Court martial fails to take off

Court martial fails to take off

MASERU – THE long-awaited Court Martial to try soldiers accused of plotting mutiny failed to sit on Tuesday.
The soldiers are accused of being charged with plotting to mutiny against the former army boss Tlali Kamoli and to murder some
senior army officers in 2015. A source close to the matter told thepost that they were ready to go to court but to
their surprise nobody showed up at the Maseru Central Correctional hall where the court is hosted.

Several other interested people were there but there was nobody and no explanation for the no-show was given.
The Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) spokesman Brigadier Ntlele Ntoi said he did not know why the case did not proceed and why
there was no Court Martial. Also the Defence Minister Sentje Lebona said he did not know the reasons why the court did not proceed.
The development comes two weeks after the government announced it was stopping the Court Martial.

Attorney General Tšokolo Makhethe told thepost that “even though the issue is technical and need research, the government or the
minister is the convening authority and can dissolve any case”. “The convener of the court can either be the minister himself or delegate the power to
someone else,” Makhethe said. Makhethe also said he did not know why the Court Martial did not sit.

About 23 soldiers were rounded up and locked at the Maseru Central Maximum Security Prison between April and June 2015 after Kamoli was reinstated as the army commander.

Prime Minister Thomas Thabane had fired Kamoli in August 2014 and replaced him with Maaparankoe Mahao but Kamoli
refused to leave. This led to division in the army, some supporting Mahao who had the legal instruments signed by the King making him the
commander of the defence force while others remained loyal to Kamoli.

The precarious security situation in the country led to political instability that brought forth a snap election in 2015.
Thabane lost power to Pakalitha Mosisili who quickly reinstated Kamoli, backdating the reinstatement to the day Thabane dismissed him.

Kamoli began a campaign to arrest soldiers who supported Mahao and had them charged with plotting mutiny. Mahao was killed in June 2015.

Majara Molupe

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