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LCD pins hope on SADC to save Metsing

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Mohloai Mpesi

The irate Lesotho Congress for Democrats (LCD) deputy leader, TÅ¡eliso Mokhosi came out guns-blazing after the High Court of Lesotho made a decision to join his leader Mothetjoa Metsing in the High Treason case alongside erstwhile army commander Lieutenant-General Tlali Kamoli among others.    

Addressing a media at the party headquarters in Maseru this week, Mokhosi said that the decision of the High Court to indict their leader was politically motivated and did not respect the Southern African Development Community (SADC) which had said that treason cases should not proceed until the National Reforms programme has been finalised.  

Metsing is charged alongside the Movement for Economic Change (MEC) leader and Minister of Development Planning, Selibe Mochoboroane for an alleged attempt to topple the 2014-Motsoahae Thomas Thabane led regime as well as the murder of Police Sub-Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko who was gunned down on August 30, 2014 at the Police Headquarters. At the time, Mochoboroane was spearheading the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology while Metsing was Deputy Prime Minister.     

The duo challenged the decision for their joinder in the matter that embroils Kamoli, Captain Litekanyo Nyakane, Lance Corporal Motloheloa Ntsane and Leutsoa Motsieloa who are already incarcerated and languishing in prison.  

Their shot to not be joined in the treason case proved futile after the Court of Appeal dismissed their case where they argued that the SADC agreement with the government and opposition parties was that the two should not be tried until the reforms processes are accomplished.

The two politicians once again debated the Director for Public Prosecution (DPP) Hlalefang Motinyane’s directive to join them where their representative Advocate Motia Teele KC contended that the DPP could not join them in an already existing indictment.

He said they challenge “the ability of the DPP to join them in that indictment by bringing this one which is the second. DPP appears to have considered that exercising her powers in terms of the provisions of section 144 (1) of the Criminal Procedure.”

“If you compare section 92 with 144, section 144 is remedial and turns to remedy the situations that are foreshadowed in the criteria and in the event could not have been dealt with sufficiently under section 92.”

“No person shall be tried in the High Court for any offence unless he has previously been committed for a trial by Magistrate, whether or not the committal was on a direction of DPP under the powers conferred under section 90 (1) C, for or irrespective of the charge in the indictment.

He argued that it is either done in terms of 92 or 144… “Now, 144 got certain criteria that must be satisfied by the DPP before she can exercise her powers. The applicant contends that this has not been satisfied. The provisions of 144 do not in any way provide for process of joinder, that process of joinder is a matter that is provided elsewhere in the CVNE.

“There is no evidence that there has been an interference with the witnesses. We are contending that we cannot join to an existing indictment,” he said.

However, their reasons did not sway Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane decided for their call on December 6, 2021 to stand trial.    

“We should remind the public that there was a decision made by SADC whereby the National Assembly opposition parties made an agreement that such cases should not proceed until the National Reforms are completed. These cases are politically motivated and should wait until the courts are reformed,” Mokhosi said.

“It was also mentioned in the same agreement that those who would not adhere to the treaty will be taken into account by SADC. The government of Lesotho decided not to honour the agreement by continuing with the cases, this is really shaming. We need the government and all the relevant stakeholders to help us to respect and honour this pact,” he continued adding that the call up makes the reforms processes unmanageable and set to fail.

“The LCD committee tried everything possible to meet with all the relevant stakeholders to find the ultimate solution. We tried to meet with other political parties, Non-Governmental Organisations, Church Organizations in Lesotho, the National Reforms Authority (NRA) and others,” he said.

Mokhosi continued that they have exhausted all the possible means to pull their leader off the coals but it was all to no avail, citing that their last hope is SADC as well as the SADC’s mediator to the Lesotho situation, Dikgang Moseneke to whom they have already written seeking intervention.

“We have exhausted all the possible ways to deal with this matter; we called all relevant stakeholders on board to find peaceful solution to this matter because it hampers the process of the reforms as these leaders would not be able to have an input to the reforms proceedings.   

“We telephonically called SADC to appraise them and also wrote them a formal letter, we are not expecting their response quickly because this is a big issue, so we are still waiting for their answer. We believe they will work this in a clear way,” he said.

“We are hoping that SADC and other stakeholders will help us in the matter to help the government make the right decision. We complain about the government because we believe that all decisions have to pass through the cabinet,” he continued.

“This matter is political in all kind of ways because the government has not been overthrown because these things happen when one is afraid of losing elections to their rivals and this is one of their strategies to avoid competition.

“This matter was not supposed to be at this stage because we even told the courts that this matter is political and they should not entertain it,” he added.

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