MASERU – The first sitting of the Senate on Tuesday following a lengthily recess saw Senators join the widening chorus for embattled Prime Minister Motsoahae Thabane to relinquish power. Senator Kholu Moshoeshoe moved Tuesday morning for the House to attend the joint sitting of both the Senate and the National Assembly to be part of Wednesday’s presentation of the 2020/2021 budget estimates by finance minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro – setting in motion blistering attacks on Thabane and his administration from members of the House.
Thabane announced recently his decision to resign as head of government, amid efforts by the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) to haul him before court to answer charges of the murder of his estranged wife Lipolelo who was gunned down in 2017 at Ha ‘Masana. The prime minister has since challenged the indictment and moved for a Constitutional Court determination of whether a sitting prime minister did not enjoy the right of immunity from criminal prosecution.
His wife, ‘Maesaiah, has however been released from detention on a M1 000 facing the same charge. Speaking in the House the Principal Chief Thaba-Bosiu, Chief Khoabane Theko said they had no reason to attend the joint sitting as members of the Upper House as that was tantamount to supporting a government that did not have the interests of the Basotho at heart.
He said Prime Minister must step as head of government, he said “in my view the incumbent prime minister should resign with immediate effect because he is charged with the murder of his former wife, so it will be wise for him to resign.
I was previously accused of being prime minister Thabane’s staunch supporters, I had valid reason for that for which I am not apologetic…and in a similar manner the facts here speak for themselves, he has to go home.” Chief Theko recalled the prime minister as a dedicated worker and very forceful during his tenure as a principal secretary and as a minister, wondering how such a man became what he is today.
“If you will support the joint sitting tomorrow I will be very angry because this country will continue to be corrupted by arrogant leaders who insult people day by night,” he called on feloow Senators. “If this Thabane is the same man we used to know he could have long fired this boy ‘Mapeseli’ (in obvious reference to Minister of Forestry Tefo Mapesela who has in the news recently for insulting fellow politicians),” he continued.
The Principal Chief of Matsieng, Chief Seeiso Seeiso, joined the attack saying it was indeed pointless to be part of the budget while it does not support any initiative to uplift the lives of the Basotho. He recalled the ongoing standoff between government and wool and mohair farmers, which has seen the industry embroiled in squabbles over non-payment of their sold wool and mohair. The Principal Chiefs of Mapoteng, Chief Peete Lesaoana Peete and of Leribe Chief Joel Motšoene also voiced similar sentiments, urging fellow Senators to boycott the joint sitting.