THE DECISION OF THE FREE STATE GOVERNMENT TO HONOUR CHIEF LEABUA JONATHAN IS INSENSITIVE; IRRESPONSIBLE AND AN INSULT TO THE PEOPLE OF LESOTHO AND SOUTH AFRICA

Lesotho—The Congress of the People (COPE) in the Free State is dismayed at how the ANC Government is determined to use any avenue to siphon money out of the Provincial Treasury so that it can be stolen by politicians. The decision of the Free State government to have a sequence of events to honour the late Chief Leabua Jonathan who was a dictator and murderer of Basotho is disgusting, irresponsible, insensitive and an insult to the people of South Africa and Lesotho.

The decision of Mathabo Leeto; MEC of Sports, Arts and Culture in the Free State to spend millions of rands to erect a statue of Leabua Jonathan; rename Medfontein building after him; name the road between Ladybrand and Maseru after him; launching of the special blanket for him is nothing but a deliberate action to swindle money out of the Free State treasury.

Apart from Leabua Jonathan not deserving to be honoured in any way, the distortion that he was a friend of Oliver Tambo is the worst distortion of history and exposes the ignorance of the present crop of African National Congress leadership. The clamour of the ANC to be seen clinging to erstwhile dictators is indicative of their desire hence their consistent attack on the constitution.

Chief Leabua Jonathan staged a coup in 1970 after losing power and unleashed the cruelest violence on the Basotho people. He murdered and detained anybody he perceived as his opposition. He treated those opposed to him as his enemies. He ruled by decree until he was deposed. COPE understand and accept the decision of Basotho for having renamed Leabua International Airport and Leabua Highway into Moshoeshoe 1 International Airport and Main North 1 respectively after he was removed.

COPE Free State does not understand why the African National Congress would waste millions of Rands to honour a dictator and murderer who have been dishonoured in his own country. COPE challenges the ANC National and Provincial leadership to a public debate on this issue since the public was never consulted.

It is mindboggling that the government which has failed to deliver basic services to its people would spend so much money of the taxpayer to honour a dictator and murderer and thereby insult Basotho.

Free State has a lot of heroes and heroines who died for this freedom but the African National Congress has decided that they must just be ignored because it is easy to steal money through Leabua Jonathan than through these heroes and heroines of the struggle. To name just one, Steve Bogacu was murdered during daylight in Ficksburg and his killers were never brought to book but the ANC is more committed to honour a murderous dictator and insult the Basotho.

It is high time that South Africans in general but Free Staters in particular should use their votes properly next year. It’s high time that the looters should be removed from the purse of the nation. END –

Papi Kganare
COPE FREE STATE PROVINCIAL CHAIRPERSON: 073 282 6616