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Lesotho’s Defence Minister Mapesela claims senior cops threatened him

Defence Minister Tefo Mapesela released a voice note on Thursday morning accusing the two officers of being unruly and meddling in politics.

A screenshot of Lesotho's Defence Minister Tefo Mapesela. Picture: ABCKobotata/Youtube

JOHANNESBURG - Lesotho's controversial Minister of Defence Tefo Mapesela says he was threatened by two senior police officers and, as a result, he is taking his family’s advice to stop speaking on radio and on social media.

Mapesela, who is also a spokesperson of Prime Minister Tom Thabane's All Basotho Convention, released a voice note on Thursday morning accusing the two officers of being unruly and meddling in politics.

This development could heighten tensions in a country already on edge as the All Basotho Convention's internal party struggles continue, threatening the governing coalition.

Last month, Mapesela called assistant commissioner of police (ACP) Beleme Lebajoa to criticise the chief of police, the commander of the army and the head of intelligence. Lebajoa recorded that conversation and leaked it; he was subsequently demoted.

In another recording, Mapesela was angry that after telling Lebajoa he couldn't be part a meeting with senior officers the prime minister called him using the first lady's mobile phone instructing him to stop that meeting.

It was the same Lebajoa and another officer a deputy commissioner of police Mokete that Minister Mapesela was alleging had threatened him.

“Through commissioner of police, it’s DCP Mokete and ACP Lebajoa.”

In the past, supporters of the governing coalition have laughed off threats against opposition leaders and journalists saying if indeed they had been threatened, they should report to the police.

Many will be waiting to see if the minister will follow that advice.