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Doti builds, hands over police station

’Marafaele Mohloboli

LITHABANENG legislator and Social Development Minister ‘Matebatso Doti has handed over a police station.

Speaking at the weekend handover ceremony, Ms Doti said she had funded the construction of the station entirely from her own pocket as a way of showing her gratitude to the electorate who had voted for her since 2012.

She did not say how much she had spent on constructing the station which boasts of four rooms and two holding cells for suspects. The new station comes as a welcome relief to the Lithabaneng community as they have been reliant on the Ha-Thamae and Thetsane police stations, which are a considerable distance away.

“This station is a token of appreciation to my people as they have stood by me and supported me since 2012 when I stood for the elections,” Ms Doti said.

“Even if I were to die now, I would go to my grave a happy soul knowing that I have fulfilled my people’s wish.”

She said Lithabaneng was one of the areas with high crime statistics and the police station would come handy in addressing the challenge.

“By the grace of God, I was able to pull this off. I worked closely with the Commissioner of Police (Holomo Molibeli) to ensure that the structure met all the requirements.

“I started the project last year in April when the crime rate was escalating in the constituency. The gravity of the situation hit me one morning when I woke to find that a baby had been dumped at my door step. I knew then that there was indeed dire need to act swiftly.

“Whoever will be posted here should know that Lithabaneng is a place that needs level headed police officers. We mean business and we want to transform our constituency to be the best in the whole of Maseru,” she said.

Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro, Police and Public Safety Minister, Lepota Sekola, and Commissioner Molibeli all attended the handover ceremony.

Although she spoke about the high crime rates, Ms Doti did not mention her own horrific July 2019 knife attack by unknown assailants at her Lithabaneng home.

The Lithabaneng legislator is lucky to be alive after being stabbed five times by eight unknown assailants. At the time, Ms Doti, who is also the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC)’s deputy spokesperson, said the attack was an assassination attempt.

The attack came at the height of the power struggles within the ABC pitting the party leader and then Prime Minister Thomas Thabane against his former deputy, Nqosa Mahao.

The assailants told Ms Doti that they had been sent to kill her for siding with Prof Mahao in the ABC power struggle. They also robbed her of M4000 that was deposited in her bank account and two guns that belonged to her late husband who had retired from the army by the time of his death in 2017.

Although the police and the then government suggested that Ms Doti was merely a victim of a robbery, the legislator and her ABC allies remain convinced that the attack, which left her in a pool of blood, was a politically motivated bid to eliminate her for siding with Prof Mahao at the time. The two have since fallen out and Professor Mahao has even dumped the ABC to form his own Basotho Action Party (BAP).

In his speech at the handover of the police station, Dr Majoro said the government was doing all it could to protect the public from criminals. He said the days of criminals butchering women and the elderly would soon be a thing of the past as the security agencies were working hard to stop the killings.

“The police, the army and the national security services are busy working on a very strong campaign forced on us by criminals. The campaign is aimed at protecting our people. The crime rate is very high especially as men and boys have abdicated their responsibility of protecting women and children. They now view them as prey.

“Defenceless women and children are being killed and abused. But we shall see to it that justice is served,” Majoro said.

Minister Sekola expressed happiness that Lithabaneng now had a police station.

“This place is faced with high crime rates. But I promise that the police shall deliver. Those who will be stationed here should be tough and work hard to protect this community,” Mr Sekola said.

On his part, Commissioner Molibeli expressed gratitude for the police station and the community’s support in fighting crime.

“Today we are here to accept the mandate from the Basotho and we are grateful for this initiative. We are happy and we are humbled that we’ll be working with the community policing forum in fighting crime as this has always helped us,” Commissioner Molibeli said.

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