A new love affair for Kamoli, Tšooana
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.
Lieutenant General tlali Kamoli