Lesotho Times

Army reverses plan to evict soldier

MASERU — The Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) has backed down on its plans to evict Captain Bulane Sechele from a house at Ratjomose Barracks.
Last Wednesday the army bosses ordered that Sechele, who is due to be court-martialled for alleged indiscipline, should vacate his house at Ratjomose barracks and move to an inferior house at  Makoanyane Barracks where he works.
On Thursday Sechele then obtained an interim High Court order stopping the army from evicting him.
Acting High Court judge Justice Lebohang Molete’s order said Sechele must not be forced to move houses until his urgent application is argued on July 4.
But on Wednesday this week the army decided to negotiate with Sechele instead of opposing his application on July 4.
The army agreed, as Sechele had argued in his court application, that it was unfair for him to be moved to a house that has no electricity and is not commensurate with his rank as a captain.
It was also agreed that if the army insists on moving him to Makoanyane Barracks then it must be to a house of the same quality as the one he was occupying at Ratjomose Barracks.
The agreement was then approved by Justice Molete as an order of the court.
“Respondents, if still intend to move the applicant (Sechele) from the stated house to Makoanyane Barracks after the finalisation of this matter, must provide the applicant with a conducive house at the favourable place therein like any other officers of his rank,” Justice Molete said.
Sechele, a law graduate, had argued in his court papers that it seemed that he was being punished by the army bosses for opposing the government’s plans to introduce a compulsory pension scheme for soldiers.
The army wants him to face a disciplinary hearing for allegedly distributing to fellow soldiers a document he had drafted to oppose the proposed pension scheme.
Army commander Lieutenant General Thuso Motanyane alleges that Sechele breached military regulations when he distributed that document without approval from his superiors.
Sechele is also currently awaiting a High Court judgment in a case in which he has asked the court to compel Lt Gen Motanyane to release a full record of proceedings of the board of inquiry which was established last year to investigate him.
He has also asked the Constitutional Court to declare some provisions of the Lesotho Defence Force Act of 1996 unconstitutional.
In his application last week Sechele had argued that the order for him to vacate the house at Ratjomose Barracks for the one at Makoanyane Barracks was “unreasonable, unfair, institutionally biased and discriminatory”.
“The order is also unfair because I am (being) ordered to vacate a house for the most junior soldier,” Sechele argued.
“The house at Makoanyane is situated in a swampy area. In contrast, the one at Ratjomose is situated in a dry area where there is even parking space for my family car, unlike at Makoanyane.”
“The person who has to take over the house at Ratjomose barracks is a private soldier, who is a bodyguard to Brigadier Motoa (Assistant Chief of Staff Administration and Human Resources)”.
“It now appears to me that I am being reallocated into a very disadvantaged house for the benefit of a private soldier, simply because he is a bodyguard of a brigadier,” he said.

Lesotho Times

Lesotho's widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa.

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