LIEUTENANT General Tlali Kamoli has finally found a country willing to accommodate him for his leave-of-absence after being stuck in transit in South Africa for two months.
Lt Gen Kamoli and Lt Gen Maaparankoe Mahao of the Lesotho Defence Force, as well as Lesotho Mounted Police Service Commissioner, Khothatso Tšooana, were expected to leave for Uganda, South Sudan and Algeria respectively on 21 November 2014 on special leave in line with the Maseru Security Accord (MSA).
The MSA was part of Southern African Development Community (SADC) efforts to normalise relations between the army and police following a protracted turf war which had brought instability to the kingdom, and also sought to ensure Lesotho holds next month’s snap elections under a peaceful environment.
However, while Lt Gen Mahao and Commissioner Tšooana have since left for their respective destinations and are only expected back home after the 28 February 2015 National Assembly elections, Lt Gen Kamoli remains in transit in Johannesburg after Uganda reneged on its pledge to accommodate him.
But according to Government Secretary Moahloli Mphaka, Sudan has agreed to host Lt Gen Kamoli, with details of his itinerary set to be released today by SADC Facilitator to Lesotho, Cyril Ramaphosa, who brokered the MSA. Mr Ramaphosa, who is also South Africa’s deputy president, is expected in Lesotho today to continue his facilitation in ensuring Lesotho holds peaceful elections next month. Basotho hold an early election following last year’s collapse of a tripartite government led by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.
“As you are aware, Lt Gen Kamoli was supposed to have left with Lt Gen Mahao and Police Commissioner Tšooana on 21 November 2014, in line with the Maseru Security Accord. They were all supposed to stay a few days in South Africa on their way to their respective destinations, but Lt Gen Kamoli is still in transit. That is why the Prime Minister (Thabane) issued a letter on 4 December 2014 asking the African Union (AU) Chairperson, Ms Nkosazana Dlamini–Zuma, to intervene in the matter,” Mr Mphaka said.
“My office has since received a letter from the AU indicating that Lt Gen Kamoli would be going to Sudan and we expect to get details of this latest development anytime now.”
Mr Mphaka dismissed as baseless, allegations that Lt Gen Kamoli was being accorded special treatment and that he would spend his leave-of-absence in South Africa.
“Neither the government of Lesotho nor SADC have the power to force Uganda to take Lt Gen Kamoli. And there has never been written acceptance by Uganda that the country would accommodate Lt Gen Kamoli.
“However, this issue has now been resolved, and what is only left are details on when Lt Gen Kamoli would be leaving for Sudan.”
On the other hand, SADC Head of Mission to Lesotho, Fannie Phakola also confirmed Lt Gen Kamoli was headed for Sudan.
“There have been delays by Uganda to formally approve their acceptance of Lt Gen Kamoli, but that’s not to say the country doesn’t want him. It’s pure speculation that no country wants to take him, as he will soon be going to Sudan,” Mr Phakola said.
Mr Phakola also dismissed claims that Lt Gen Kamoli was being treated as a special case.
“Our job was to make sure that we take him out of the country for his special leave and we did just that. We only stepped in to negotiate with the AU because the chairperson is a South African and we felt we could communicate better since I am also a South African. We were just helping out, and not that we were really responsible for securing a destination for him.”
Mr Phakola also refuted allegations that Lt Gen Kamoli was frequently visiting Lesotho.
“The Maseru Security Accord is very clear that Lt Gen Kamoli, Lt Gen Mahao and Police Commissioner Tšooana can only come back to Lesotho after next month’s general elections,” he said.