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Govt rubbishes opposition claims


Pascalinah Kabi

PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane’s Press Attaché, Thabo Thakalekoala, has come out guns blazing accusing the opposition of misrepresenting the premier’s statements for politicking ends.

Mr Thakalekoala spoke as the opposition accused the premier of encouraging the police to assault suspects when no one was looking.

The opposition claimed that Dr Thabane made the remarks while addressing supporters of his All Basotho Convention party in Masianokeng last month.

Dr Thabane is alleged to have urged the police to rough up suspects while addressing the rally.

Such utterances, the opposition said, were to blame for two recent cases of alleged police heavy-handedness against Senior Inspector Lerato Motseki and a 25-year-old Koro-Koro man.

However, Mr Thakalekoala said the remarks had been misconstrued, adding that the premier had urged police to be more vigorous in their law-enforcement duties to restore law and order in Lesotho.

Senior Inspector Motseki was allegedly assaulted by seven male police officers at Mabote Police Station last Monday while the Koro-Koro man was allegedly shot dead by the police last Friday.

Senior Inspector Motseki was assaulted after being accused of leaking sensitive information on Facebook.

LCD spokesperson, Teboho Sekata, told this publication the cases of alleged police brutality were a result of a “loyal police taking instructions from their master”.

“We are not surprised by the reported cases of police brutality because they are simply carrying out the mandate from the prime minister. He told them to assault suspects and look at what is happening.

“He told the police that he gave them instructions to beat suspects when he was a minister in 2012 and this time around they were reminded to continue from where they left off,” Mr Sekata said.

He further argued that Dr Thabane’s “instructions” undermined basic human rights which the latter championed while he was in opposition.

But Mr Thakalekoala said the premier had made no such remarks.

“Encouraging the police to be more efficient in fighting crime is not the same as encouraging the police to be brutal,” Mr Thakalekoala said.

“We are all aware that the rule of law had gone to the dogs under the previous Mosisili regime.

“Prime Minister Thabane is merely encouraging the police to perform their duties effectively and rectify atrocities committed by the previous regime against peace-loving Basotho.

To now misinterpret that to mean that the prime minister is encouraging the police to be brutal is disingenuous.”

“Bo-Sekata have what I would call political diarrhea because always, they do not listen to the Honourable Prime Minister to hear what he truly means but to quote him out of context.

Ntate Thabane never said police should literally beat up suspects, he is being quoted out context as a smear campaign against him. He meant that police officers should not fall victim to suspects who are fully armed most of the time,” Mr Thakalekoala said.

He said while suspects enjoyed basic human rights until proven guilty by the courts of law, it was also important for people to understand that the police should be careful when dealing with them.

“Sekata must listen carefully when the premier speaks and stop quoting him out of context,” Mr Thakalekoala said.

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