Lesotho: Former Minister in Police Brutality Saga

Former Agriculture and Food Security Minister, Litšoane Litšoane, has been accused of ordering police officers to assault a Mapoteng man for allegedly stealing maize stalks from his farm last month.

Mpiti Seeisa (20) was allegedly assaulted by Mapoteng police officers on 16 June 2020. This after his arrest for allegedly stealing maize from Mr Litšoane's farm in Kolonyane, Mapoteng.

However, Mr Litšoane, who served in the previous Thomas Thabane regime, denies setting the police on Mr Seeisa.

A security guard at the farm apprehended Mr Seeisa and dragged him to the Kolonyane chief, Seeisa Seeisa, who happens to be his grandfather.

Chief Seeisa this week told this publication that Mr Litšoane falsely accused his nephew of theft and later set the police on him.

He said a security guard at the former minister's farm dragged the accused and his father to his house at gunpoint alleging that Mr Seeisa had stolen maize stalks from Mr Litšoane's field.

"Mpiti took out his own maize stalks from his own house to feed livestock and the guard, who was hiding by the kraal then accused him of stealing from the former minister's farm," Chief Seeisa said.

"Mpiti and his father were brought before me at gunpoint. The security guard insisted that he caught Mr Mpiti red-handed. However, one of the villagers corroborated Mpiti's story that he was at his father's kraal when the security guard apprehended him."

The Seeisa family was allegedly coerced into agreeing to pay a M4000 fine to Mr Litšoane as compensation for the maize stalks.

However, Mr Litšoane is alleged to have reneged on the settlement that same day. He allegedly later drove to Mr Seeisa's home with security guards who dragged him to the police station where he was detained for 48 hours.

"Before his release on 16 June 2020, the police beat him up. He would not have been brutalised if Mr Litšoane had not driven him there and ordered that he be beaten by the police," Mr Seeisa said.

In a separate interview, Mr Litšoane denied ordering the police to assault Mr Seeisa.

"He (Mr Seeisa) is mad. I never ordered the police to assault him. We have people stealing from our farm and we had to engage security guards. Sometime last month, I received a call from the security guards saying that they had caught a thief red-handed. They told me they had taken the suspect to Chief Seeisa. I talked to Chief Seeisa about his nephew.

"He (Chief Seeisa) told me he didn't know what to do because Mr Seeisa had been caught stealing before. Mr Seeisa ended up confessing, saying he stole the stalks to feed their cow. That is theft. I negotiated with his father to pay for the damage his son had caused and they did not have money. What was I expected to do?"

Mr Litšoane said he reported the matter to Mapoteng police officers. But they said they did not have transport and pleaded with the politician to bring Mr Seeisa to the station. Mr Litšoane said he agreed to bring the accused person to the station and a theft case was opened.

"I never ordered the police to beat Mr Seeisa. I dropped him there and left. Chief Seeisa has sourced a lawyer for that thief and the case has been set for 24 July 2020. Now that he has run to the media to tell lies about me, I am more determined to see the case concluded. There is an exhibit at the police station and I want to win this case so I can claim damages from Chief Seeisa," Mr Litšoane said.

More From: Lesotho Times

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