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BNP youths take aim at police

by Sunday Express
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BNP youth League’s elective conference last weekend elected its first woman youth leader, Miss ‘Machere Seutloali

’Marafaele Mohloboli

THE youth league of the opposition Basotho National Party (BNPYL) says it is concerned by the “unprofessional” conduct of some police officers which it said were intimidating party officials.

Acting BNPYL spokesperson, ’Machere Seutloali said in a statement issued this past week that they were “really worried” about the intimidation of party officials, particularly spokesperson Machesetsa Mofomobe “on several occasions”.

He cited the attempt by plain clothes policemen to arrest Mr Mofomobe at the Lesotho Times and Sunday Express offices on Wednesday as “the latest instance of the harassment”.

Mr Mofomobe, who is among the organisers of a protest march meant to pressurize the government to reopen parliament, had come to the newspaper’s Lower Thetsane offices for an interview over their application for a procession permit.

He was then accosted by the police officers who were leaving this newspaper’s premises after they had also requested a meeting with our management over our reporting of the planned protest march.

Upon stopping Mr Mofomobe, the police officers — whose identities are known to us — told the BNP spokesperson that they had been looking for him.

Mr Mofomobe, however, told the two men he had business to attend to at the newspaper’s offices and would talk to them afterwards. He also asked them to furnish him with their identity documents. One of the officers introduced himself but refused to produce his identification document.

Mr Mofomobe then walked away from the officers and entered the building for the interview, with the police officers calling for backup to apprehend him.

The altercation attracted a huge crowd including Mr Mofomobe’s opposition alliance colleagues and other supporters, prompting the police officers to leave.

Ms Seutloali said some police officers were failing to apply the basics of policing which included producing their identification particulars when dealing with the public.

She said many crimes remained unsolved, adding the police were “harbouring some politicians” and challenged such officers to come out in open and battle it out as politicians.

“We are fully aware that there is a lot of crime happening in this country and we can mention the killing of one Lisebo Tang, General Maaparankoe Mahao, the Moshoeshoe II bombings and the disappearance of Police Constable Mokalekale Khetheng at the hands of the police,” reads part of the statement.

 “These intimidations are not enough to scare us but instead they embolden us to fight for our rights.”

However, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Motlatsi Mapola who said he was speaking in his capacity as an advocate at law, said an identity document was fundamental as a matter of procedure for police officers and should be produced before anything. 

“A police officer should show their identity document before introducing themselves and then notify the person being dealt with of their rights to speak or remain silent in a case where they are being apprehended,” ACP Mapola said.

“It would be very wrong for anyone to be arrested and taken away by unknown people simply because they claimed without proof that they were police officers. It is tantamount to kidnapping.”

 

 

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