Fired soldier fights dismissal
A FIRED soldier, Private Morapeli Lebesa, is fighting for reinstatement in the High Court and alleging his dismissal from the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) was unlawful.
Pvt Lebesa filed an urgent application before the High Court on 5 August 2016 seeking an order setting aside the decision by LDF commander, Lieutenant-general Tlali Kamoli, to dismiss him from the army.
He also wants the court to order Lt-gen Kamoli to reinstate him “without loss of salary, remuneration and other entitlements or benefits which the applicant would have received had there been no discharge”.
Pvt Lebesa was dismissed from the LDF on 5 April 2016 for allegedly assigning himself a duty to Second Lieutenant Mosakeng’s residence as an electrician.
But he argues in his affidavit that dismissal was unfair.
Pvt Lebesa argues his dismissal was unlawful because Lt-gen Kamoli had no authority to discharge him from the LDF when the alleged conduct constitutes a military offence under the Lesotho Defence Force Act (1996).
“On the 1st February 2016 I was arrested by members of the Military Police and detained at Makoanyane Detention Centre. At the time of detention I was on duty at Ratjomose Barracks.
“At the time of the arrest I was not given reasons for the arrest.
“It was only on the 5th February 2016 that I was charged with contravening the provisions of section 79 of the Lesotho Defence Force Act, 1996.
“As per charge sheet, it was alleged that on the 1st February 2016 I went to Second Lieutenant Mosakeng’s billeting and thereat fraudulently introduced myself as an electrician from (the) Engineering Unit who was there for repair work, when in actual fact I was neither an electrician nor was there a reported electrical problem at the billeting,” he narrated,
He further alleges he was denied access to his medication when he was detained at Makoanyane Detention Centre.
“As a result, I fell into a faint on or around the 12th March 2016 and was rushed to Makoanyane Military Hospital.
“Whilst still regaining my consciousness in hospital, I was served with a letter from the 1st Respondent (Lt-gen Kamoli) herein inviting me to show cause why I may not be discharged from the Defence Force pursuant to section 31(b) of the LDF Act, 1996,” he narrated.
He said despite his response to the commander trying to persuade him to change his mind to dismiss him he was dismissed on 5 April 2016.
However, the case is yet to be allocated a date of hearing the High Court ruled two weeks ago the application was not urgent. The reason for the ruling was that Pvt Lebesa took a lot of time before filing the application after his dismissal.
The respondents have also filed their notice of intention to oppose the case.
The Lt-gen Kamoli and Attorney General (King’s Counsel) Tšokolo Makhethe are cited as first and second respondents respectively