The High Court last week refused to quash treason charges against leaders of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and the Movement for Economic Change (MEC), Mothetjoa Metsing, and Selibe Mochoboroane, respectively.
Metsing, Mochoboroane, former army commander, Tlali Kamoli, and army officers Captain Litekanyo Nyakane, Lance Corporals Motloheloa Ntsane and Leutsoa Motsieloa face treason and murder charges in connection with August 30, 2014, alleged failed coup against the then prime minister Thomas Thabane’s first government.
Metsing was the deputy prime minister at the time while Mochoboroane was the communications, science, and technology minister.
It is alleged that Kamoli had been fired by Thabane as the commander of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) the previous day and reacted by organising the failed coup.
Police Sub-Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko was killed when soldiers raided police stations in Maseru. LDF denied that was an attempted coup and said it was an operation to disarm rogue elements within the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS).
The Director for Public Prosecution (DPP), Hlalefang Motinyane, has said that Metsing was in Leribe and rushed to Maseru after receiving news that Thabane had fired Kamoli.
Motinyane said Metsing was aggrieved that Thabane fired Kamoli without consulting him.
Metsing, according to the DPP, engaged in several phone calls with the LCD deputy leader, Tšeliso Mokhosi, and Kamoli while on the way to Maseru.
She further said Metsing was also enraged by the LMPS’s refusal to grant his party supporters permission to stage a protest march which was scheduled for September 1, 2014.
She said police refused to authorise it on the grounds that it could worsen the instability which was affecting the country at the time.
“The application to quash the charges is dismissed. The application on separation is also dismissed, but parties are ordered to ensure that joint trials, which is long overdue starts within six weeks from the date of this order,” high court judge, Justice Liepollo Makhetha said yesterday.
Advocate Motiea Teele KC who represents Metsing and Mochoboroane applied to quash the charges in January last year.
The other lawyers representing the other accused in the matter, advocates Letuka Molati who represents Kamoli, Kabelo Letuka who represents Captain Nyakane, Lepeli Molapo who represents Lance Corporal Ntsane and Napo Mafaesa who represents Lance Corporal Motsieloa joined in the application.
They argued the trial should be stopped because the treason and murder charges originated from a lawful operation by the army against the police.
Teele argued that the operation was lawful as it was ordered by Kamoli.
He said Kamoli was still a legitimate LDF commander when he ordered the operation because the King had allegedly not signed any document firing him.