New army boss de­fies or­ders

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Le­tuka Chafotsa

Act­ing LDF com­man­der Ma­jor Gen­eral Khoan­tle Mot­so­motso de­fies Gov­ern­ment Sec­re­tary’s di­rec­tive to with­draw sol­diers as­signed to fired Com­mu­ni­ca­tions min­is­ter Se­libe Mo­choboroane.

ACT­ING Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) com­man­der, Ma­jor Gen­eral Khoan­tle Motšo­motšo, has de­fied Gov­ern­ment Sec­re­tary (GS) Moahloli Mphaka’s di­rec­tive to with­draw army per­son­nel as­signed to fired Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy min­is­ter Se­libe Mo­choboroane.

Mr Mo­choboroane was re­lieved of his min­is­te­rial du­ties on 16 Oc­to­ber 2014, al­legedly for denying Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane cov­er­age by the state me­dia.

How­ever, the Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) Act­ing Spokesper­son has con­tin­ued to per­form his min­is­te­rial func­tions after party leader and Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Mo­th­etjoa Mets­ing, re­jected the dis­missal.

Mr Mets­ing ar­gues Dr Tha­bane can­not fire an LCD min­is­ter as this vi­o­lates the con­sul­ta­tive agree­ment the three rul­ing par­ties — LCD, Dr Tha­bane’s All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) and Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) led by Th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane — signed when they formed a coali­tion gov­ern­ment in June 2012.

Dr Tha­bane on 7 Novem­ber 2014 filed an ur­gent ap­pli­ca­tion in the High Court seek­ing an or­der to com­pel Mr Mo­choboroane to va­cate the min­is­te­rial post, but the case was de­ferred to 16 March 2015 by Jus­tice Teboho Moiloa.

Mr Mo­choboroane’s salary and ben­e­fits have al­legedly since been sus­pended “pend­ing the court out­come to de­ter­mine his le­gal sta­tus” although he ve­he­mently de­nies this and re­mains in of­fice.

But in a let­ter dated 28 Novem­ber 2014, Mr Mphaka in­structs De­fence and Na­tional Se­cu­rity Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary (PS), Thato Mo­ha­soa, to “ad­vise” Ma­jor Gen­eral Motšo­motšo to re­lease LDF staff as­signed to Mr Mo­choboroane as part of his min­is­te­rial ben­e­fits, since he was no longer a min­is­ter.

Ma­jor Gen­eral Motšo­motšo was ap­pointed Act­ing Com­man­der in line with the Maseru Se­cu­rity Ac­cord signed on 23 Oc­to­ber 2014. Un­der the ac­cord, Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Tlali Kamoli and Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Maa­parankoe Ma­hao of the LDF, and Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice Com­mis­sioner Khothatso Tšooana, were sup­posed to go to an African or Com­mon­wealth coun­try on spe­cial leave for spec­i­fied pe­ri­ods to al­low the restora­tion of cor­dial re­la­tions be­tween the army and po­lice. Dur­ing their leave of ab­sence their deputies would lead the two se­cu­rity agen­cies, hence Mr Mphaka’s let­ter to Mr Mo­ha­soa, re­gard­ing Ma­jor Gen­eral Motšo­motšo, who is LDF Deputy Com­man­der.

“Please be ad­vised that Hon­ourable Se­libe Mo­choboroane has been re­lieved of his duty as a Min­is­ter of Gov­ern­ment of Le­sotho, ef­fec­tive from 16 Oc­to­ber, 2014,” wrote Mr Mphaka to Mr Mo­ha­soa.

“You are re­quested to ad­vise ac­cord­ingly, the Act­ing Com­man­der of the LDF, to with­draw LDF per­son­nel who were as­signed to him when he was a Cab­i­net Min­is­ter.”

Mr Mo­ha­soa yes­ter­day ac­knowl­edged re­ceiv­ing the cor­re­spon­dence and “ad­vis­ing” Ma­jor Gen­eral Motšo­motšo to with­draw the LDF per­son­nel from Mr Mo­choboroane as in­structed.

“I am out of the coun­try at the mo­ment , but I can con­firm that I re­ceived the let­ter from the GS on Fri­day last week. I in­formed the Act­ing Com­man­der about the re­quest but I don’t have his re­sponse yet,” Mr Mo­ha­soa said.

How­ever, in a sting­ing re­sponse dated 2 De­cem­ber 2014, to Mr Mo­ha­soa’s let­ter, Ma­jor Gen­eral Motšo­motšo re­torted that Mr Mphaka “does not have lo­cus standi to ad­dress any mat­ters re­lat­ing to se­cu­rity is­sues within the De­fence Force”.

The let­ter is also copied to the coali­tion gov­ern­ment lead­ers, namely Dr Tha­bane in his ca­pac­ity as premier and De­fence and Na­tional Se­cu­rity min­is­ter, Mr Mets­ing as deputy premier and Sports Min­is­ter Th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane as well as the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ta­tor, South African Vice-Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa.

“In terms of our law, the Le­sotho De­fence Force Act No 4 of 1996 in par­tic­u­lar sec­tion 12 (4) thereof, the Com­man­der of the De­fence Force is obliged to ac­count to the au­thor (Mr Mphaka) ex­clu­sively for in­ter alia… the ef­fi­cient and eco­nomic use of funds and as­sets of the De­fence Force…,” Ma­jor Gen­eral Motšo­motšo says, adding: “Mat­ters sur­round­ing Le­gal No­tice No 83 of 2014 about the ‘Re­moval of a Min­is­ter No­tice, 2014’ is cur­rently pend­ing hear­ing be­fore the High Court of Le­sotho in the mat­ter be­tween The Prime Min­is­ter of Le­sotho & 2 Oth­ers v Se­libe Mo­choboroane CIV /APN/468/2014. Thus, the prin­ci­ple of sub-ju­dice must be ob­served.”

Ma­jor Gen­eral Motšo­motšo re­as­sures that the LDF is “com­mit­ted to act within its scope of man­date in line with the rul­ing of His Lord­shio Chief Jus­tice Cul­li­nan in the Rex v Sekhobe Letsie & 6 oth­ers 1991-1996 LLR 1041 at 1113. The Com­mand, there­fore in­vites all the stake­hold­ers to of­ten check and bal­ance their re­spec­tive ac­tions against the let­ter and the spirit of all rel­e­vant signed SADC Dec­la­ra­tions es­pe­cially Maseru Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Dec­la­ra­tion and Maseru Se­cu­rity Ac­cord as well as against the fruit­ful and sig­nif­i­cant fa­cil­i­ta­tion process un­der­taken by SADC Fa­cil­i­ta­tor.”

He adds: “The Com­mand of the LDF re­as­sures its com­mim­net to the civil au­thor­ity and shall al­ways re­main in­tact for last­ing peace and sta­bil­ity in the King­dom of Le­sotho.”

The Le­sotho Times con­tacted Mr Mphaka yes­ter­day, who ac­knowl­edged writ­ing the let­ter to Mr Mr Mo­ha­soa.

“Hav­ing said that, I will not dis­cuss the con­tents of the let­ter with the me­dia since it was not ad­dressed to the Le­sotho Times.”

Sev­eral at­tempts to con­tact LDF pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer Ma­jor Ntlele Ntoi were fruit­less.

ACT­ING LDF com­man­der Ma­jor Gen­eral Khoan­tle Motšo­motšo

DE­FENCE Ps thato Mo­ha­soa

Gs Moahloli Mphaka

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