Mo­sisili speaks on Kamoli’s ar­rest

. . . as govt, po­lice hit back

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - ’Marafaele Mohloboli

FOR­MER prime min­is­ter, Pakalitha Mo­sisili (pic­tured), has waded into the pros­e­cu­tion of Lieu­tenant-gen­eral Tlali Kamoli for mur­der, say­ing the for­mer army com­man­der was sub­jected to “in­hu­mane and de­mean­ing” treat­ment by ap­pear­ing in court last week hand­cuffed and in leg irons.

Dr Mo­sisili, who is also Demo­cratic Congress (DC) leader, has also de­manded an ex­pla­na­tion from the po­lice for hav­ing taken “so long” to ar­rest peo­ple im­pli­cated in var­i­ous un­re­solved crimes.

He also con­tends that the gov­ern­ment made a “wrong move” in re­quest­ing the de­ploy­ment of a South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) standby force to Le­sotho, say­ing it would “chase away in­vestors”.

How­ever, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter Joang Mo­lapo has scoffed at Dr Mo­sisili’s re­marks, say­ing the for­mer pre­mier was not in a po­si­tion to lec­ture the gov­ern­ment on the rule of law “given the nu­mer­ous atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted un­der his watch”.

Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Holomo Moli­beli also laughed off Dr Mo­sisili’s de­mand for an ex­pla­na­tion, say­ing the for­mer pre­mier could have taken ac­tion against po­lice au­thor­i­ties dur­ing his ten­ure if he was not happy with their fail­ure to in­ves­ti­gate the cases.

Ad­dress­ing a DC con­fer­ence held in Maseru over the week­end, Dr Mo­sisili said Lt-gen Kamoli should not have been hand­cuffed and in leg irons when he ap­peared at the Mag­is­trate’s Court for a re­mand hear­ing last week.

The for­mer Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) chief was charged on 16 Oc­to­ber 2017 with mur­der­ing Sub-in­spec­tor Ramahloko dur­ing the 30 Au­gust 2014 at­tempted coup against the first gov­ern­ment of Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane.

Lt-gen Kamoli is jointly charged with three army of­fi­cers who are also de­tained at Maseru Cen­tral Prison.

Cap­tain Litekanyo Nyakane (38), Lance Cor­po­ral Mot­lo­h­eloa Nt­sane (34) and Lance Cor­po­ral Leut­soa Mot­sieloa (31) were also charged with con­tra­ven­ing pro­vi­sions of sec­tion 40(1) of the Pe­nal Code Act No. 6 of 2010.

Ac­cord­ing to the charge sheet, they fa­tally shot Sub-in­spec­tor Ramahloko on the chest on 30 Au­gust 2014 at po­lice head­quar­ters.

Lt-gen Kamoli and his co-ac­cused were re­manded in cus­tody and or­dered to re-ap­pear on re­mand on 10 Novem­ber 2017.

Lt-gen Kamoli is sep­a­rately charged with 14 counts of at­tempted mur­der over the 27 Jan­uary 2014 si­mul­ta­ne­ous bomb­ings of the Moshoeshoe II homes of First Lady Mae­siah Tha­bane, ‘Mamoshoeshoe Mo­let­sane and the Ha Abia res­i­dence of for­mer po­lice com­mis­sioner Khothatso Tšooana.

“I have noth­ing against a per­son be­ing ques­tioned and taken to the courts of law. It ac­tu­ally makes me happy be­cause this means that the due process will be fol­lowed,” Dr Mo­sisili said.

“I am, how­ever, to­tally against the way he (Lt-gen Kamoli) was shack­led. That is an is­sue with me.

“I don’t un­der­stand how a man who was so co­op­er­a­tive and hum­ble ends up be­ing crim­i­nalised by be­ing shack­led on the wrists and an­kles. I take is­sue with that be­cause it was in­hu­mane and de­mean­ing.”

The DC leader also ac­cused the po­lice of mis­treat­ing peo­ple they sum­moned to as­sist with in­ves­ti­ga­tions of var­i­ous crimes, cit­ing al­le­ga­tions by Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy deputy leader, Tšeliso Mokhosi, of tor­ture while in cus­tody.

Mr Mokhosi was ar­rested on 28 Au­gust this year and charged with the mur­der of Po­lice Con­sta­ble Mokalekale Khetheng along with four po­lice of­fi­cers.

The for­mer De­fence min­is­ter was even­tu­ally re­leased on bail and ac­cused the po­lice of forc­ing him to con­fess to killing PC Khetheng while be­ing in­ter­ro­gated. Mr Mokhosi then fled the coun­try cit­ing a plot to as­sas­si­nate him.

The Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice (LMPS) has ve­he­mently de­nied the al­le­ga­tions, say­ing Mr Mokhosi should have alerted the mag­is­trate of the al­leged tor­ture threats “if they were true” dur­ing his court ap­pear­ance.

“The po­lice now have a ten­dency of sum­mon­ing peo­ple and then tor­tur­ing them like the case of LCD deputy leader Tšeliso Mokhosi. If the po­lice con­tin­ues like that, they are go­ing nowhere,” Dr Mo­sisili said, while ap­peal­ing to the gov­ern­ment to heed to his ad­vice since he had been in pol­i­tics long enough to “know what was good and bad gov­er­nance”.

“I swear by the almighty liv­ing God that this gov­ern­ment’s fu­ture hangs in the bal­ance and I am ad­vis­ing them in good faith.”

The for­mer pre­mier also de­manded an ex­pla­na­tion from the po­lice for fail­ing to ar­rest peo­ple im­pli­cated in var­i­ous un­re­solved crimes dur­ing his ten­ure.

Since the in­stal­la­tion of the Dr Tha­bane-led four party gov­ern­ment in June this year, a num­ber of peo­ple -- in­clud­ing LDF and LMPS mem­bers – have been ar­rested and charged for var­i­ous crimes.

A war­rant was also is­sued by a Mag­is­trate’s Court in Septem­ber for the ar­rest of for­mer LMPS com­mis­sioner, Mo­lahlehi Let­soepa, for em­bez­zle­ment dur­ing his ten­ure at the law en­force­ment agency. The gov­ern­ment is work­ing to­wards ex­tra­dit­ing Mr Let­soepa, who is ex­iled in South Africa, to as­sist with in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the mur­der of PC Khetheng.

Mr Let­soepa of­fi­cially re­tired as LMPS com­mis­sioner on 11 Septem­ber 2017 af­ter be­ing pushed out by Dr Tha­bane.

Mr Let­soepa – who was ap­pointed by the Dr Mo­sisili-led for­mer gov­ern­ment in Novem­ber 2015 – has since been re­placed by Com­mis­sioner Moli­beli.

“Po­lice owe this na­tion an ex­pla­na­tion on why they have never made ar­rests like they are do­ing now and ex­plain who was im­ped­ing them from do­ing their job,” Dr Mo­sisili queried.

He called for a com­mis­sion of in­quiry into the 5 Septem­ber 2017 as­sas­si­na­tion of LDF com­man­der, Lt-gen Khoan­tle Motšo­motšo, by Bri­gadier Bu­lane Sechele and Colonel Tefo Hashatsi.

Ac­cord­ing to the gov­ern­ment ac­count of the in­ci­dent, Brig Sechele had been ac­com­pa­nied to Lt-gen Motšo­motšo’s Ratjo­mose Bar­racks of­fice by Colonel Tefo Hashatsi and a third of­fi­cer on the fate­ful day.

Brig Sechele and Col Hashatsi had re­port­edly ac­cused Lt-gen Motšo­motšo of fail­ing to stop the pros­e­cu­tion of LDF mem­bers im­pli­cated in var­i­ous crimes be­fore shoot­ing the LDF chief dead.

Brig Sechele and Col Hashatsi were even­tu­ally killed in a hail of bul­lets from Lt-gen Motšo­motšo’s body­guards as they left the of­fice com­plex.

Dr Mo­sisili said his gov­ern­ment re­quested SADC to es­tab­lish a com­mis­sion of in­quiry into the 25 June 2015 killing of Maa­parankoe Ma­hao by his erst­while col­leagues.

“I set up a com­mis­sion when one army of­fi­cer had been killed and they are fail­ing to set up one when all three of­fi­cers in­clud­ing an army com­man­der were killed,” he said.

“I en­gaged SADC to en­sure trans­parency and, un­for­tu­nately, they hi­jacked the com­mis­sion and started call­ing it theirs. Why don’t they set it up their own now?”

He said the de­ploy­ment of SADC troops into the coun­try was a wrong move. Le­sotho re­quested for a standby force from the re­gion com­pris­ing of 1 099 troops, 30 civil­ians, 34 po­lice of­fi­cers, one pathol­o­gist, four scuba divers and a po­lice mo­bile unit. SADC se­cu­rity chiefs are fi­nal­is­ing the modal­i­ties of the standby force’s de­ploy­ment at the bloc’s head­quar­ters in Botswana.

“I urge Prime Min­is­ter Tha­bane to de­sist from mak­ing this move (de­ploy­ment) be­cause it is go­ing to im­pact neg­a­tively on this coun­try’s econ­omy,” Dr Mo­sisili said.

“You have erred in this move of de­ploy­ing SADC troops in Le­sotho Ntate Tha­bane.

“I don’t un­der­stand what the SADC troops are com­ing to do in the coun­try when po­lice are ef­fect­ing the ar­rests with­out any prob­lems. I won­der if they know the im­pli­ca­tions of de­ploy­ing a for­eign army in another coun­try as this is a sig­nal that all is not well. This is go­ing to im­pact neg­a­tively on our econ­omy and is go­ing to chase away in­vestors.”

The for­mer pre­mier said his gov­ern­ment was ac­cused of re­fus­ing to im­ple­ment the SADC rec­om­men­da­tions, “whereas in ac­tual fact we only wanted to tread care­fully”.

“That is why we even re­lieved Kamoli of his du­ties as an army com­man­der. It’s be­cause we needed to be care­ful with how to han­dle this is­sue. That’s why we even tabled the Gen­eral Amnesty Bill in Par­lia­ment.”

He also urged the gov­ern­ment to be sin­cere in talks to bring back three ex­iled op­po­si­tion lead­ers, adding that there would be no im­ple­men­ta­tion of multi-sec­toral re­forms in their ab­sence.

In ad­di­tion to Mr Mokhosi, LCD leader Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing and DC deputy leader, Mathi­beli Mokhothu, fled to South Africa sep­a­rately in Au­gust this year.

The trio skipped the coun­try cit­ing tip-offs from “trusted sources” about plots to as­sas­si­nate them and al­leged per­se­cu­tion by the gov­ern­ment.

How­ever, the gov­ern­ment has since said they would not achieve any­thing in per­se­cut­ing the op­po­si­tion. Chief Mo­lapo stressed in a pre­vi­ous in­ter­view that the pros­e­cu­tion of peo­ple im­pli­cated in var­i­ous un­re­solved crimes should not be con­flated with per­se­cu­tion.

“The gov­ern­ment is play­ing with fire and is not se­ri­ous with this mat­ter of bring­ing back the ex­iled lead­ers,” Dr Mo­sisili charged.

“There is no way they can talk to them with­out en­gag­ing us. All they are do­ing is try­ing to im­press the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity so that they think the gov­ern­ment is do­ing some­thing pos­i­tive.”

Re­spond­ing to Dr Mo­sisili’s claims yes­ter­day, Chief Mo­lapo said the DC leader was not in a po­si­tion to lec­ture the gov­ern­ment on the rule of law.

“Mo­sisili can­not teach us about re­spect­ing the rule of law be­cause in his time, peo­ple were be­ing ab­ducted day and night by men wear­ing bal­a­clavas,” he said.

“He had his turn to rule and failed dis­mally. Mo­sisili made Kamoli think he was above the law and we won’t ac­cept any lec­tures from him.”

For his part, Com­mis­sioner Moli­beli ex­pressed sur­prise at Dr Mo­sisili’s de­mand for an ex­pla­na­tion from the po­lice, say­ing the for­mer pre­mier was “clown­ing”.

“How can Ntate Mo­sisili say that surely? Ntate Mo­sisili was the prime min­is­ter, and if he was not happy with the LMPS’S op­er­a­tions, he would have taken ac­tion against the po­lice com­mis­sioner at the time (Mr Let­soepa),” said Com­mis­sioner Moli­beli.

“But he found noth­ing wrong with the po­lice’s con­duct.”

The top cop also said there was noth­ing un­to­ward about the hand­cuff­ing of Lt-gen Kamoli by the cor­rec­tional au­thor­i­ties, adding that it was stan­dard prac­tice to se­cure a sus­pect to pre­vent them from es­cap­ing.

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