,” Mr Mofomobe said.
“I say this because under sections 120 and 124 of the (nullified) amended constitution, two new courts of law would have been established, namely the Supreme Court of Appeal to replace the Court of Appeal and a reformed High Court which would no longer be headed by the chief justice but a judge president.
“Under this arrangement, the current chief justice would have had to reapply for the post along with other hopefuls for the top job in the envisaged Supreme Court of Appeal. One might assume that because the chief justice had a vested interest in the outcome of this case, he supported a return to the status quo because it allows him to keep his job. I’m therefore of the view that he should have recused himself instead of presiding over a case whose outcome he had a vested interest.
“Similarly, the president of the Court of Appeal should recuse himself now that the government will be appealing the Constitutional Court judgment. In terms of the (nullified) amendments, the Court of Appeal would have made way for the Supreme Court of Appeal. Therefore, I would advise the president of the Court of Appeal not to preside over the appeal because it affects him directly. His job is on the line. If he presides over the appeal, he will be compromising himself,” Mr Mofomobe said.
He said by striking down all laws passed by the recalled parliament, the Constitutional Court judgment had nullified reforms aimed at dealing with several issues including the widely condemned endemic culture of floor-crossing by legislators whenever it suited their interests.
Due to the court verdict, Mr Mofomobe said Lesotho risked post-election instability emanating from defections in parliament as MPs cross the floor from one party to another.
He said although court decisions had to be respected, he was however disillusioned with the latest Constitutional Court judgement on the importance of the rule of law is public knowledge.
“I’m disillusioned by the nullification of the Electoral Amendment Act, 2022. This Act would have addressed the problem of rampant floor-crossing in parliament which many Basotho have complained about over the years. Now that the Act has been nullified, MPs will continue doing as they please, crossing over to other parties immediately after elections and betraying those who elected them. I foresee post-election instability (as a result of the court judgement).
“The court also nullified amendments which would have made it compulsory for proportional representation (PR) seats to be allocated on the basis of an individual’s performance in the polls. The amendment came as a result of widespread complaints that party leaders and their executive committees compiled PR lists and allocated them to their favourites instead of the best-placed losers in the elections. The best loser model has collapsed with this judgement. It is gone,” Mr Mofomobe said.
He also expressed his disappointment at the nullification of amendments to make Xhosa and Sephuthi national languages alongside Sotho and English.
He said he was further disappointed that the court had also nullified the Harmonization of the Rights of Customary Widows with the Legal Capacity of Married Persons Act, 2022. This act would have given women married under customary law the same rights as their counterparts married under civil law.
“I’m extremely disappointed with the judgement because some of the nullified laws would have gone a long way towards restoring peace and stability in the country. The nullification of provisions to make Xhosa and Sephuthi national languages means the rights of the Xhosa and Phuthi have been trampled on.
“As far as the BNP is concerned, ordinary Basotho are the losers due to this judgement. The politicians have won. They have prevailed over the public,” Mr Mofomobe said.
TWO security guards have been gunned down by unknown assailants at Katse Dam, Thaba-Tseka. The gruesome incident is yet another case of the rampant murders rocking the country with the police seemingly powerless to stop them.
In a statement, the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) yesterday said the incident occurred in the early hours of Monday.
The authority said the guards were found alive and ferried to ‘Mamohau Hospital. One is said to have succumbed to his injuries on the way to hospital while the other died on Tuesday.
“It is with heavy hearts that the LHDA informs the public of a tragic incident that happened at Katse Dam in the early hours of Monday 12 September 2022,” the LHDA statement says.
“It is reported that on or about 4am, unknown people attacked the security officers deployed at the two entrances of the Katse Dam (West Gate and Dam Wall entrance). Both security officers were found in the morning with gunshot wounds and were immediately rushed to ‘Mamohau Hospital. Sadly, they both lost their lives; one on the way to hospital and the other on Tuesday 13 September 2022.
“The incident has been reported to the police and investigations are ongoing. LHDA management wishes to express its heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased and sincerely hopes that the perpetrators will be found and brought to book.”
Katse Dam was constructed as part of phase one of the 1986 Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) agreement between Lesotho and South Africa to provide water to the Gauteng province and to generate hydro-electricity for Lesotho.
Work on phase two of LHWP is underway. It entails the construction of a dam at Polihali downstream of the confluence of the Khubelu and Senqu (Orange) Rivers and an approximately 38km long concrete-lined gravity tunnel connecting the Polihali reservoir to the Katse reservoir.
Other Phase II activities include advance infrastructure (roads, accommodation, power lines and telecommunication) and the implementation of environmental and social mitigation measures.
… ‘no one in Lesotho matches me on that front’
BASOTHO Action Party (BAP) leader, Nqosa Mahao, has a long list of accomplishments under his belt.
Among others, the law expert has worked in academia as executive dean at various universities in neighbouring South Africa. He reached the academic pinnacle when he was appointed Vice Chancellor of the National University of Lesotho (NUL) in 2014. He however, did not seek the renewal of his contract when it expired in 2019. His mind had already been set on a political career.
Many would have been content with such an impressive record of service, taken their well-deserved benefits, purchased a horse and ridden off into the sunset. But not Professor Mahao. Even before leaving NUL, he had already joined the cut-throat world of politics. Among others, he beat seasoned politicians like Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro and former Defence and National Security Minister Prince Maliehe to land the post of deputy leader of the All Basotho Convention (ABC). His victory was all the more remarkable because it was achieved in spite of then Prime Minister and ABC leader, Thomas Thabane’s opposition to his candidature. Derided as a “rag” and political greenhorn by Mr Thabane, Prof Mahao nonetheless soldiered on and won the right to be the ABC’s second in command at the party’s February 2019 electoral conference. He subsequently played a starring role in toppling Mr Thabane from the premiership in May 2020 and the subsequent establishment of the current governing coalition anchored by the ABC and the Democratic Congress (DC). He served as Law and Justice Minister under the Majoro-led coalition until his sacking in April 2020. He was fired after forming the BAP. Last week, he was officially confirmed by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) as the BAP candidate for the Koro-Koro constituency. He was confirmed alongside candidates for other parties. The Lesotho Times (LT)’s Special Projects Editor Bongiwe Zihlangu was on hand to witness the event. She interviewed Prof Mahao on the sidelines of the event about his prospects come the 7 October 2022 elections.
LT: You’ve been confirmed as the BAP candidate for the Koro-Koro constituency. This is your first time contesting a National Assembly seat. Your comments on that.
Mahao: I’m well satisfied. This satisfaction comes from the fact that the BAP has done very well to attract support since its formation. You’ll recall that the BAP was formed in April 2021. In just a year and four months, it has attracted a lot of support not only in Koro-Koro but throughout Lesotho. I’m convinced that Basotho have heard and embraced our message.
As the BAP, we are confident of winning the (Koro-Koro) constituency. Not only that, we are confident of winning the elections. We’ll emerge victorious and I’ll be the first prime minister from Koro-Koro.
LT: Koro-Koro is seemingly one of Lesotho’s neglected constituencies. There is hardly any development taking place and the roads are particularly bad. It looks desolate. What do you intend to do about that in the event that you win the elections?
Mahao: You are absolutely right. Koro-Koro has been completely neglected. I would liken it to the biblical place where the devil took Jesus and tried to tempt him with promises of power and wealth if he (Jesus) betrayed God and worshipped him (devil) instead.
Koro-Koro could have been the agricultural hub of the country if we had a government that had its priorities right. With its fertile soils and abundant waters sources, it could easily feed the whole of Lesotho. There is no other explanation as to why this constituency is in such bad shape, save to say that it is a victim of chronic deficiency in leadership. But things are certainly going to change because Lesotho now has the BAP. We’ll provide the kind of strategic leadership needed to transform this place and the lives of Koro-Koro natives.
LT: We live in an era where none of the political parties have been able to achieve outright victories in the elections. Coalition governments have been the order of the day since 2012. Have you identified and engaged potential coalition partners to work with in the event that the 7 October polls fail to yield an outright winner?
Mahao: No. We have deliberately decided to focus on our own election campaign for now. Soon after the polls, if there’s a hung parliament, we’ll begin our assessment of political parties to identify potential coalition partners. These must be parties whose guiding principles and visions match our own. Our guiding principles are fostering clean and good governance, the rule of law as well as an equitable and an inclusive economy.
Ours would then be to identify political parties that share this vision and we’ll begin negotiations with them for the formation of a coalition government.
LT: You have already boldly and unequivocally stated that you’ll be Lesotho’s next prime minister. What will top your priority list in the event that you win power?
Mahao: The first thing would be ensuring proper administration. This is sorely lacking at the present moment. There is no good governance. Governance has collapsed. The public service has collapsed. The utilisation of the country’s resources is so bad. What the country needs is a person like me who has vast experience in administration to restore order.
No such person currently exists in Lesotho except me.
You’ll recall that I’ve been at the helm of administration at several institutions of higher learning. That experience is needed in government. I have led academics in different capacities. It has been said that ruling nations is like ruling wild cats. But academics are even worse wild cats. I have run and stabilised several institutions.
I have served as Executive Dean at the Mafikeng Campus of the North-West University and I later served as Executive Dean of the College of Law at the University of South Africa (Unisa).
I served as Executive Dean of the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management at the Witwatersrand University. I also served as Pro-Vice Chancellor and later Vice Chancellor at the National University of Lesotho (NUL). Therefore, I have experience in administration and I can proudly state that no one measures up to me.
As I’ve already said, administration has been the weakest link in the development chain of Lesotho. I want to bring my experience to bear on governance. I will achieve good governance.
LT: By comparison, the BAP crowd which turned up to witness your official confirmation as the party candidate appeared bigger than that of the other parties’ candidates. What would you say to BAP members who turned up to support you?
Mahao: My message to them is that the day of reckoning is almost upon us. Victory is close. Let’s continue working very hard. Every man and woman must pull up their socks and put the remaining period to good use. I urge BAP supporters to go on door-to-door campaigns. We must continue drumming our message to the people because ours is the only political outfit which is capable of rescuing Lesotho. We are a nation that has lost its values. We need to rebuild Lesotho into a nation that upholds good values.
LT: What is your recipe for successful leadership?
Mahao: Working with people. I’ve developed the flair for it and it is one of the things that make my heart overflow with joy. I easily relate with people from all walks of life and that is why the BAP is growing in leaps and bounds.
My style of leadership is about being open, accessible and fair while sticking to the truth. I say it as it is and that is how it ought to be.
LT: Any parting remarks?
Mahao: I want to congratulate fellow candidates from other political parties for earning the right to represent their followers in the upcoming elections. They should always bear in mind that this is democracy at play; it is a game. It is not a fight. We are not enemies. We are only competing against each other and eventually one of us must represent all of us in parliament.
The post I have the best administrative experience to be PM: Mahao appeared first on Lesotho Times.
MOVEMENT for Economic Change (MEC) leader, Selibe Mochoboroane, says he will implement the death penalty if he wins next month’s eagerly anticipated general elections.
Addressing more than 2000 supporters at a campaign rally in Qalabane, Mafeteng this week, Mr Mochoboroane said the rampant murders countrywide were a major cause for concern for all peace-loving Basotho. Implementing the death penalty would go a long way towards curbing the scourge, he said.
“An MEC government will tackle the high murder rates by implementing the death penalty. This is necessary if we are to end murders in this country,” he said.
A 2021 World Population Review report indicated that Lesotho had the highest murder rate in Africa and the sixth highest in the world.
Although the country has the death penalty on its statute books, the judiciary has over the years refrained from imposing the sentence.
In fact, the last execution in Lesotho was carried out on 25 November 1995. The country had joined other “progressive” nations in imposing a moratorium on executions as they are considered to be a cruel, degrading and inhuman form of punishment.
But in recent years, calls for the imposition of the death penalty have unsurprisingly escalated as the country battles to deal with rising cases of murders.
Deputy Prime Minister and Democratic Congress (DC) leader, Mathibeli Mokhothu, is among those who have said there must be zero tolerance and swift action against the killers. His DC predecessor and former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili and former attorney General, Haae Phoofolo, are also on record saying executions are the only way to punish the criminals and deter like-minded people.
Ironically, Mr Mochoboroane’s home turf of Mafeteng is one of the hotbeds for murders and other violent crimes which are often blamed on rampaging Famo gangs that have turned the district into their stronghold.
Unsurprisingly therefore, the MEC leader has now added his voice to calls to impose the death penalty.
“We have to take drastic measures to end the high murder rates in this country.
“Murder suspects should be denied bail. It should only be granted to those who accidentally kill or do so in self defence. The death penalty should be activated,” Mr Mochoboroane said.
He castigated political parties that associate with Famo gangs.
“An MEC government will promote Famo music, but we won’t tolerate Famo gangs killing people and committing other crimes.
“I don’t like the idea of parties affiliating with these gangs because when they commit crimes the politicians will protect them, thereby defeating the ends of justice. It is unacceptable.
“That will change when we get into power. We can’t have a situation where Famo gangs kill people in Lesotho and flee to South Africa. The South African government is running out of patience with Basotho in that country,” Mr Mochoboroane said.
He also talked up his chances of winning the upcoming 7 October 2022 elections, saying he had received reports from various constituencies indicating that party candidates and their followers were working very hard to ensure victory.
His government would improve infrastructure through roads construction, rural electrification and the provision of water countrywide, he said.
It would also grow the economy through the efficient and sustainable exploitation of the country’s abundant natural resources, he added.
REVOLUTION for Prosperity (RFP) leader, Sam Matekane, says his party will comply with last week’s High Court judgement ordering them to install former cabinet minister, Mahali Phamotse, and 16 others as its candidates for the 7 October 2022 elections.
However, his stance is at variance with that of some of the party members who have lodged an appeal in the Court of Appeal challenging the High Court’s decision ordering the RFP to install Dr Phamotse and others as its candidates in the upcoming polls.
Addressing about 3000 party supporters at a rally in Quthing this week, Mr Matekane said although they would have wanted to choose all their candidates through a merit-based system, they would have to abide by Judge Polo Banyane’s ruling.
Judge Banyane last week ruled that Dr Phamotse and 16 others were the rightful candidates to represent the party in the upcoming elections.
This after the former cabinet minister and the 16 had petitioned the court to nullify the RFP’s decision to snub them despite that they had won the primary elections in their constituencies.
Dr Phamotse and her co-applicants had won the primaries in their respective constituencies only for the party to choose others to stand as candidates in a subsequent interview process which it said was designed to ensure that “meritorious” candidates were selected.
They subsequently approached the High Court, arguing that the party had acted illegally by snubbing them despite their victories in the primaries.
Addressing an RFP rally in Quthing this week, Mr Matekane said his party would abide by the Friday ruling.
“We had a plan and vision to choose candidates to represent us in the forthcoming general elections but the High Court has shown the way by ruling against it,” Mr Matekane said, adding, “We’ll respect the decision”.
He said the RFP was running out of time as the elections were just around the corner. It would therefore be unhelpful to continue squabbling over party candidates, he said.
He urged party members to unite to ensure an outright RFP victory in the highly anticipated polls.
“I appeal to you all to work for the unity and growth of RFP. Let’s all remember why we got into politics. Be supportive and humble to one another until we get to the finish line.
“Let us go out there and convince even staunch members of other parties to give us their votes so that we emerge outright victors,” he said.
Upon assuming power, Mr Matekane said his government would pull out all the stops to improve Basotho’s lives by championing developmental projects and upholding the rule of law.
“One of our top priorities will be developing Lesotho by improving infrastructure. As a globetrotter who loves beautiful things, I will make sure that we construct modern buildings that we will all be proud of,” he said.
An RFP government would also implement the public’s recommendations on national reforms. He reiterated his pledge to create jobs so that there would not be any need for Basotho to go and work in South Africa.
Mr Matekane also called for an end to the escalating abuse and murders of women and children.
“We are aware of the rising cases of women abuse and killings around us. We don’t know what is wrong. Please let’s stop these unnecessary killings. We don’t need to live like this. All we need is peace,” he said.
Meanwhile, Molefe Ntikoane, who attended the rally, told the Lesotho Times that Mr Matekane deserved a chance to rule because of the numerous charitable activities that he had sponsored in the past.
“If he has already done so much for us even before joining politics, he surely deserves to be given a chance to prove himself like all the politicians who have come before him,” Mr Ntikoane said.
On his part, Lindekuhle Sibiya, a small-scale farmer from Dili-Dili, said he was confident that Mr Matekane would improve Lesotho’s agricultural output by providing farmers with inputs.
“I will vote for the RFP. Ntate Matekane is a farmer and he knows what resources are needed in order to get good harvests. We trust that he is going to help us with food production,” Mr Sibiya said.
The post RFP will comply with court ruling on candidates: Matekane appeared first on Lesotho Times.
…“venturing into the male-dominated industry is not for the faint-hearted”…
…“we suffer serious abuse from male passengers”…
…“some people refuse to board our taxis just because we are women”…
Hopolang Mokhopi | Seithati Mphatsoane
AT first glance, Thato Koloi (not her real name), looks like any other young Mosotho woman in her twenties.
She is elegantly decked out in stylish Nike sneakers, a designer white tee-shirt, blue denim jacket and matching tight-fitting denim pants known by fashionistas as ‘skinny jeans’. Her face is well-made up and her nails manicured too.
But as the saying goes, appearances may be deceiving. Ms Koloi’s chic attire is the only thing typical about her.
As the Lesotho Times crew found out during a visit to the Pitso Ground taxi rank in Maseru, she is no ordinary young woman. She and three other women, recently interviewed by this publication, have dared to venture into the male-dominated taxi industry.
Not only is Ms Koloi a taxi owner, she drives her own taxi as well.
Given the rarity of female taxi operators in Lesotho, the four women could be considered trailblazers for their gender.
But they would be the first to admit that it has not been the proverbial stroll in the park.
“I’ve been in this industry since 2020 and I’d be the first to say it’s not a bed of roses more so for a woman,” Ms Koloi says.
“Some male passengers mistake me for a tout whose only job is to load the taxi. They expect to see a man coming over to drive them when the vehicle is full. The incredulous looks on their faces can best be imagined than told for lack of the best words to express them.
“Some men utter insults while others are quick to remind me that I should be in the kitchen as a woman. Some question whether the journey will be safe with me behind the wheel. I’ve even had an extreme case where one passenger demanded that I stop the vehicle to let him get off as he didn’t feel safe being driven by a woman,” Ms Koloi says.
Despite the abuse, she has soldiered on because she says while not giving the best returns, the taxi industry enables her to pay the bills.
She is a single parent who has to take care of two children in primary and secondary schools.
“I have a Diploma in Human Resources from Lerotholi Polytechnic. But jobs have been hard to come by. I used my savings to buy a Honda Fit to provide taxi services. It is a cut-throat industry and the money is not always good for various reasons. For much of the past two years, there were Covid-19 restrictions limiting the number of passengers we could carry per trip.
“Besides that, there are too many taxis competing for passengers. Due to the economic challenges, we have lost some of our customers who are now walking long distances to get to their destinations. However, the little that I make is better than nothing at all. It keeps my children in school and ensures they have food and books too,” Ms Koloi says. She is however, reluctant to reveal how much she takes home per day.
Another female taxi driver, Lintle Phoofolo*, shares Ms Koloi’s sentiments.
Unlike the latter, Ms Phoofolo does not own the taxi she drives. Nor does she hold any tertiary qualifications.
“This job (driving a taxi) was not the kind of career I had ever imagined myself doing. Jobs are very scarce in this country and in the end you take whatever you can find.
“I’m married and I have a husband who works menial jobs. I had to find something to augment his wages. While he is supportive of my job, the same cannot be said of the male passengers who often pass snide remarks about female drivers. One has to grow a thick skin and soldier on lest the family starves,” Ms Phoofolo says.
Close by another female driver, Lerato Sello* sits in her Toyota Salon vehicle, waiting for it to fill up with passengers.
Like the others, she complains about the vile sexist remarks often thrown her way by male passengers.
“It’s tough in the industry. It’s not only male passengers calling us all sorts of names. Some of our male counterparts have seemingly not accepted us as their colleagues in the industry. They never miss an opportunity to remind us that this business is best left to them and we should be cooking and entertaining our husbands at home.
“I’ve even been given a nickname by our male colleagues. They call me ‘Sechacha’ (loosely translated to mean a whore),” Ms Sello says.
Her sentiments are shared by another female driver and taxi owner, Puseletso Mohapi*.
Ms Mohapi does not always drive her Honda Fit vehicle. She has employed several male drivers who have often proved unreliable.
“Oftentimes, they (drivers) take the vehicle when it has been filled with petrol only to return when it’s empty but without the money to show for it. Sometimes they blame the police for demanding bribes, sometimes they attribute their failure to come with any money to slow business. It’s a difficult industry more so if you’re a woman,” she says.
In addition to the rampant sexism, the women say they have to contend with the usual challenges afflicting the taxi industry. Like their male counterparts, they believe the M12 fare is a little return for their investments given the high costs of fuel and spare parts.
Despite the challenges, the women are soldiering on, defying the stereotypes about gender roles in the process.
*The names of the women have been changed at their request. They say this will protect them from possible victimisation for sharing their stories.
…officer had gunned down another man over a woman
A Quthing-based National Security Service (NSS) officer has been killed by a mob. This after he had fatally shot another man over a woman.
The incident happened on 4 September 2022.
Police spokesperson, Senior Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli this week said Seisa Nyakane, whose NSS rank was not given, got into a squabble with one Sejanamane Mpiti over a woman who was drinking with them at a bar in Quthing. It is not clear if the woman was romantically involved with either or both of the now deceased men.
Nyakane then drew his gun and shot at Mpiti six times. The latter was rushed to hospital where he was confirmed dead on arrival.
Angered by the shooting incident, some people who had also been at the bar, joined forces to mete out instant justice on Nyakane. They repeatedly assaulted him until he died, Senior Supt Mopeli said in a statement.
“Seisa Nyakane, originally from Ha-Sekake, Qacha’s Nek, who was a National Security Service officer, was beaten to death after he shot Sejanamane Mpiti six times at a tavern in Quthing on 4 September 2022,” Senior Supt Mopeli said.
“It is reported that there was a squabble between the two over a lady whom they were with at the tavern. Nyakane pulled out his 7.65 CZ83 gun and shot Mpiti six times. He was rushed to hospital but he was pronounced dead on arrival. Some community members, who were angered by the shooting, attacked Nyakane and beat him to death,” Senior Supt Mopeli said.
He said upon being informed of the incident, police had rushed to the scene only to find Nyakane’s lifeless body lying on the tavern floor.
“Upon learning of the shooting and the subsequent mob attack, the police rushed to the crime scene and found Nyakane’s body on the tavern floor. It had some terrible wounds from the beating the now deceased had been subjected to by the mob. From there the officers went to the Quthing hospital to inspect the body of Mpiti who was already dead. It had six bullet wounds. No arrests have been made yet and investigations are ongoing,” Senior Supt Mopeli said.
Crimes involving members of the NSS and other security agencies are seemingly on the rise.
Last week, a Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) officer, Peete Motlapaneng, appeared before the Leribe Magistrates’ Court on murder charges.
Motlapaneng (37) stands accused of fatally shooting his wife’s boyfriend in Hlotse, Leribe, on 4 September 2022.
He was arrested the day of the shooting and he appeared before Magistrate Mpho Motsoene on Thursday.
Magistrate Motsoene remanded him in custody and told him to apply for bail at the High Court if he so wished. This is because the magistrates’ courts have no jurisdiction to try murder cases and to grant bail to suspects. They can only conduct preparatory examinations and remand suspects before their trials are moved to the High Court which has the jurisdiction over such cases.
According to the charge sheet, Motlapaneng shot his wife’s boyfriend, Matooane Mapefane, four times and he died instantly.
Back in May, an NSS officer was charged with sodomising a 16-year-old boy and raping a 14-year-old girl.
The officer, Khethollo Lekoane (52), hails from Levy’s Nek, Butha-Buthe. He is said to have resigned in the wake of the damaging alleged crimes which have got him arrested. He is said to boast over 30 years’ experience in the NSS.
His case is pending before the Leribe Magistrates’ Court.
In April, a Ha ‘Mapotsane, Mohale’s Hoek woman was gunned down by her police officer husband.
The victim was 38-year-old Relebohile Tšolo.
Her killer cop husband, Lance Sergeant Letsie Posholi (44), was based at the police headquarters in Maseru. He served on the Interpol desk, tasked with facilitating worldwide police cooperation and crime control.
He was subsequently arrested and the matter is pending in the courts of law.
Before that in March, another NSS officer, Rethabile Tsietsi (40), allegedly shot and killed his stepson, Bokang Tsietsi.
Tsietsi was arrested but immediately granted bail. His case is pending before the courts of law.
…accuses them of conniving to unprocedurally make diplomatic appointments
Mohalenyane Phakela/’Marafaele Mohloboli
ALL Basotho Convention (ABC) leader, Nkaku Kabi, has slammed Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro for allegedly conniving with his deputy, Mathibeli Mokhothu, to unprocedurally deploy 23 individuals to Lesotho’s various diplomatic missions abroad.
While Mr Kabi’s gripe with the appointments is that they were made without the ABC national executive committee (NEC)’s knowledge, opposition is livid because they were allegedly made by a caretaker government.
Under the constitution, a caretaker government cannot make any major appointments.
Dr Majoro is a member of Mr Kabi’s own ABC while Mr Mokhothu leads the Democratic Congress (DC). The two parties anchor the governing coalition. Mr Kabi has been involved in a bitter power struggle with Dr Majoro. He beat the premier to clinch the ABC leadership in January this year. However, his attempts to wrest the premiership from Dr Majoro failed after the latter comfortably survived a March parliamentary no confidence vote largely to support from Mr Mokhothu’s DC.
Mr Kabi subsequently announced that he and Dr Majoro had buried the hatchet and would henceforth address joint campaign rallies ahead of next month’s general elections. Dr Majoro has however, been conspicuous by his absence from ABC rallies addressed by Mr Kabi, prompting speculation that the much-touted truce had failed to hold.
Mr Kabi seemingly confirmed this by laying into the premier at a rally attended by more than 3000 ABC supporters this week in Kolonyama, Leribe.
Of particular concern, Mr Kabi said, were the allegedly clandestine diplomatic appointments.
He alleged that Dr Majoro had made the appointments in consultation with the DC but without the knowledge and approval of the ABC’s national executive committee (NEC).
He charged that the appointments were controversial and could create unnecessary tensions between the two governing parties.
“It has come to our attention that the government has appointed some officials to Lesotho’s foreign embassies and most of them are DC members,” Mr Kabi said.
“Our NEC asked the DC, who are our partners in government, what criteria was used to deploy those people and why the ABC NEC was left out of discussions to come up with the list of appointees. We were told that we wouldn’t have known because Ntate (Moeketsi) Majoro had resigned from the ABC NEC. This means that he is not answerable to us and does not see the need to inform us.
“Let’s be mindful that there are factions within the ABC. I put the blame squarely on Dr Majoro because he knew what was happening but he did not inform us as the NEC,” Mr Kabi said.
He said the ABC and the DC had enjoyed a good working relationship in the coalition government since its inception in May 2020 and he wanted things to remain that way.
“We haven’t had any problems with the DC until now. Please do me a favour Ntate Mokhothu, let’s keep things that way because we don’t know what the election results hold for us and whom we might have to work with.
“We cannot afford to make enemies now; it’s unnecessary. Tomorrow we might need each other. May God help us to forge and press on with our quest for peace,” Mr Kabi said.
Both Mr Mokhothu and Dr Majoro were not reachable for comment on Mr Kabi’s claims.
Prominent individuals are said to have been posted to various missions. These allegedly include current Foreign Affairs and International Relations Minister, ‘Matšepo Ramakoae of the ABC, DC stalwart and former Finance minister ‘Mamphono Khaketla and former Deputy Education Minister Thabang Kholumo (also DC).
Others said to be on the list are DC member and former National Security Services officer Paila Mofolo. Doreen Chaolana, Likhapha Seliane, Maabia Bokopane, Mookho Mphonyo, Azael Letsie, Mamoitheri Hanese, Mohlomeli Tikiso, Teboho Mokone, Mohlomi Sello, Likhapha Sellane, Thaha Letsie, Tebello Raase and Mamorapeli Lesoetsa also make the list.
Although there has not been an official announcement, well-placed government sources said the appointees were expected to leave for their various destinations at the end of the month.
However, Ms Ramakoae denied claims that she had been appointed to any foreign mission.
“People should stop using cheap politics to taint other people’s images.
“I’m not one of those who’ve been posted. If I really wanted I could have gone a long time ago. It would not be a strange thing if I were to go to an embassy because I am more qualified than most people who have gone. However, I have no interest in going to the embassies. There is nothing for me there,” Ms Ramakoae said in an interview with the Lesotho Times.
While confirming that appointments had indeed been made, she however said they were made a long time ago before the governing coalition had assumed its current status as a caretaker government following the 13 July dissolution of parliament in preparation for next month’s polls.
According to the constitution, a caretaker government is only charged with maintaining the status quo and not making major appointments.
“Those people were appointed a long time ago, some even last year. Others left the country around February and April this year,” Ms Ramakoae said.
She said accreditation could be a long drawn-out process in some instances hence why some of the appointees were yet to take up their new jobs.
Despite her explanation, opposition parties are adamant that the appointments were recently made by the caretaker government.
In a recent statement, the Monyane Moleleki-led Alliance of Democratic (AD) accused the government of contravening the constitution by making the appointments.
“It has come to the attention of the AD that the government led by Prime Minister Majoro and Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu, which by law is a caretaker government, has made a decision to appoint to the diplomatic missions 23 men and women.
“This has happened when the caretaker government has no authority to hire and send anyone to any foreign mission on behalf of Basotho. This is one of the issues which were raised by the nation in the Plenary II of the national reforms process,” the AD said.
The appointments were a form of vote buying by the ABC and the DC, the AD said.
“The new government (to be installed after the elections) will find itself saddled with an uncontrollable civil service installed through politics. It will also have to deal with unnecessary expenditure of having to pay people whom they would not have opted to hire at the expense of the taxpayers,” the AD said.
It said the deployments were a repetition of what transpired in 2017 when the then Pakalitha Mosisili-led caretaker government hired hordes of civil servants for diplomatic missions a few months before the polls that year.
The Mothetjoa Metsing-led Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) also blasted the appointments.
LCD secretary general, Teboho Sekata, told the Lesotho Times that the move was an insult to the national reforms process.
“This is a huge contravention of the law which has shocked us. The coalition partners are undermining the reforms which are intended to shape this country.
“They are abusing power knowing very well that they are a caretaker government which cannot make this kind of decision. They do not have power to do any appointments whatsoever,” Mr Sekata said.
Teboho Mojapela’s Socialist Revolutionaries (SR) echoed similar sentiments.
SR spokesperson, Thabo Shao, said they were contemplating filing a court application for the nullification of the appointments.
“We are not surprised because this is what successive governments have done that over the years. This is a caretaker government. It cannot make any appointments, especially of high-ranking officials like these. They are forbidden by law and they know that. We’re contemplating court action to have the appointments nullified,” Mr Shao said.
THE Media Institute of Southern Africa – Lesotho (MISA) has withdrawn its constitutional application for the nullification of the recent recall of the 10th parliament and all the laws it had passed.
Addressing a press conference at MISA offices in Maseru yesterday, MISA chairperson, Nkoale Oetsi Tšoana, said their application was no longer necessary since the court had already granted a similar application filed by lawyer, Lintle Tuke, and journalist-cum-politician, Kananelo Boloetse, this week.
“We have resolved to withdraw our case since we were seeking the same reliefs as Adv Tuke and Mr Boloetse,” Mr Tšoana said. He said now that the government had indicated that it would be appealing the verdict in the Court of Appeal, they would support Adv Tuke and Mr Boloetse “to defend their victory” in the apex court.
He attacked the now dissolved National Assembly for its failure to approve the reforms bills during its five year tenure which started in July 2017 and ended at midnight on 13 July 2022. He also accused the MPs of tampering with some clauses which had been approved by the National Reforms Authority (NRA). The NRA had been set up through an act of parliament to spearhead the reforms process.
“The reforms process started a long time ago and MISA was in the forefront as one of the stakeholders to ensure that the National Reforms Authority (NRA) drafts the laws that the people want. However, if you compare the bill from parliament to what the NRA had submitted, you will realise that a lot had been taken out.
“The 10th parliament was a joke. MPs would even take pillows to parliament to go and sleep. At times they threw dustbins at each other instead of working. Now when their time lapsed, they claimed a bogus state of emergency so that they could reconvene. We agree with the Senate that the National Assembly did not handle reforms well,” Mr Tšoana said.
This was in reference to allegations by some senators that the MPs had tempered with proposed constitutional amendments and removed those they felt would not serve their political interests.
BASOTHO Action Party (BAP) deputy leader, Motlatsi Maqelepo has accused the governing parties of fooling people with false promises that they would soon be empowered to become small-scale diamond miners in Koalabata, Berea.
Addressing about 1500 BAP supporters in Koalabata this week, Mr Maqelepo said such promises were misleading because there had not been any comprehensive prospecting in the area to determine if there were significant deposits to support lucrative mining ventures.
The former Health minister accused Mining Minister and Democratic Congress (DC) spokesperson, Serialong Qoo, of “pulling wool over people’s eyes” ahead of next month’s elections.
He accused Mr Qoo of making promises that they would soon be opening diamond mines in Koalabata when no prospecting had ever been conducted to the area.
He said he had first appealed to then Mining Minister and All Basotho Convention (ABC) stalwart, Keketso Sello, in 2017 to conduct prospecting to establish if there were any significant diamond deposits in the area. He said he subsequently appealed to Mr Qoo when the latter took over as minister. However, the two had ignored his pleas, he said.
“I appealed to the two ministers calling for prospecting to be done in the area but they shut the door in my face. All of sudden the government is claiming a mine will be opened in the area,” Mr Maqelepo said.
“Successive congress and ABC governments have left a bad legacy. I’m surprised to see the government coming to this area now saying that they will establish diamond mines in Koalabata.
“Please don’t be fooled by their lies. If there will be a mine, it will be opened by (BAP leader) Professor (Nqosa) Mahao when he becomes prime minister after next month’s elections.
“I call on you people of Mabote, Khubetsoana, Motimposo and Mokhethoaneng constituencies to be vigilant. We’ve been working hard to rid ourselves of problems created by congress governments since 2007 and we’re still on that journey. We are yet to attain the freedom we have been seeking,” he added.
Mr Maqelepo served as cabinet minister in the current governing coalition until his dismissal in April 2021 along with Prof Mahao and others who had had dumped the ABC to form the BAP.
He said unlike other politicians who were “selfish”, Prof Mahao had the interests of Basotho at heart. It was therefore wise to elect him because the rest of the politicians were “cut from the same cloth”, he added.
Asked to comment on Mr Maqelepo’s claims, Mr Qoo confirmed that the latter had indeed approached him on several occasions calling for diamond prospecting in Koalabata.
“He (Maqelepo) used to pester me but I turned him down because he was serving his own interests and not those of the people. There was no way I could have entertained him because I could already tell that he was on his way out of government,” Mr Qoo said.
He however, dismissed Mr Maqelepo’s claims that they were selling people ‘hot air’ with their promises. He said prospecting had been done in the area and small-scale mining could be successfully conducted.
“Prospecting has been done already. In the past, there were people mining diamonds in the area but they stopped for reasons best known to themselves.
“We are already hard at work allocating places for people to mine. Maqelepo is panicking because he realises that the government is helping Basotho to go into mining and they have embraced the initiative. His behaviour shows that he does not like Basotho. I already have engineers and equipment in place for work to begin,” Mr Qoo said.
He claimed that Mr Maqelepo wanted mining concessions to be given to an unnamed South African company which he allegedly held shares in.
He said his party had plans to open mines in Berea, Mafeteng and Leribe as part of its quest to empower Basotho to be players in the lucrative industry.
“As government, we came up with this initiative to empower our people. Although they had been mining diamonds for decades, they could not do it openly because it was illegal for them to deal in precious stones.
“Maqelepo is merely trying to create an impression that he is advocating for the people’s empowerment when his real motive is to empower foreigners so that they can employ Basotho,” Mr Qoo said.
The post Govt fooling people with promises of lucrative mining ventures: Maqelepo appeared first on Lesotho Times.
TEN Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) members have appealed to the Court of Appeal to nullify last week’s High Court judgement which nullified their and six others’ selection as party candidates in next month’s elections and installed former cabinet minister, Mahali Phamotse, and 15 others in their place.
The 10 are Phumane Mojalefa, Mantsali Yengane, Mofero Selupe, Moleboheng Sefali, Kenny Atang Ntaote, Thabang Rapapa, Koena Marabe, Jonas Mokete, Retšelisitsoe Theko and Mamello Holomo. They were sued in the High Court by Dr Phamotse and 15 others. They were sued alongside Malehanye Ralejoe, Talenta Masoatsa, Lekese Matsoso, Thabiso Lekhotla, Lebona Mphatsoe and Motho-oa-sebaka Mosenki Letsie. However, the latter six co-respondents in the High Court have elected not to appeal the decision in the apex court.
They were sued in the High Court after they had been selected as RFP candidates in an elaborate process which began with primary elections in the various constituencies and concluded with interviews by a panel chosen by the RFP’s national executive committee (NEC). The party had said the top four in the primaries in each constituency would then be subjected to the interviews to choose the final candidates on the basis of “meritocracy”.
Aggrieved by the decision, Dr Phamotse and 15 others had then approached the High Court to nullify the RFP’s decision to install the 16 as party candidates. The former ministers and her colleagues were unhappy that they had been snubbed by the party despite that they had won the primaries in their respective constituencies.
In the latest turn of events, the roles have been reversed and Dr Phamotse and her co-applicants in the High Court will become respondents in the apex court.
The Court of Appeal’s Deputy Registrar, Realeboha Makamane, yesterday said even though the apex court was not in session, it would have to quickly convene to hear the matter since it had to be finalised before the 7 October date for the national elections.
“Since the matter concerns the elections, it will be treated with urgency. An arrangement has been made for the Court of Appeal judges’ to sit virtually to hear the matter.
“However, it has not yet been allocated a hearing date because the filing of relevant papers has not been completed by the concerned parties,” Advocate Makamane said.
Besides Dr Phamotse, the other 15 who have been sued in the apex court are Teboho Notši, Sello Hakane, Malothoane Mathiba, Mabote Malefane, Khotso Motseki, Teboho Malataliana, ‘Mammako Mohale Lerata, Chopho Lekholoane, Mphelela Khaoli, Motheo Ralitapole, Matabane Mosese, Monotsi Maliehe, Makatleho Motsoasele, Mooki Sello and Tankisang Mosito.
They are cited as first to 16th respondents while the RFP NEC, the RFP and the IEC are the 17th to 19th respondents respectively.
In their apex court application, Mr Mojalefa and his nine co-applicants argue that High Court Judge Polo Banyane had erred by not ruling that they were the legitimate party candidates as directed by the RFP.
“The learned judge erred and thus committed a misdirection by not upholding the appellants’ objection to the application in particular that the first to 16th respondents acquiesced to the process in terms of which the party conducted the nomination of the candidates,” they state in their apex court papers.
Mr Mojalefa and his nine co-applicants argue that Dr Phamotse and 15 others did not file any application challenging the RFP circular which stated that the selection of candidates would be finalised through an interview process. Therefore the High Court had erred in granting the application which challenges the results but not the process, they argue.
Dr Phamotse and 15 others had a fortnight ago joined forces to launch an urgent High Court application to compel the RFP to recognise them as party candidates in the upcoming general elections.
They filed their lawsuits in the wake of a 1 September 2022 High Court judgement compelling the party to install five other RFP members as the rightful party candidates.
The five are Moloi Ralentsoe, Kobeli Rethabile Letlailana, Matlotlo Ramaboli, Tšepo Joseph Lethobane and Lejone Puseletso.
Just like Dr Phamotse and her co-applicants, the five had won the primaries in their respective constituencies only for the party to choose others to stand as candidates in a subsequent interview process which it said was designed to ensure that “meritorious” candidates were selected.
The five had then approached the High Court last month, arguing that the party had acted illegally by snubbing them despite their victories in the primaries.
Their application was heard by Judge Tšeliso Mokoko who nullified the RFP decision to snub the five. He ordered the RFP to install them as the legitimate party candidates.
A former Tunisian prime minister, Ali Larayedh, has been detained by anti-terrorism police over allegations of involvement in smuggling jihadists to Syria.
A former Tunisian prime minister, Ali Larayedh, has been detained by anti-terrorism police over allegations of involvement in smuggling jihadists to Syria.
A lawyer said Mr Larayedh, who is also a senior figure in the Islamist opposition Ennahda party, had been questioned for hours.
Ennahda denounced this as a flagrant violation of human rights.
Party leader Rached Ghannouchi is due to be questioned tomorrow.
Seven more bodies have been retrieved from River Yala in western Kenya near the spot where a dozen others have been discovered over the past two years.
Seven more bodies have been retrieved from River Yala in western Kenya near the spot where a dozen others have been discovered over the past two years.
According to police the unclaimed bodies were retrieved from the river in the last two months and they have not been identified as they await autopsy.
Mortuary officials say three bodies were retrieved by divers this month and the other four were discovered by residents along the river.
The latest discovery increases the total of bodies retrieved from the river to more than 30 since January.