Ramaphosa warns Tha­bane on Tšooana

SA se­cu­rity de­tail would be with­drawn Lt Gen Kamoli would also be re­called

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Bongiwe Zih­langu

SOUTH African Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa has strongly voiced his dis­plea­sure with Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane’s re­quest to re­call Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Khothatso Tšooana from his spe­cial leave in Al­ge­ria, warn­ing the move would cause South Africa to with­draw all its se­cu­rity de­tail sec­onded to pro­tect the pre­mier .

It would also cause Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Tlali Kamoli to be re­called, throw­ing all the agree­ments bro­kered by Mr Ramaphosa, on be­half of the South­ern African Devel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) to dif­fuse the cri­sis in the King­dom, into se­ri­ous jeop­ardy.

Im­pec­ca­ble sources said Mr Ramaphosa had been very firm against any vi­o­la­tions of the Maseru Fa­cil­i­ta­tion De­clra­tion and Maseru Se­cu­rity Ac­cord by Dr Tha­bane.

The sources said Dr Tha­bane’s of­fice had a week ago ap­proached the of­fice of Mr Ramaphosa, in his ca­pac­ity as SADC Fa­cil­i­ta­tor to Le­sotho, re­quest­ing that Com­mis­sioner Tšooana be al­lowed to re­turn to Le­sotho “to strengthen” po­lice op­er­a­tions ahead of the 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 snap gen­eral elec­tion.

Le­sotho was sup­posed to hold its gen­eral elec­tion in 2017 but af­ter the ef­fec­tive col­lapse of the coali­tion gov­ern­ment and the at­tempted coup by the Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) on Au­gust 30 2014, Mr Ramaphosa bro­kered the Maseru Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Dec­la­ra­tion — a roadmap for the hold­ing of early polls — in an ef­fort to defuse the en­su­ing po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity cri­sis.

Mr Ramaphosa’s fa­cil­i­ta­tion also re­sulted in the Maseru Se­cu­rity Ac­cord, on Oc­to­ber 2014, to dif­fuse the ten­sions that had sim­mered be­tween the LDF and the Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice ( LMPS) since the events of au­gust 30 2014.

Un­der the se­cu­rity ac­cord, Com­mis­sioner Tšooana, Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Maa­parankoe Ma­hao — who had been ap­pointed new LDF com­man­der but barred from as­sum­ing the post — and Lt Gen Kamoli him­self were re­quired to go on spe­cial leave to dif­fer­ent African or Com­mon­wealth coun­tries to en­able the restora­tion of nor­mal re­la­tions be­tween the LMPS and LDF.

The con­tin­ued feud­ing — spawned by in­tense per­son­al­ity clashes be­tween Com­mis­sioner Tšooana and Lt Gen Kamoli — had brought Le­sotho to the brink of civil war.

Com­mis­sioner Tšooana and Li­ue­tenant Gen­eral Ma­hao are sta­tioned in Al­ge­ria and Su­dan re­spec­tively, while Lt Gen Kamoli is still in South Africa and yet to leave for his fi­nal des­ti­na­tion of Uganda.

Uganda is said to have de­vel­oped cold feet in re­ceiv­ing Lieu­tenant Ge­neal Kamoli be­cause it did not want to re­ward bad be­hav­iour by a top mil­i­tary man and es­tab­lish a bad prece­dent.

The deputies at the LDF and MPLS, Messrs Kgoan­tle Mot­so­motso and Ma­supha Ma­supha re­spec­tovely, were tasked with run­ning both se­cu­rity agen­cies while their feud­ing bosses were away.

But it is un­der­stood that Dr Tha­bane has not been happy at all with Act­ing Com­mis­sioner Ma­supha, whom he sus­pects of be­ing loyal to his enemies in the op­po­si­tion.

Dr Tha­bane and Act­ing Com­mis- sioner Ma­supha clashed last week over the lat­ter’s bid to oust As­sis­tant Com­mi­sioner Sello Mosili, the head of the LMPS’S crime in­tel­li­gence unit who is seen as close to Dr Tha­bane and has led var­i­ous high pro­file in­ves­ti­ga­tions against the pre­mier’s op­po­nents.

Act­ing Com­mis­sioner Ma­supha tried to oust As­sis­tant com­mis­sioner Mosili from of­fice say­ing the lat­ter had reached re­tire­ment age.

But the pre­mier lam­basted Act­ing Com­mis­sioner Ma­supha for “mis­di­rect­ing him­self” on As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Mosili and or­dered his re­turn to work.

As a re­sult, sources said, Dr Tha­bane has been ea­ger to get Com­mis­sioner Tsoona back be­cause of his un­ques­tion­able loy­alty to the Pre­mier.

But im­pec­ca­ble sources said Mr Ramaphosa would have none of this and had warned that the move could ef­fec­tively lead to the col­lapse of all the agreed deals and put the cur­rent elec­toral process in grave jeop­ardy.

To en­sure that Dr Tha­bane did not act uni­lat­er­ally in bring­ing back Com­mis­sioner Tsoona, Mr Ramaphosa’s of­fice had also warned that the pre­mier’s cur­rent high level se­cu­rity de­tail from the South African Po­lice Ser­vice (SAPS) would be im­me­di­ately with­drawn if that hap­pened.

That would ob­vi­ously leave the Prime Min­is­ter heav­ily ex­posed as he can­not trust both the LMPS and LDF to pro­tect him un­der the cur­rent act­ing lead­er­ship which de deems dis­loyal.

The Prime Min­is­ter fled to South Africa af­ter the LDF’S at­tempted coup last year and only re­turned un­der heavy South African po­lice guard.

Ac­cord­ing to the sources, when Dr Tha­bane’s of­fice ap­proached Mr Ramaphosa with the re­quest, the be­mused South African deputy pres­i­dent told the pre­mier in no un­cer­tain terms that should he re­call Com­mis­sioner Tšooana from the spe­cial leave, Dr Tha­bane would not only lose the SA se­cu­rity de­tail but his nemesis Lt Gen Kamoli would also be re­called as well.

“When the PM’S of­fice put its re­quest for­ward, Mr Ramaphosa un­equiv­o­cally told the PM if he brought Tšooana back, he would in turn with­draw the po­lice, and also re­call Lt Gen­eral Kamoli from his en­forced leave …..That the South Africans be­lieve is the only way to get Dr Tha­bane to abide by all the agree­ments as he can­not af­ford to lose his se­cu­rity de­tail,” the source said.

One im­pec­ca­ble source, who is also Dr Tha­bane’s close ally, said it was “un­fair” for Mr Ramaphosa, to threaten to with­draw the pre­mier’s South African se­cu­rity “for merely mak­ing a sim­ple re­quest”.

Gov­ern­ment Sec­re­tary Moahloli Mphaka con­firmed, to the Le­sotho Times’ sis­ter pa­per the Sun­day Ex­press last week that Dr Tha­bane had asked Mr Ramaphosa for ad­vice on how Com­mis­sioner Tšooana could be re­in­stated ahead of next month’s polls.

“That is­sue is cur­rently on the ta­ble be­tween Mr. Ramaphosa and the PM. Ac­tu­ally Ntate Tha­bane com­mu­ni­cated with Mr Ramaphosa, for ad­vice on how Com­mis­sioner Tšooana could be brought back, to strengthen po­lice op­er­a­tions dur­ing next month’s gen­eral elec­tions.

This mat­ter is not con­clu­sive yet, but it is be­ing dis­cussed,” Mr Mphaka said.

How­ever, the Le­sotho Times is re­li­ably in­formed that Dr Tha­bane had al­ready kick-started the process to re­turn Com­mis­sioner Tsooana from Al­ge­ria.

The Com­mis­sioner had in fact ar­rived in South Africa on Sun­day morn­ing , but was swiftly de­tained by that coun­try’s se­cu­rity agen­cies at the OR Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port “and barred from board­ing a flight to Maseru”.

“Com­mis­sioner Tšooana ar­rived in Jo­han­neb­urg on Sun­day but was stopped by South African se­cu­rity when he alighted from the flight from Al­ge­ria, en route to Maseru,” the source said.

“He ac­tu­ally told a friend of his who is here in Maseru, that he was still holed up in Pre­to­ria on Tues­day, await­ing his flight ticket back to Al­ge­ria.”

Con­tacted for com­ment yes­ter­day, Dr Tha­bane was eva­sive on whether or not South Africa had threat­ened to with­draw his se­cu­rity de­tail, as well as re­call­ing Lt Gen Kamoli, if he de­cided to bring back Compol Tšooana.

“We were look­ing at things from a cer­tain per­spec­tive and were just dis­cussing cer­tain is­sues when that (re­call­ing of Tšooana) came up,” Dr Tha­bane said.

“But now he (Tšooana) is stay­ing in Al­ge­ria un­til the pro­gramme ends. He’s go­ing to stay there un­til he’s done.”

At­tempts to get a com­ment from Mr Ramaphosa’s spokesper­son Ron­nie Mamoepa, were un­suc­cess­ful as his mo­bile phone went unan­swered.

Mr Mamoepa’s me­dia lia­son as­sis­tant, Ter­rence Manase, re­quested that this pa­per e-mail him ques­tions, but had also not re­sponded at the time of go­ing to print.

SOUTH African Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa

Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane (in yel­low re­galia) be­ing es­corted by the South African se­cu­rity de­tail in Abia con­stituency yes­ter­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.