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‘I’m taken for granted’, Mapesela


…says he has lost interest in politics

…charges that the nation looks down on him

Fumane Pule & Lerato Matheka

Defence and National Security Minister Tefo Mapesela has told this paper he has lost interest in politics.

He said this during an exclusive interview with Newsday.

“I am not interested in the political future anymore because people are taking me for granted. Why would I waste my time in the political field yet it’s a field I don’t fit in.

“I have an initiation school and I rear animals. These have driven Basotho to look down on me as a shepherd forgetting that I have been a lecturer at the Centre for Accounting Studies, I have worked at Nedbank and I have managed whites. Every time I speak, I am viewed as an outcast in these politics.  It is a shame because they will remember me and all that I have said but it will be too late then.”

He added, “I clearly come with a different mentality from those of politicians because in Lesotho, politicians seem to be expected to have a certain mentality and unfortunately some of us come with the mentality of serving the nation with integrity and honesty.”

Mapesela has been making headlines with his recent removal from acting office of the Minister of Police.

He confirmed that he has been removed as acting Minister of Police and stressed he was not fired because as it stands, he was still a minister.

“I was replaced by Prince Maliehe. I was not fired as people are saying. That was never my post, I was just acting and it is wrong for people to say I was fired,” he charged.

When pressed about his future in politics, Mapesela said he was not at liberty to say but voiced his frustrations of not being taken serious.

“It’s not that I don’t care anymore about politics. I care that the nation is in a crisis and the party (All Basotho Convention) is in tatters. I am concerned about my future but I have a future outside politics, I have my businesses and the political career will be determined by the people who voted for me,” he said.

He stressed, “When I am gone, I am telling you now that the very people that are taking me for granted and taking my efforts as nothing will remember me, but for now, I feel like I am in the wrong field.”

The minister didn’t seem content that he would campaign for a return should the country go for elections.

“I am focusing on nothing but my work now. I am serving the mandate of people from Mokhotlong who elected me and the rest of Basotho. I am focused on fulfilling the policy and the mandate of the government. I don’t know about elections. Right now I cannot desert the people who have put me here, I will stay until the end of my term,” Mapesela said, noting should his political services be needed he would require his family’s consent.

“I truly will need an intervention from people who love me because I can see that I am failing in this field. When that comes, it will require a lot of thinking to determine whether I really want to continue with this political career.

“Being taken for granted is not a nice thing, especially when I know that I am speaking and doing everything with the nation at heat.”

This paper asked the minister what he meant when saying between the First Lady and ACP Beleme Lebajoe, one of them would remember him from a jail cell.

Mapesela emphasised that he stands by his words noting he didn’t say which.

“I don’t have to elaborate this one because I’m not a court nor am I the police. I don’t take people to prison. It was a naked statement and a wakeup call for them to handle matters diligently. I am still saying one of them will remember me and I will not elaborate.

“Yes the First Lady said that Ntate Prime Minister borrowed her phone and she had nothing to do with what happened and we buried our hatchets,” the minister said, noting that people have come at him with attacks that he was denying himself power and turning against his words.

“No, I am not denying myself power because I made a conclusion that the First Lady didn’t have anything to do with my telephonic removal from the ministry and I made peace, I mean there is nothing wrong with spouses exchanging phones.”

Mapesela told Newsday that his short tenure as the acting Minister of Police brought him headaches.

“I was dealing with subordinates who were ungovernable.”

“I made a voice-note last week where I brought to light that Mokete (Police DCP Paseka Mokete) and Lebajoa threatened to kill me and Monaheng (DCP Keketso Monaheng). They told the Commissioner of Police Holomo Molibeli that they were going to shoot the two of us and to date nothing has been done to them. I am however not afraid of those boys. In their heads they thought they were threatening me, but I cannot be threatened by them because I am the authority, I cannot be sacred of my subordinates.”

“I said they are acting like politicians and I am saying that again. They carry themselves as politicians because they seem to have political interests. I have rebuked and warned the police, the army and the NSS to steer away from politics because politicians will use them and in turn, they will face jail time on their own while the politicians will roam free. They don’t listen and those two have proven to have higher political power than their seniors at work.

“They are untouchable. I failed to touch them when they were displaying insubordination. Lebajoe recorded our conversation and in turn compromised the country’s security but nothing was done to him. Mokete went to Uganda without my knowledge and went further to call me a boy on different social media platform and still nothing has been done to them.

“I have advised the police and the army to leave politics for politicians, but they approach politicians putting themselves at the disposal of being used in exchange for benefits and favouritism.”

He expressed his frustration noting it becomes hard to be production when being a governing chief of a ministry with subordinates who don’t listen.

“It gives me a conclusion that we are in political competition hence their attitude. Mokete and Lebajoa are untouchable because they are unreachable. If the commissioner of police does not arrest them, I cannot either because I am not the police. Mokete and Lebajoa cannot say we’re going to kill Mapesela and Monaheng, and they don’t get arrested and it becomes just a report. It’sreally sad. He said on one local medium that I be told that bigger people cannot be toppled by minorities and I was the minor in that regard.”

He noted that he as a person has no problems with the two members of the police.

“I do not have any personal problems against these people. I know my mandate is to unite not to separate, so they are at better positions to know what they have against me, funny I do not have a problem governing soldiers and the NSS, I only encountered problems with the police institution with those people because they are uncontrollable and believe to be invincible.”

Mapesela told this paper that he was removed from the ministry at the verge of implementing discipline.

“Even though I have been removed from acting Minister of Police, I wanted to put the department of police in order for the benefit of the nation, but that dream has been cut short unfortunately.”

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