Op­po­si­tion speaks on Kamoli exit

Lesotho Times - - Africa/news - Billy Ntaote

THE im­pend­ing re­tire­ment of Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) Com­man­der, Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Tlali Kamoli has been re­ceived with mixed emo­tions by op­po­si­tion lead­ers.

Lt-gen Kamoli’s re­tire­ment, which is slated for the 1st of De­cem­ber, was an­nounced by the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice, in a state­ment bear­ing a stamp of the of­fice of the Gov­ern­ment Sec­re­tary Le­bo­hang Ramohlanka on Tues­day this week.

He will be suc­ceeded by his deputy, Ma­jor-gen­eral Khoan­tle Motšo­motšo whose ap­point­ment has been ap­proved by His Majesty King Let­sie III on the ad­vice of the Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili.

The re­tire­ment fol­lows negotiations Lt Gen Kamoli held with gov­ern­ment over his de­par­ture in the af­ter­math of a pro­tracted cam­paign by the op­po­si­tion and in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity for his dis­missal in line with the rec­om­men­da­tions of the SADC Com­mis­sion of In­quiry led by Jus­tice Mpa­phi Phumaphi of Botswana.

The in­quiry was set up to help es­tab­lish the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the June 2015 killing of for­mer army com­man­der, Bri­gadier Maa­parankoe Ma­hao who was shot dead by sol­diers who had come to ar­rest him on al­le­ga­tions that he was part of a group of sol­diers plot­ting to over­throw the army lead­er­ship.

The 10-mem­ber com­mis­sion car­ried out its in­ves­ti­ga­tions be­tween 31 Au­gust and 23 Oc­to­ber 2015 and rec­om­mended, among other things, that “Lt Gen Kamoli be re­lieved of his du­ties as com­man­der of the LDF in the in­ter­est of restor­ing trust and ac­cep­tance of the LDF to the Ba­sotho na­tion and of­fi­cers im­pli­cated in cases of mur­der, at­tempted mur­der and trea­son be sus­pended while in­ves­ti­ga­tions in their cases pro­ceed in line with in­ter­na­tional best prac­tice”.

Ex­iled All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) leader and for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane said he had ques­tions as to what could have caused the de­ci­sion.

“These are the same peo­ple who re-ap­pointed Lt-gen Kamoli when I had fired him and re­placed him with Lt-gen Ma­hao,” Dr Tha­bane said in an in­ter­view with the Le­sotho Times this week.

“I would like to know what has changed their think­ing when they ac­tu­ally re­in­stated him into of­fice.

“I am ob­serv­ing from afar and I am yet to see ex­actly what is hap­pen­ing. If he leaves, then that will be a good de­vel­op­ment. How­ever I have not been of­fi­cially no­ti­fied by the gov­ern­ment about his re­tire­ment,” Dr Tha­bane said.

He said his re­turn to Le­sotho was sub­ject to guar­an­tees of ad­e­quate se­cu­rity for him and his fam­ily as he had fled the coun­try fear­ing as­sas­si­na­tion.

“If ad­e­quate se­cu­rity was to be availed to me and guar­an­teed, then I would re­turn to play my role as an op­po­si­tion leader,” he said.

Fel­low op­po­si­tion leader of the Re­formed Con­gress of Le­sotho (RCL) Keketso Ran­tšo hailed Lt-gen Kamoli’s exit as the first step to­wards im­ple­ment­ing the se­cu­rity sec­tor re­forms as well as hold­ing him ac­count­able.

She said a lot re­mained to be done be­fore op­po­si­tion lead­ers who fled the coun­try be­tween May and June 2015 could re­turn to the coun­try.

She said the op­po­si­tion’s fears would be al-

layed if this was not a guise to re­as­sign the army com­man­der to an­other lu­cra­tive gov­ern­ment po­si­tion.

“He should not be given a gov­ern­ment post to thank him.

I do not un­der­stand why they took so long ne­go­ti­at­ing with him when they had the pow­ers to just fire him as they have al­ways done with other of­fi­cers.

We sus­pect that he shall be given an­other job in gov­ern­ment given how much he has been praised by the gov­ern­ment.

“His com­mand re­sulted in a stale­mate and caused us to flee the coun­try, so for us to be con­fi­dent we need to see other SADC rec­om­men­da­tions be­ing im­ple­mented,” Ms Ran­tšo said.

She also ap­pealed to Lt Gen Kamoli to re­frain from tak­ing a gov­ern­ment job and “stay at home and wait to as­sist those in­ves­ti­gat­ing the killings of Lt Gen Ma­hao and Sub In­spec­tor Mokhe­seng Ramahloko and oth­ers”.

She said she would re­turn home when all the ex­iled sol­diers had re­turned to their jobs and oth­ers charged with mutiny were re­leased from de­ten­tion.

At­tempts to get hold of Ba­sotho Na­tional Party leader, Th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane were un­suc­cess­ful as his mo­bile phone was not reach­able.

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