Observer on Saturday - - News -

King Let­sie III on Thurs­day called on Le­sotho's po­lit­i­cal lead­ers to stop us­ing the army for "dirty" work, as he ad­dressed mourn­ers at the fu­neral of a com­man­der who was as­sas­si­nated last week.

Khoan­tle Mot­so­motso was gunned down by ri­val of­fi­cers at a bar­racks in the cap­i­tal Maseru, as the strug­gle be­tween the tiny na­tion's mil­i­tary and politi­cians con­tin­ues to be marred by vi­o­lence.

"My plea to us all lead­ers is to stop sneak­ing around, ap­proach­ing soldiers to do our dirty po­lit­i­cal mis­sions while we prom­ise them all sorts of things," said Let­sie, who is Le­sotho's con­sti­tu­tional monarch.

He said the killing had caused ‘em­bar­rass­ment’ and ‘scared’ the small moun­tain king­dom.

The fu­neral was held in a vil­lage around 80 kilo­me­tres (50 miles)


north of Maseru and at­tended by hun­dreds of mourn­ers. Flanked by army chiefs from sev­eral neigh­bour­ing coun­tries, the king said the killing had "em­bar­rassed us as a na­tion... mak­ing us a laugh­ing stock of other na­tions."

"Khoan­tle's death has scared us all," he said. "Let us stop en­gag­ing in ac­tiv­i­ties that throw this coun­try into dis­ar­ray."

He urged the army to sup­port the new act­ing com­man­der, Ma­jor Gen­eral Li­neo Poopa, to "work hard to get the army out of these se­ri­ous, con­sis­tent prob­lems".

The shootout took place just two months af­ter an elec­tion won by Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane, which was largely ex­pected to usher in a new era of sta­bil­ity.

Crit­ics ac­cuse the mil­i­tary of favour­ing Tha­bane's old ri­val, Pakalitha Mo­sisili, who ruled from 1998 to 2012 and 2015 to 2017.

Mot­so­motso was the sec­ond Le­sotho army chief to be as­sas­si­nated by fel­low soldiers in two years.

DIRTY POL­I­TICS: Le­sotho's King Let­sie III ar­rives at the fu­neral of Gen­eral Com­man­der of the Le­sotho Army Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Khoan­tle Mot­so­motso in Mal­iba­matso.

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