Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader, Mothetjoa Metsing, says Prime Minister Thomas Thabane's bid to oust Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli is borne out of his long-running desperation to stop the investigations into the June 2017 murder of his former wife, Lipolelo. Mr Metsing said former Police Commissioner Molahlehi Letsoepa was unlawfully dismissed for similar reasons when Dr Thabane came to power in 2017.
He said this while addressing LCD supporters at a rally in Matsieng this week.
Dr Thabane has been named as a suspect by Commissioner Molibeli while the First Lady, 'Maesaiah Thabane, was last Wednesday charged with the murder of Lipolelo who was shot dead as she was about to drive into her Ha 'Masana home on 14 June 2017. The incident occurred just two days before Dr Thabane's inauguration as prime minister.
Thato Sibolla, who was in the car with Lipolelo when she was gunned down, sustained serious injuries in the shooting. Dr Thabane's All Basotho Convention (ABC) has asked the veteran leader to step down in the wake of Commissioner Molibeli's allegations against him. Dr Thabane has since agreed to go but insists he is retiring only on account of his advanced age.
Addressing the LCD faithful on Sunday, Mr Metsing said while Dr Thabane and the First Lady's guilt or innocence could only be decided by the courts of law, he knew for sure that Dr Thabane did not want the Lipolelo murder thoroughly investigated hence the 2017 ouster of Mr Letsoepa and the latest bid to sack Commissioner Molibeli.
Dr Thabane last month advised King Letsie III to appoint Assistant Commissioner of Police, Janki Hlaahla, to replace Commissioner Molibeli. The appointment of Mr Hlaahla should have been with effect from 10 January 2020 but it has since been blocked by a 12 January 2020 interim High Court order pending the finalisation of Commissioner Molibeli's application for a final order to stop Dr Thabane from recommending his removal from office. Prior to recommending his ouster, Dr Thabane unsuccessfully attempted to suspend Commissioner Molibeli for 60 days for alleged misconduct and incompetence including his alleged failure to address the pressing issue of police brutality against civilians.
Commissioner Molibeli successfully challenged the bid to suspend him in court. In his court papers he denied the allegations that he failed to address the issue of police brutality and insisted that his "irregular and unlawful" suspension was done in bad faith only because he wrote to the premier implicating him in the murder of his former wife, Lipolelo.
Commenting on the issue at the LCD rally on Sunday, Mr Metsing said just like he had done to Mr Letsoepa in 2017, Dr Thabane now wanted Commissioner Molibeli gone to stop him from completing the investigations into Lipolelo's murder.
"Today the ABC wants Prime Minister Thabane gone, saying that he has killed a person. But we have always known that some prominent ABC members were implicated in his wife's murder.
"You will all remember that when all these things (the murder) happened, I was the outgoing deputy prime minister and chairperson of security affairs. I remember very well that when I demanded to know what was going on in this matter (murder) investigation, (incoming) PM Thabane called the then Commissioner Molahlehi Letsoepa and asked him to deal with me and the investigating officers who wanted to arrest the First Lady.
"Letsoepa never acted on the directive and two weeks later he was sent on forced leave. Letsoepa was unlawfully dismissed and today the same thing is happening to the one who was appointed to replace Letsoepa. Today the same people who were happy when Holomo Molibeli took over now want him gone. They are fighting," said Mr Metsing without elaborating on how Dr Thabane had wanted him to be dealt with. Subsequent attempts by the Lesotho Times to get an explanation proved fruitless as Mr Metsing did not answer or return calls to his mobile phone this week.
In another development, Mr Metsing said he would push for the establishment of a government of national unity (GNU) when parliament opens on 21 February 2020.
He said only a GNU could bring peace and stability to Lesotho as well as spearhead socio-economic development through job creation and poverty alleviation programmes.
"We are ready to engage other parties on board to form a government of national unity because as things stand the opposition has 51 seats in parliament and we are only short of 10 (to have a majority). I don't think it's impossible to get the support for the GNU.
"We need a GNU for the common good of the people and not for individual gain. We have too many national issues that need to be tackled including poverty and unemployment.
"We accept that having been in government in the past, we are all at fault and the problems of this country emanate from divisions that have been brought about by our politics," Mr Metsing said.