Army com­mit­ted to democ­racy: Kamoli

Lesotho Times - - News - Billy Ntaote

ARMY com­man­der Lieu­tenan­tGen­eral Tlali Kamoli on Mon­day said the Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) was com­mit­ted to up­hold­ing demo­cratic rule and serv­ing civil­ian au­thor­i­ties.

Lt-gen Kamoli made the re­mark at the me­mo­rial ser­vice of for­mer LDF com­man­der and Mil­i­tary Coun­cil Chair­man Ma­jor-gen­eral Phisoana Ra­maema who passed away on 11 De­cem­ber at Makoanyane Mil­i­tary Hos­pi­tal.

Ac­cord­ing to Lt-gen Kamoli, the na­tion was in­debted to Ma­jor-gen­eral Ra­maema as he handed power to civil­ian au­thor­i­ties in 1993 when he could have con­tin­ued with mil­i­tary rule which had be­gun in 1986 with the over­throw of Prime Min­is­ter Le­abua Jonathan by Ma­jor-gen­eral Mets­ing Lekhanya.

But af­ter top­pling Maj-gen­eral Lekhanya in 1991, Ma­jor-gen­eral Ra­maema de­cided to han­dover power to a demo­crat­i­cally-elected govern­ment of the Ba­sotho Congress Party (BCP) in 1993.

Dur­ing his ten­ure, Maj-gen Ra­maema de­crim­i­nalised political ac­tiv­i­ties in Le­sotho, paving the way for democ­racy which the coun­try en­joys to this day.

In his eu­logy at the Evan­gel­i­cal Church Mabote Parish, Lt-gen Kamoli said Ma­jor-gen­eral Ra­maema served Le­sotho with hon­our, and de­served the grat­i­tude of the en­tire na­tion.

“To­day is a sad day as we have lost a father of the dis­ci­plined forces of Le­sotho. I first met Maj-gen Ra­maema in 1983 when I ar­rived at the LDF as a re­cruit.

“I knew him as a man who loved his job very much; a man who made fol­low-ups on all the or­ders he is­sued to his sub­or­di­nates. He could end up do­ing so many jobs all by him­self to en­sure that all was well within the army.

“From the day he be­came Chair­man of the Mil­i­tary Coun­cil, he would be in­sulted all the time by his de­trac­tors, some of them very young chil­dren. I should tell you that I was there in 1986 when the mil­i­tary took con­trol of the state and govern­ment.

“How­ever, the army was not in- ter­ested in rul­ing Le­sotho; the in­ter­est was to pre­pare for a demo­crat­i­cally elected govern­ment of civil­ians. That’s when he be­came fa­mous for say­ing his ve­hi­cle didn’t have a re­verse gear when it came to bring­ing demo­cratic rule to Le­sotho,” Lt-gen Kamoli told the mourn­ers.

The army chief re­called that he was a cor­po­ral when Maj-gen Ra­maema made the bold dec­la­ra­tion that would im­mor­talise him among his peo­ple.

“Maj-gen Ra­maema never had a re­verse gear in his com­mand and we, in the LDF to­day, are still fol­low­ing that same prin­ci­ple when it comes to our civil­ian au­thor­i­ties and safe­guard­ing our democ­racy,” Lt-gen Kamoli said.

“As the LDF com­mand, we are still com­mit­ted to democ­racy as Maj-gen Ra­maema showed by hand­ing over power to civil­ian rule. We are com­mit­ted to civil­ian rule and noth­ing else.

“We are an army that handed power to civil­ian rule and con­tin­ues to func­tion un­der civil­ian au­thor­i­ties to this day.

“I can­not de­vi­ate from a route that Maj-gen Ra­maema set us on way back in 1993, which is why I am com­mit­ted to serv­ing demo­crat­i­cally elected gov­ern­ments. As the LDF com­mand, we don’t have any ill-in­ten­tions and like I said, we are com­mit­ted to civil­ian con­trol.”

He also told the mourn­ers that un­der his com­mand, the LDF made sure Maj-gen Ra­maema re­ceived all the care he needed.

Maj-gen Ra­maema, he added, was treated at Makoanyane Mil­i­tary Hos­pi­tal for var­i­ous ail­ments but com­plained of se­vere chest pains and arthri­tis in the days lead­ing to his death.

Lt-gen Kamoli urged all for­mer and serv­ing LDF mem­bers to go for reg­u­lar med­i­cal check-ups at Makoanyane Mil­i­tary Hos­pi­tal “as it be­longs to all sol­diers”.

“When Maj-gen Mets­ing Lekhanya set-up the hos­pi­tal, it was due to pres­sure from one sol­dier who de­clined to be treated at Queen II Hos­pi­tal af­ter sus­tain­ing gun­shot wounds from a 1986 bat­tle, Lt-gen Kamoli ex­plained.

“That sol­dier said if there was no other hos­pi­tal, he should be left to die be­cause he didn’t want to be taken to Queen El­iz­a­beth II Hos­pi­tal. Then with the help of South Africa, we were able to build a mil­i­tary hos­pi­tal that we have since be­come proud of. I be­lieve Maj-gen Ra­maema will be among the peo­ple who would be res­ur­rected come Judge­ment Day as he guar­an­teed Ba­sotho a re­turn to demo­cratic rule at a time many thought this was im­pos­si­ble.”

ARMY Com­man­der Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Tlali Kamoli.

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