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Thabane’s nephew flees

 

’Marafaele Mohloboli

Selimo Thabane—the outspoken nephew of exiled former prime minister and All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader Thomas Thabane—fled the country on Thursday night allegedly after his Makhoakhoeng home came under gunfire.

The ABC Youth League stalwart yesterday said he escaped the shooting unharmed and had sought refuge in South Africa, but would not be silenced from speaking out against “injustice”.

“I was in the house with my friend when we heard some movement outside. We decided to see what was happening and suddenly, there was gunfire. We ran back into the house and took what I had to take before working my way out again.

“I ran towards the main road and my friend soon came in his car and I jumped in. But before we reached the main road, there was more gunfire and I believe the shots were being fired at us. My friend drove to the border and I crossed over to South Africa while he remained in Lesotho,” he said.

“I can’t say where I am at the moment for security reasons but I will not stop calling for the removal of Kamoli as army commander because he is the one behind all these security problems we are having in Lesotho.”

Mr Thabane on Tuesday claimed he received a threatening text message on his mobile phone directing him to retract a statement he had made on Harvest FM the previous week regarding Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Commander Lieutenant-General Tlali Kamoli.

He said during the programme, they discussed the political situation in Lesotho and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Commission of Inquiry’s recommendations that Lt-Gen Kamoli should be removed “in the interest of restoring trust and acceptance of the LDF to the Basotho nation”.

Mr Thabane said he supported this recommendation during the programme in question, and on Tuesday received an SMS, which read: “Thabane is national. Who do you think you are? Kamoli is not your mom. Go and retract your utterances or else your father will learn of your death while still in exile.”

However, Mr Thabane remained defiant yesterday and said he would not back down on his call for Lt-Gen Kamoli’s sacking. He could, however, not say if he was with Dr Thabane, who fled for South Africa in May last year saying he feared assassination, allegedly by some members of the LDF led by Lt-Gen Kamoli. The LDF has since dismissed Dr Thabane’s allegations but the ABC leader insists for his safety, he would only return home when Lt-Gen Kamoli has been fired.

Yesterday, Dr Thabane’s nephew, Selimo, said he would not rest until the army commander has been removed “as recommended by the SADC Commission of Inquiry”. The regional bloc established the Commission led by Justice Mpaphi Phumaphi of Botswana, to investigate the fatal shooting of former army commander Lt-Gen Maaparankoe Mahao by his colleagues on 25 June last year. The LDF says he was resisting arrest for suspected mutiny when he was shot outside his Mokema farm.

“I am now even more determined to lobby for support from international youth organisations so that Kamoli is removed from office.

“Thursday’s shooting at my home was not a coincidence and had everything to do with the threat I received on Tuesday.

“But I have never, ever, thought of withdrawing my statements about Kamoli’s removal from office. That man must leave. I feel I should do more to ensure this happens and will mobilise other international youth organisations to support this call which is shared by all the opposition parties in Lesotho,” said Mr Thabane.

Calling upon the government to implement the SADC inquiry’s recommendations, Mr Thabane said: “The government must implement the SADC Commission’s recommendations and stop hiding behind a gunman. The government must sort out its demons. They have created a demon in the Defense Force and that demon is soon going to turn against them. It does not matter what they are going to do to me but time will tell and prove me right. Nothing lasts forever under the sun.”

Asked if the police were investigating Mr Thabane’s allegations, police spokesperson Clifford Molefe: “I only heard about this issue through the grapevine, so I am not yet in a position to comment. But I will make a follow-up so I can comment from an informed point of view.”

 

 

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