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Opposition accuse govt on Lipolelo killing

 

Pascalinah Kabi

OPPOSITION parties in Parliament have accused government of stalling investigations into the killing of Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane’s estranged wife – Mrs Lipolelo Thabane.

Mrs Thabane who was 58 years old, was shot dead in June this year while travelling home in her vehicle in the company of a female friend. Her friend sustained serious injuries.

Since her shooting there has not been a breakthrough in police investigations.

Some members of the opposition have taken a swipe at government, accusing it of ordering investigations to be stopped.

Speaking at a news conference last Friday, members of the Democratic Congress (DC), Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), National Independent Party (NIP), Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) and Basotho Congress Party (BCP) said they were worried by the government’s decision to halt investigations.

“It worries us that investigations into the murder of Prime Minister’s wife – Mrs Lipolelo Thabane – were stopped,” read the statement.

Asked why they were worried, DC’s Senqu Member of Parliament Ms Likeleli Tampane said cases of women murdered were on the rise in the country.

She said Mrs Thabane held a high position in the country as she was the Premier’s wife. As a result, she said, her assassination should not be taken lightly.

“If investigations into her death can be stopped just like that, with her status, it means there is no hope for the cases of ordinary women also murdered. It is no secret that almost every week a woman is reported murdered and therefore we demand serious investigations to ensure the protection of women,” Ms Tampane said.

She was quick to point out last weekend’s murder of Pastor Mavis Mochochoko, explaining that it was one recent incident showing that crimes targeting women were on the increase in the country.

Pastor Mochochoko, who owned Insured Salvation Orphanage, was strangled to death at her home in Mohalalitoe.

The opposition further accused the government of nepotism as demonstrated by the decision to deploy Ms Moliehi Helen Makatse to Geneva to work as a counsellor.

They alleged that Ms Makatse was a “granny” who is over 70 years of age and her appointment was purely based on her blood relations with Prime Minister Thabane.

The opposition argued that she should not have been given a counsellorship position, citing such positions must be purely earmarked for fresh blood eager to look for opportunities in countries of deployment.

Contacted for comment, the Press Attaché in the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr Thabo Thakalekoala demanded evidence from the opposition to the effect that an order was issued to stop investigations into Mrs Thabane’s assassination.

“Do they have tangible evidence that the investigations were stopped? If they do, they must produce such evidence. It should also show why such a decision was taken,” Mr Thakalekoala said.

He said government had full trust in the work of Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) as they have enough capacity to investigate and arrest all suspects in the murder of Mrs Thabane.

“Since a new government took over, the police are now operating within the confines of the law. This is the reason why serious crimes that were once ignored in the past regime, which held the police to ransom, are now being investigated, with some suspects already appearing in court.”

“The opposition must be patient and allow the police to do their work professionally without putting them under pressure,” he said.

On the issue of Ms Makatse, Mr Thakalekoala said he was not aware that the incumbent counsellor was a sister to Dr Thabane, adding that, even if she was related to the Prime Minister, there was nothing untoward about the decision to send her to Geneva.

“Truly speaking, even if she is related to Dr Thabane, what is so peculiar about her case?

“Who are they to talk when during their administration their children and relatives were all over government ministries, ambassadorial positions and given bigger positions in parastatal companies?

“The opposition is just desperate for attention and in a bid to get noticed, they are losing the plot,” he said.

 

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