LIEUTENANT General Tlali Kamoli says he is still the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) commander despite a statement to the contrary issued by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s Press Secretary, Thabo Thakalekoala, yesterday.
In an interview with the Sunday Express, Lt General Kamoli scoffed at Mr Thakalekoala’s radio announcement, insisting he remained the LDF boss. Mr Thakalekoala had announced that Lt General Kamoli had been fired and replaced by Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao.
“I am still the commander of the LDF and as far as I am concerned, I am still in office,” said Lt General Kamoli.
“You can even come by and find me still in charge of the LDF; I am still in my office at Ratjomose Barracks. I heard rumours that I had been removed from the position of LDF commander but I want to tell you that I have not received any dismissal letter.”
Lt General Kamoli went on to accuse Mr Thakalekoala of previously being misleading when he announced the court martial of then Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao, had been dissolved.
“And that very same person did not apologise to the nation that the court martial is continuing,” he said.
“The bottom line is I am still the Commander of the LDF,” Lt General Kamoli declared.
Contacted for comment last night, Government Spokesperson, Selibe Mochoboroane said Lieutenant General Kamoli is still the LDF commander.
Mr Mochoboroane, who is also the Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, and deputy spokesperson of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) said Lesotho is a democratic and constitutional country that is “not governed by comedians”.
“Lieutenant General Kamoli is not a commander to the All Basotho Convention army but of the LDF,” Mr Mochoboroane said.
“He cannot be removed from his position like a bag to suit some people’s political interests. Mr Kamoli will remain as the LDF commander for as far as his contract stands.”
Mr Mochoboroane, whose LCD formed a coalition government with Dr Thabane’s All Baasotho Convention (ABC) and Basotho National Party (BNP) in June 2012, also sought to dismiss claims that events of yesterday were tantamount to a coup, saying: “It was never a coup, unless I do not know the definition of a coup.
“The police have turned the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) from being His Majesty King Letsie III’s security institution into an ABC police service because they were currently taking orders from the ABC,” Mr Mochoboroane said.
“The LDF operation (in which the army temporarily took over the Maseru Central Police Station, Police Headquarters and Ha-Mabote Police Station yesterday morning) was only meant to disarm the police and bring them back in control,” Mr Mochoboroane said.
According to Mr Mochoboroane, the government gazette published on Friday—in which Lt General Kamoli was relieved of his duties and replaced by Lt Gen Mahao—confirmed that Dr Thabane never consulted his coalition government partners in making government decisions.
“We are not going to consider Mr Thakalekoala’s statement and the gazette because cabinet was never informed of such a gazette,” he said.