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Bishop Taaso booed off podium


’Marafaele Mohloboli

ANGLICAN Church of Lesotho Bishop Mallane Adam Taaso was booed off the podium at Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s inauguration on Friday by a raucous crowd that accused the cleric of supporting the previous government.

The crowd, which mostly consisted of supporters of the incoming four-party government – also heckled army commander, Lieutenant-General Khoantle Motšomotšo, Police Commissioner Molahlehi Letsoepa and Lesotho Correctional Services Commissioner ‘Matefo Makhaleme as they arrived at the inauguration at Setsoto stadium.

Also at the receiving end of the heckles were Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara and South African Vice-President Cyril Ramaphosa who is also Southern African Development Community facilitator to Lesotho.

Dr Thabane’s All Basotho Convention, Alliance of Democrats, Basotho National Party and Reformed Congress for Democracy cobbled up the 63 seats they garnered in the 3 June 2017 parliamentary elections to form government.

Bishop Taaso, who is also a member of the Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL), was heckled while delivering a sermon ahead of the swearing-in of Dr Thabane.

The crowd then disrupted the cleric with jeers and a substitution gesture they made with their hands. Some of the people demanded that he leave the stage as he was a “Congress supporter”.

Attempts by the evidently flustered Bishop Taaso to continue with the sermon were fruitless as the boos rang even louder. He eventually walked off the stage.

The hecklers accused Bishop Taaso of being sympathetic to the seven parties in the former government, especially the Lesotho Congress for Democracy LCD) led by former deputy premier Mothetjoa Metsing.

They also cited Bishop Taaso’s remarks during the inauguration of the outgoing seven-party regime on 17 March 2015. The former governing coalition consisted of the Democratic Congress, LCD, Popular Front for Democracy, National Independent Party, Basotho Congress Party, Marematlou Freedom Party and Lesotho People’s Congress.

Bishop Taaso had said the Pakalitha Mosisili-led administration would “restore the dignity of Lesotho” with ABC supporters inferring that the cleric meant the dignity of Lesotho was lost during the Dr Thabane-led first coalition government which collapsed in 2014.

Bishop Taaso was unreachable on his mobile phone yesterday.

However, CCL chairperson and Archbishop Gerard Tlali Lerotholi of the Roman Catholic Church told the Sunday Express yesterday he was shocked by the incident.

“I witnessed that uproar, but I don’t know what it really meant,” Archbishop Lerotholi said.

“I just heard a lot of noise, and it would really be unfair for me to try and explain the logic behind it. It is unexplainable. I am afraid that I might misinterpret and be perceived as Rev Taaso’s spokesperson.”

He said members of the CCL would soon hold a meeting to discuss the issue.

The ecclestical organisation has been intrinsically involved in efforts to resolve the political impasse with initiatives such as inviting political parties to accept the results of the recently-held polls.

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