22nd July 2024

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Lesotho’s uniformed forces weigh into parly chaos

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…law society slams security chiefs

Our Reporter

LESOTHO’S uniformed forces have weighed into the ongoing parliamentary upheaval that is threatening to collapse Sam Matekane’s one-year-old government by declaring they would not standby as the country risks sliding back into instability.

Army Commander Lieutenant Mojalefa Letsoela, police commissioner Holomo Molibeli and National Security Service director Pheello Ralenkoane issued a statement Tuesday evening in response to the no confidence motion that has been filed against Prime Minister Matekane.

The motion, which has now been temporarily interdicted through a court challenge, was filed by Basotho National Party (BNP) leader, Machesetsa Mofomobe last Friday.

The voting on the motion, which had been penned in for Tuesday evening, was stopped by Speaker of Parliament Tlohang Sekhamane after Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) legislator, Lejone Puseletso, filed a court challenge to stop the proceedings.

The motion was on Tuesday reportedly enjoying the support of 64 of the 120 MPs, enough to collapse the government.

Had the motion passed, Matekane’s government would have collapsed and the uniformed forces’ bosses immediately weighed in declaring they would not let the government collapse.

In a video statement posted on the police’s Facebook page, Commissioner Molibeli, who was flanked by his two colleagues, said it had come to their “attention that there are people who want to disturb the peace by destabilising the nation for their own personal gain”.

“This can fuel riots which can affect lives and property.  We declare that Lesotho will never go back there.

“We will work with the lawfully elected government and the nation at large to protect the image of this country and maintain the confidence of investors.

“The people have ordered that the Constitution be amended. We will protect this word and order of the nation. They have said that overthrowing each other in parliament was not for the benefit of the country, and therefore called for those provisions of the Constitution to be revised.

“We therefore notify you that those actions of change of government will never happen. What will take place is the continuation of the national reforms process. We thank the nation for your patience in these trying times where you are taken for granted by these people you have sent to serve your interests,” Commissioner Molibeli said.

Meanwhile, the Law Society of Lesotho has condemned the security chiefs for their comments.

Law Society president, Lintle Tuke said in a Wednesday statement “the security forces must remain politically neutral” to ensure “a stable and democratic nation where the armed forces, police, and security agencies are committed to serving the state rather than any political interest”.

Lintle Tuke. pic by Silence Charumbira

“The Law Society of Lesotho unreservedly condemns any actions or statements that undermine the security forces’ political neutrality, thereby endangering the very foundations of our democracy. We underscore that the security forces’ commitment to political neutrality is not a mere convention; it is a constitutional imperative that cannot be compromised.

“We commit to closely monitor these developments and remain steadfast in our dedication to upholding the principles of justice, fairness, and the rule of law in Lesotho. We also call for accountability and transparency in ensuring the security forces’ commitment to political neutrality,” Tuke said.

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