‘Maseribane, Tšooana fingered in alleged plot to kill Kamoli

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Mohalenyane Phakela

SMALL Business, Cooperatives and Marketing Minister Thesele Maseribane and Health Principal Secretary (PS), Khothatso Tšooana, allegedly helped plan an army mutiny which would have resulted in the murder of former army commander, Tlali Kamoli and other soldiers.

This according to the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF)’s Lance Corporal Mokete Halahala.  Lance Corporal Halahala made the claims in the High Court yesterday while testifying in the trial of Lieutenant General (Lt-Gen) Kamoli and eight other soldiers accused of murdering army commander Lt-Gen Maaparankoe Mahao on 25 June 2015.

Chief Maseribane was leader of the Basotho National Party (BNP) which was an opposition party at the time of the alleged mutiny plot. Mr Tšooana was the police commissioner at the time.

Lt-Gen Kamoli’s co-accused are Captain Litekanyo Nyakane, Captain Haleo Makara, Sergeant Lekhooa Moepi, Sergeant Motsamai Fako, Corporal Motšoane Machai, Corporal Mohlalefi Seitlheko, Corporal Marasi ‘Moleli and Corporal Tsitso Ramoholi.

Lance Corporal Halahala is one of the witnesses who have been lined up by the state to testify in the trial.

He said sometime in May 2015, he and one of the accused, Corporal ‘Moleli received a tipoff that there would be a mutiny and this would lead to the murder of then commander Kamoli, Major General Ramanka Mokaloba and Captain Nyakane among other senior army officers.

This was shortly before the arrest of 23 soldiers on charges of mutiny against Lt-Gen Kamoli’s command. Lt-Gen Mahao who had been replaced by Lt-Gen Kamoli was also implicated in the alleged mutiny. He was later shot dead on 25 June 2015 by soldiers who claimed that he had resisted arrest for the alleged mutiny. This was however, rejected by the Justice Mphaphi Phumaphi-led SADC Commission of Inquiry which found that there was no such mutiny and recommended the prosecution of all those involved in Lt-Gen Mahao’s murder.

Testifying yesterday, Lance Corporal Halahala said, “while I was with Corporal ‘Moleli sometime in May 2015, there came a car and Corporal ‘Moleli was invited inside.

“The occupants initially asked me to remain outside because they did not trust me but eventually Corporal ‘Moleli invited me in.

“We were told that there would be a rebellious act against the LDF command by some soldiers and Lt-Gen Kamoli, (then) Brigadier Mokaloba and Captain Nyakane would be killed. We were also told that Chief Maseribane and (then Police) Commissioner Tšooana would assist in executing the mutiny.

“I could not do anything about the information because my senior (Corporal ‘Moleli) was there. He was the one who reported the matter to our senior Lieutenant Hlehlisi,” Lance Corporal Halahala said.

He said he did not know what roles Chief Maseribane and Mr Tšooana were supposed to play in the alleged mutiny.

He said a meeting was later held at Ratjomose Barracks that same month of May 2015. He said he and all the accused soldiers except Lt-Gen Kamoli attended. At that meeting, the late Captain Tefo Hashatsi informed them of the alleged plot to assassinate Lt-Gen Kamoli, Major General Mokaloba and Captain Nyakane.

He said it was then agreed to arrest all the soldiers involved in the alleged mutiny plot. These included Lt-Gen Mahao who allegedly resisted arrest resulting in his being shot to death.

Judge Charles Hungwe adjourned proceedings after Lance Corporal Halahala’s testimony. When the trial resumes today, he will be cross-examined by Lt-Gen Kamoli’s lawyer, Advocate Letuka Molati.

 

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