The world must indeed be coming to an end? If you haven’t been praying, better start heading to the synagogue lest St Peter shuts his gates into his world of eternal pleasure and reroutes you to hell.
Lesotho is a place of the extraordinary and the unthinkable. But the most extraordinary event happened last week.
Our unostentatious doors were darkened by the unexpected arrival of His Excellency, Sheikh, Professor, Alhaji, Doctor, Abdul Aziz, Awal, Jemus Junkung, Naasiru Deen Babili Mansa, The Ruler of All the Beasts of the Earth and Creatures of the Oceans, Commander Tlali Kennedy Kamoli himself.
The man, who at his peak was known by the above sanctimonious title, did not of course present himself in his physical being. But he visited us by way of civil summons in which he wants the Lesotho Times’ establishment to pay him a whooping M20 million. Just imagine it all. A whooping M20 million. This is not fiction nor fantasy. It is the new reality of the Kamoli world as underpinned in his long title above. Remember, this is the very man who expected even rats to stand still as his motorcade zoomed into Moakanyane Barracks.
Kamoli is suing “the Editor of the Lesotho Times newspaper, the proprietor of the Lesotho Times newspaper, the distributor of the Lesotho Times newspaper and the printer of the Lesotho Times newspaper….” for gross defamation. Each of the four defendants must fork out M5 million each.
The defamation lawsuit arises from an article in the September 21 to 27 2017 edition of the Lesotho Times which carried a story about a SADC mission report in which it was claimed that the two scoundrels Hashatsi and Sechele met Kamoli shortly before they went to commit their heinous act of killing Commander of the LDF Khoantle Motšomotšo.
The summons served on the four claims that the article was full of “false, wrong and inaccurate and misleading information”. The summons make the bold declaration that the article is “full of lies which are calculated to tarnish the GOOD IMAGES of the plaintiffs in society”. Apparently, the other plaintiff is one Tumo Lekhooa, who calls himself a member of the LDF. I shall not dwell a lot on this Lekhooa because he is either a non-entity or alternatively he has not played as destructive a role to the Basotho nation as Kamoli. The summons further state that the M20 million must be paid to the plaintiffs because the article defamed Kamoli and Lekhooa by implying that the two are people who;
- “conspired to have other people assassinated and have in fact conspired with assassins to have the Commander of the LDF killed,
- Plaintiffs are unworthy of respect,
- Plaintiffs abet and aid in causing deaths,
- Plaintiffs are unworthy of trust….”
Isn’t all this breathtaking. This is why I believe the world is surely coming to an end. For the record, Scrutator is not cited as a respondent this time round. Readers of this column don’t need to be reminded of my fractious or this newspaper’s frosty relations with Kamoli. It is a matter of public record that at the height of his reign, the Lesotho Times was the only media outlet in Lesotho, brave enough to stand up to Kamoli despite all the armoury he commanded. It is also a matter of public record that at the height of all his power, Scrutator was the only columnist to steadfastly condemn Kamoli and call for his removal from the LDF and Lesotho.
Even the most full circle moron with a pea-size brain will know that the dastardly act of killing Maaparankoe Mahao could never have been planned and executed without his knowledge and full approval. He was the man at the helm of the LDF.
For all the principled positions, the world knows that the Lesotho Times paid a heavy price. These included the unleashing of security agents to try and identify Scrutator. After that failed, reporter Keiso Mohloboli was nudged from her seat in a hair saloon and chaperoned to a police station. So was editor Lloyd Mutungamiri. Publisher Basil Peta was then ordered from his base in Harteebespoort and harangued by a group of over a dozen soldiers, police and other characters. In the end, Peta, as the ultimate repository of the company, was asked to bear a raft of criminal defamation charges for “defaming” Kamoli. A few days after the charges were laid, Mutungamiri was accosted at his home and narrowly survived death in a hail of bullets. Although he survived and underwent extensive surgery, his life will never be the same. He will live a life of permanent pain. As if all this was not enough, tough economic sanctions were imposed on the Lesotho Times group with ministers and principal secretaries of the previous regime ordering an advertising boycott of this newspaper to throttle it financially. The boycott was stridently enforced. Amidst all this, our newly found defender of media freedom, one Pakalitha – Pink Panther – Mosisili of MoAfrika fame never raised a word, nor comma.
This institution survived that turbulence and continued serving the Basotho nation. We will never waiver in demanding justice for Mahao and other victims. And as posterity will also record, Scrutator and the Lesotho Times were on the right side of the argument. We were vindicated when SADC, Mpaphi Phumaphi, the EU, the wider world, anyone who cares about Lesotho including the powerful Uncle Sam, agreed with us and finally ensured Kamoli’s ouster from the LDF.
But all this is digressing. The point of this instalment is to address the both hilarious and sadness of the summons issued against this newspaper by Kamoli. It is only appropriate that I acknowledge his effort in gracing us with these summons instead of sending bands of thugs to exert revenge. Resorting to civilian courts of law – not courts martial – is the best way of resolving disputes in any democratic society. It can never be through terrorism. It cannot be through any forms of violence and certainly not through murder. For that, I commend Kamoli’s latest action.
Let’s then imagine that Scrutator wins the lottery – the very lucrative Euro-millions (and not South Africa’s cheap and crooked Powerball) next week. I then approach the proprietor of this newspaper and other defendants cited and urge them not to contest the summons by Kamoli and I volunteer to give them the R20 million to pay him without opposing his summons. My question is; What will Kamoli use this money for? Will he donate a portion to help Mahao’s children who were left fatherless? Will he donate a portion of it to Ntate Mokheseng Ramahloko’s family which was equally left bereft of a bread winner? I need to know before I make a decision. After all, it’s certain that next week or soon thereafter, I will win the Euromillions?
As I have said, Kamoli’s summons are both hilarious and sad. Scrutator feels pity for the lawyers who drafted them and who are spearheading this court action. Do they know what they are doing? Are they attorneys of the car-boot variety as once described by the highly articulate Justice Tseliso Monapathi?
On the hilarious part, where does Kamoli get the nerve to think that he is a man of a “GOOD IMAGE” which has now been tarnished? When, where and how did he acquire this good image? Who told him that he has ever been a man of GOOD IMAGE? Does he have any documentary evidence to prove that? Can he forward me such proof so that I publish it in this column next week?
Where does Kamoli get the nerve to sue because he surely believes he is a man who has never “conspired to have other people assassinated….” and he is a man who is “trustworthy” and who has never “aided and abetted in causing deaths”.
Hollaalaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!! Who refused to hand-over the LDF members who nearly killed MaIsaiah Thabane and former Compol Khothatso Tšooana at their residences? Who was army commander when dozens of soldiers accused of committing a non-existent mutiny were brutally tortured? Who was running the army when Mahao was killed? Who was responsible for the army when it went on raids that killed Mokheseng Ramahloko? Who gave soldiers the instructions to launch the 30 August 2014 coup as such instructions can only emanate from the high command?
Hollaalaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!. I have a feeling, I am going to win the Euromillions next week even though chances of this highly competitive lottery are one in 250 million. I doubt I will volunteer to donate M20 million to Kamoli even if he reverts to me with an undertaking that he will be human enough to make a donation to Maaparankoe’s kids. I am not cited in his court case but I will ask to be enjoined either as a defence witness or friend of the court. I want to bare out my soul before a judge of the High Court. It is the height of stupidity to sue a newspaper for reproducing a report of a body like SADC. The Lesotho Times did not originate the report. It only reported on it. So how does Kamoli hope to prove any malice or any of the two forms of culpability – intent or negligence – required for a conviction? Is he still living in a world of his own wherein everyone else is Lilliputian? This all does not matter nevertheless? The court is the best forum to confront Kamoli. So please bring it on? Let’s meet in the courts. See you there.