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Treason, murder charges are politically-motivated: Mochoboroane

Lesotho's widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa.

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Staff Reporters

DEVELOPMENT Planning Minister, Selibe Mochoboroane, has said that the treason and murder charges that he is facing are politically motivated and will not stand.

The Movement for Economic Change (MEC) leader told the Lesotho Times in an interview this week that he was not afraid as he had no case to answer.

There is nothing to fear,” he said adding: “These charges are trumped-up to settle political scores”.

“They won’t stand in any court.”

Mr Mochoboroane said he cannot wait for the court processes to commence so that he can prove his innocence.

So confident is he that he is adamant he will be acquitted with his co-accused, Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader, Mothetjoa Metsing, former army commander, Tlali Kamoli, army officers Captain Litekanyo Nyakane, Lance Corporals Motloheloa Ntsane and Leutsoa Motsieloa.

The charges are in connection with the 30 August 2014 failed coup against former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s first government.

Mr Metsing was deputy prime minister at the time of the attempted coup while Mr Mochoboroane was Communications, Science and Technology minister and LCD secretary general.

Kamoli had been fired by Mr Thabane from his post as army commander on 29 August 2014 before orchestrating the attempted coup allegedly with the support of Messrs Metsing, Mochoboroane, Captain Nyakane and Lance Corporals Ntsane and Motsieloa. Messrs Thabane and Metsing had fallen out with the latter alleging he was not being consulted on key decisions.

The murder charge emanates from the killing of police Sub-Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko, during the night of the attempted coup when soldiers under the command of Kamoli raided police stations to disarm police officials said to be loyal to Mr Thabane.

Unlike Mr Metsing, Mr Mochoboroane said that he had not fled the country because he did not have any case to answer.

“There is no case there. Much as the charges are politically-motivated, we have been singing that song and we are tired of it. I want the case to come to conclusion so that the truth can prevail. I’m eagerly waiting to have my day in court.

“I’ve not been fleeing. I’m here in the country. I’ve gone to court and I will continue doing so. We want the court to pronounce itself on the case. That is why I’ve not gone anywhere,” he said.

Mr Mochoboroane said the charges were cooked up after 2014 political differences between the All Basotho Convention (ABC) and LCD during their time  in the government. The charges were therefore meant to punish him and his co-accused.

Mr Metsing has also claimed that the charges are politically motivated.

He told his supporters ahead of his court appearance on 10 August 2022 that he was “a victim of Lesotho’s toxic politics of hate”.

However, he would not retaliate and engage in the same political culture of mudslinging his rivals as he was back in the country to play his part in fostering a new culture of “developmental politics”, he said.

“I’m a victim of Lesotho politics, I have been constantly hounded. Some politicians hate me with a passion,” Mr Metsing said without naming his alleged tormentors.

Mr Metsing, who had been hiding in South Africa since last year was formally charged and released on M50 000 bail by Judge ‘Maliepollo Makhetha.

The judge also cancelled the December 2021 warrant for his arrest issued by Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane.

This after Mr Metsing and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP, Hlalefang Motinyane, had reached an agreement for him to be joined to the trial and be released on stringent bail conditions. In terms of the conditions, in addition to the M50 000 bail  Mr Metsing must  report to Leribe police every Friday and appear in court whenever he is ordered to do so.

He was also ordered to immediately surrender his travel documents to the lead investigator, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Sera Makharilele.

Justice Makhetha postponed the trial to 27 October 2022.