Africa In The News

Lesotho premier fails to tackle human rights abuses – Amnesty

JOHANNESBURG, September 26 – Lesotho has a culture of deeply entrenched human rights abuses which Prime Minister Thomas Thabane has failed to address since coming into office several months ago, Amnesty International has said.
The international rights group added that there was also no clear progress in a series of cases involving killings by Lesotho’s security forces and the attempted murder of a journalist in the country.
“Prime Minister Thabane’s government has missed an opportunity in the last 100 days to demonstrate a clear break from the past to ensure accountability for past human rights violations,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.
“He must live up to the promise he made at his inauguration to create a more stable and lawful country.”
Amnesty also questioned the lack of progress on investigating the death of Lieutenant-General Maaparankoe Mahao who was killed by members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) in June 2015, despite recommendations made by the Commission of Inquiry set up by the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
In regards to the attempted murder of a leading journalist, the rights groups said: “More than a year after the shooting of Lesotho Times editor, Lloyd Mutungamiri, by unknown gunmen, he is yet to see justice for the crime that nearly took his life.”
In what was described as a chilling attack on the right to freedom of expression, Mutungamiri was attacked outside his home in the capital Maseru on July 9 last year.
The attempted murder of the editor was linked to politically sensitive stories about corruption within the police and military, published by the Lesotho Times.
It was also unclear how far criminal investigations into the killing of Thabane’s estranged wife had progressed.
Lipolelo Thabane was shot dead by unknown assailants on June 14, on the eve of her estranged husband’s inauguration.
In yet another apparent assassination, LDF commander Khoantle Motsomotso was shot dead in his office at the LDF headquarters in Maseru early this month.
Two other LDF members, Brigadier Bulane Sechele and Colonel Tefo Hashatsi, also died in the ensuing shoot out.
Thabane announced that investigations were underway.
“Prime Minister Thomas Thabane must seize the opportunity to open a new chapter for Lesotho by urgently tackling the culture of impunity that has fuelled human rights violations for decades,” said Muchena.
“Failing to address historic abuses simply creates a culture whereby more abuses occur.”
Thabane took office on June 16 after an election on June 3, following a no confidence vote in Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili on March 1.
A coalition of four political parties, made up of the All Basotho Convention (ABC), the Monyane Moleleki-led Alliance of Democrats (AD), Basotho National Party (BNP) and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) formed a ruling coalition after combining their 63 parliamentary seats.

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