STOP USING DIRTY 'POLITICAL MISSIONS' - LESOTHO'S KING
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.