Kamoli ac­cused of violating ac­cord

De­fence PS ap­peals to SADC to ur­gently re­move fired LDF com­man­der by any means from Le­sotho for peace to pre­vail.

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Keiso Mohloboli

THE Min­istry of De­fence Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary (PS), Thato Mo­ha­soa, has writ­ten a damn­ing let­ter to the South­ern african De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) Fa­cil­i­ta­tor and South african Vice-pres­i­dent, Cyril Ramaphosa, out­lin­ing sev­eral vi­o­la­tions of the Maseru Se­cu­rity Ac­cord (MSA) by fired army com­man­der Lieu­tenant gen­eral Tlali Kamoli.

Un­der the ac­cord signed on 23 Oc­to­ber 2014 through Mr Ramaphosa’s fa­cil­i­ta­tion, Lt gen Kamoli and Lt gen Maa­parankoe Ma­hao of the Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF), as well as Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice (LMPS) Com­mis­sioner, Khothatso Tšooana, are sup­posed to go to an african or Com­mon­wealth coun­try on spe­cial leave for spec­i­fied pe­ri­ods, to al­low the restora­tion of cor­dial re­la­tions be­tween the two feud­ing se­cu­rity agen­cies.

Dur­ing the leave of ab­sence, which comes into ef­fect on 15 novem­ber 2014, the three are not sup­posed to “ex­er­cise any au­thor­ity or un­due in­flu­ence over the LDF or LMPS”, which would be un­der the lead­er­ship of their deputies.

how­ever, ac­cord­ing to Mr Mo­ha­soa’s com­mu­niqué, Lt gen Kamoli had since breached the ac­cord and is now ap­peal­ing to SADC “through the Fa­cil­i­ta­tor, to re­move gen­eral Kamoli, as a mat­ter of ur­gency, by any means, from the LDF and the coun­try for peace to pre­vail,” in the King­dom.

The let­ter, which the PS is ex­pected to dis­cuss with Mr Ramaphosa to­day, nar­rates Lt gen Kamoli’s al­leged trans­gres­sions and reads, in part: “Fol­low­ing the sig­na­ture of the Maseru Se­cu­rity ac­cord, a num­ber of vi­o­la­tion in­ci­dences by Lt gen Kamoli have been recorded.

“a day after the sign­ing of the ac­cord, gen­eral Kamoli called two meet­ings, one after the other, for of­fi­cers and other ranks. In the two meet­ings, he re­ported that he was still the sub­stan­tive com­man­der of the LDF. he also told the sol­diers that he would pro­ceed on leave of ab­sence after the ex­piry of 21 days, leav­ing his sec­ond in com­mand in an act­ing ca­pac­ity and de­tailed how re­sources of the of­fice of the com­man­der would be utilised in his ab­sence.

“The two meet­ings were fol­lowed by vis­it­ing sol­diers on tour of duty in the other dis­tricts where he told sol­diers vir­tu­ally the same mes­sage.

“The or­gan­i­sa­tion of the meet­ings and ut­ter­ances vi­o­lated the let­ter and spirit of the MSA in that the ac­cord does not re­in­state Gen Kamoli in the of­fice of com­man­der of the LDF; on the con­trary, it recog­nises his re­moval from of­fice by oblig­ing the sig­na­to­ries to abide by the laws of Le­sotho. his re­marks out­lin­ing the use of re­sources vi­o­lates the MSA pro­vi­sion on non-in­ter­fer­ence with the LDF dur­ing the leave of ab­sence. The ut­ter­ances also go far beyond what can be termed as hand­ing over to the sec­ond in com­mand of the Force. his con­tin­ued en­gage­ment within the LDF is a clear dis­re­gard of the ar­ti­cle re­lat­ing to sub­servience to the civil au­thor­ity of the coun­try.”

Mr Mo­ha­soa fur­ther chron­i­cles how a num­ber of sol­diers were “de­tained and ques­tioned for sev­eral hours and con­sec­u­tive days fol­low­ing the pub­li­ca­tion, on so­cial me­dia, of a pho­to­graph of Cab­i­net Min­is­ters’ ve­hi­cles fu­elling at a mil­i­tary fuel bowser”.

“Mo­bile phones of the sol­diers were con­fis­cated for long hours. The brunt of the de­ten­tions was borne by Corp…. (name with­held)

and Pri­vate…(name also with­held), who both work at the Trans­port Unit.

“The de­ten­tion of the sol­diers and con­fis­ca­tion of their phones amounted to re­crim­i­na­tions for mat­ters aris­ing from mil­i­tary­po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tions that the MSA sought to re­solve. Th­ese in­ci­dents, there­fore, con­tra-

vene the spirit of the ac­cord to the ex­tent that it en­cour­ages the pro­mo­tion of peace.”

Mr Mo­ha­soa fur­ther notes how “on 31 Oc­to­ber 2014, dur­ing the visit of gen Kamoli at Mokhot­long Mil­i­tary base, sol­diers were as­saulted and the base com­man­der threat­ened with death”.

“The sol­diers were al­leged to be loyal to gen Ma­hao, hence the as­sault. The in­ci­dent has since been re­ported to Mokhot­long Po­lice Sta­tion where Crim­i­nal Record of In­ves­ti­ga­tion /749/11/14 has been opened,” he said.

“The vi­o­lence meted out on the sol­diers by gen Kamoli’s team overtly pro­vokes vi­o­lent re­sponse from sol­diers who do not support the self-im­posed com­mand of Gen Kamoli.”

The PS also notes a let­ter writ­ten by gov­ern­ment on 30 Oc­to­ber 2014 ap­point­ing “the sec­ond in com­mand of the LDF as act­ing com­man­der, only to be re­jected by Gen Kamoli”.

“The fol­low­ing day, the of­fi­cer ac­com­pa­nied by two sub­or­di­nates made ver­bal rep­re­sen­ta­tions to the gov­ern­ment Sec­re­tary seek­ing to jus­tify the re­jec­tion of the ap­point­ment.

“This was a man­i­fest case of in­sub­or­di­na­tion to gov­ern­ment by el­e­ments who are ap­par­ently dis­loyal to the gov­ern­ment, con­trary to the dic­tates of the MSA.

“In fact, Gen­eral Kamoli has since pro­ceeded to the SADC Mis­sion Of­fice in Maseru to sub­mit a copy of the plan which he has pre­pared, which in his opin­ion, de­tails how re­la­tions be­tween the po­lice and sol­diers can be re­stored. This again is a breach of the dic­tates of the Ac­cord. In the same meet­ing with the SADC of­fi­cials, he sub­mit­ted a copy of the cir­cu­lar which he had pre­pared by which he is del­e­gat­ing his pow­ers as com­man­der to the sec­ond in com­mand. by all ac­counts, Mr Kamoli has not ob­served any of the stip­u­la­tions of the Ac­cord since sign­ing it.”

be­cause of th­ese al­leged mis­de­meanours, Mr Mo­ha­soa is urg­ing Mr Ramaphosa to help Le­sotho get rid of Lt gen Kamoli.

The let­ter con­tin­ues: “he con­tin­ues to make sub­mis­sions on be­half of the LDF to the PS as if he is the bonafide com­man­der of the force and has even gone to the ex­tent of call­ing the PS to de­mand the restora­tion of his of­fi­cial cell­phone con­tract, in­clud­ing other rights.

“In the end, it is a mat­ter of ur­gency that SADC, through the Fa­cil­i­ta­tor, re­move gen Kamoli, by any means, from the LDF and the coun­try in or­der for the peace process to com­mence.

“It re­mains the view of the gov­ern­ment of Le­sotho that if Mr Kamoli could leave the army, all ef­forts to re­store both the po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion to nor­malcy will be suc­cess­ful”.

Con­tacted for com­ment on the let­ter, Mr Mo­ha­soa last night told the Le­sotho Times: “It’s true I wrote the let­ter you are talk­ing about, to Mr Ramaphosa and I ex­pect to dis­cuss it fur­ther with him on Thurs­day, which is to­mor­row.

“There is nowhere in the ac­cord where Kamoli is recog­nised as the LDF com­man­der and that same ac­cord did not re­voke the fact that he was fired on 29 Au­gust by the prime min­is­ter.”

Mean­while, there was no im­me­di­ate com­ment from Lt gen Kamoli and the LDF re­gard­ing the PS’S al­le­ga­tions.

LIEU­TENANT Gen­eral Tlali Kamoli (left) and LMPS Com­mis­sioner Khothatso Tšooana.

DE­FENCE PS Thato Mo­ha­soa

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