MASERU — ABC leader Thomas Thabane has threatened to kill a Sunday Express reporter and the paper’s editor.
Thabane threatened to shoot Caswell Tlali after he asked him to comment on allegations that his cousin, Thaabe Thabane, had sexually harassed his wife.
‘Mampolokeng Thabane, who has been married to Thabane for 25 years, claims Thaabe tried to rape her on April 25 while they were at a relative’s wedding.
She alleges that Thabane dismissed her when she reported the incident to him. Instead, she says, Thabane’s two sons from a previous marriage beat her up.
‘Mampolokeng went to hospital and reported the matter to the police the following day.
Thaabe is currently on free bail after he appeared in court on August 16.
A hearing has been set for November 17 and 18.
But when Tlali tried to verify the allegations Thabane became livid and threatened to shoot him if he wrote the story.
“I will not allow you to write this story,” an irate Thabane said.
“This issue is so serious that I will shoot you. I am telling you this openly.”
“I am going to tell the commissioner of police that I will shoot you,” he added. “This family is mine and I am not going to allow you to write about it in papers.
“Tell that editor of yours, whom I know is a foreigner, that he will go back to his country without turning back.
“I will do it myself.
“I do not care who he is, he is not God.
“Tell that man I will not allow him to do that.
“I have a job to do, a job to remove this cruel government and I am not going to be distracted by you and your editor.
“There is no public interest in this story.”
Sunday Express editor Darlington Majonga has described Thahane’s threats as an affront to press freedom and the rule of law.
“We are not taking Mr Thahane’s threats lightly but we will not be cowed into abdicating our duty to inform Basotho and the world about issues of public interest,” Majonga said.
“Mr Thabane must realise that the case we are talking about here is in a court of law and therefore a very public case.
“We also need not remind him that, as a public figure and leader of Lesotho’s biggest opposition party, the people whose votes he wants deserve to know everything newsworthy surrounding his life.”
Tsebo Mats’asa, director of the Lesotho chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa, has condemned Thabane’s threats.
“If he said that, it is wrong,” Mats’asa said. “We will post alerts on Monday. We will also try to talk to him about this.”
In a statement Africa Media Holdings, which publishes the Sunday Express, also slammed Thabane’s threats.
“We are deeply concerned by this threat,” the statement said.
“Thabane should know that we will hold him accountable for any harm that might come to any of our staffers.
“Thabane, as a leader and a long-serving politician of this country, must be careful about what he says.
“He must know that whatever he says, no matter how hollow it is, will follow him.”