THE treason and murder trial of former army commander, Tlali Kamoli and others has been postponed yet again. It was on Tuesday postponed to 29 November 2022 after politicians, Selibe Mochoboroane and Mothetjoa Metsing’s lawyers, indicated that they want to apply for the quashing of the charges against their clients.
The postponement will also allow Lance Corporals Motloheloa Ntsane and Leutsoa Motsieloa to file their applications and argue their cases to be tried separately from Kamoli and others.
Lance Corporals Ntsane and Motsieloa are being tried alongside Kamoli, Captain Litekanyo Nyakane, Mochoboroane and Mothetjoa Metsing, for murder, attempted murder and aggravated assault. However, they are not among the treason accused hence they want to be tried separately from the rest.
Lance Corporal Ntsane is represented by Advocate (Adv) Lepeli Molapo while Lance Corporal Motsieloa is represented by Adv Napo Mafaesa. Messrs Metsing and Mochoboroane are represented by Adv Motiea Teele while Kamoli is represented by Adv Letuka Molati. Captain Nyakane is represented by Adv Kabelo Letuka.
The much-delayed trial was supposed to have begun on Tuesday before Judge Maliepollo Makhetha.
However, Adv Molapo immediately informed Justice Makhetha of his intention to apply for a separation of the trials and bail for his client. Messrs Metsing and Mochoboroane’s lawyers also indicted that they wanted to apply for the quashing of the charges against the clients.
“Our view is that we must apply for the bail because we are just being dragged into matters that don’t concern us,” Adv Molapo said.
“My client has been in prison for five years now and the trial still hasn’t started. I have the bail application with me now and I will give it to the accused to sign. We are determined to file for the separation of trials as well. We have already submitted our joint application in this regard with Adv Mafaesa (for Motsieloa). When the court returns on the set dates we will argue holistically for the separation of trials, quashing of charges and bail application,” Adv Molapo said.
Justice Makhetha then postponed the matter.
“It seems that a postponement is the only solution in this case. The trial has been postponed to 29 and 30 November 2022. The court will on the same day hear submissions on both the quashing of charges and the separation of charges,” Judge Makhetha said.
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The charges stem from the 30 August 2014 attempted coup against the first government of former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.
Mr Metsing, who leads the opposition Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), was deputy prime minister at the time of the attempted coup while Mr Mochoboroane was Communications, Science and Technology minister and LCD secretary general. Mr Mochoboroane, who now leads the Movement for Economic Change (MEC) is part of the incoming government. This after his party forged a coalition with incoming Prime Minister Sam Matekane’s Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) and Monyane Moleleki’s Alliance of Democrats (AD). (See stories on Page 2 and 4).
Kamoli had been fired by Mr Thabane from his post as army commander on 29 August 2014 before orchestrating the attempted coup allegedly with the support of Messrs Metsing, Mochoboroane, Captain Nyakane and Lance Corporals Ntsane and Motsieloa. Messrs Thabane and Metsing had fallen out with the latter alleging he was not being consulted on key decisions.
The murder charge emanates from the killing of police Sub-Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko, during the night of the attempted coup when soldiers under the command of Kamoli raided police stations to disarm police officials said to be loyal to Mr Thabane.