Thabane meets LDF chief over security

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’Marafaele Mohloboli

PRIME Minister-elect Thomas Thabane has met Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) commander, Lieutenant-General Khoantle Motšomotšo, to discuss his concerns about the army security detail he would be assigned after his inauguration tomorrow.

According to All Basotho Convention (ABC) spokesperson, Tefo Mapesela, the meeting was meant to “iron out” Dr Thabane’s issues of concern in light of the frayed relationship between the two sides.

The meeting was held after supporters of the incoming four-party government heckled national security agents on Monday during a special parliamentary sitting to swear-in legislators.

The heckling degenerated to a standoff, with the supporters saying they did not want the agents anywhere near Dr Thabane as he approached his vehicle.

“We will guard him like we always did with stones, sticks and insults. We will give him the security he needs,” shouted the supporters, as Dr Thabane’s personal security whisked him away in his person vehicle.

Dr Thabane fled the country on two occasions in which he accused the LDF of plotting his assassination.

The ABC leader fled to South Africa on the eve of 30 August 2014 LDF raids on three Maseru police stations, saying he had been warned his life was in danger from rogue elements of the military. He returned to Lesotho under the protection of South African security personnel in September 2014.

The LDF said the raid, which left one police officer dead, was meant to foil a police plan to give civilians firearms for use during a Lesotho Congress for Democracy street protest scheduled for 1 September 2014.

However, later called the attacks an attempted coup.

In May 2015, Dr Thabane fled again to South Africa and was soon followed by his Basotho National Party and Reformed Congress of Lesotho counterparts Thesele ‘Maseribane and Keketso Rantšo respectively who also cited threats to their lives emanating from the LDF.

However, the LDF has consistently denied the allegations.

Mr Mapesela said the meeting between Dr Thabane and Lt-Gen Motšomotšo was meant to address the premier-elect’s concerns about his safety under LDF guard.

“As you may recall, our leader had to skip this country for security reasons. It would therefore defy all logic if, out of the blue, we would just leave him in the hands of the state security without putting proper measures in place,” he said.

“The same army officers Ntate Thabane was running away from are now offering him security. We didn’t trust the arrangements that had been initially made, but we believe that by Friday the situation will be orderly and clear.”

 

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