Opposition hail police, apex court for ‘Maesaiah prosecution
THE opposition Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and the Socialist Revolutionaries (SR) parties have hailed the police for charging former First Lady ‘Maesaiah Thabane with the 14 June 2017 murder of her husband’s ex-wife, Lipolelo.
They also praised the Court of Appeal for its 29 May 2020 judgement which revoked ‘Maesaiah’s bail. Acting Chief Justice ‘Maseforo Mahase had granted the former first lady bail on 5 February 2020 without giving the police the chance to oppose the bail.
SR leader Advocate Teboho Mojapela this week told the Sunday Express that the police had done well to arrest and charge ‘Maesaiah when her husband, Thomas Thabane, was still prime minister.
He, however, questioned why it took so long to arrest and charge ‘Maesaiah when the police had a solid case against her as early as 2018. He said such delays in charging high profile suspects gave rise to suspicions that the police only acted to settle political scores rather than serve justice.
“It is good that they have arrested her but we wonder why it took the police this long to take Ms Thabane to court when it was obvious that they had so much evidence against her,” Adv Mojapela said.
“The question is why now? This makes the police look like they are fighting some political battles. The police should know that no one is above the law and they should always act immediately.”
He also praised the apex court for revoking ‘Maesaiah’s bail and for criticising Justice Mahase for granting it in the first place. He called on newly appointed Law and Justice Minister Professor Nqosa Mahao to immediately censure Justice Mahase and appoint a more deserving candidate to the post of substantive chief justice.
“There could never be a more opportune time to appoint a substantive chief justice than now. This must be someone who will execute their duties without any prejudice and bias. We are hopeful the newly appointed minister (Prof Mahao) will turn things around and restore the dignity of the judiciary.
“On several occasions the apex court has questioned the decisions made by Justice Mahase and this is a clear sign that she is incompetent to hold the top job.
“The whole world is working towards empowering women and putting them in key leadership positions but the actions of these two women (‘Maesaiah and Justice Mahase) are a disgrace to all women and they work against the empowerment of women,” said Adv Mojapela.
LCD spokesperson Apesi Ratšele concurred with Adv Mojapela, saying the police must always act in the interests of justice and not appear as though they are settling scores with politicians.
“We condemn in the strongest terms what ’Maesaiah (allegedly) did and believe that it is right that she should be taken to task over her deeds. But this should be done only because it is the right thing to do and not because there is somebody who wants to settle scores.
“All state institutions should be apolitical and serve as expected and not be used to settle political scores.
“The courts should be seen to be administering justice and this should also be the case with the security and anti-corruption agencies,” Mr Ratšele said.
The SR and LCD’s comments follow recent claims by former premier Mr Thabane that the police bosses had connived with his All Basotho Convention (ABC) party rivals to persecute him and his wife over the Lipolelo murder. The Thabane couple denies murdering Lipolelo. But the police insist no politics is involved in their decision to prosecute and they have incontrovertible evidence against the Thabanes.
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