Death threats for Mapesela

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Death threats for Mapesela
Death threats for Mapesela

Africa-Press – Lesotho. TEFO Mapesela, who is pushing a motion to oust Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro, says his life is in danger. Mapesela makes the revelations in an urgent application in which he wants the Constitutional Court to decide if a secret ballot should be used in the motion to topple Majoro.

Mapesela, the leader of the Basotho Progressive Party (BPP), filed the application after Speaker of Parliament Sephiri Motanyane rejected his request for MPs to use a secret ballot when they decide Majoro’s fate.

Motanyane told Mapesela that the motion will be put to an open vote because it is a public matter. Mapesela wants the court to decide if Motanyane’s decision is constitutional.

He insists that a secret ballot is necessary because he and other MPs are already being intimidated by party members for pushing the motion. Mapesela tells the court, in an affidavit, that since he brought the motion some state security agents have warned him that he is marked for harm.

“I aver that since I tabled the motion of no confidence in the GoL (government of Lesotho), I have received credible reports and information from some members of state security who told me that I must be careful as there is instruction to harm or kill me for filing the motion,” he said.

“I believed their reports because immediately thereafter, I realised certain vehicles following me constantly around town and when I retired to my home, and would normally park for long periods of times next to my gate.

He pleads with the court not to disclose security personnel’s identities for fear of reprisals and retribution.

Mapesela said he would not take and dismiss the above threats and intimidations as political talk as these are probably likely to be implemented to avoid the dislodging and removal of Dr Majoro’s administration.

He says other MPs have also told him that they have been intimidated as well. “There is a clear and reasonable fear and apprehension among some ABC members in the House and the Prime Minister of the power snatched out of their control through a no-confidence motion.

“As a consequence, they are jointly resorting to intimidatory tactics and wrongful use of state enforcement and security machinery against members of the House supporting the motion.

He said the ABC MPs “play double of pretending to be supporting the Prime Minister, whilst out of sight, they are desperate to have him removed from the helm of Government”.

“Only a secret ballot could render their vote secret and therefore protect their identity.

Mapesela said of the MPs, 16 of whom are ABC members, who have confirmed support of the motion of no confidence, are now afraid to openly support the motion as their parties have made it clear that no one of their members should support such a motion.

The parties are the ABC, Basotho Action Party (BAP), Movement for Economic Change (MEC), Basotho National Party (BNP), the Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) and Democratic Congress (DC).

“We have been informed by these members of House who belong to these several parties that specific instructions have been issued to them not to support the motion of no confidence, and some of these parties have gone public on the matter,” Mapesela says.

He says he had also learned that the ABC warned Chalane Phori, its deputy chairman, against supporting the motion. Mapesela said another reason for seeking a secret ballot is that since he filed the motion, several prominent members of the ABC, DC and PFD have spoken on several local radio stations “lambasting and castigating me”.

He said they are also attacking their MPs for supporting the motion. “From the phone-in programmes of such local radios, threats were dished out by listeners and supporters of these political parties who phoned in, against me and members of the House who would ever support the motion.

“The decision of the Speaker violates the rights of members of the House to determining questions before the House by secret ballot in special circumstances which disable such members to exercise their free will.

“I aver that there are special circumstances which render necessary the decision and determination of the notice of no-confidence aforesaid to be made on a secret ballot,” Mapesela said.

He says because of factional infighting the ABC’s MPs have been reduced from 51 to 35 after many defected to several parties. He says of the remaining 35 “a sizeable number of them have declared privately to me and other members of the House to be disgruntled”.

Mapesela claims those MPs would vote to remove Majoro but fear reprisals from prominent ABC supporters. He says he has reason to fear for his life because a similar thing happened in 2012 when Sello Machekela, the ABC’s deputy leader, was gunned down days after voting with the DC.

“I wish to take this Honourable Court into my confidence and disclose .

. how the Hon. Sello Machekela, MP for Malimong, was brutally murdered in circumstances such as the present,” he said.

Mapesela said there had been threats and intimidations to members of the House of the LCD not to vote with the DC. “The voting was done openly, and the DC became the Government.

Shortly after the vote, Hon. Machakela was gunned down at his home,” Mapesela says. “I aver that this is usually the fate of members of the House who get to be known to have had a hand in the downfall and removal of a government.

He says the threats “deleteriously affect the free exercise of members of the House (as delegates and trustees of the electorate) to vote and to vote according to their own conscience without any wrongful and irregular external influence from political parties”.

“In the light of the threats and intimidation, the tainted results are rendered more probable when voting is done openly.

“The threatening and intimidation aforementioned does not only taint the voting process and outcome; it whittles down the very capacity of the House to hold the GoL to account and to be responsive to the needs of the people of Lesotho.

Such intimidations, he said, hinder the MPs from a firm expression of their dissatisfaction and lack of confidence in the government.

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