MURDER-ACCUSED former army commander, Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, is reportedly ill and he has been in and out of hospital over the past month to receive treatment for an undisclosed ailment, the Lesotho Times has learnt.
This publication has also learnt that Brigadier Rapele Mphaki who is one of the five suspects in the attempted murder of Lesotho Times editor, Lloyd Mutungamiri, was only released on Monday after spending a week in hospital where he was receiving treatment after falling ill in prison.
Authoritative LCS sources told this publication that for the past three weeks, Lt Gen Kamoli and Brig Mphaki have been receiving treatment under heavy army and Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) guard at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Maseru. Although they could not disclose the nature of the illnesses the duo were suffering from, the sources said the two could have been affected by the adverse winter conditions.
“I cannot say for certain what Ntate Kamoli and Ntate Mphaki are suffering from since that information is between them and the doctors who attend to them,” said one source, adding, “the two are very ill and they have been escorted to Queen II hospital time and again in the past three weeks”.
Another source also said that Brig Mphaki’s health deteriorated to a point where he had to be admitted to Queen Mamohato Memorial Hospital (QMMH).
“Ntate Mphaki’s prison security was on hand to guard him at QMMH where he was admitted last Thursday.
“The two of them (Kamoli and Mphaki) have to be heavily guarded by army and LCS officers when they are in hospital just as they are guarded when they are escorted to court.”
Lt-Gen Kamoli faces one count of murder and 14 counts of attempted murder.
Lt-Gen Kamoli’s murder charge stems from the 30 August 2014 killing of Police Sub-Inspector, Mokheseng Ramahloko.
Sub-Inspector Ramahloko was shot and killed by soldiers during the attempted coup of 30 August 2014 at the Police Headquarters in Maseru.
The 14 attempted murder charges stem from the 27 January 2014 simultaneous bombings of the Moshoeshoe II homes of First Lady Maesaiah Thabane and the Ha Abia residence of former police commissioner Khothatso Tšooana.
Brig Mphaki is one of the five army officers who allegedly shot Mr Mutungamiri at his home in Upper Thamae in Maseru during the late hours of 9 July 2016, after he had knocked off from work. Mr Mutungamiri sustained severe facial, dental and hand injuries, causing him to undergo extensive surgery in South Africa.
LDF Public Affairs Officer Lieutenant Colonel Mashili Mashili recently refused to comment on the health status of Lt-Gen Kamoli and Brig Mphaki, referring all questions to the Minister of Defence, Sentje Lebona, and Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) Commissioner Thabang Mothepu.
Mr Lebona was not reachable on his mobile phone. Commissioner Mothepu said he was only aware of the fact that Lt-Gen Kamoli has been going for monthly medical check-ups ever since he was detained in October 2017. He however, confirmed that Brig Mphaki’s health deteriorated to a point where he had to be admitted at QMMH.
“Without getting into details of what Brig Mphaki is suffering from, I can only confirm that he is very sick and he was admitted in hospital last week.
“It is not my place to discuss his health problems due to doctor and patient confidentiality,” Commissioner Mothepu said.
Commissioner Mothepu also said that he could not deny nor confirm anything with regards to Lt-Gen Kamoli, adding that the latter has always been going to hospital for monthly medical check-ups ever since he was detained last year.
“I don’t want to speculate about Ntate Kamoli’s health status. I have been out of the country on government business in Angola for a week.
“What I know is that he has been going for his monthly medical check-ups ever since he was detained at the Maseru Maximum Prison last year. If there is a health problem beyond that I have not been made aware of that,” he added.
Lt-Gen Kamoli, who has been languishing in remand prison since his detention last October, has had his bid for bail denied by the High Court. He had bid for bail saying he had an aggressive form of influenza which required him to be close to his doctors.
The sources said even though it is unfortunate, Lt-Gen Kamoli is now suffering from the same condition that affected then detained army captain, Seabata Chaka in 2016. Ironically, Lt-Gen Kamoli refused Captain Seabata access to treatment. Captain Seabata was among soldiers sent to prison by Lt-Gen Kamoli after he had accused them of plotting a mutiny.
“It is sad that Kamoli is experiencing these health challenges because when he was still at the helm of the LDF, he denied alleged mutineers access to health services after they fell terribly sick due to the cold conditions at the Maseru Maximum Prison,” the source said.
The source was referring to the time when Lt-Gen Kamoli wrote to the lawyers of Captain Chaka dismissing a request for his release from detention so that he could receive medical attention at QMMH.
Captain Chaka had been advised by his doctor to go for further assessment and management of his ailments. He also needed an orthopedic surgeon.
However, Lt-Gen Kamoli responded to Captain Chaka’s lawyers’ request by saying: “As you should be aware, whenever detainees awaiting trial are in need of medical attention that is facilitated as a routine administrative matter”.
“Be that as it may, advise your client to secure more blankets to address the issue of need to keep him warm. He may even buy a freezer-suit so as to avoid the cold.”
Lt-Gen Kamoli’s words were eventually used against him by the prosecution when the latter successfully opposed his bail application.
“We advise that he heeds his own advice,” the prosecution stated in response to Lt-Gen Kamoli’s application to be released to enable him to seek medical attention last November.