Se­cu­rity bosses ‘stuck’ in SA

Lesotho Times - - News - Keiso Mohloboli

LE­SOTHO’S three se­nior se­cu­rity of­fi­cers — Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Maa­parankoe Ma­hao and Lt Gen Tlali Kamoli of the Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) and Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice (LMPS) Com­mis­sioner, Khothatso Tšooana — are “stuck” in Jo­han­nes­burg and have no idea when they would be ar­riv­ing at their re­spec­tive des­ti­na­tions in line with the Maseru Se­cu­rity Ac­cord (MSA), the Le­sotho Times heard this week.

The trio left the coun­try on Fri­day last week for Jo­han­nes­burg, South Africa, with Lt Gen Ma­hao, Lt Gen Kamoli and Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice (Compol) Tšooana des­tined for Su­dan, Uganda and Al­ge­ria re­spec­tively, where they are ex­pected to spend their leave of ab­sence.

The leave is the re­sult of the MSA signed on 23 Oc­to­ber 2014.

Un­der the MSA, which was fa­cil­i­tated by the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC), the three of­fi­cers were re­quired to go to an African or Com­mon­wealth coun­try on spe­cial leave to al­low the restora­tion of peace be­tween the LMPS and LDF, whose con­tin­ued feud­ing — mainly due to per­son­al­ity clashes be­tween Compol Tšooana and Lt Gen Kamoli—had brought Le­sotho to the brink of civil war.

The ab­sence of the trio is also meant to en­sure peace pre­vails in Le­sotho in the run-up to the Fe­bru­ary 2015 snap elec­tion — a re­sult of the Maseru Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Dec­la­ra­tion also bro­kered by SADC on 2 Oc­to­ber 2014 through South African Vice-pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa.

How­ever, the Le­sotho Times es­tab­lished yes­ter­day that the three men are still in South Africa and get­ting in­creas­ingly frus­trated with their sit­u­a­tion.

In an in­ter­view, Lt Gen Ma­hao yes­ter­day told the Le­sotho Times that since his ar­rival in South Africa last Fri­day, “no­body has told me when I will be leav­ing for Su­dan, where I am sup­posed to be spend­ing my leave of ab­sence”.

“I am sup­posed to go to Ethiopia first, to the African Union head­quar­ters, and then Su­dan. What I only know is that pro­cesses are still un­der­way for the fi­nal­i­sa­tion of my trip to Su­dan.”

Lt Gen Ma­hao, how­ever, said he knew when he would be back home as he al­ready had his re­turn ticket.

On the other hand, Compol Tšooana would not say much but also told the Le­sotho Times that he was still in South Africa.

“As a pub­lic ser­vant, I re­spect and abide by what I am told to do by my au­thor­i­ties and will be pa­tiently wait­ing to be told when and where to go,” Compol Tšooana said.

Asked about his re­turn, Compol Tšooana said he was not aware when he would be back home.

“Un­for­tu­nately, I am not aware of when I would be back.”

Ef­forts by the Le­sotho Times to con­tact Lt Gen Kamoli were un­suc­cess­ful yes­ter­day but ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of De­fence Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary, Thato Mo­ha­soa, he was in Jo­han­nes­burg.

“What I know is that Lt Gen Kamoli should be in Jo­han­nes­burg as agreed, but I am yet to meet the Head of SADC Mis­sion in Le­sotho, Mr Fan­nie Phakola, for an up­date on the three se­cu­rity of­fi­cers”.

“The trans­port lo­gis­tics for Lt Ma­hao and Compol Tšooana were or­gan­ised by the gov­ern­ment of Le­sotho, while Lt Gen Kamoli’s were han­dled by SADC,” Mr Mo­ha­soa said.

“It is not like the three gen­er­als have been aban­doned in Jo­han­nes­burg; they can’t go to their re­spec­tive des­ti­na­tions un­til all the formalities of their trips to the African Union are com­plete.”

Con­tacted to shed more light on the is­sue, Mr Phakola yes­ter­day told the Le­sotho Times that it was “no sin” for SADC to or­gan­ise trans­port for Lt Gen Kamoli and treat him dif­fer­ently from Lt Gen Ma­hao and Compol Tšooana.

“It was done for ob­vi­ous rea­sons; there is def­i­nitely no trust be­tween the gov­ern­ment of Le­sotho and Lt Gen Kamoli.

“Lt Gen Kamoli asked SADC to or­gan­ise his trans­port from Le­sotho to his tran­sit des­ti­na­tion in Jo­han­nes­burg and we had to take re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“SADC is treat­ing Lt Gen Kamoli dif­fer­ently for ob­vi­ous rea­sons — there is ten­sion be­tween the three of them be­cause of the pre­vail­ing se­cu­rity cri­sis in the coun­try”.

Mr Phakola also con­firmed that Lt Gen Kamoli asked SADC to al­low him go with his LDF body­guards to Uganda, but the re­quest was turned down.

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