A GROUP of about 50 “concerned citizens” on Friday requested Prime Minister Thomas Thabane to urgently address the “lawlessness” prevailing in Lesotho, which they allege is being caused by “unruly politicians”.
According to a petition the group submitted to the premier, some politicians were allegedly disrespecting King Letsie III and the country’s constitution and should be prosecuted for these “crimes”.
Peter Tsoamotse, who read the petition before handing it over to Dr Thabane, first noted the “provocative” statements allegedly made by Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Mothetjoa Metsing, late last year at the Maseru Magistrates’ Court.
“Metsing told his supporters that he was not going to agree with court judgements that are against his party and its members,” read part of Mr Tsoamotse’s petition.
“We also saw Selibe Mochoboroane (LCD acting spokesperson) refusing to abide by a gazette dismissing him as Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, which had been issued by the King (in October last year) following advice from the prime minister.
“We have also seen the principal secretary (Tšeliso Khomari) in the same ministry refusing to vacate office even after the courts had intervened to say who the rightful principal secretary in the ministry was.
“We are also concerned that the police seem very keen to abuse and torture suspects who are poor but fail to take action against wealthy ones. It seems the delivery of justice continues to be skewed in favour of the rich, while the poor suffer.”
Mr Tsoamotse also said the “concerned citizens” were appalled by Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli’s refusal to step down as Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) commander despite his dismissal by the premier in August last year.
“In addition, some candidates in the 28 February 2015 general elections are public servants but did not resign, thereby contravening section 40 of the National Assembly Electoral Act 2011, so we are requesting that these grievances be addressed within 14 days from today,” he said.
Mr Tsoamotse also said the monarch had been criticised by politicians who claimed principal chiefs were now in the political arena when they try to resolve disputes.
The petitioners also criticised South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa for allegedly failing to study the Lesotho constitution before assuming the role of Southern African Development Community (SADC) Facilitator last year.
SADC appointed Mr Ramaphosa to mediate in Lesotho’s security and political crisis, and his facilitation led to the upcoming snap election.
Dr Thabane, when receiving the petition, said he would study the grievances and advise the group accordingly.
However, LCD Secretary General, Tšeliso Mokhosi, on Friday dismissed the petitioners as “nationalists” who blindly support Dr Thabane.
“They don’t realise that, as prime minister, Thabane is to blame for the so-called lawlessness in our country,” said Mr Mokhosi.
“Again, these people have misinterpreted Mr Metsing’s statement, which they claim promotes lawlessness. We were simply saying the courts are being brought into disrepute by these nationalists from the ABC and BNP by their actions. Those cases were brought to the courts unlawfully; due legal procedures were not followed before the cases could be brought before the courts.”
Mr Mokhosi added that instead of targeting the “wrong people”, the petitioners should have taken Dr Thabane to task for allegedly defying court orders “with impunity”.
He continued: “He has not paid maintenance to his spouse to this day, yet it has now been a month since he was ordered by the court to do so. Again, Ntate Thabane recently claimed on television that he is 72 years of age, when he is actually 76. He lied about his age on Lesotho Television during his election campaign programme, and he thinks we don’t know how old he really is.
“He also said elections are going to be held next year due to his forgetfulness because of old age. So, those petitioners should rather remind the prime minister to obey the laws of Lesotho as he seems to be the one with problems, and not the LCD.”