Tšooana , Mahao leave SA


…but Lt Gen Kamoli remains in Johannesburg while SADC finalises his departure for Uganda

Keiso Mohloboli

Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Commander Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao and Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) Commissioner, Khothatso Tšooana left South Africa this week for Sudan and Algeria respectively, where they would be spending their leave of absence in line with the Maseru Security Accord (MSA) signed on 23 October 2014.

Lt Gen Tlali Kamoli, who is also part of the MSA deal brokered by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), is expected to leave for his destination, Uganda, next week, according to Government Secretary, Moahloli Mphaka.

The trio had been in South Africa since 21 November 2014, with both Lt Gen Mahao and Commissioner Tšooana expressing frustration at their continued stay in the neighbouring country in an interview with the Lesotho Times last week.

Under the MSA facilitated by South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, the three security bosses were required to go to an African or Commonwealth country on special leave within 21 days of the signing of the deal to allow the restoration of peace between the LMPS and LDF, whose continued feuding—mainly due to personality clashes between ComPol Tšooana and Lt Gen Kamoli—had brought Lesotho to the brink of civil war.

The leave of absence is also meant to ensure peace prevails in Lesotho in the run-up to the February 2015 snap election. The early poll is the result of the Maseru Facilitation Declaration (MFD) signed on 2 October 2014, also through Mr Ramaphosa’s mediation. Lesotho had to go for an election two years early after the fall of the tripartite government led by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane. Deputy Prime Minister had accused Dr Thabane of making unilateral decisions on key issues with a bearing on good governance, hence the collapse of the ruling alliance and next February’s election.

However, according to Mr Mphaka, both ComPol Tšooana and Lt Gen Mahao would no longer make a stopover at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, en-route to their respective destinations, as initially arranged .

“Lt Gen Mahao left for Sudan yesterday evening, while ComPol Tšooana flew to Algeria this afternoon,” Mr Mphaka told the Lesotho Times on Tuesday evening.

“Lt Gen Kamoli’s accommodation issue has not yet been finalised with the Uganda government, so he will remain in Johannesburg and probably by end of next week, he would also go to his destination,” Mr Mphaka said.

According to Mr Mphaka, the three security chiefs would earn their monthly salaries, and also “temporarily” each get $230 (M2530) in daily allowances.

“They will get their normal salaries, and temporarily each receive $230 a day as per government’s per-diem rate. However, the government is yet to conclude on the allowance package to avoid giving them the money on a daily basis,” Mr Mphaka said.

The SADC head of mission – Lesotho, Fannie Phakola confirmed the departure of both Lt Gen Mahao and ComPol Tšooana, adding: “Processes are still in progress for Lt Gen Kamoli’s stay in Uganda on his leave and as soon as they are complete, he will be going to his destination.”

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