LCD, opposition in war of words

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MASERU — Last week’s assassination attempt on Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili has triggered a bitter war of words between the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and opposition parties.

The LCD says the attacks were politically motivated and has insinuated that some opposition parties could have had a hand in the whole incident.

This has angered the opposition that is now accusing the ruling party of making reckless statements that are not supported by conclusive evidence. 

In a statement released hours after the attack Communications Minister Mothetjoa Metsing said the attempt on Mosisili was “politically motivated” and indicated that the opposition parties could have participated in the attack.

He said opposition parties were impatient to wait for the elections that are due in 2012.

“Opposition parties driven by their immense thirst for power are not patient enough to wait for the election,” Metsing said.

Metsing also made the same statement on the SABC’s Lesedi FM on the same day.

At an LCD press conference yesterday afternoon Metsing repeated the same allegations.

The LCD secretary general said he was standing by his earlier statements. 

“Leaders of the opposition have been inciting violence by the negative things they say about LCD,” Metsing said.

“One leader in particular said at one of his recent rallies that the political situation in Madagascar would soon prevail in Lesotho. If they keep on saying such things we have no option but to feel compelled to believe that they could be involved.”

The statement on Madagascar was apparently made by the leader of the All Basotho Convention (ABC), Tom Thabane.

Thabane has however reacted angrily to the allegations, accusing Metsing and the ruling party of taking the statements out of context.

Thabane said his supporters were so angry with Metsing’s statements that he had to restrain them. 

“Not only are the accusations premature, they are immoral and lacking in solid evidence,” Thabane said.

“The police through their investigations will say whether opposition parties were involved in the whole saga. Until then, no one has a right to be pointing fingers. In my opinion, Metsing is the one with intense thirst for power!”

Basotho National Party (BNP) leader Justin Metsing Lekhanya said the statements were irresponsible and ridiculous.

 “It was ridiculous to level such accusations at the opposition,” Lekhanya said.

“What concrete evidence do they have to back up their claims? How can a man of Metsing’s status and calibre go on national radio and television to say such disturbing things about us?”

Senkatana secretary general, Karabo Thloeli, said they believe that security agencies should be allowed to conduct investigations into the attacks before people start pointing figures.

“The rushed statements signal the utter lack of tolerance from the government’s side. I cannot fathom what compelled the minister of communications to level such accusations at the opposition so prematurely,” said Thloeli.

The Mozambican high commissioner, Fernando Andrade Fazenda currently in the country and South African high commissioner Happy Mahlangu, said yesterday that they were intent on working hand-in-hand with the Lesotho security forces to get to the root of the attacks and hopefully identify with absolute certainty the commander-in-chief behind the attacks.

“We condemn what happened. We will arrest whoever is the commander-in-chief of these unfortunate acts,” said Fazenda.

“The men arrested so far will give us leads. The involvement of the two members of France’s Interpol department will also come in handy as they will monitor the mercenaries’ movements and ensure they do not move beyond South Africa’s borders,” said Mahlangu.

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