MASERU — Former Water Affairs Minister Timothy Thahane, facing charges of bribery, could not have misused the “impoverished” country’s “few millions” after having worked for international finance institutions in his 45-year career, his supporters said.
Thahane, who was sacked from his cabinet post last week, remains the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) MP for Likhetlane constituency.
Likhetlane constituency chairman Ben Matasane Matasane said Thahane has worked in the public service and went to work in the World Bank and the South African Reserve Bank but never had any charges of corruption leveled against him.
“My understanding is that he can’t work for the World Bank and Reserve bank and was never investigated for corruption and come misuse our country’s few millions especially because he knows we are a country that is very much impoverished”.
The constituency would also on November 24 hold a rally in support of Thahane where he would also publicly address his home constituency about his dismissal and the corruption charges he is facing.
Speaking to the Lesotho Times Matasane revealed that the constituency welcomed Thahane as its MP after dismissal following corruption charges laid by Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) last week.
Matasane said the constituency held a rally last Sunday to remind Thahane he was in actual fact elected to represent the constituency in parliament and he still enjoys the same support he did in the past when he won the constituency elections in the May 2012 polls.
“We actually elected Thahane as we supported him and believed he is innocent as we had already heard about this block farming scheme allegations.
“We elected him because we knew that he is not guilty and we stay with him here in the constituency and we know him very well,” Matasane said.
He said Thahane has had clean 45 years of serving the public locally, regionally and internationally and has maintained a good track record since then.
“These charges against him bring some contradictions I don’t understand as he has always had a very good record,” said Matasane.
Matasane alleged there has been a campaign against Thahane insisting it seems someone wants to defame the former minister.
“We thank the DCEO as it has given him a chance to clear his name and after this case he’d not have any defamatory story hanging above his head,” Matasane added.
Speaking about Thahane and internal party support during the former minister’s first court appearance, Matasane told the Lesotho Times the LCD does not belong to any person; it belongs to all its members and was founded by former Prime Minister Ntsu Mokhehle.
“We’d always support him as a constituency. We know Thahane as a principled man and if there is a fight internally in the LCD against him, we will fight that fight for him.
“As a chairman of the constituency I guarantee that he is not going anywhere as I’ve heard rumours that that he is going to be joining another party,” Matasane said.
Matasane said he is making the claims as he knows Thahane very well and he knows his stand point exactly as a man of integrity.
He emphasised if ever charges against the former minister came about as a result of a fight in the LCD’s top brass against him then the constituency is prepared to fight within the party structures for Thahane.
Matasane was however quick to say since Thahane wrote a letter about the LCD’s alleged lack of support to Thahane at the beginning of his trial it was realised the letter came too quick and the party has since showed it still supports Thahane.
“I copied the letter he (Thahane) wrote to the constituency committee to the party national executive committee but they never got a chance to respond to the letter but instead I called the executive committee’s members in person.
“They showed our MP still enjoys their unwavering support as the party leadership,” Matasane revealed.
Contacted for an interview, Thahane declined to speak to the Lesotho Times saying issues surrounding his corruption charges have since been twisted widely as all people wish hence his reluctance to speak.
He however said he would be hosting a public gathering for his constituency where he’d publicly speak out.
“All I can say is that we had a small rally for my nearby party members but on November 24 I’d like you to attend a massive constituency rally we are going to have in our constituency.
“I’m just going to lay down the facts there and no one would sue me or hold me in contempt of court,” Thahane told the Lesotho Times.
Meanwhile, Selibe Mochoboroane the LCD deputy spokesperson said Thahane still enjoys the party leadership support.
“LCD cadres understand that no one is above the law and every person is innocent until proven guilty,” he said.
Mochoboroane says the charges against Thahane and his subsequent removal from office do not pose a political threat to the party since they do not originate from a political ground.
“This issues are not influenced by any political matters and do not warrant any political remedies on our part as a political party. As the situation stands his charges will not have an effect on his political stance in the party”, Mochoboroane said.
Mochoboroane said if the constituency committee was to invite the party leadership to attend the constituency rally it would duly attend and even assure the party members in the constituency they are still support Thahane.