Govt to compensate Ramahloko family, soldiers
THE government is working out compensation packages for the slain Police Sub-Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko, soldiers who were arrested on allegations of mutiny against former army commander, Tlali Kamoli and other victims of the instability that gripped Lesotho from 2014 until last year.
This was revealed by the Government Spokesperson, Nthakeng Selinyane, in an interview with the Lesotho Times yesterday.
Mr Selinyane said this in the wake of accusations by the Ramahloko family that the government had done nothing to assist them. The family accused the government of using his 2014 assassination to gain political mileage while ignoring their demands for compensation.
However, in an interview with the Lesotho Times yesterday, Mr Selinyane said the government was dealing with the Ramahloko issue and the “family would be compensated in due course”.
“The government is busy on working on ways to deal with Sub-Inspector Ramahloko’s issue along with all other cases including those involving the soldiers who were arrested and detained on alleged charges of mutiny and those who had fled the country for various political reasons.
“It is understandable that the (Ramahloko) family (would be aggrieved because) it lost a bread winner and but the family shall be compensated in due course.
“The (Ramahloko) matter is already being dealt with as a part of a basket of cases since the government doesn’t have a clear scale on how to award compensation,” Mr Selinyane said.
He however, could not say when the victims or their families would be compensated.
Sub-Inspector Ramahloko was shot and killed by soldiers during the attempted coup of 30 August 2014 at the Police Headquarters in Maseru.
Former army commander, Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, has been arraigned before the High Court to face charges of murdering Sub-Inspector Ramahloko during the 2014 attempted coup against Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s first government.
Three other army officers namely, Captain Litekanyo Nyakane (38), Lance Corporal Motloheloa Ntsane (34) and Lance Corporal Leutsoa Motsieloa (31) are charged with Lt-Gen Kamoli in the murder of Sub-Inspector Ramahloko. The three are in detention with Lt-Gen Kamoli at the Maseru Maximum Prison.
The attempted coup, which involved pre-dawn raids on police stations in Maseru by members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), was in retaliation for Dr Thabane’s decision to sack Lt-Gen Kamoli and replace him with Lt-Gen Maaparankoe Mahao.
Lt-Gen Mahao was then assassinated in June 2015 by LDF officers who claimed that he was shot while resisting arrest for allegedly leading a mutiny against the command of Lt-Gen Kamoli who had been reinstated by the former seven parties’ government in May 2015.
Several soldiers were arrested and detained in 2015 on the same charges of mutiny while others fled the country.
This week, the Ramahloko family charged that while the government had moved to address the concerns of the Mahao family by posthumously reinstating the slain army commander to his position and giving him military honours, it had however, ignored their own demands for compensation.
The Ramahloko family spokesperson, Mosito Ramahloko, said the government has suddenly become “too busy for us and there are no proper channels of communication between them and us”.
“Each time when we have a case to present, no one is ready to meet us as they used to be readily available when they first came into power.
“Suddenly we have become a burden and we feel like we have been taken advantage of because our brother’s death is no different from that of the slain army commander, Lt-Gen Mahao.
“We were taken for a ride for other people’s political interests,” Mr Ramahloko said.
He said the last time the government interacted with them was last September when the family held a memorial service for Sub-Inspector Ramahloko in Qoaling, Maseru.
Mr Ramahloko said the government, which came to power in the aftermath of the 3 June 2017 elections, had promised to deal with their grievances once it (the government) had settled in office.
He said instead they were surprised and disappointed to learn of a speech by the First Lady, Maesaiah Thabane, “calling on those who had transgressed and were living in exile to be forgiven”.
During her 41st birthday celebrations in Mokhotlong in April this year, Ms Thabane called on the government to facilitate the return of all Basotho who are currently in exile for various reasons.
“For the purpose of peace and stability, not for interests or welfare of individuals please… facilitate the return of all the people in exile. Only when all Basotho in exile peacefully return to their homeland will Lesotho be at peace,” Ms Thabane said at her birthday celebrations.
Mr Ramahloko’s family has however, taken umbrage at Ms Thabane’s pleas for the forgiveness of and return of those who fled into exile after allegedly committing crimes.
The family says while there is nothing wrong with the principle of forgiveness and reconciliation, they felt the government should first engage them as they were victims.
“Our brother was killed in the same cause as that of Lt- Gen Mahao but to date we have not received any compensation except his contributory pension fund.
“The government persuaded us to drop the court cases that we had filed to get compensation and justice, promising that it would deal with everything. But of late we have become a burden and no one wants to see us. We are even thinking of asking the Deputy Prime Minister (Monyane Moleleki) to intervene.
“We feel we have been left out in the cold. We just wonder what will become of the other families who suffered just as we did.”
Mr Ramahloko further told the Lesotho Times that the government had still not returned Sub-Inspector Ramahloko’s personal artefacts that included his spectacles, mobile phones and firearm.
“No one has bothered to give us any explanation and yet in March this year, we saw the army returning guns and ammunition which were confiscated from the police during the army’s attacks on the day my brother was killed,” Mr Ramahloko said.
However, Mr Selinyane, said the government was already seized with the issue of Sub-Inspector Ramahloko and there were “ongoing deliberations” on the matter.