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. . . As lawyers reject calls for dismissal

Nat Molomo MASERU — Lawyers representing a junior soldier, Theko Lerotholi, say the LDF’s move to discharge their client on the basis of affidavits that are still before the courts “smacks of total disregard and disrespect for the courts of Lesotho”.

In their letter of response to Lesotho Defence Force commander Lt Gen Tlali Kamoli, dated November 2, 2012, the lawyers, Advocate L P Mokoena and M A Kumalo, said the army’s allegations which form the basis for the “intended dismissal of our client are based on extracts of evidence contained in his affidavits” that are pending before the High Court. “These extracts therefore form evidence which still has to be determined by that Honourable Court . . . We therefore wish to inform you that it is not proper to intend to dismiss our client basing yourself on the extracts of the evidence which is still subject to being proved or otherwise by the courts of law which are already seized with the matter,” they said.
The lawyers said the LDF’s decision to dismiss their client was also premature.

They said they found it “incomprehensible” why the army would rush to discharge their client when the courts were still dealing with the case. “Furthermore they (acts) seem to show total disrespect for the rule of law and the supreme law of this country which guarantees equality before the law,” they said.
They said their client “categorically denies that he uses the courts of law to vilify his superiors as a result of his long held animosity and disrespect towards command structures of the defence force”.

They said the “alleged animosity” between Lerotholi and the LDF stemmed from the torture he endured at the hands of the army in 1994 after he was accused of stealing some guns from Makoanyane Barracks and the litigation that followed the torture. The lawyers said their client also considered himself “a soldier who is still willing to abide by the defence force regulations”. “He shall however use proper and lawful channels in instances where he feels his basic human rights are being trampled upon,” they said.
“The client therefore wishes to state that there is no concrete evidence adduced through your letter that warrants his dismissal from his employ.
“We accordingly advice (sic) your good office to desist from effecting your intended dismissal of our client from employ, as such action would be tantamount to total disrespect of the rule of law and the basic human rights,” they wrote.

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