Mofomobe accuses police of intimidation

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Billy Ntaote

Basotho National Party (BNP) spokesperson Machesetsa Mofomobe says the police’s decision to summon him over a protest march which took place in June last year was meant to intimidate him and other “dissenting voices”.

Mr Mofomobe had been asked to come to Pitso Ground Police Station on Friday last week, but only went to the station on Monday this week.

Although he was not read any charges, Mr Mofomobe said the police asked him to give a statement about his involvement in the march which took place on 9 June 2015 in Maseru.

The march, which was organised by opposition parties, sought to protest the fatal shooting of prominent taxi-owner Thabiso Tšosane the previous month and the arrest of soldiers suspected of mutiny. The protesters also wanted government to ensure the safe return of three opposition leaders—Thomas Thabane, Thesele ‘Maseribane and Keketso Rantšo of the All Basotho Convention, BNP and Reformed Congress of Lesotho, respectively—who had fled into South Africa the previous month after claiming the military was out to assassinate them.

But the outspoken Mr Mofomobe says he was not one of the organisers of the march, and did not know why the police were asking him about it.

“I was told to report to the police station on Friday last week but declined because I didn’t want to spend the weekend in a cell. That’s why I decided to go today, to hear what they wanted,” Mr Mofomobe said.

“The police told me that I had violated sections of the Penal Code Act of 2010 regarding my involvement in the 9 June 2015 march, and I should give them a statement about it.

“But what is worrying is that I was not the responsible party for the march. I was not the one who secured the permit from the police for that march.

“However, the police still said I should give the statement so they could decide on their next step.”

But Mr Mofomobe says the police move is meant to intimidate and crush “any dissenting voice”.

He added: “This is definitely intended to crush the opposition through these tactics of intimidation. I have been called to the police before and I know if they are taking my statement, it means they are going to charge me. The only concern I have is that this is an abuse of law enforcement agencies and is similar to what they did to Advocate Khotso Nthontho.”

Advocate Nthontho, who is one of the lawyers representing 23 soldiers facing mutiny charges before a Court Martial, was arrested early this month and charged with perjury.

Contacted for comment, police spokesperson Clifford Molefe dismissed Mr Mofomobe’s claims of intimidation.

Senior Inspector Molefe said Mr Mofomobe had been called to give a statement regarding a crime committed during the protest march.

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