Opposition celebrates Kamoli exit
OPPOSITION youth leagues from the Basotho National Party (BNP), All Basotho Convention (ABC) and Reformed Congress for Lesotho (RCL) political parties will today stage an event to celebrate the retirement of Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli whose retirement becomes effective today.
Lt-gen Kamoli is today expected to retire and hand over command of the LDF to his deputy, Major-general Khoantle Motšomotšo.
BNP Spokesperson Machesetsa Mofomobe yesterday told the Lesotho Times that there would be festivities at BNP Centre after their initial plan for a convoy on the streets of Maseru as well as speeches was turned down by the police.
Mr Mofomobe said he had been called by Maseru Urban District Police Commissioner, Senior Superintendent Motlatsi Mapola, who warned him of the “implications” of the planned convoy adding that he “succumbed to pressure”.
Mr Mofomobe, however, said that was not enough to dampen their celebratory mood and they would “make speeches regarding Kamoli because he shall be leaving office as part of the SADC recommendations”.
Lt Gen Kamoli’s departure was part of the recommendations of SADC commission that investigated the security situation in the country in the aftermath of former army commander, Maaparankoe Mahao in 2015.
Lt-gen Mahao was shot dead as he left his Mokema farm on 25 June 2015 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.
After the killing, Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili asked SADC to help establish the circumstances surrounding the tragedy, result- ing in a Commission of Inquiry led by Justice Mpaphi Phumaphi of Botswana.
The 10-member commission carried out its investigations between 31 August and 23 October 2015 and recommended, among other things, that government should investigate the killing and prosecute those found to be responsible.
It also recommended 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”.
Mr Mofomobe said the retirement may not suffice to save the country from losing its trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which allows the country to make duty-free exports to the United States market.
Eligibility for AGOA is based on the respect for the rule of law and the implementation of reforms aimed at resolving the country’s security and political challenges.
Mr Mofomobe said Lt-gen Kamoli’s retirement was just one part of a package of recommendations that should be wholly implemented including the suspension of the army officers suspected of involvement in “Lt Gen Mahao’s killing and other atrocities”.
“We just hope this will be a lesson to his successor so that he does not involve the army in politics. We think his (Lt-gen Kamoli’s) departure will bring us peace,” Mr Mofomobe said.
ABC Spokesperson, Mphonyane Lebesa said his party will attend the celebrations, adding, “his departure really calls for it after all that he has caused this country and we believe that there will be peace and stability after he has gone”.
“Hopefully his departure is just infant steps towards the implementation of the SADC recommendations,” Mr Lebesa added.
For his part, the RCL’S Tanki Maoela echoed Mr Lebesa’s sentiments, adding: “We are still looking to the implementation of the rest of SADC recommendations for the common good of our people and we hope that Basotho will get peace at last”.
Major-general Khoantle Motšomotšo.
Lieutenant-general tlali Kamoli.