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Death threats for Thabane’s daughter

’Marafaele Mohloboli

PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane’s daughter, Advocate ’Mabat?oeneng Hlaele, says she has been receiving death threats ever since a power struggle erupted in her father’s  All Basotho Convention (ABC) party.

Rather than report to the police and “overburden them when they are under-resourced”, Adv Hlaele, said she had enlisted the services of a private investigator to investigate the threats to her life.

Adv Hlaele’s husband, Lebohang Hlaele, is one of the protagonists in the long-drawn out battle for the control of the ABC. Mr Hlaele fell out with Dr Thabane when he threw his lot with former National University of Lesotho Vice Chancellor Professor Nqosa Mahao who contested and won the deputy leader’s post in the ABC in February against the express wishes of the premier.

Mr Hlaele won the post of secretary general at the 1-2 February elective conference but was immediately fired from his cabinet post where he served as Law and Constitutional Affairs minister. Although Dr Thabane did not provide reasons for his dismissal barely a week after the party’s February elective conference, it is widely believed that he was fired for professing his allegiance to Prof Mahao.

The new ABC’s national executive committee (NEC) was only confirmed a fortnight ago by the High Court which dismissed the challenge which had been brought against their election by three ABC legislators, Habofanoe Lehana (Khafung constituency), Keketso Sello (Hlotse) and Mohapi Mohapinyane (Rothe).

Despite the court ruling, Dr Thabane last Monday expelled Mr Hlaele along with Prof Mahao, deputy spokesperson ‘’Matebatso Doti and chairperson Samuel Rapapa who has been proposed as the premier’s replacement in the event of a successful no confidence motion that has been filed against the government in parliament.

Throughout the infighting in the ABC, Adv Hlaele has sided with her husband and even provided legal services. And as the power struggle continues to ravage the ruling party, Adv Hlaele says she has received death threats from anonymous callers. She however, said she has not bothered to report to the police, choosing to employ a private investigator to get to the bottom of the issue.

“I have been receiving death threats from different people who call me with different numbers and I have found myself obliged to record all calls and forward them to my private investigator to help him with his investigations,” Adv Hlaele recently told the Sunday Express.

“A lot of people are angry with me and I don’t even know why. But I guess people just get to choose sides as and when it’s convenient to them. I have not reported the matter to the police because when things are done on cyberspace, it becomes complicated for our police to investigate given their training and limited resources.

“This (decision not to report) is not meant to undermine our police at all but I have decided to follow this (private investigator) route until such time when my private investigator gathers enough information to hand over to the police.”

She said last Saturday she was added as a participant to a WhatsApp group called “4X4” (a reference to the four governing coalition comprising of the ABC, Alliance of Democrats, Basotho National Party and Reformed Congress of Lesotho) “but before I knew it insults were hurled at me and I left the group”.

“I feel threatened by these attacks. I am being attacked for not seeing eye to eye with my dad but this doesn’t mean I will stop living.

“Since 2006 when my dad established the All Basotho Convention I have people who do not like me, but I have never had people wanting to kill me. It is quite scary that suddenly there are some people from my own party are baying for my blood,” Adv Hlaele said.

In a recent leaked audio of her conversation with her brother, Potlako Thabane, Adv Hlaele speaks of the pain of losing her mother, Lipolelo Thabane.

Ms Lipolelo Thabane was shot dead by an unknown assailant as she was about to drive into her Ha ‘Masana home on 14 June 2017. The incident occurred just two days before Dr Thabane’s inauguration as prime minister.

A female companion of Ms Thabane also sustained serious injuries in the shooting.

Last December, Foreign Affairs minister Lesego Makgothi told the Sunday Express’ sister Lesotho Times publication that investigations into the assassination of Ms Thabane had encountered some challenges as “the leads have gone cold”.

He however, would not say what challenges had been encountered. He said despite the hiccups the cabinet had been assured that the case remained on the police’s priority list of murder investigations.

And in the recent leaked audio, Adv Hlaele is heard saying, “Friends, I lost a loved one under extremely suspicious circumstances”.

“To date there is no clue as to what happened and the police are finding it difficult to connect the dots. I don’t want my children to go through what I am going through,” Adv Hlaele said.

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