Army protects every Mosotho: Kamoli
LESOTHO Defence Force (LDF) Commander Lieutenant-General Tlali Kamoli says the army is committed to serve the nation and protect every Mosotho.
Lt-Gen Kamoli made the remark yesterday while addressing thousands of people from all walks of life who thronged Setsoto Stadium to attend Army Day celebrations.
Guest of honour, Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, Defence and National Security Minister Tšeliso Mokhosi as well as other senior government officials, foreign diplomats and former army commanders, notably retired Major-General Metsing Lekhanya, were among the dignitaries who graced the commemorations which also marked 36 years of the LDF’s existence.
The crowd was entertained by spectacular military displays and marches with the LDF also showing off some of its arsenal in and outside the stadium.
Lt-Gen Kamoli said the main objective of the commemorations was to remind Basotho the army exists to perform its functions as mandated by the Constitution of Lesotho.
He further said the main role of the army was to protect the country’s sovereignty, the nation and its resources, adding the LDF had made some notable achievements since last year.
“In a gathering like this, we normally inform you about the milestones we recently achieved as the army and also outline our future plans,” said Lt-Gen Kamoli.
“I will mention just a few of the achievements. The first one is the establishment of a military academy we have just completed through the support of the government of the People’s Republic of China. The academy is located in Sehlabeng sa Thuathe (in Berea).”
The second achievement, he said, was the establishment of a “high-standard” gymnasium at Ratjomose Barracks, while the third was the upgrading of Mejametalane Air Wing Airport.
“We have also diversified the army’s self-sustainable feeding programme through the establishment of piggery, cattle, sheep and poultry projects,” the army chief said.
“Added to that, we completed the upgrading of our tarred road within Mokoanyane Barracks as well as training and recruiting 306 new soldiers. We have also broadened our charity programme for needy and vulnerable people in society.”
Lt-Gen Kamoli said the army recently signed cooperation agreements with government ministries such as Communications, Science and Technology as well as Health.
“On the issue of our future plans, we have already developed a strategic vision and presented it before the office of the Minister of Defence and National Security, Honourable Tšeliso Mokhosi, for approval.”
He added the LDF was committed to always serve Lesotho and protect every Mosotho.
“This is a guarantee of the commitment. The army is ready, and it will always be ready to protect the sovereignty of this country, Basotho and their property,” said Lt-Gen Kamoli.
In his remarks, Mr Mokhosi lauded the army for demonstrating “commitment to serving this country diligently; protecting Basotho and their property”.
He said the multitudes who attended the Army Day celebrations was testament to the “trust and patriotism” many Basotho held for the army and country respectively.
“This year’s celebrations also mark the 36th anniversary since the enactment of the law that established the army. The nation’s appreciation for the army is also signalled by the increasing numbers of youths who apply for military training every year.
“Our expectation is that gradually, the army will engage in more projects and programmes and contribute to the economy of this country.”
Mr Mokhosi also commended China and India for building the army’s capacity through various training programmes.
“China has proved to be the number one country in terms of supporting the military through capacity-building training,” he said.
“At command level of the army, China has capacitated 85 percent of LDF officers, while for the past 10 years, Indian instructors have also been providing training for the army.”
The LDF started off as a small rudimentary Police Mobile Unit in 1964 and was later named Royal Lesotho Defence Force in 1986. It was renamed Lesotho Defence Force in 1996.