A new love af­fair for Kamoli, Tšooana

Lesotho Times - - Scrutator -

THE 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 gen­eral elec­tions split the Ba­sotho na­tion right through the mid­dle. Elec­tion out­comes which don’t pro­duce a clear win­ner al­ways breed con­tentious af­ter­maths.

Which is why most of us were deeply en­cour­aged when, in his first in­ter­view with the Le­sotho Times upon his re­turn to power, Ntate Pakalitha Mo­sisili in­sin­u­ated that he would rule for all Ba­sotho and seek to unite the deeply di­vided na­tion. There is no doubt this can be a dif­fi­cult but very fea­si­ble mission, as long as the po­lit­i­cal will is there.

Mr Size Two’s coali­tion can only unite this na­tion if its takes ju­di­cious de­ci­sions on con­tentious is­sues that are likely to keep the na­tion di­vided.

A raft of con­sti­tu­tional changes have been pro­posed to avoid a re­peat of the night­mare the coun­try has ex­pe­ri­enced. It goes with­out say­ing that for any mean­ing­ful and dras­tic changes to be ef­fected to se­cure the fu­ture of this coun­try, hard com­pro­mises would have to be made by the coali­tion and the op­po­si­tion due to the lack of the legal ma­jor­ity re­quired for any con­sti­tu­tional amend­ments.

The temp­ta­tion in pol­i­tics is to al­ways take de­ci­sions that en­trench the in­cum­bent gov­ern­ment’s power. One can ar­gue that it is the very essence of pol­i­tics. But in cases were cer­tain de­ci­sions favourable to an in­cum­bent are so out of sync with the na­tional in­ter­ests, it is fool­hardy for the in­cum­bent to press ahead re­gard­less.

The most con­tentious de­ci­sion that Mr Size Two’s coali­tion must deal with is the po­si­tion of none other than the man him­self, Lt Gen­eral Tlali Kamoli. Un­like in pre­vi­ous in­stal­ments, I am go­ing to be very re­spect­ful of him for I don’t know when he will re­take charge of that heavy ar­moury again.

My only weapon is my bow and ar­row and blunt knife which my brother uses to skin a goat dur­ing fam­ily gath­er­ings. I stand no chance if he re­gains the LDF and con­fronts me in any one of those enor­mous tankers that he sta­tioned out­side the bar­racks shortly af­ter his Au­gust 30 2014 shenani­gans. That does not mean that I am to­tally cowed. I am just be­ing re­al­is­tic. You can never cow Scru­ta­tor.

There is no doubt that the de­ci­sion the coali­tion will make on Kamoli will have far reach­ing con­se­quences for the fu­ture of this coun­try and its abil­ity to mas­ter the var­i­ous con­sen­suses re­quired to move for­ward.

At a press con­fer­ence to an­nounce their new coali­tion, Ntate King­maker Mets­ing and Mr Size Two had said both Khothatso Tšooana and Kamoli would re­turn to their posts as po­lice com­mis­sioner and Le­sotho De­fence Force ( LDF) com­man­der re­spec­tively.

Since Kamoli had been legally dis­missed by Cy­clone Tom de­spite the King­maker’s protes­ta­tions, his ap­point­ment would have to be regazetted. This has had not yet hap­pened at the time of my writ­ing this in­stal­ment.

Upon his re­turn from his sab­bat­i­cal and con­trary to the King­maker’s ear­lier as­ser­tions, Tšooana was shep­herded from the air­port straight to his bed­room and told he would be con­tacted later if needed.

His nemesis, Keketso Mon­a­heng, was brought in to act in his po­si­tion. It does not re­quire the wis­dom of a rocket sci­en­tist to see that the fi­nal full stop has been donned on Tšooana’s obit­u­ary as po­lice com­mis­sioner.

Ihad al­ways viewed Size Two and the King­maker’s ear­lier as­ser­tions that Tšooana, along­side Kamoli, would both re­turn to their posts as an ex­er­cise in sophistry.

Ntate Tšeliso Mokhosi, the LCD act­ing sec­re­tary-gen­eral and new Min­is­ter of De­fence, has al­ready de­clared that Kamoli is on his way back to Ratjo­mose Bar­racks. This has nev­er­the­less been con­tra­dicted by other smaller coali­tion par­ties who said Mokhosi was blaz­ing his own guns since there had not been a fi­nal de­ci­sion made on the mat­ter.

The DC has been coy on the mat­ter de­spite be­ing the most in­flu­en­tial coali­tion part­ner. Some re­ports have sug­gested that Kamoli is not com­ing back any­more. I anx­iously await the fi­nal de­ci­sion on the com­man­der.

My view is that if the coali­tion de­cides to re­turn Kamoli to the LDF, then it would have lost the plot. Such a de­ci­sion will be dis­as­trous. In­con­testably so. The ABC and BNP have fig­u­ra­tively t hreat­ened to go to war if Kamoli is re­turned. But that’s not the main rea­son why this de­ci­sion will be dis­as­trous. I will ex­plain later.

It is un­der­stand­able that many cur­rent coali­tion gov­ern­ment mem­bers will owe their po­si­tions to Kamoli. So the urge to re­ward him be­comes ir­re­sistible. They may be right. But in my view they are largely wrong. Let’s for a while as­sume the events of Au­gust 30 2014 had not taken place and Kamoli had ac­qui­esced to his dis­missal.

My opin­ion is that the old coali­tion had al­ready col­lapsed. It was com­pletely un­sal­vage­able. Yes, Cy- clone Tom would have put his man Maa­parankoe Ma­hao to lead the LDF, al­beit tem­po­rar­ily.

Kamoli would have en­joyed mas­sive sym­pa­thy, at least from re­gional mil­i­taries and oth­ers in the know about mil­i­tary pro­cliv­i­ties, over the fact that he had been re­placed by a man he had court mar­tialled.

But there was sim­ply no way Ntate Tha­bane was go­ing to keep Par­lia­ment shut. His sup­port­ers were of the view that he could re­peat the pro­ro­ga­tions un­til 2017. They were wrong. Re­gard­less of the dif­fer­ent in­ter­pre­ta­tions of the law, it is im­prac­ti­cal to rule with­out a par­lia­ment in a par­lia­men­tary democ­racy.

Ja­cob Zuma, de­spite his per­sonal prox­im­ity to Tha­bane, had al­ready sig­nalled as such. Ramaphosa or no Ramaphosa, Par­lia­ment was go­ing to be even­tu­ally re-opened. Cy­clone Tom then would have met his fate. His only other al­ter­na­tive would have been to ad­vise King Let­sie III to dis­solve Par­lia­ment and call for fresh elec­tions. That’s what hap­pened in the end, cour­tesy of Ramaphosa’s fa­cil­i­ta­tion.

Those in the new coali­tion who owe their po­si­tions to Kamoli’s shenani­gans are plain wrong. Elec­tions had be­come in­evi- ta­ble.

His sup­port­ers could thus sim­ply have waited to win them, as they surely did, and then fire Ma­hao and bring Kamoli back with­out the Au­gust 30 ter­ror­ism and its at­ten­dant need­less loss of life.

Kamoli’s ac­tions might, in fact, have had the op­po­site ef­fect for his sup­port­ers. I have never quite un­der­stood why the ABC did so well in the elec­tions win­ning half of the 80 con­tested seats. Cy­clone Tom’s ten­ure had been largely un­re­mark­able.

One of the rea­sons could be that Kamoli’s ac­tions might have earned Cy­clone Tom more sym­pa­thy. Many of those who voted for him in the ur­ban cen­tres prob­a­bly did so out of sym­pa­thy.

They were prob­a­bly miffed at hear­ing news about how the el­derly Cy­clone Tom bun­dled him­self out of a bed­room win­dow, and jumped the fence to cross the river into South Africa with a young con­cu­bine, in her nighty, in tow.

Other re­ports sug­gested both Cy­clone Tom and Li­a­biloe had been crammed into the boot of a car and whit­tled past the bor­der to es­cape Kamoli. What­ever hap­pened, no­body wants to see their leader face such crass hu­mil­i­a­tion. Tha­bane could thus have won a lot of sym­pa­thy votes to the detri­ment of the DC which could have pos­si­bly won a clear man­date.

What­ever the case, any de­ci­sion to re-in­stall Kamoli to the helm of the LDF is bad. It’s bad for demo­cratic stan­dards and it sets a bad prece­dent. It’s tan­ta­mount to re­ward­ing mis­be­haviour. I con­demned his ac­tions of Au­gust 30 2014.

They saved no vi­able pur­pose. Yes, they could have ex­pe­dited snap polls. But the elec­tions had be­come in­evitable.

Demo­cratic elec­tions must al­ways be the prod­uct of demo­cratic pro­cesses. Pol­i­tics is a fickle and capri­cious busi­ness. It breeds frag­ile re­la­tion­ships. Bad his­tory has a ten­dency of re­peat­ing it­self. The ben­e­fi­cia­ries of Kamoli’s machi­na­tions to­day may be­come the next vic­tims to­mor­row.

Maybe not un­der him, but un­der some­one else drawing suc­cour from a bad prece­dent given ex­ec­u­tive le­git­i­macy. Vi­o­lence should have no place in any democ­racy. Re­mem­ber, the equally de­plorable events of 22 April 2009.

Af­ter a hard day’s work, Ntate Mo­sisili had prob­a­bly rested with ‘M’e Mo­sisili. Sud­denly a group of armed ban­dits storm State House on a ter­ror­ist mission to incin­er­ate our elected PM. I con­demned their ac­tions then as I con­demned the Au­gust 30 2014 ac­tions against an-

Iam not sug­gest­ing that Kamoli be hauled be­fore the coals ei­ther. For the sake of unity and progress, it may be nec­es­sary to for­give with­out for­get­ting. How about pen­sion­ing both men and al­low­ing them to be­come pri­vate cit­i­zens. The fact of Kamoli’s fir­ing can be disregarded to fa­cil­i­tate a pay-out for the re­main­der of the term he would have served had Cy­clone Tom not struck.

The same can go for Tšooana. He can cash in the re­main­der of his con­tract. One might still ar­gue that in the case of Kamoli, this still amounts to re­ward­ing bad be­hav­iour. I beg to dif­fer. No price is too high to pay for not re­turn­ing him to the helm of the LDF.

Kamoli could fa­cil­i­tate the process him­self by vol­un­tar­ily an­nounc­ing that, for the sake of Ba­sotho unity, he will not re­turn to lead the LDF. He can then ask for for­give­ness for his Au­gust 30 ac­tions in­clud­ing his equally con­tentious de­ci­sion to refuse to re­lease those ac­cused of ear­lier atroc­i­ties on Tšooana and Li­a­biloe’s homes.

Since his re­turn from South Africa, Kamoli has been look­ing like a per­fect gen­tle­man. I sali­vated at see­ing him at the in­au­gu­ra­tion of the new cabi­net in that new per­fect grey suit. I par­tic­u­larly liked that grey beard that he grew while on his for­eign sab­bat­i­cal. It has made him im­mensely hand­some. I am sure both Thabo Thakalekoala and Ntate Tha­bane are kick­ing them­selves. Not only for los­ing power, but also for los­ing the hand­some stakes to Kamoli.

Thakalekoala should not mind much though. Since he no longer has any work, he has am­ple time to go for teeth im­plants and fight to re­gain his man­tle of be­ing Le­sotho’s most hand­some face. For now, it has to be Kamoli. I hope and pray Kamoli will keep his beard and let it con­tinue grow­ing and be­come even more hand­some.

That will make it eas­ier for me to hook him up with my pretty young sis­ter. Get him a bit of Vi­a­gra and keep him happy in pri­vate re­tire­ment, away from the LDF.

An­other op­tion will be for both Kamoli and Tšooana to es­tab­lish pri­vate se­cu­rity com­pa­nies us­ing their set­tle­ment packages. They have a chance to use their ex­pe­ri­ence to run suc­cess­ful busi­nesses of­fer­ing body­guard and other se­cu­rity re­lated ser­vices to any­body will­ing to hire them. Both men would surely make good money be­cause of their ex­pe­ri­ences in the polic­ing and mil­i­tary sec­tor.

See­ing that I have ac­cu­mu­lated as many friends as enemies, I would cer­tainly pre­fer to have Kamoli as my oc­ca­sional body­guard, pro­vided he can ac­cept pay­ment in kind (a got, sheep and chicken ev­ery month). I am too poor to af­ford pri­vate se­cu­rity. If he can show the same Au­gust 30 bravado in pro­tect­ing me, I am sure I will be safe. And this time it will be for a noble cause.

Any­thing for Kamoli is bet­ter than re­turn­ing him to the helm of the LDF. Let’s en­able him and Tšooana a new love af­fair as en­trepreneurs and com­peti­tors in the busi­ness sec­tor to en­able Le­sotho to move on.


thabo thakalekoala

Lieu­tenant Gen­eral tlali Kamoli

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