Zimbabwean editor of Lesotho Times survives attempted assassination

By: 
News24

The editor of Lesotho Times, Lloyd Mutungamiri, is fighting for his life after a failed assassination attempt by unknown assailants at his Maseru home, a report said on Monday. 

According to the African Independent, the Zimbabwean born Mutungamiri was shot on the drive way of his home as he was about to drive to work on Sunday morning.

His wife accused the country's military for the failed assassination.

She claimed that she was convinced that the attempted murder of her husband was linked to a recent story that his newspaper had published.

The newspaper allegedly published a story recently in which it revealed secret negotiations about an exit package for Lesotho’s army commander Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli.

The report claimed that the army chief was not happy over the story as it suggested that he was demanding more than R40 million for his exit.

Impartial investigation 

According to Nehanda Radio, a network of human rights defenders in southern Africa, the Southern African Human Rights Defenders Network (SAHRDN) condemned the attack describing it as " barbaric". 

The human rights watchdog group  also called on Lesotho's government to publicly condemn the attack, and to launch a thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the shooting of Mutungamiri.

"Such a callous attack puts responsibility on the government of Lesotho to publicly condemn this and other attacks on the media and launch a thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the shooting of Mutungamiri and make the findings of the investigation public and for suspected perpetrators to be brought to justice in accordance with international law," the human rights watchdog group was quoted as saying. 

Before the failed attempted murder, reports had claimed that Matungamiri together with the reporter who wrote the story had been briefly detained by the police.

The defiant newspaper was also said to have incensed the army chief by publishing a satirical column titled The Scrutator on June 23, which lead to the arrest of its publisher Basildon Peta,

Political instability 

Lesotho Times said Peta was summoned by police detectives from his base in South Africa for interrogation over the column.

He had since been charged with defamation and crimen injuria.

According to reports, political instability in Lesotho erupted in 2014 driving the country into violence shortly after the then president Tom Thabane made strong allegations that there were attempts to overthrow his government

This reportedly then led to politicians and members of the defence force to flee the country.

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