Sol­dier fired over ‘smear cam­paign’

Ac­cused of tar­nish­ing the im­ages of Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing and Lieu­tenant-Gen­eral Tlali Kamoli through so­cial me­dia

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Keiso Mohloboli

Le­sotho De­fence Force Mil­i­tary In­tel­li­gence Of­fi­cer Man­tha Tekane was fired this week for al­legedly tar­nish­ing the im­ages of Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing and army com­man­der Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Tlali Kamoli through so­cial me­dia.

Pri­vate Tekane was in Maseru Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity Prison for the al­leged smear cam­paign when he re­ceived his dis­missal let­ter on Tues­day.

He was part of a group of sol­diers ar­rested for al­leged mutiny be­tween May and June this year, but later re­leased for lack of ev­i­dence.

How­ever, Pri­vate Tekane was re­ar­rested early last month for the al­leged smear cam­paign.

On 10 Novem­ber, Pri­vate Tekane was slapped with a let­ter ask­ing him to show cause why the LDF should not fire him for den­i­grat­ing the army com­man­der and deputy premier “through so­cial me­dia and leaflets… to the prej­u­dice of pub­lic and na­tional se­cu­rity”.

The let­ter, head­lined ‘ Show Cause No­tice — Your Dis­charge From Ser­vice’ was signed by the Right Honourable Lt-gen KT Kamoli, reads: “Whereas you are a mem­ber of the Le­sotho De­fence Force whose duty is to en­sure pub­lic or­der and the se­cu­rity of Le­sotho un­der the com­mand of the LDF.

“And whereas you, con­trary to your duty as a sol­dier of the LDF, planned, sup­ported and prop­a­gated the den­i­gra­tions, through so­cial me­dia and leaflets, about the com­man­der and of­fi­cer of the LDF, in­clud­ing the Deputy Prime Min­is­ter (DPM) to the prej­u­dice of pub­lic and na­tional se­cu­rity.

“And whereas you planned, wrote and caused to be pub­lished the men­dac­i­ties, about the com­man­der and cer­tain named se­nior and ju­nior of­fi­cers of the LDF, in­clud­ing the DPM in­tended and or cal­cu­lated to bring into ha­tred or con­tempt or to ex­cite dis­sat­is­fac­tion against them in the ex­e­cu­tion of their du­ties.

“And whereas your con­duct was in­cit­ing to vi­o­lence, dis­or­der, coun­selling de­fi­ance and dis­obe­di­ence to the law­ful au­thor­ity within the LDF and the Ba­sotho na­tion.

“And whereas you were found in pos­ses­sion of leaf­less con­tain­ing in­for­ma­tion of the na­ture stated above, it is not in the in­ter­est of the De­fence Force for you to re­main in the force and the pub­lic in­ter­est re­quires that you be dis­charged from the De­fence Force.

“Now there­fore, you are re­quired to show cause, if any, why you may not be dis­charged from the LDF pur­suant to Sec­tion 31 (b) and (e) of the Le­sotho De­fence Force Act No 4 of 1996.

“Your writ­ten rep­re­sen­ta­tion must be de­liv­ered to the of­fice of the com­man­der of the LDF within seven days, fail­ure of which leaves me with no other un­der­stand­ing but that you have ac­qui­esced to the pro­posed dis­charge.”

In re­sponse, Pri­vate Tekane de­nied the charges, and noted through a let­ter dated 18 Novem­ber and writ­ten by his lawyer, Ad­vo­cate Makhetha Motšoari: “My client can con­firm that he is a mem­ber of the LDF with duty to en­sure pub­lic or­der and se­cu­rity in terms of the law, which duty he has thus far, dis­charged with dili­gence and loy­alty.

“Since the day our client joined the ser­vice, he has no bad record. He has been serv­ing the na­tion with ut­most dis­ci­pline.”

Adv Motšoari fur­ther noted it would not be fair for the LDF to fire his client be­cause of ru­mour.

“Client in­forms us that he has never planned, sup­ported and prop­a­gated any den­i­gra­tion through any medium about the com­man­der of the LDF or any civil au­thor­ity with a view to prej­u­dice na­tional se­cu­rity.

“This is just but an al­le­ga­tion and it would not be fair and just for the LDF to dis­charge client on the ba­sis of al­le­ga­tions,” the lawyer ar­gued.

Ac­cord­ing to Adv Motšoari, his client “is pre­sumed in­no­cent un­til such time he has been found to have com­mit­ted the al­leged con­duct by proper courts”.

“Client in­forms us that he has never in­cited any vi­o­lence, dis­or­der, de­fi­ance or dis­obe­di­ence within the LDF or the coun­try at large. Since our client is deny­ing the al­leged mis­con­duct, it is best and proper for the LDF to at least wait for the proper au­thor­i­ties to make a de­ci­sion on that es­pe­cially af­ter hear­ing all the ev­i­dence.

“Client in­forms us that he has never been found in pos­ses­sion of any leaflets con­tain­ing any sub­ver­sive in­for­ma­tion. As­sum­ing they were found in his pos­ses­sion, it would still be pru­dent for the LDF to have heard the nec­es­sary ev­i­dence as the law so re­quires.

“It would be ar­bi­trary, un­fair and prej­u­di­cial to dis­charge him from ser­vice on the ba­sis of al­le­ga­tions as they ap­pear on your let­ter which bears ref­er­ence of this com­mu­ni­ca­tion.”

How­ever, af­ter this re­sponse, Pri­vate Tekane was again served with a show cause let­ter dated 4 De­cem­ber 2015, and again signed by Lt-gen Kamoli. The let­ter reads in part: “On 18 Novem­ber 2015, your rep­re­sen­ta­tive pre­sented your writ­ten rep­re­sen­ta­tion, which has been clearly un­der­stood.

Now there­fore, find here­unto at­tached fur­ther par­tic­u­lars in the form of an af­fi­davit and an­nexes of Mr Mothusi Ra­tia re­but­ting your con­tention that ‘your show cause’ is based on al­le­ga­tions’ not ‘ev­i­dence’.

In re­sponse to this se­cond let­ter, Adv Motšoari wrote: “Client has in­structed us to re­spond, as we hereby do, that those al­le­ga­tions by one Ra­tia are un­true, fab­ri­cated and un­founded.

“Fur­ther­more, we note that the im­pend­ing dis­missal of our client is based on the ‘ ev­i­dence’ of the said Ra­tia whom our client has not had an op­por­tu­nity to cross-ex­am­ine.

In the cir­cum­stances, the dis­missal of our client based on un­tested ev­i­dence of­fends against the rules of nat­u­ral jus­tice and there­fore un­fair.” How­ever, Adv Motšoari yes­ter­day told the

Le­sotho Times that his client was even­tu­ally fired on Tues­day this week.

“I don’t want to go deep into Pri­vate Tekane’s dis­missal let­ter be­cause I have not had enough time to study it. But what I can con­firm is that he has been fired and is no longer a sol­dier.

“He was still in Max­i­mum Se­cu­rity Prison when he was served with the let­ter yes­ter­day (Tues­day) and was im­me­di­ately re­leased from de­ten­tion,” Adv Motšoari said.

Ef­forts by the Le­sotho Times to get a com­ment from Pri­vate Tekane were fruit­less yes­ter­day as his mo­bile phone was not reach­able. The Le­sotho Times could also not reach the LDF for com­ment on the is­sue, while the mo­bile phone of De­fence Min­is­ter Tšeliso Mokhosi rang unan­swered yes­ter­day.

Deputy prime Min­is­ter Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing

Lieu­tenant-gen­eral tlali Kamoli

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.