Sechele pushed for Kamoli’s ouster: Motšeleli

Lesotho Times - - News - Keiso Mohloboli

THABA ‘ NCHU — Ex­iled All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion ( ABC) mem­ber, Te­boho Motšeleli, this week told the SADC Com­mis­sion of In­quiry that Colonel Bu­lane Sechele asked him to con­vince the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment led by Thomas Tha­bane, to fire army com­man­der, Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Tlali Kamoli.

Mr Motšeleli said the re­quest was made in 2012 when Dr Tha­bane came to power af­ter his ABC, Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) and Ba­sotho Na­tional Party formed an al­liance.

At the time, Mr Motšeleli said he was still a mem­ber of the LCD and had con­tested the 26 May par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, but lost. How­ever, Mr Motšeleli told the com­mis­sion he had a close re­la­tion­ship with party leader Mo­thetjoa Metsing, who be­came deputy prime min­is­ter when the ABC, LCD and BNP formed gov­ern­ment.

Mr Motšeleli told the com­mis­sion dur­ing Mon­day’s sit­ting in Thaba ‘Nchu, South Africa: “At the time, I was Mr Metsing’s head of se­cu­rity in the evenings be­cause I was still em­ployed by the Amer­i­can Em­bassy.

“I would at­tend ‘linakeli’ se­cret meet­ings with mem­bers of the army be­cause their in­tel­li­gence showed Mr Metsing was in dan­ger from the LCD’S splin­ter party, the Demo­cratic Congress.

“Af­ter the in­au­gu­ra­tion of Ntate Tha­bane as prime min­is­ter (in June 2012), I at­tended one of those se- cret meet­ings with the sol­diers, and Sechele was also there. He later ap­proached me and asked me to meet him the fol­low­ing day at a cer­tain busi­ness in Maseru.

“When we met, Sechele asked me to ad­vise Metsing to talk to his gov­ern­ment al­lies and fire Kamoli. He said Kamoli should be re­moved from his po­si­tion be­cause he was go­ing to desta­bilise the gov­ern­ment.

“Sechele told me Kamoli was still tak­ing or­ders from the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment. He fur­ther promised to pro­duce doc­u­mented proof that Mr Metsing and his al­lies could use against Kamoli.”

Mr Motšeleli fur­ther told the com­mis­sion he later ar­ranged a meet­ing be­tween Col Sechele and Mr Metsing.

“The meet­ing took place at Metsing’s gov­ern­ment res­i­dence in Maseru West. Sechele was in dis­guise when we went through the gate so that the sol­diers on duty would not recog­nise him. At that time, Ntate Tha­bane and Ntate Metsing were still in good books,” Mr Motšeleli said.

How­ever, Mr Motšeleli told the com­mis­sion that while Mr Metsing said he would speak to his part­ners about the is­sue, he also warned it would be dif­fi­cult to dis­miss Lt-gen Kamoli be­cause he had done noth­ing wrong.

“Mr Metsing was served with doc­u­ments in­di­cat­ing how Lt-gen Kamoli’s pro­mo­tion was fast-tracked and also how he forged his age in or­der to serve for more years in the army. “How­ever, Mr Metsing and his al­lies did noth­ing about it.”

Ac­cord­ing to Motšeleli, com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween him and Col Sechele broke down af­ter the coali­tion lead­ers failed to re­move Lt-gen Kamoli.

“He made fol­low-up calls to check whether the in­for­ma­tion against Lt-gen Kamoli was be­ing help­ful. And since I had not been given feed­back by Metsing, I was re­luc­tant to an­swer his calls and we ended up not com­mu­ni­cat­ing as fre­quently as be­fore.”

Motšeleli fur­ther told the com­mis­sion he was sur­prised to hear Col Sechele singing a dif­fer­ent tune when they met af­ter some time.

“As time passed and the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Metsing and his al­lies soured, I called Sechele in June last year be­cause I could sense prob­lems.

“He re­ceived the call but quickly dis­missed me, say­ing he no longer had pri­vacy be­cause his cell­phone might be bugged.

“For­tu­nately, we met at Makoanyane Bar­racks by co­in­ci­dence in mid-june 2014. He told me that the army was go­ing to over­throw the coali­tion gov­ern­ment be­cause it no longer had the ma­jor­ity seats it re­quired to re­main in power. He said two ABC MPS, Ntate Mophato Monyake and Ntate Thabiso Litšiba, had crossed the floor in par­lia­ment so Ntate Tha­bane and his gov­ern­ment no longer had enough seats to make him a le­git­i­mate prime min­is­ter.

“Sechele fur­ther told me that since par­lia­ment had been pro­rogued (by Dr Tha­bane on 10 June 2014), the army was go­ing to push for its reopening.

“He fur­ther told me that af­ter it re­opened, there would be a new prime min­is­ter be­cause of floor-cross­ing that was go­ing to hap­pen that day.”

The SADC in­quiry is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the fa­tal shoot­ing of former LDF com­man­der, Maa­pankoe Ma­hao in June this year by his mil­i­tary col­leagues.

The in­quiry is also prob­ing the le­gal­ity of Lt-gen Kamoli’s dis­missal by Dr Tha­bane in Au­gust 2014, and his re­in­state­ment by Dr Mo­sisili in May this year, and other se­cu­rity-re­lated is­sues. Sev­eral wit­nesses have since tes­ti­fied in both Maseru and South Africa. The hear­ings would be con­tin­u­ing in Maseru af­ter the South African hear­ings ended yes­ter­day.

For­tu­nately, we met at Makoanyane Bar­racks by co­in­ci­dence in mid-june 2014. He told me that the army was go­ing to over­throw the coali­tion gov­ern­ment be­cause it no longer had the ma­jor­ity seats it re­quired to re­main in power.

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