Opposition Alliance of Democrats leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki has accused Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu of neglecting his duties of looking after the welfare of members of parliament.
This follows an incident last Tuesday wherein Movement for Economic Change (MEC) legislator, Thabo Ramatla, escaped death by a whisker after unknown gunmen peppered his vehicle with bullets in Mafeteng.
Mr Ramatla, 38, was seriously injured in the attack that claimed the life of a male passenger in the MP’s vehicle. Mr Ramatla is currently in hospital in Mafeteng.
This is the second time that Mr Ramatla has survived a shooting. Last year on 13 June 2020, unknown gunmen pulled up at his business premises in Mafeteng and repeatedly shot at him. He was hospitalised with gunshot wounds to the head. This time he was shot on the buttocks, thighs and legs.
To date, the assailants have not been apprehended and it is suspected the same people had come to accomplish their mission of killing him.
Addressing an AD rally in Mohale’s Hoek early this week, Mr Moleleki said as leader of the House, Mr Mokhothu had neglected his responsibility to ensure the safety of MPs from such attacks. He said Mr Mokhothu should organise bodyguards for Mr Ramatla to ensure his safety.
“It is obvious that Mr Mokhothu doesn’t care what happens to members of parliament even though it is his responsibility,” Mr Moleleki said.
“You must have all heard by now that one of our friends (Ramatla) was shot. Gunmen tried to kill him. I visited him in hospital and learnt that the bullet in his buttocks had already been removed while the other two in the thigh and leg are still there.
“I had talks with Prime Minister Majoro, Mr Mokhothu, newly appointed minister of defence (Halebonoe Setšabi), (Deputy Foreign Affairs and International Relations Minister) Machesetsa (Mofomobe) and (Communications, Science and Technology Minister Samuel) Rapapa. I told them that as leader of the House, it is Mr Mokhothu’s responsibility to ensure the safety of all MPs including Ramatla.
“Should Ramatla get killed, he (Mokhothu) will have to explain to His Majesty King Letsie III and Ramatla’s family.
“I told him to ask the prime minister to see to it that Ntate Ramatla is assigned two soldiers to guard him and another two to guard his home because these gunmen wait for people at their homes.
“Ntate Mokhothu is responsible for the safety and welfare of all members of parliament but he didn’t see it fit to visit Ramatla in hospital. He didn’t find it necessary even though Ramatla had been shot for the second time. It is not right for him to ignore Ramatla because he is not from his party. Ramatla could have died like a dog and this is not right. The army has a responsibility to protect all Basotho not just the ministers,” Mr Moleleki said.
Mr Mokhothu was not reachable on his mobile for comment over Mr Moleleki’s claims.
Deputy Police Spokesperson Sub Inspector ‘Mareabetsoe Mofoka said investigations are ongoing and no arrests have been made so far in connection with Mr Ramatla’s shooting.
“Police are still busy with investigations. However, a suspect in last year’s shooting was positively identified but he fled from the country. He is said to have since died,” Sub Inspector Mofoka told this publication this week.