OPPOSITION Socialist Revolutionaries (SR) leader Teboho Mojapela has called for Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s immediate resignation, saying the premier has failed to deal with rampant corruption, police brutality and the stagnation of the economy.
Advocate Mojapela also accused Dr Thabane of failing to rein on his wife, ’Maesaiah Thabane who allegedly interfered in the running of the government.
The former ABC activist turned opposition politician’s demand for Dr Thabane’s resignation was contained in a petition he handed over to the Prime Minister’s office on Friday.
The handing over of the petition was preceded by a demonstration by hundreds of SR supporters who marched from Sethaleng to Sefikeng in Maseru joined by representatives of other political parties including the Movement for Economic Change’s (MEC) deputy leader, Tšepang Tšita-Mosena.
The Principal Secretary in the Cabinet, Lefu Manyokole, accepted the petition and promised to relay it to Dr Thabane who he said was attending the funeral of the Quthing Principal Chief, Hlabathe Nkuebe.
In the petition, Adv Mojapela said Lesotho had disintegrated under Dr Thabane’s watch and the latter was no longer fit to lead the country.
“We are unequivocally taken aback by the shoddy state of our country which has become a laughing stock of the SADC region not to mention the international community and development partners, who no doubt, see Lesotho as nothing but a circus,” Adv Mojapela said.
“The purpose of this petition is to urge the government that you (Dr Thabane) lead to understand and be sensitive to the plight, misery and suffering that you have subjected Basotho to.
“The prime minister is no longer fit to hold the high office that he has been entrusted with since June 2017, resulting in the near collapse of this current administration which every Mosotho is aware is in a critical state. We are adamant that this administration should be recalled with immediate effect.”
Adv Mojapela echoed the likes of embattled ABC deputy leader, Professor Nqosa Mahao and former ABC chairperson, Motlohi Maliehe, who have all accused the First Lady of causing instability through her alleged meddling in government affairs.
“The rogue behaviour of the First Lady who has assumed the role of a de facto prime minister interfering in state affairs, in the presence of the elected prime minister, has no doubt led to the instability and political impasse.”
He said Lesotho was “in a shocking state wherein corruption, police brutality, nepotism in the public service and Chinese monopoly over all that is precious to Basotho are the order of the day”.
“When this government assumed power in 2017, it was very much aware of the maladministration of its predecessors. Instead of remedying the situation, they have simply taken things several notches higher.
“It is with great dismay that we see relatives and friends of those at the helm of government occupying various high profile positions local and internationally, which makes one wonder if our government has transformed into a payment society where only puppets are inclined to benefit from the plummeting state coffers thanks to nepotism and patronage.
“Lesotho has indeed become a ticking time bomb waiting to explode as per evidence of corruption provided by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Sadly, government is silent and seemingly reluctant to take drastic measures against the perpetrators of the alleged crimes. It is therefore safe to assume that the government supports these actions.”
“The looting by government officials through various means has become hazardous to our economy. Ministers and senior government officials enjoy luxurious flights to foreign countries just to fill their purses with per diems.
“This has led to government overspending in international trips by M150 million more than the initial allocation. Yes, government had set aside only M80 million for the international trips, but just eight months into the allocation of the annual budget, an estimated M230 million has already been squandered.”
Adv Mojapela accused the police of acts of brutality to instill fear in the public to discourage it from questioning government decisions.
“Incidents of police brutality and the murder of suspects in police custody is increasing at an alarming rate. This denies the citizens the right to life. The Kao Mine massacre (in 2018) shook the nation to the core when the villagers were killed for attempting to stand for their rights…
“Brutality by the police or the military impacts negatively on the society by instilling fear so that the government does as it pleases.
“There is one specific incident where a suspect held at Ha Matela police station, Kabelo Ratia, was forced to eat his human waste while in police custody (sic).”
He also said the independence of the judiciary had been compromised by ruling politicians who used the courts to further their own interests.
He also accused Chinese national, Yan Xie, of abusing his proximity to Dr Thabane to “colonise” Lesotho.
“Lesotho has been colonised by the so-called Chinese economic adviser to the prime minister (Mr Xie). This Chinese national is involved in every bogus deal in every ministry. How do you expect a foreign national to have Lesotho’s interests at heart? This could be stated in one sentence as a state capture.
“Many lucrative projects in our country have been awarded to the Chinese. The Chinese have been given a monopoly over Lesotho in all lucrative deals thus stripping the country’s nationals of a decent livelihood and economic emancipation (sic),” Adv Mojapela said.