SLAIN Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) commander, Lieutenant-General Khoantle Paul Motšomotšo, had a long and distinguished career from the time he joined the army in 1980.
His life was cut shot on Tuesday in a gun battle at Ratjomose Barracks that also claimed the lives of Brigadier Bulane Andrew Sechele and Colonel Tefo Hashatsi.
Born on 9 September 1960 at Ha Lesaoana Maliba Matšo in the district of Botha Bothe, Lt-Gen Motšomotšo joined the LDF on 18 December 1980.
Upon completing his Basic Military Training, he was posted to the LDF Air Wing and thereafter enrolled for the Aircraft Artisan Course in the South African Air Force in January 1991, where he graduated with a Technical Diploma.
During the training programme, he was deployed in several squadrons for the practical aircraft maintenance courses.
He qualified as a Licensed Aircraft Instruments and Electrics Engineer and received his qualification Air Crew badge in 1994 in South Africa. He received a type-rated Qualifying Aircraft Diploma from Seville in Spain and he was subsequently promoted to the rank of lieutenant.
Lt-Gen Motšomotšo rose through the ranks and held numerous line staff functional appointments including Deputy Air Wing Commander and Chief Technical Officer at the rank of Colonel.
Thereafter, he was appointed Deputy Chief of Defence Force and Chief of Staff at the rank of Major General from 1 March 2012 to 1 December 2016.
He acted as LDF commander from 21 November 2014 to 26 May 2015 in line with the provisions of the LDF Act no 4 of 1996 under the Maseru Security Accord.
He was appointed as the substantive Commander of the LDF on 1 December 2016 following the retirement of Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli.
He completed a Joint Senior Staff Command Course at the South African Air Force College in Pretoria in 2008. He also attended numerous courses covering a wide range of functional staff appointments, command and control aspects.
He attended Civil Affairs Course at Ford Bragg in North Carolina (United States of America) and also attended Africa Centre for Strategic Studies in Washington DC (USA). He was decorated with the following medals:
Military Medal for Gallantry, Military Medal for Brave Deeds, Military Medal for Meritorious Service and Military Service Medal.
He was married Christian with five children and loved farming, recreational activities and reading.
Lt Gen Motsomotso defied a government directive to withdraw the army personnel from then Minister of Communications Science and Technology Selibe Mochoboroane’s guard after the latter’s fired by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane in 2014.
At the time, Lt-Gen Motsomotso was the acting army commander in line with the Maseru Security Accord that was signed on 23 October 2014. Under the accord, Lt-Gen Tlali Kamoli and Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao of the LDF, and Lesotho Mounted Police Service Commissioner, Khothatso Tšooana, were supposed to go to an African or Commonwealth country on special leave for specified periods to allow the restoration of cordial relations between the army and police.
By virtue of his position as Commander at the time of his untimely death, Lt-Gen Motsomotso, had a huge part to play in the implementation of the SADC Commission of Inquiry’s recommendations with regard to reforms to ensure lasting peace and stability in Lesotho.
The 10-member commission was led by Justice Mpaphi Phumaphi of Botswana. It carried out its investigations between 31 August and 23 October 2015 and recommended, among other things, that government should investigate the killing and prosecute those found to be responsible.