Coup at­tempt Le­sotho army chief re­signs

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Obituary/worldwide -

MASERU — The Le­sotho army chief who was ac­cused of launch­ing an at­tempted coup in the moun­tain king­dom in 2014 is to step down, of­fi­cials said on Tues­day, in a move that could aid ef­forts to end in­sta­bil­ity. When Tlali Kamoli was pre­vi­ously fired as army chief two years ago, sol­diers at­tacked po­lice head­quar­ters, looted weapons and killed one of­fi­cer in the re­ported coup at­tempt.

Kamoli was re-in­stated to the in­flu­en­tial post af­ter last year’s gen­eral elec­tion in an ap­point­ment that fu­elled po­lit­i­cal ten­sions in the im­pov­er­ished coun­try.

Le­sotho, which is en­tirely sur­rounded by South Africa, is strate­gi­cally im­por­tant as it pro­vides much of the wa­ter sup­ply to the city of Jo­han­nes­burg.

“Ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween gov­ern­ment and Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Tlali Kamoli have been suc­cess­fully com­pleted,” the gov­ern­ment said in a state­ment.

“Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Tlali Kamoli will there­fore re­tire as army com­man­der (on De­cem­ber 1).”

Maa­parankoe Ma­hao, who had served as army chief be­tween Kamoli’s two terms, was gunned down last June by sol­diers.

The gov­ern­ment said he had re­sisted ar­rest af­ter plan­ning a sep­a­rate mutiny.

Ma­hao was aligned with for­mer prime min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane, who sacked Kamoli in 2014.

The cur­rent prime min­is­ter, Pakalitha Mo­sisili, heads a coali­tion gov­ern­ment that took power af­ter the snap elec­tions last year.

South Africa, the United States and the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (Sadc) bloc have re­peat­edly called for po­lit­i­cal re­form in Le­sotho.

A Sadc in­quiry rec­om­mended that Kamoli be re­moved from of­fice to help fos­ter sta­bil­ity.

The United States was widely re­ported to have also pushed for Kamoli’s re­moval as a con­di­tion for re­new­ing Le­sotho’s mem­ber­ship of the African Growth and Op­por­tu­nity Act (AGOA) scheme that pro­vides valu­able duty-free ac­cess to US mar­kets.

Ejec­tion from AGOA could cause 35 000 job losses in the tex­tile in­dus­try, Le­sotho of­fi­cials say.

Le­sotho, a con­sti­tu­tional monar­chy, was a Bri­tish pro­tec­torate known as Ba­su­toland be­fore in­de­pen­dence in 1966. — AFP

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