Upbeat Mofomobe blasts Matekane


  • Challenges PM to take action against ‘incompetent’ Ralenkoane


MASERU – A day after emerging victorious against the National Security Service (NSS) in a court case in which he challenged seizure of his mobile phones, Basotho National Party (BNP) leader, Machesetsa Mofomobe, has branded Prime Minister Ntsokoane Matekane his cabinet incompetent and unfit to lead the country. The Constitutional Court on Tuesday declared the law authorizing the NSS to seize and search private property for purposes of their investigations unconstitutional.

Mofomobe and fellow politician and Democratic Congress deputy publicist, Moeketsi Shale, had challenged confiscation of the mobile phones by the spy agency. According to the NSS, the duo was suspected of money laundering, possession of classified material and the murder of radio presenter Ralikonelo Joki. The Constitutional Court found provisions of the National Security Service Act of 1988 unconstitutional in its violation of their right to privacy and freedom from arbitrary seizure of property, while also nullifying the warrants that directed the seizure and search of the two men’s mobile phones.

Speaking to the press in what has been seen as a victory lap on Wednesday, the BNP leader said if Matekane was well-versed on issues of governance and national laws, he would have not fallen victim to manipulation by NSS director, Pheello Ralenkoane, who provided the government with the information upon which he and Shale were named suspects. Mofomobe said Ralenkoane used the prime minister’s ignorance to fight his political battles.

According to Mofomobe, Ralenkoane manipulated the prime minister because “he saw his weakness, took an opportunity and diverted police attention from the real murder suspects to me.”

He said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Limpho Tau, who signed the warrants for the seizure of the mobile phones shouldn’t have done so on behalf of the Prime Minister Matekane.

Instead, the documents should have been signed by the deputy prime minister, Justice Nthomeng Majara. “Apart from the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office illegally signing a warrant claiming to be the Minister of Defence and suggesting that I am involved in money laundering and the murder of Joki, and for my phones to be confiscated, he should have known that this is beyond the NSS’s jurisdiction. They don’t investigate and arrest suspects of a criminal offences.

“But since we are led by an incompetent prime minister and ministers, they signed the warrant they have no authority to. They let the NSS do a job they have no authority to do,” he said. He said only police officers are mandated to investigate crimes and arrest criminal suspects. He further said Minister Tau should have known that confiscating his property was violation of his rights as per Section 10 of the Constitution of Lesotho. Section 10(1) of the Lesotho Constitution reads “Every person shall be entitled to freedom from arbitrary search or entry, that is to say, he shall not (except with his own consent) be subjected to the search of his person or his property or the entry by other on his premises.”

Mofomobe further alleged that the Prime Minister Matekane is using state security agencies to fight his political opponnents instead of focusing on national governance. “The prime minister needs to wake up from his sleep and focus on transparent national governance. He should stop using national security to fight his political opponents. It is clear that we have an incompetent prime minister who uses, and lets himself to be used by the NSS,” he claimed. Mofomobe further urged the prime minister to review Ralenkoane’s appointment and weigh if his appointment is still to the benefit of the country and its people. He also called Ralenkoane incompetent, saying that the NSS was bound to lose credibility if no action is taken against him.   

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