THE police command has threatened to take “drastic measures” against police officers who actively participate in politics.
In her 10 June 2021 memorandum to heads of various departments, Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police (SACP), ‘Matšepo Soko, says the police command is aware that some police officers actively participate in party politics. This in contravention of 66 (1) of the Police Service Act which prohibits police officers from being members of any political party, organisation, club, association or grouping of a political nature.
SACP Soko also accuses the officers of abusing government vehicles to attend political functions organised by their parties.
“It has come to the observation of the office of the IC&D (Internal Complaints and Discipline) that some of the police officers still engage in political activities,” SACP Soko states in her memorandum.
“It has also been brough to the attention of this office that some police officers use government motor vehicles from other ministries frequently in order to attend political functions as well as to campaign for the parties they seem aligned to.
“It is against this background that all police officers of all ranks are reminded that authority to use government vehicles is granted by the commissioner of police and such motor vehicles (used without permission) will be impounded. Section 9.13 (a) to (f) of the revised Standing Order of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service unambiguously states that a police officer may exercise his or her right to vote but may not be an active member of any political party or association or speak in public on any political matter except in the course of your duty.
“It is safe and sound to remind you that anyone who decides to disobey the above cited provisions will leave the management of the LMPS (Lesotho Mounted Police Service) with no alternative but to take drastic measures against him or her,” Senior ACP Soko adds.
However, the Lesotho Mounted Police Service Staff Association (LEPOSA) has accused the police command of hypocrisy over the issue. LEPOSA spokesperson Motlatsi Mofokeng said the police command was itself a politically compromised lot whose political affiliations were an open secret within the force.
He said they were only going after the police officers because they were supporting political parties which were different from those supported by the police bosses.
He said in any case, the police chiefs had been unprocedurally promoted to senior positions on the basis of supporting certain political parties and not on merit.
He said now that they had been promoted, they did not want their subordinates to use the same political channels to climb the ranks.
“It is our opinion that the police command quickly climbed ranks because of their involvement in politics,” Mr Mofokeng said.
“Unlike former commissioners who kept their political affiliations a secret, we have come to know the political affiliations of the current police command. They got their positions because of those political affiliations.
“The simple issue here is that the command is now aware that police officers are beating them at their own political game. They know that the officers do not belong to the same political parties as them and therefore they want to restrain them.
“We will not say anything to officers who involve themselves in party politics because they learnt from the current Commissioner of Police (Holomo Molibeli) that they must be active political members,” Mr Mofokeng said.
Commissioner Molibeli’s mobile phone rang unanswered when the Sunday Express called him for comment yesterday.