ALLIANCE of Democrats (AD) youth league president, Thuso Litjobo, was yesterday freed of criminal defamation after the prosecution withdrew charges that had been preferred against him at the Maseru Magistrates’ Court.
Mr Litjobo stood accused of defaming Assistant Commissioner of Police, (ACP) Motlatsi Mapola, through utterances he allegedly made during a programme with a local radio station early this year.
The case was postponed on several occasions largely because the main prosecution witness, ACP Motlatsi Mapola, was out of the country on a training programme.
ACP Mapola was the complainant in the case in which Mr Litjobo is accused of defaming him on Tšenolo FM in January.
The withdrawal was confirmed by Mr Litjobo’s lawyer, Advocate Tembo Lesupi.
Mr Litjobo (34) had been charged with defamation for his remarks on Tšenolo FM radio station on 11 January 2017 that ACP Mapola “seemed to be active in party politics”.
According to the charge sheet, Mr Litjobo, who is a resident of Koro-Koro in Maseru, allegedly contravened section 101 read with section 104 of the Penal Code Act No. 6 of 2010.
He was accused under the said provisions “in that upon or about the 11th day of January, 2017, and at or near Ha-Mabote (DLM complex), in the course of the programme styled, Fika-le-mohala and during a radio interview broadcast over Tšenolo FM, a radio station with a broad and wide listenership, the said accused did unlawfully, and intentionally publish and/or cause to be published, to the listenership words and/or statements defamatory of the complainant, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Motlatsi Mapola”.
The defamatory words referred to are quoted in Sesotho and can be interpreted to mean that Mr Mapola would be bored when there was a change of government because he seemed to be a “tool” used by the former seven-party coalition government that was headed by former premier Pakalitha Mosisili.
Mr Litjobo allegedly said Mr Mapola should refrain from participating in party politics and those close to him should advise him to refrain from such activities.
Mr Litjobo was released on bail on condition that he paid M500 as bail deposit and stand trial to finality.
Mr Litjobo was arrested by members of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) at his Lower Thamae residence in Maseru on 15 January this year.
He was locked-up at Mokhalinyane police station, in Maseru rural.
He was taken to the High Court the next day after his wife had lodged an application to compel the police authorities to bring him to court dead or alive.
High Court judge, Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi ordered that he be immediately released from police custody.
The defamation case was before Magistrate, Nthabiseng Moopisa.
Mr Litjobo was sworn in as a member of the 10th parliament in the aftermath of the 3 June 2017 snap national elections which ushered in a four party coalition government comprising of his AD party, the All Basotho Convention, Basotho National Party and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho.–Lena