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Majoro, Mochoboroane in explosive fight

. . . “Majoro is corrupt and I have evidence,” Mochoboroane sensationally claims,

. . . says PM was directly involved in corruptly awarding govt fleet tender to taxi association,

. . . while Majoro accuses him and Metsing of attempting to blackmail govt to stop their prosecutions.

 

’Marafaele Mohloboli

AN explosive fight has broken out between Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro and Development Planning Minister Selibe Mochoboroane of the Movement for Economic Change (MEC) party. This after the premier accused that the MEC leader and his Lesotho Congress of Democracy (LCD) counterpart, Mothetjoa Metsing of attempting to blackmail the government into stopping their treason and murder trial. Dr Majoro made the comments while addressing a public gathering in Mount Moorosi, Quthing on Wednesday.

Mr Mochoboroane reacted angrily to Dr Majoro’s allegations by making sensational claims of his own, accusing Dr Majoro of brazen corruption in several instances including the awarding of the government fleet tender to a local taxi organisation in 2019. “Majoro is not at all holy and he knows very well that he is corrupt,” a fuming Mr Mochoboroane said in a no-holds-barred weekend interview with the Sunday Express.

Ntate Majoro is corrupt and I have evidence in that regard. He has his own case of corruption that was presented to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP Hlalefang Motinyane) by the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) boss, Mahlomola Manyokole. This is in connection with the awarding of the government fleet tender. The tender was awarded while Majoro was still the minister of finance. He has therefore moved to have Manyokole fired to stop the case because he (Majoro) has power and influence.

“While I was chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), I even called him (Majoro) to testify and he refused to come until I heard his testimony in camera. I told him to his face that he was directly involved in corruptly awarding the fleet tender to the Maseru Star Taxi Association.

“I even told him that he had directed the Lesotho Post Bank manager to give loans to the taxi association’s members to enable them to buy taxis and then rent them out to the government. This is absolute corruption,” Mr Mochoboroane said. Contacted for comment, Maseru Star Taxi Association chairperson, Sekhonyana Mosenene, yesterday dismissed Mr Mochoboroane’s allegations that they had been corruptly awarded the fleet tender.

“There is no truth to Mochoboroane’s allegations. This is just a political gimmick and we are not going to fall for it,” Mr Mosenene said. On his part, Advocate Manyokole said Mr Mochoboroane’s comments served “to reaffirm what I have already said that the prime minister has a case to answer”.

The fire-spitting Mr Mochoboroane also alleged that Dr Majoro had connived with the police command to block an investigation into the possible murder of a Home Affairs official because a close friend of the premier was implicated in the killing of the official.

“At one point I was approached by a Mafeteng police officer who wanted me to help ensure an investigation of the killing of a Home Affairs officer, Khahliso Soro. I told the officer that the killing would not be probed because the suspect is a very close friend of the prime minister.

“I then advised that the cop to tell his bosses that once they have retired, some cops who are willing to serve this nation will investigate the matter. One can only pray that the day won’t come when these people are no longer in power because when their cases are investigated, they will turn around and cry foul, saying the investigations are politically-motivated. Right now, my advice to them is to investigate all cases while they are still in power so that justice is done.”

The 39-year-old Mr Soro, who was a senior procurement officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs, was found dead in September 2018 near his home in Ha- Pita, Maseru almost a week after he went missing.

His decomposing body was found in an unoccupied house near his own residence by children who had been playing nearby.

His mysterious death left tongues wagging as he died a few days after he promised the Public Accounts Committee that he would name and shame high-ranking officers in the Home Affairs ministry who had embezzled public funds.

Mr Mochoboroane claimed he had more dirt on the premier which he would reveal in due course if the latter continued provoking him.

“These are the only cases concerning him that I am mentioning for now. With time, I shall say more and choke him with dust,” Mr Mochoboroane said.

His anger was triggered by Dr Majoro’s Wednesday comments at Mount Moorosi wherein the premier accused him and Mr Metsing of pulling out of the multi-sector reforms to arm-twist the state to stop their treason and murder trial.

On Monday, Mr Mochoboroane appeared in court to be charged alongside former army commander, Tlali Kamoli, Captain Litekanyo Nyakane, Lance Corporals Motloheloa Ntsane and Leutsoa Motsieloa.

However, Mr Metsing did not show up amid rumours that he had fled the country. The police have said they are hunting for him after Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane issued a warrant for his arrest.

For over a year, Messrs Metsing and Mochoboroane fought tooth and nail, including filing numerous, ultimately unsuccessful applications to stop the state from joining them to the charges alongside Lieutenant General Kamoli and others.

After the charges were read to Mr Mochoboroane and his other accused, Justice Sakoane postponed the trial to 13 December 2021 to allow the state to furnish the minister and his co-accused with outstanding witness statements to enable them to effectively prepare their defence.

Mr Mochoboroane and his co-accused are facing charges of murdering Police Sub-Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko, the attempted murder of Letsekang Mothibeli and five counts of the aggravated assault of Sergeant Mahanetsa, Lance Sergeant Thabisa Kopa, Lance Sergeant Thamae, Police Constable (PC) Mokete Litulo and PC ‘Mone.

Messrs Metsing, Mochoboroane, Lt-Gen Kamoli and Captain Nyakane are further accused of treason and the attempted murder of PC Moeketsi and Sub-Inspector Joele.

All the charges are in connection with the 30 August 2014 attempted coup against the first government of former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.

Mr Metsing was deputy prime minister at the time of the attempted coup while Mr Mochoboroane was communications minister and LCD secretary general.

Lt-Gen Kamoli had been fired by Mr Thabane from his post as army commander on 29 August 2014 before orchestrating the attempted coup allegedly with the support of Messrs Metsing, Mochoboroane, Captain Nyakane and Lance Corporals Ntsane and Motsieloa. Messrs Thabane and Metsing had fallen out with the latter alleging he was not being consulted on key decisions.

Dr Majoro made reference to the treason and murder trial in his wide-ranging address at the Mount Moorosi gathering.

“Our politicians have gotten used to being let free whenever they blackmail the government and threaten to throw it into disrepute,” Dr Majoro said.

“I have received a letter saying two political parties have decided to pull out of the reforms because their leaders have to appear in court. These reforms are not owned by politicians, they are owned by you as a nation. When we made consultations, we gathered that you want democracy and politicians who will serve you. I stand with you on this.

“Our politicians are doing scary things and sometimes they use the security agencies (to commit crimes). The army officers are the ones who get imprisoned while they remain outside. In the past, justice was not equally administered. Therefore, when you go for elections, you should vote for a different breed of politicians to represent you in parliament. These should be people who are clean and won’t have to hold the government hostage to ensure they are not prosecuted before they can participate in the national reforms,” Dr Majoro said in reference to Messrs Metsing and Mochoboroane.

Mr Mochoboroane’s MEC is one of the junior partners in the 19-month-old governing coalition which is anchored by Dr Majoro’s All Basotho Convention (ABC) and Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu’s Democratic Congress (DC).

The soft-spoken MEC leader has generally shied away from attacking governing colleagues and the opposition. But over the weekend, he told the Sunday Express that he could no longer keep quiet and allow Dr Majoro and others to attack him for political mileage ahead of next year’s eagerly-awaited elections.

“I understand that the prime minister convened a public gathering which turned into a political rally. I respect Ntate Majoro but that doesn’t mean that as leaders of other political leaders, we should be afraid of him. Now I am compelled to respond to him as a politician because normally I wouldn’t do that if he had talked as a prime minister.

“I am very surprised that he is talking about politicians who are hiding behind the reforms because they are scared to answer for their deeds and by so saying, he is referring to me and Ntate Metsing.

“The fact that Ntate Metsing did not show up in court doesn’t make him a weakling He rightfully did so because there is a binding agreement with SADC that protects him from prosecution. I have gone to court and I will still go. But that doesn’t mean that I am a pushover. I am not a donkey that can easily be ridden by anyone.”

Mr Mochoboroane suggested that he did not care much about being fired from cabinet. He said he was relishing a fight with the premier and he would no longer him to attack him without provocation.

“If it is a fight that Ntate Majoro wants, then he will get a fight.

“I will square up to him. I don’t need any favours from him.  He should not undermine me because I am a man and politician like him and I shall do exactly as he is doing (making public attacks),” Mr Mochoboroane said.

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