LEPOSA seeks Mahao’s intervention
- as Molibeli intensifies war with police union
THERE is no letting up in the bruising war between Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli and his subordinates in the Lesotho Police Staff Association (LEPOSA) despite the setting up of an inter-ministerial committee to bring normalcy to the force.
This after Commissioner Molibeli fired the police union’s national treasurer Lance Sergeant ‘Mathebe Motseki two weeks ago.
The infighting has continued unabated and this has prompted LEPOSA to petition Law and Justice Minister Professor Nqosa Mahao to intervene and protect its members.
The police boss has also begun processes to dismiss LEPOSA’s secretary general Inspector Moraleli Motloli and public relations officer, Motlatsi Mofokeng. He was only prevented by a 6 August 2020 interim order by Justice Molefi Makara from transferring LEPOSA spokesperson, Police Constable Motlatsi Mofokeng from Maseru to Berea district.
Commissioner Molibeli fired Lance Sergeant Motseki on 10 August 2020- the very day the police boss appeared before the inter-ministerial committee to give his side of the story on the infighting which threatens to destabilise the country.
For more than a year now, tensions have been simmering between Commissioner Molibeli and his subordinates.
LEPOSA accuses Commissioner Molibeli of bias and incompetence in handling police grievances. It alleges that since taking charge in August 2017, Commissioner Molibeli has unprocedurally promoted his close allies like Deputy Police Commissioner (DCP) Paseka Mokete and Assistant Police Commissioner (ACP) Beleme Lebajoa.
LEPOSA also accuses the police boss of failing to deal decisively with the thorny issue of police brutality and it has petitioned Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro to fire him.
Apart from petitioning Dr Majoro to act against him, some LEPOSA members have also filed court applications against Commissioner Molibeli seeking the nullifications of the promotions he has made.
Even some members of the police command like ACP Sera Makharilele and ACP Motlatsi Mapola are not happy with Commissioner Molibeli’s leadership.
The latter has even asked the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Advocate Hlalefang Motinyane to prosecute Commissioner Molibeli and ACP Lebajoa for abuse of office after they allegedly protected former First Lady ‘Maesaiah Thabane from prosecution for allegedly assaulting a Maseru man at the state house in January 2019.
Commissioner Molibeli has fought back by writing memos to police officers, warning of “rogue” police officers whom he said are “in open rebellion against the police command”.
He has continued targeting LEPOSA officials despite the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee to probe the infighting on 6 August 2020.
The committee comprises of ministers ‘Mamoipone Senauoane (Police and Public Safety), Prince Maliehe (Defence and National Security), Kemiso Mosenene (Prime Minister’s Office) and Prof Mahao (Law and Justice), who is its chairperson.
It began work on 10 August by summoning Commissioner Molibeli to give evidence. At the conclusion of its work, the committee is expected to present its findings to the premier with recommendations on how best to deal with the instability in the police force.
LEPOSA has also appeared before the committee but although it has not yet completed its work and submitted its findings to Dr Majoro, Commissioner Molibeli has gone on to take punitive action against LEPOSA members.
Aggrieved by his actions, LEPOSA now wants Prof Mahao to intervene and bring the police boss to order.
In his 24 August 2020 letter to Prof Mahao, LEPOSA secretary general Inspector Motloli requests the minister to rein in on the police boss until after the committee has completed its work and made its recommendations on how best to tackle the infighting.
“LEPOSA applauds the commendable initiative by the government to establish the commission of inquiry into police instability,” Mr Motloli states.
“It is our fervent belief that this is a stepping stone towards sustainable peace in the police force…We are further cognisant of the fact that LEPOSA duly appeared before the commission.
“Indispensable to note that the commission with utmost good faith, requested the parties (LEPOSA and Commissioner Molibeli) to cease all the onslaught or hostilities towards each other in the endeavour to give the commission space to complete its duties. (sic).
“We are however baffled by the ambush by the commissioner (Molibeli) since the advent of the commission. We should bring to your attention and the task team (commission) that the commissioner’s onslaught (against LEPOSA) continues nonetheless.
“It is a matter of common knowledge that despite the presence of the commission which was established way back on 4 August 2020, the commissioner has dismissed the national treasurer without following the due process. As if that was not enough, LEPOSA’s public relations officer, Motlatsi Mofokeng, has been issued with a letter of representation, demanding him to respond in four days. This is a clear waged war.
“In the circumstances, LEPOSA has maintained restraint and our appeal is that the commissioner should follow accordingly, thereby giving the commission space to finish this crucial assignment. We believe the commission is bestowed with powers to cause him to halt the onslaught,” Inspector Motloli said.
Prof Mahao this week acknowledged receiving LEPOSA’s letter and said he was “working on it”.