LESOTHO Mounted Police Service (LMPS) Sub-Inspector Mokheseng Ramahloko, who was shot dead during a Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) raid on three key Maseru police stations on the morning of 30 August 2014, was laid to rest in Qoaling yesterday.
Sub-Inspector Ramahloko was gunned down at Police Headquarters as renegade LDF members took over the facility, as well as Maseru Central and Ha Mabote police stations in what Prime Minister Thomas Thabane has since said was an attempted coup.
A funeral service was first held at Setsoto stadium yesterday morning, with hundreds of
Sub-Inspector Ramahloko’s colleagues, friends, politicians and relatives in attendance, before the burial in Qoaling.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Constable Motebang Ramahloko said his uncle died due to the “personal and selfish interests of some politicians”.
“Politicians tarnished the image of the police service to push their own selfish agendas and propaganda that our boss, Commissioner Khothatso Tšooana and his deputies and assistants, were about to give out firearms to a group of untrained youths.
“Sub-Inspector Ramahloko was on duty at Police Headquarters when he was fatally shot. The post-mortem proves that he sustained open knife wounds on the head, a gunshot wound on the left side of the chest and another gunshot wound on the right thigh which led to his untimely death,” Mr Ramahloko said, adding his uncle had served the LMPS loyally since graduating at the Police Training College in 1982.
“He was a warrior who died on duty, hence we are proud of him today even in our moment of grief,” Constable Ramahloko said.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Mahapela Loke said it was unfortunate the Ramahloko family, LMPS and nation at large had lost such “a warrior”.
“He was diligent in every task he was assigned by his bosses, and sacrificed his life to make sure his colleagues were safe. Before his untimely death, he had just rescued some Harvest FM radio presenters whose lives were being threatened by LDF personnel. Afterwards, he was informed about the soldiers’ attack on the three police stations. Instead of running for his life, he stayed in his office to issue out alerts to others for their safety. He was then caught unexpectedly and lost his precious life in the process,” ACP Loke said.
The soldiers who attacked Police Headquarters, he added, allegedly requested to be escorted to the radio room.
“The soldiers asked for criminal dockets, police vehicles keys and the whereabouts of the Commissioner of Police (COMPOL) Khothatso Tšooana. As I mentioned that Sub-Inspector Ramahloko was a rescuer, we made sure that the dockets that were being sought and keys to certain offices, were safe,” ACP Loke said.
On behalf of the country’s security agencies, Lesotho Correctional Service Commissioner, Khalechane Khalechane, said the political instability prevailing in the country was uncalled for.
“It is shocking that in our security agencies, we have rebels who don’t take orders from the relevant authorities. Is it really necessary to destroy the country’s peace and stability because one is a security agent?” Commissioner Khalechane said.
“It is disgusting that security agents are the ones who don’t respect the constitution of this country. It is surprising that the army commander can carry out an operation which involves raiding police stations, without informing the police commissioner about is, as his colleague.
“I urge all the rebels to stop any activities that are destroying the stability of this nation because they will have to answer for their actions one by one. If, by any chance, you get tempted to kill me after making this speech, be aware that my colleagues will be waiting for you in prison where you will be serving your sentence, once you are caught.”
On his part, Police Commissioner Tšooana, said the police are proud of Sub-Inspector Ramahloko because he was loyal, not only to the oath he took at PTC on his graduation in 1982, but also to His Majesty King Letsie III.
“Attacking and killing people is a clear indication of mental illness. These soldiers clearly show that they are going through a mental problem and can’t do the right thing because of this problem. Some of us are always listed on the soldiers’ hit-lists and one wonders where their strength comes from,” said COMPOL Tšooana.
“What links these attackers to the criminal dockets of corruption cases involving Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, which we are told they were looking for on the night of the attack? How are these attackers linked to corruption?
“We are aware that the police are not good friends with criminals because of the nature of our jobs but we can’t compromise our dignity by getting along with criminals. Our job is clear; the police prevent crime and have to investigate where crime has taken place and we also protect lives.
“We’ve seen soldiers killing innocent people recently and an army that kills innocent people is not a real army. I urge priests to pray for stability and peace for this country because nowadays, we see people in His Majesty’s government on national television issuing statements that their operations were successful. The same people are also happy about the death of Sub-Inspector Ramahloko.”
“It is never too late for the rebels to come back to their senses and stop threatening people’s lives. If you want an authoritative seat and can’t let go of it, just go with that chair and leave behind the government office,” Commissioner Tšooana said.
Speaking at yesterday’s occasion, Police Principal Secretary (PS), Refiloe Matekane, said he hoped Sub-Inspector Ramahloko’s death would not be in vain.
“We believe that Ntate Ramahloko’s blood will be kind enough to change the LMPS for the better. The police need resources such as bullet-vests, helicopters and armoured cars, in order to be more effective in the execution of their duty,” he said.
In his address, the Minister of Defence, Police and National Security, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, said Sub-Inspector Ramahloko’s sudden death was unacceptable and should not go unpunished.
“If you are filled with superpowers, use that strength to plough your fields and help the country in its fight against hunger and poverty and stop killing innocent souls. I urge all civil servants to use government resources appropriately, and not for personal benefit,” Dr Thabane said.
“I stand here today to declare that if you kill me for fighting corruption, then let it be. I will fight crime till my last day on earth. I am a child of God and will forever work for him because God’s work is binding and will not work for Satan.
“At the moment, I am being guarded by the South African Police Service and would want to make it clear that I know how parliament works. That is why I will not open Parliament (which the premier suspended for nine months on 10 June 2014 to avert a no-confidence in his leadership) until I am convinced that the security situation in this country is back to normal.”
The premier, COMPOL Tšooana, his coalition government partner Thesele ‘Maseribane, who is the Basotho National Party (BNP) leader and several other senior government officials and some members of the All Basotho Convention (ABC), fled to South Africa on the eve and day of the 30 August LDF raids.
The premier, Chief ‘Maseribane and COMPOL Tšooana returned to Lesotho on 3 September under SAPS guard, and the South Africans still provide security to the three officials.
Comments are closed.