Lesotho—A conference that was touted to be first of its kind in the Kingdom of Lesotho, t which wives of African presidents would sit and deliberate on how best to assist their presidents and governments in the fight against breast cancer, failed to reach its climax, instead, it became an opportunity for local opposition activists to take their fight beyond the borders of their enclaved kingdom.
The most glaring failure of the 12th SCCA summit in Maseru, was the absence of the wife of the South African president, the only neighbour to Lesotho.
A traditional welcome reception did not materialise over two nights, running. The groups that were scheduled to perform just didn’t show up at the venue. No reason were given for their snub.
The first day of the summit (Monday) was the most chaotic. Women members of parliament, in the opposition walked out in defiance as the Mrs ‘MaEsaea Thabane, the wife of Mr Motsoahae Thabane, the prime minister of Lesotho was invited to the podium to receive the leadership of the 12th SCCA.
On their way back to the conference hall, three opposition women MPs were stopped and searched in the body by police at the main entrance. One of the MPs, ‘Maeketsang ‘Molotsi who happens to be the leader of her party’s women’s league was taken to a closet where she alleges: “I was humiliated by two police officers who stripped me naked and searched me all over the body.” She says they did not tell her what they were looking for. “I have already briefed my legal counsel,” said she.
The incident went viral; members of the women caucus in parliament, across the political divide, took the matter up with the minister of police Mrs ‘Mampho Mokhele, MP and asked her to ensure that the officers are severely reprimanded for their unholy act.
At their press conference, today, which coincided with the official closing of the summit, the protestors said the conference has worked to their advantage. They are encouraged to take their fight to higher levels. RK.