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Army scoffs at Molapo’s claims

 

Deputy Leader of Basotho National Party-BNP Chief Joang Molapo
Deputy Leader of Basotho National Party-BNP Chief Joang Molapo

’Marafaele Mohloboli

THE Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) has scoffed at Basotho National Party (BNP) deputy leader Joang Molapo’s claims that Lieutenant-General Tlali Kamoli was angry at the government for his retirement as army commander.

This was after Chief Molapo had claimed that Lt-Gen Kamoli was angry at Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili and his deputy Mothetjoa Metsing for “failing to protect him and ensuring he hangs on to his job”.

Government Secretary Lebohang Ramohlanka announced earlier this month that Lt-Gen Kamoli would retire and hand over command of the LDF to his deputy Major-General Khoantle Motšomotšo on 1 December 2016.

Dr Mosisili told parliament in June this year the government would engage the army boss “on a mutually agreeable solution” regarding his future in the LDF in light of “national and international agitations and submissions fuelled by a very strong negative perception that has been created around General Kamoli”.

The government has also stressed Lt-Gen Kamoli’s exit was in line with a reforms roadmap it submitted to the 36th Ordinary Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit of Heads of State held in Swaziland in August this year.

The LDF chief’s dismissal had been recommended by the SADC Commission of Inquiry into Lesotho’s instability “in the interest of restoring trust and acceptance of the LDF to the Basotho nation”.

The 10-member commission, which carried out its investigations between 31 August and 23 October 2015, also recommended for officers implicated in cases of murder, attempted murder and treason to be suspended while investigations in their cases proceed in line with international best practice.

The announcement of Lt-Gen Kamoli’s retirement was made shortly after the visit of US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield who mounted pressure on government to implement reforms as a precondition to retain its eligibility for the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Tens of thousands of jobs would be lost if the country was kicked out of AGOA —  which gives duty-free and quota-free access to the US market to eligible Sub-Saharan African countries including Lesotho.

Addressing a BNP rally in Qoaling #34 constituency this past week, Chief Molapo suggested Lt-Gen Kamoli did not want to retire and was only doing so because Dr Mosisili and Mr Metsing had “failed to protect him”.

“Kamoli is angry with Ntate Mosisili and Ntate Metsing because they failed to protect him as they had promised,” he said to the gathering which also included supporters of fellow opposition parties, All Basotho Convention and Reformed Congress of Lesotho.

“He (Lt-Gen Kamoli) took Ntate Mosisili and Ntate Metsing’s orders with the hope of getting protection and now they have failed him dismally. Kamoli will face the consequences alone and has to go home.”

Chief Molapo also waded into the infighting rocking the Democratic Congress and pitting party leader Dr Mosisili and his deputy Mr Monyane Moleleki.

He said the contending Lithope (loosely translated to mean girlfriends) and Lirurubele (butterflies) factions in the party had been joined by a third faction of the ‘”pegs” who were sitting on the fence.

“The pegs are waiting to see which side the scales will be tipping in order to board the moving vehicle. No one wants to board a stationary vehicle,” Chief Molapo said.

However, LDF Public Relations Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Ntlele Ntoi dismissed Chief Molapo’s claims as “hogwash”, saying negotiations over Lt-Gen Kamoli’s departure had been ongoing and the army commander was not forced to retire.

“Those remarks are outright hogwash. Basotho should remember that there were talks between the government and Lt-Gen Kamoli over his departure and he was not forced to go,” Lt-Col Ntoi said.

“Lt-Gen Kamoli’s impending departure is not a surprise at all to anyone following current affairs. He decided to go by himself lest many Basotho suffer by losing their jobs in his name.

“Such claims are to be expected from people who don’t see eye to eye with him, but he is happy with the end result of the talks. Ultimately, Lt-Gen Kamoli is leaving because of the love he has for his people.”

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