from TSOANELO MOKHAHLANE in Maseru, Lesotho
MASERU, (CAJ News) – MEDIA rights groups have denounced threats made by the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) against an investigative journalist who has exposed disgruntlement by some military officers.
Investigative journalist, Pascalinah Kabi, has uncovered demands for compensation made by some 45 soldiers who were accused of a rebellion between May and July 2015.
Some of the soldiers were detained and allegedly tortured but were reinstated earlier this year.
Following the revelations, LDF spokesman, Lt. Col. Mashili Mashili, has accused Kabi of “infiltrating the LDF with the intention to spy” and endangering the security of the country by publishing information from a “restricted” military document.
Mashili is said to have reminded the Lesotho Times and Sunday Express, which published Kabi’s articles, on the former’s editor, Lloyd Mutungamiri, who survived an assassination attempt in 2016.
Five LDF officers are accused of the attempt on Mutungamiri’s life.
Angela Quintal, Africa Programme Coordinator of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), urged the government of Prime Minister, Tom Thabane, not to tolerate threats by the military to silence the press.
“Given Lesotho’s history of instability and coups, its citizens have every right to be informed of the potential for instability when it comes to the affairs of the military,” Quintal said.
Tsebo Mats’asa, the national director of the Lesotho chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa, said threats to media were worrying especially with the pending case involving the shooting of Mutungamiri allegedly by soldiers.
The country of over 2 million people is among the most unstable nations in the region.
– CAJ News