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‘Kamoli demanded assurances before departure’


Bongiwe Zihlangu

LIEUTENANT General Tlali Kamoli allegedly told Southern African Development Community (SADC) Facilitator to Lesotho, South African Vice-President Cyril Ramaphosa, that he needed his leave of absence (LOA) gazetted, assurance that he would not be arrested and personal bodyguards while on the LOA in Uganda, the Sunday Express has learnt.

According to Sports Minister Chief Thesele ‘Maseribane, who met with Mr Ramaphosa and Prime Minister Thomas Thabane in Pretoria last Thursday to discuss the implementation of the Maseru Security Accord (MSA) signed on 23 October 2014, Lt Gen Kamoli was also reluctant to travel out of the country without guarantee that he would have his job back when he returns after the February 2015 snap election.

Lt Gen Kamoli was fired as Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Commander by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane on 29 August 2014 for alleged insubordination and replaced by Lt Gen Maaparankoe Mahao, but has since refused to vacate the post, arguing the dismissal was illegal.

The subsequent standoff resulted in the MSA, which came into effect on Friday, 21 November.

Under the MSA, Lt Gen Kamoli, Lt General Mahao and Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) Commissioner, Khothatso Tšooana, agreed to go to an African or Commonwealth country on special leave to allow the restoration of cordial relations between the army and police. The leave of absence was also to ensure peace prevailed in the run-up to the elections, which had to be brought forward by two years after the coalition government comprising Dr Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC), Chief ‘Maseribane’s Basotho National Party (BNP) and Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) led by Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, had all-but collapsed due to a power-struggle between the premier and his deputy.

However, according to Chief ‘Maseribane, Mr Ramaphosa said he told Lt Gen Kamoli that he could not grant him all his requests.

“We met with Mr Ramaphosa on Thursday in Pretoria and he told us that during a meeting he had with Kamoli on Tuesday in Maseru, the man demanded that his leave be gazetted as an indication that he would get his job back upon his return to Lesotho, be assured that he would not be arrested while in transit or when he arrived at his destination, and be allowed to travel with his personal bodyguards,” Chief ‘Maseribane said.

“But Mr Ramaphosa told us that he informed Kamoli he would not grant him all his requests. Ramaphosa told us that he was clear to Kamoli that having bodyguards was out of the question because it was him travelling and nobody else.”

According to Chief ‘Maseribane, Mr Ramaphosa further disclosed to them that he informed Lt Gen Kamoli that he could not guarantee him the LDF command when his leave of absence ended because as things stood, the person travelling to Uganda for the special leave was “not the LDF commander but a person by the name Tlali Kamoli”.

Again, the Sports minister claimed Mr Ramaphosa said he further told Lt Gen Kamoli that since he, Lt Gen Mahao and Commissioner Tšooana were expected to return to Lesotho after the February 2015 poll, he could not “guarantee his fate as that would be in the hands of the new government”.

“However, Mr Ramaphosa told us that he gave Kamoli his word that he would not be arrested either in transit or on arrival at his destination, but that he could  not guarantee his fate upon his return to Lesotho, as that would solely be a decision made by the government that would have assumed power following the election,” Chief ‘Maseribane said.

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