DEMOCRATIC Congress (DC) Proportional Representation legislator, Refiloe Litjobo says his family blames party leader Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili for the alleged persecution of his brother, Thuso.
Thuso defected from the DC to join its former deputy leader, Monyane Moleleki’s Alliance of Democrats (AD) as its Youth League President upon its formation in December 2016.
He has allegedly been harassed over the past month, including on 15 January when he was arrested by unidentified men who claimed to be members of both the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) and the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF).
Following his arrest at his residence, Thuso was taken to the Mokhalinyane Police Station on the outskirts of Maseru and thereafter to the Magistrate Court where he was charged with defaming Assistant Commissioner of Police, Motlatsi Mapola.
However, the case was dismissed and on 27 January, he was granted a court order interdicting the police and the LDF from arresting and harassing him and his family.
Addressing a press conference this week, Refiloe said at a press conference in Maseru that the court order granted by Justice Thamsanqa Nongcongco had been violated by members of the police and the army.
“Elements of the LDF and LMPS have consistently conducted unlawful raids at his private residence,” Refiloe said, adding, “These illegal and unlawful raids bear the hallmark of an attempt to kidnap, torture and ultimately assassinate Thuso Litjobo”.
“From Wednesday 1st February till Friday 3rd February, 2017 the family spotted some identified members of the LDF and LMPS driving vehicles (a Toyota Raider and a Corsa) that are similar to those that were driven by the officers who arrested Thuso on 15 January, parked at the private residence of Thuso.
“The family learned that the members of the two security services were instructed to kidnap, torture and ultimately assassinate Thuso Litjobo.
“Should anything happen to Thuso Litjobo we shall attribute all such activities to the Prime Minister as head of Government and the Deputy Prime Minister as Chairperson of the Security Committee (Cabinet’s Subcommittee).”
Refiloe further stated that the Litjobo family believed the acts were committed by certain individuals within the LDF and the LMPS who were influenced by politicians in government to intimidate Thuso.
“Thuso’s activism can only threaten the minority government as it is vindictive, retributive, neo-patrimonial and has a complete disregard of the fundamental freedom of its citizens,” adding the actions were indicative “of a state that is slowly turning into a dictatorial state that has no respect for the rule of law and the inalienable rights of its citizens”.
Refiloe said he had already met with the army commander, Lieutenant General Khoantle Motšomotšo and his Deputy and they told him they had no knowledge of a mission or operation of intimidating, torturing and or assassinating politicians.
Refiloe however, said they continued to appeal to the army commander and police commissioner to direct officers under their command to desist from the continued alleged harassment in contravention of the court order.
“We appeal to those politicians in the minority government who blatantly use the elements within the security institutions to fight their political battles, by intimidating and harassing Thuso, Machesetsa Mofomobe (Basotho National Party’s Spokesperson), Nkuebe Marole (AD’s Koro-Koro Constituency Treasurer) and others to desist forthwith from engaging in such conduct.
“We are aware that there are some politicians who want to plunge this country into chaos and instability to render it ungovernable in order to remain in power.”
He said instability would not be to the country’s best interests and the “turn of events will be catastrophic and unfortunate to this nation”.
However, government spokesperson, Serialong Qoo dismissed the allegations as baseless, telling the Lesotho Times yesterday that Refiloe had made the claims in order to win the electorate’s sympathy for the AD.
“There are a lot of baseless accusations being levelled at the government without any verifications of this wild claims. We have initiated consultations with our lawyers to find the best legal course of action to take against detractors attacking government,” Mr Qoo said.
“We suspect that the AD and the opposition is always making this accusation to create grounds for them to receive sympathy from the international community on false claims of extrajudicial persecutions.
“Refiloe Litjobo is definitely not acting like a DC member, his statements are of a person who has joined AD but is only denied a chance to speak out freely because he has not resigned his parliamentary position he holds under the DC,” Mr Qoo said, adding Mr Refiloe was aware of the proper platforms to raise any genuine concerns he had over his family.