Media Statement on Utterance by BNP Deputy Leader and Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Hon. Machesetsa Mofomobe Against Newspaper Editors of Foreign Origins

September 22nd 2020
To All Media Houses

This serves as an expression of concern by MISA Lesotho over unwillingness and lack of interest by Deputy Leader of Basotho National Party (BNP), who is also Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Honourable Machesetsa Mofomobe, to cooperate with MISA Lesotho regarding his remarks against local newspaper editors of foreign origins on August 12th 2020.

During a media briefing at the BNP premises on August 12, Honourable Mofomobe referred to the expatriate editors as “Makoerekoere”, which is tarntamount to hate speech.
MISA Lesotho learned from Honourable Mofomobe’s statement that he was aggrieved by how the newspaper/s edited by the expatriates reported about the BNP leader and Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Honourable Thesele ’Maseribane.

Following this, on August 17th 2020, MISA Lesotho wrote to the deputy minister, requesting a meeting with hope of bringing the two sides on round table with the aim of reaching an amicable and peaceful solution.
It is with regret that to date, Honourable Mofomobe has not responded to the proposal. Instead, he allegedly published on Facebook that he does not recognise MISA Lesotho as it is not a statutory organisation.

The deputy minister had further, during an interview with Mafeteng Community Radio later in the month, acknowledged receipt of the letter from MISA Lesotho that proposed the meeting, but he argued he was not interested in the meeting because MISA Lesotho had already judged him in an interview with another radio station.
MISA Lesotho is firm and wishes to state categorically that it is unbecoming of Honourable Mofomobe, or any other person of an equal stature, entrusted by the nation to protect rights
of every citizen, expatriates included, to use racist words or phrases against other human beings.

We will recall that in July 2016, an editor of Lesotho Times and Sunday Express, Lloyd Mutungamiri of Zimbabwean origins, was nearly killed after he was shot allegedly by elements of the army. Prior to his shooting, similar utterances had been made. It is the mandate of MISA Lesotho to condemn any threats to the media freedom.
MISA Lesotho remains unshakable that words such as that used by Honourable Mofomobe incite hatred and ignite xenophobia. Such words against media practitioners further incite fear to the media freedom.
MISA Lesotho takes this opportunity to advise all complainants of media content to follow the legal route.

About MISA Lesotho

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Lesotho was founded in 1996. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.