Kamoli breaks down in court, says Abrahams wants him sent to the gallows

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…adds, that he has lost confidence in the impartiality of Zimbabwean Judge he accuses of being fixated on fixing his attitude

By Itumeleng Koleile

Former army commander Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli yesterday told the court that his name shall live on, amid a desire by Prosecutor Shaun Abrahams to see him sent to the gallows by justice Charles Hungwe.

Kamoli added that he does not have confidence that Justice Hungwe whom he alleged had been treating him unjustly since the bombings case commenced would be impartial in handing down judgement at the end the trial.

The former army commander, who is facing multiple charges of treason, murder, attempted murder in separate cases was appearing before justice Hungwe alongside his co-accused yesterday on a one of the days that had earlier been earmarked for trial of a case of bombings.

Kamoli and his co-accused are charged with attempted murder and malicious damage to property for bombing at the homes of Liabiloe Ramoholi who later married former Prime Minister Thabane following and became a first lady and named ‘Maesaiah.

Under Kamoli’s command ‘Maesiah Thabane’s home and ‘Mamoshoeshoe Moletsane’s home at Moshoeshoe II and former commissioner of police Khothatso Tšooana’s home on the 27th January 2014 were bombed allegedly by soldiers who now stand trial with their former army commander.

Kamoli addressed the court after his defense counsel Advocate Letuka Molati did not show up in court on Monday and yesterday [Wednesday] to cry foul over the manner in which the presiding judge was handling the case.

The former army commander told the court he wanted to put it on record that he has never in a single day been given an opportunity to seek legal representation upon the absence of his lawyer in court.

This was after Justice Hungwe ruled that he would not be affording Kamoli an opportunity to seek a new legal representation because he had forfeited his opportunity to do so in the past when he was given a chance to enlist the services of another lawyer and not Molati.

The court had just granted Heqoa Malefane an opportunity to seek a new legal representation after his lawyer, Advocate Thapelo Ntsiki withdrew from the case for having been denied postponement to familiarize himself with the case and go through witness statements.

Kamoli’s lawyer, advocate Molati was absent not only in today’s proceedings but Monday as well, which resulted in Justice Hungwe’s order that the trial will continue in his absence and he will take it as though he is present.

But, Kamoli broke down and told the court that Hungwe’s order granting Malefane a chance to seek new legal representation is just “an indication that he [Hungwe] has come to deal with him in an unjust manner and not afford him fair trial”.

He said he was surprised that he was not even given an opportunity to as whether he knows of his lawyer’s whereabouts or not and “yet his lordship says the case will proceed whether my lawyer is present or not. I do not see this court as presiding to afford me justice.”

He said he did not know the presiding judge on their first encounter, “but the first words he said to me were, he [Hungwe] was going to fix my attitude.”

“Those words made me wonder, who had said anything to him about my conduct and what had I done.

“And today this has led me to the conclusion that the His Lordship is indeed here to fix my conduct.

“The reason I am saying this is that His Lordship says there was time I was afforded an opportunity to look for another legal representative and I refused to take such an offer,” Kamoli said.

The former army commander said he has observed that there is already “an existing decision that I be found guilty regardless of what the evidence or witnesses have said”.

Justice Hungwe ruled yesterday that since advocate Molati did not show up in court on Monday and yesterday the court will proceed in his absence.

“In November 2021, all parties agreed that trial will commence on the 14th March, advocate Molati failed to show up in court but informed advocate Mafaesa that he will be present today, which did not happen,” he said.

He added that previously, they were faced with the same predicament and the accused, Kamoli denied being afforded the state council.

Hungwe said it is his right to choose a legal representation of his choice.

“However, if the council of his choice is unavailable for reasons unknown to the court, the case has to go on.

“If he had an excuse, he would have given advocate Mafaesa reasons for his absence, I will therefore assume that is still on his way he will join the court as it proceeds,” he said.

Kamoli said he is convinced that not only is Hungwe set on making the trial unjust for him but also said the lead prosecutor, Shaun Abrahams has come from his home country [South Africa] where there is no death penalty, but has come to Lesotho to make sure that he is given a death penalty.

He said advocate Abrahams has at one point suggested to the court that he be given a death penalty.

Kamoli is charged alongside four soldiers: Major Pitso Ramoepane, Captain Litekanyo Nyakane, Sergeant Heqoa Malefane and Corporal Mohlalefi Seitlheko.

Hungwe has postponed the case to be heard this Friday.