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Is it coz I’m a Mosotho?

Lesotho native accuses police and neighbours of harassment

Described as a loner by some of his neighbours in Block 2 Francistown, Phillip Moepeng, 60, is convinced there’s a plot to kill him.

Popularly known as Mosotho in the densely populated neighborhood, although a Lesotho native, Moepeng regards himself as a Motswana.

“I was very young when I arrived in this country, I can’t even remember the exact year. I obtained my Identity Card without any hassles, because I grew up here,” he says with emphasis.

However, recently ‘Mosotho’ claims he has experienced discrimination from his neighbours and some government officials.

He admits that while their relationship has been strained for some time, the situation deteriorated last year following the death of his neighbour’s mother.

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“They accused me of bewitching their mother. In fact what they said was “Ka re o mo paletse mme moloi ke wena” (You’ve overpowered my mother you witch).”

Since then Moepeng claims his neighbours have reminded him on a daily basis that he doesn’t belong here and should go back to Lesotho.

“They threatened to kill me. I reported all these matters to the police but no action was taken. In fact, I was assaulted at their late mother’s night vigil, and I later learnt that was the day I was supposed to have died,” he told The Voice.

After this, the aging Moepeng says he was subjected to weeks of torment – he dismisses this reporter’s suggestion of possible paranoia with an impatient shrug off his hands.

“I kept hearing people walking in my yard, fiddling with the lock. I knew they were after me, and it didn’t take long. I was attacked at night by a group of boys and a later, who later confessed to have been sent to kill me,” he maintained, adding he managed to escape from his assailants, seeking refuge from a stranger’s house.

He said the matter went to the Block 5 Customary Court, where all four immediately pleaded guilty to assault.

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“They were sentenced to five years in prison, which upon mitigation was reduced to three months or a P200 fine. I found this very strange. I still remember one of the accused immediately reaching into her bag to pay, then walking out of the office with a smirk on the face,” he said.

“How can five years be reduced to three months, unless the police and tribal leaders are colluding with my tormentors because I’m from Lesotho. This is a case of xenophobia!” insisted Moepeng.

Frail and asthmatic, Moepeng said he now lives in fear of his neighbours, and has to take the longest routes to avoid passing in front of their yard.

In an interview with The Voice on Wednesday, Kutlwano Police Station Commander Superintendent Neo Serumola said he’s aware of Moepeng’s claims and complaints.
“I know him very well, and I’ve personally attended to him. He’s such a difficult person to deal with, because it is always his way or no way,” said Serumola.

He said Moepeng has been to every office, including Officer Commanding, The Ombudsman, but has never been happy with the assistance he was given.
“I’ve advised him to appeal the Customary court ruling because obviously he’s not happy with it. It is his constitutional right to seek justice,” added Serumola.

The top cop revealed the Ombudsman’s office advised him to detail all his complaints and submit to their office where they’ll be attended to.

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He has so far compiled a thick 42-page dossier full of his grievances, which The Voice currently has in its possession.

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