A senior lawyer representing former Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing and the Minister of Health, Selibe Mochoboroane facing treason and murder charges has asked the High Court to acquit his clients, arguing that the charges emanated from a legal military order intended to quell a failed 2014 coup.
Nov. 30, 2022
3 min read
Lawyer wants court to discharge Metsing, Mochoboroane
Former Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing
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Mochoboroane is also a partner in the new coalition government led by Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) leader, Sam Matekane.
The leader of the Movement for Economic Change (MEC) is also the Minister of Health in the new administration.
Metsing is also the leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD).
Metsing and Mochoboroane are charged along with former army commander, Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, Captain Litekanyo Nyakane, and Lance Corporals Motloheloa Ntsane and Leutsoa Motsieloa.
They face charges relating to an attempted coup against the government of former Prime Minister Motsoahae Thabane on August 30, 2014.
The murder charge emanates from the murder of police Sub-Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko, which occurred during the night of the attempted coup when soldiers under Kamoli’s command raided police stations in Maseru, including the police headquarters.
The operation, evidence in court shows was intended to disarm police officers loyal to Thabane.
King’s Counsel (KC) Motiea Teele told the High Court on Tuesday this week that the accused soldiers were operating within the perimeters of the law as they were participating in a lawful operation.
Charging them, Teele said, was not only unlawful but was also unfair and a violation of their rights.
Advocate Napo Mafaesa who represents Motsieloa and Ntsane argued that his clients had no hand in the attempt to unseat Thabane’s government.
But for his part, Senior Counsel (SC) Shaun Abrahams who prosecutes on behalf of the Crown opposed the application, saying all the accused had to answer charges levelled against them.
In a desperate bid to stop their trial, Metsing and Mochoboroane asked the High Court in November 2021 to order the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Advocate Hlalefang Motinyane not to include them in the treason and murder charges.
They argued that they could not be joined to an already existing trial.
But the court on November 18, 2021, shot down their application, saying they had a case to answer.
Former Prime Minister Motsoahae Thabane
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The Minister of Health, Selibe Mochoboroane
Metsing and Mochoboroane on November 24, 2021, wrote a letter to the SADC facilitation team to Lesotho - led by retired South African Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke - to take their matter to the SADC leaders to ensure that "decisive and prompt intervention" is made before their expected appearance in court on December 6, 2021.
They further threatened that a failure to stop their trial would leave them with no other choice but to withdraw their participation in the ongoing multi-sector reforms processes.
The two political leaders have over the past couple of months filed several unsuccessful applications in the High Court meant to stop the DPP from charging them.
The trial continues before Justice ’Maliepollo Makhetha.