THE Lesotho Police Staff Association (LEPOSA) court challenge to the promotion of six police officers took a new twist on Friday when an affidavit from the LEPOSA President stated that the police association did not authorise the legal proceedings currently underway in the High Court.
The High Court heard how LEPOSA’s executive committee was divided over the matter with the association president, Inspector Monne, stating in his affidavit that the executive committee never met to agree on instituting court proceedings.
Attorney Tumisang Mosotho, who is representing the police officers urged the High Court to dismiss an application by LEPOSA, in which it wants the court to nullify police promotions effected last month.
“We have the supporting affidavit of the LEPOSA president, which clearly stipulates that the current proceedings were not authorised. The president says if such a meeting authorising the proceedings was done, he would have known about it,” Attorney Mosotho said.
High Court judge, Justice Semapo Peete could not help but remark: “It seems there is some internal conflict within LEPOSA.”
Attorney Mosotho further argued that LEPOSA’s application should be thrown out because, in addition to the executive committee being divided over the matter, the police association also had no right to challenge the promotions.
He said the case could only stand if there were individual police officers challenging the promotions as they were fighting for their individual rights.
“Only the police officers who had applied have a direct and substantive right to complain not LEPOSA.
“LEPOSA is just like a trade union which cannot fight for individual rights for its members.
“In the court papers, LEPOSA has failed to demonstrate if it has a direct right to fight for its individual members’ rights,” Attorney Mosotho said.
Justice Peete postponed the case to Wednesday.
Police Commissioner, Holomo Molibeli promoted six police officers on 12 January 2018 following an announcement of six vacant positions within the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) in December last year.
The six officers who were promoted are Inspector Baleme Edwin Lebajoa (now an Assistant Commissioner), Senior Inspector Lefu Ralethoko (now Senior Superintendent) while Police Spokesperson, Inspector Mpiti Mopeli and Butha-Buthe Police Senior Inspector, Thato Ramarikhoane, were elevated to the rank of Superintendents.
Inspectors, Mohlapiso Mohlapiso and Boipuso Monne were promoted to the rank of Senior Inspector.
However, LEPOSA lodged an urgent application before the High Court challenging the promotions, alleging proper procedures were not followed.
In the court papers, LEPOSA calls upon the respondents to ‘show cause’ why “the promotions announced on the 12th day of January 2018 shall not be declared null, void and of no legal force and effect in law for violating provisions of Section 8(1) read with 8(2) of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service Act No. 7 of 1998.”
The respondents are the Commissioner of Police, Mr Molibeli, Staff Officer to Commissioner of Police, LMPS Human Resources Officer, the six promoted officers and the Attorney General.
Supporting the association’s claim, LEPOSA’s secretary general, Moraleli Motloli made an affidavit giving rise to the police body’s complaint.
“On the 11December 2017, a Memo published by the 1st respondent (Mr Molibeli) announced six vacancies in the Lesotho Mounted Police Service.
“In particular, the vacancies were in the ranks of Assistant Commissioner of Police, Senior Superintendent, Superintendent and Senior Inspector,” he states.
He alleges the candidates were only given seven days to apply, adding the memo that invited applications contained specifications that were couched in general terms “with a view to evade the legal obligations placed upon 1st respondent to base promotions in the LMPS on merit as envisaged by Regulation 7(2) of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (Administration) Regulations 2003 as amended.”
He adds: “Important and verifiable considerations such as training and educational qualifications were deliberately left out in the job specifications even for the senior positions such as the Assistant Commissioner of Police.”
He further says promotion of the said officers were made in the middle of the financial year – something that he argued was indicative of the fact that the 1st respondent has his own preferences who cannot even wait for beginning of the new financial year.