Acting Police Commissioner Masupha Masupha on Friday decided to leave the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) following a government ultimatum to either revert to his old post of Deputy Commissioner or go on early retirement.
Mr Masupha (51) had been Acting Commissioner of Police since Khothatso Tšooana was sent on special leave in November last year when relations between the LMPS and Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) had reached an all-time low. It had been hoped his departure and that of LDF’s Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao and Lt Gen Tlali Kamoli would end the deepening crisis between the two security agencies and ensure there was peace in the run-up to the 28 February 2015 general elections.
However, sources privy to the matter told the Sunday Express that Mr Masupha soon fell-out with Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, who is also the Minister of Defence, Police and National Security.
According to the sources, Dr Thabane accused Mr Masupha of sympathizing with his sworn enemy, Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, hence Wednesday’s ultimatum to either accept “the humiliation of demotion” or go on early retirement.
Mr Masupha had been given seven working days to make a decision but according to his lawyer, Advocate Motiea Teele, he had chosen to go on condition his full retirement package was made available within two weeks.
“We have responded to the ultimatum and Ntate Masupha has decided to go on early retirement provided his entire package is paid within 14 working days.
“I can’t go into further details or give you other conditions of Mr Masupha’s letter because he has not given me the go ahead to do so,” Advocate Teele said.
Police Ministry Principal Secretary Refiloe Matekane also confirmed Mr Masupha had decided on an early retirement.
“I will be meeting all the relevant stakeholders over the issue on Monday and hopefully, finalise Mr Masupha’s early retirement,” Mr Matekane said.
Meanwhile, Mr Masupha has since been replaced by Holomo Molibeli (48) as Acting Police Commissioner.
Mr Molibeli’s appointment letter dated 4 February 2015, and signed by Government Secretary Moahloli Mphaka, reads: “It is with a lot of pleasure that I inform you that it has pleased His Majesty King Letsie III, pursuant to section 147 (3) of the constitution of Lesotho 1993 and section 5 of the Police Service Act 1998, and acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, to appoint you as Acting Commissioner of Police during the period of absence from office by the Commissioner. The appointment is with effect from 4 February 2015. I congratulate you and wish you all success in this new assignment”.