Military doctor arrested

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Keiso Mohloboli

A military doctor based at Makoanyane Hospital was arrested by the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) on Thursday last week for allegedly insulting his boss.

Dr Thapelo Ramatseka, who is a Captain in the LDF, is said to have been arrested at his home and is expected to appear before a Court Martial next week.

He is said to have used offensive language when speaking with the hospital’s Director-Medical Service, Colonel Violet Tlelai.

A close relative of the doctor yesterday told the Lesotho Times: “I was informed that Dr Ramatseka was arrested on Thursday for insulting Col Tlelai when she approached him about some hospital pills. I don’t even know what Dr Ramatseka did with the pills but I heard that was the reason they ended up arguing.

“I also heard that he will appear before the Court Martial next week even though we have not been given the trial date yet.”

Asked if it was true that Dr Ramatseka was assaulted following his arrest as widely circulated on social media, the relative said this was not the case.

The relative then referred the Lesotho Times to the wife, who, was however, not willing to talk to the media about the issue. “It is true that my husband has been arrested and is still in detention. I visited him yesterday but I don’t know why he was arrested. I won’t give you my names because I really don’t want you to write about my husband. There are other soldiers who have been arrested in there but you only want to write about my husband and I don’t understand why. After all, it is normal and not a big deal for a soldier to be arrested as part of disciplinary action.”

Defence and National Security Minister Tšeliso Mokhosi yesterday confirmed Dr Ramatseka’s arrest but refused to give further details.

“It is a security issue whose details I cannot get into with the media. But I want you to understand that it is a serious offence in a disciplined force like the LDF for a subordinate to insult or disrespect his or her superior,” Mr Mokhosi said.

“The Court Martial will determine whether Dr Ramatseka is guilty or not because he will definitely be given the benefit of seeking legal representation of his choice.”

Mr Mokhosi further said Dr Ramatseka’s arrest should not be “sensationalised” because any soldier who violates the army’s laws and principles goes through disciplinary processes.

The minister gave an example of an LDF member who urinated “in the streets” wearing military gear and was arrested for the indecent act.

“He was put before the Court Martial which sentenced him to one month in detention.

“As Minister of Defence and the convening authority of the Court Martial, I authorised that sentence today. I was just giving an example that soldiers are disciplined for bad behaviour,” Mr Mokhosi said.

Repeated attempts to get Colonel Tlelai’s side of the story were in vain yesterday.

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