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Farmer sues police



MASERU – A senior member of the Lesotho National Wool and Mohair Growers Association (LNWMGA) who has been in police custody for the past week wants the High Court to order the police to immediately release him so can seek medical attention in South Africa for.
Kotsang Moshoeshoe, a prominent wool farmer from in Mokhotlong and a spokesperson of the LNWMGA, has been in police detention since October 2.
He was arrested after he clashed with Trader Minister Tefo Mapesela at a wool shearing shed in Mokhotlong.

Mapelesa wanted Moshoeshoe to close the shearing shed because it belonged to the government and the farmers were refusing to comply with the new regulations that prohibit farmers from exporting their wool and mohair.
Moshoeshoe however refused, arguing that the facility belonged to the farmers and Mapesela was being disrespectful.

The farmers have been resisting the regulations on grounds that they are unfair and are tantamount to forcing them to tell their products to a monopoly in the form of Stone Shi.
Stone is involved in a nasty court battle with the association which he accuses of reneging on its promises to sell him its wool and mohair.
The High Court has since ruled that the association never agreed to sell its wool and mohair to Stone. But the government insists that the farmers should still sell to Stone despite that judgement and an interim court ordered barring the state from interfering with the export of wool and mohair to South Africa.

In his application filed on Wednesday Moshoeshoe says the police have continued to hold him without charged despite that he is unwell.
He is asking the court to order the police to release him so that he can see his doctors in South Africa.
Moshoeshoe suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes.

He says the police were already aware that he was not well when they picked him up from home. Moshoeshoe says the police insisted that he comes to the station even after he told them that he had a doctor’s appointment ten days later.
The police, he says, could see that he was bed-ridden when they picked him.

“I was told by low-ranking police officers that there were ordered to lock me up. They didn’t tell me why they were looking me up.”
He says until Wednesday this week the police had not said why he was in custody.
“I still don’t know until today why I was being detained as I am not a criminal but a law abiding citizen who knows his constitutional tights.

Moshoeshoe says he told the police officer who was taking him to the cell that “if I sleep in the police cell under the condition I was in, there is likelihood that I would be dead in the morning”.
He was allowed to use a home-testing kit that showed that he was in bad state but was still detained nevertheless.

Moshoeshoe says there is no likelihood that he would abscond if released because his whole life is in Mokhotlong.
“Second, there is nothing I fear which many induce me to flee Lesotho.”

“Third, I have not committed any crime which carries with it any long-term imprisonment which may induce me to run away from Lesotho.”
He also says he has pending case in which the association is suing the government over the regulations. Moshoeshoe says he suspected that he is being detained to pressure the farmers to comply with the government’s regulations.

“I suspect that I am being detained to induce fear in me so stop criticising the government’s bad economic policies.” “I will not stop. I will continue to do so actively within the bounds of the law as I have been making legitimate criticism of oppressive policies all my life.” He says the court should order the police to release him and if they want to keep him then they should accompany him to his doctor in South Africa.

Staff reporter

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