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Chiefs fume



Rapelang Mosae



CHIEFS in the Senate yesterday took Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili to task over the government’s position on the SADC Commission of Inquiry report.

Mosisili told the Senate that some of the recommendations reached by the SADC Commission were not comprehensive, drawing a sharp response from the Principal Chief of Koeneng, Peete Lesaoana Peete.

Chief Peete asked Mosisili if he did not believe that this was caused by the non-cooperation shown by ministers and army witnesses who declined to respond to the commissioners’ questions.

Mosisili conceded that could be the reason as that comes with the territory of being a commission of enquiry.

But he added that the commission ought to have done everything in its power to find information so as to arrive at a reasonable conclusion.

Mosisili said instead the commission had misdirected itself by stepping out of its terms of reference.

Chief Peete also asked if the government did not feel that SADC would impose sanctions on Lesotho if it fails to implement the recommendations.

Mosisili said the government was aware that what the commission decided were merely recommendations hence they were not binding.

However he indicated that in the public interest the government would do all in its power to find means of co-operating with the recommendations.

Mosisili cited the issue of Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli’s exit which he said the government was currently working out with the army boss.

The Principal Chief of Qacha’s Nek, Mojela Makhaola, asked the Prime Minister how the amnesty and reforms would be made to suit the public’s interest.

In response to this Mosisili said it would not be in the public interest if the amnesty was to apply only to certain individuals. He said a blanket amnesty would benefit everyone implicated in the mutiny and all events accruing from the mutiny plot.

Mosisili indicated that the government would be in consultation with all relevant stakeholders to ensure a mutually beneficial and lasting solution.

The Prime Minister however quickly cautioned that all people falling outside the scope of the commission’s mandate would be left to the police and the tried and trusted method of criminal investigation would follow.

The Principal Chief of Thaba-Bosiu, Khoabane Theko, commended the government on its approach of applying a blanket amnesty.

Chief Theko however said Mosisili had in fact been a victim of the military in the 1990s and ought to know how rogue the military can be.

He asked the Prime Minister why he is finding it difficult to remove Kamoli in light of the SADC commission’s recommendation.

Chief Theko said Kamoli was clearly a polarising figure who was disliked by the public.

In his response, the Prime Minister said the army was no longer as problematic as it was in the 1990s due to the reforms that have been undertaken under the leadership of Indian military advisers.

Mosisili said the government did not feel Kamoli was a problem but is however going to negotiate “a mutually agreeable” solution on the way forward.

When asked if the government had a budget for the constitutional reforms which he said would involve a national referendum, the Prime Minister indicated that constitutional reforms were not an event but a process which would not end this year hence the issue of a budget was not relevant at this stage.

The SADC commission was set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding the killing of former army commander Maaparankoe Mahao in June last year.

SADC is meeting in Gaborone, Botswana, next week to discuss and assess Lesotho’s progress in implementing the commission’s recommendations.

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