Tension as exiled Lesotho PM expected to return

September 2, 2014 7:21 am
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– ‘Renegade general’ –

Thabane will probably face a vote of confidence when parliament returns — one he will likely lose — but his biggest challenge in the short term will be to end doubts about who controls the army.

When asked on Monday who controls the military, acting prime minister Motloheloa Phooko, told AFP: “That is a difficult question.”

Intelligence sources have claimed that Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, commander of the Lesotho Defence Forces, orchestrated the coup when ordered by Thabane to relinquish his command.

The commander was to be replaced by Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao, who fled the country on Saturday after a pre-dawn assassination attempt.

His home was sprayed with bullets, forcing his wife and three young sons to hide, terrified for their lives during the 30 minute ordeal. READ: Lesotho military seize control of police HQ, jam radio stations

Speaking in Pretoria, Mahao labelled Kamoli “a renegade general who is refusing to step down.”

Mahao claimed that Kamoli was reluctant to relinquish his post for fear of prosecution.

“There are a number of criminal acts conducted by sections under his command. He is afraid that when he is removed from office, the forces of justice will come into effect,” he told AFP.

Mahao claimed that soldiers had also sought to seize police files relating to the deputy prime minister, the LCD’s Mothetjoa Metsing, who was part of Pretoria deal.

“The deputy prime minister is implicated in corruption charges. He is under investigation for that.”

But military spokesman major Ntlele Ntoi insisted there was no doubt who was in command of the armed forces.

“Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli is the one who is in charge,” he said categorically, stating that Mahao faces a court martial for conduct unbecoming an officer.

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