Molibeli’s court application may not see the light of day
THERE are high chances that Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli’s High Court application for a stay of the same court’s judgement compelling him to reinstate the Lesotho Police Staff Association (LEPOSA) national treasurer, Lance Sergeant ‘Mathebe Motseki, will be overtaken by events and might not see the light of day.
Commissioner Molibeli had on Thursday petitioned the High Court for an order to stay the execution of its 9 September 2020 order for the reinstatement of Lance Sergeant Motseki pending the outcome of his appeal on the same issue to the Court of Appeal.
However, instead of granting his application, High Court Judge Tšeliso Monapathi on Thursday postponed the matter to 6 October 2020.
The postponement is only meant to allow Lance Sergeant Motseki to file her opposing papers after she indicated her intention to oppose Commissioner Molibeli’s application for a stay of the execution of the judgement ordering her reinstatement.
Only then will a date for hearing the case will be set. But given that the Court of Appeal session will begin on 12 October and run until 30 October 2020, it is highly likely that Commissioner Molibeli’s application will be overtaken by events.
This is because Commissioner Molibeli’s appeal against the High Court judgement will be one of the cases that the apex court will have to hear.
In the meantime, Lance Sergeant Motseki will remain at work. She resumed her duties on 11 September 2020 in line with the High Court judgement which revoked her 7 August 2020 dismissal by Commissioner Molibeli.
Lance Sergeant Motseki was fired for allegedly tarnishing the image of the police command by publicly accusing it of transferring some police officers as punishment for opening a case against former First Lady ‘Maesaiah Thabane for allegedly assaulting a Maseru man at State House in January 2019.
Lance Sergeant Motseki is also said to have tarnished the image of the police command by publicly accusing it of failing to arrest Deputy Police Commissioner (DCP) Paseka Mokete after a female junior police officer accused him of sexual assault in April 2020. The case is now before the courts.
Following her dismissal in August, Lance Sergeant Motseki successfully petitioned the High Court to revoke the decision on the grounds that Commissioner Molibeli acted without consulting the Police and Public Safety Minister ‘Mamoipone Senauoane.
However, in his Court of Appeal papers, Commissioner Molibeli argues that he informed Minister Senauoane about his intention to fire Lance Sgt Motseki and thus he acted within the law.
He further argues that in any event, informing the police minister is merely out of courtesy as she does not have any powers to reverse his decision.
The Molibeli- Motseki fight is the latest battlefront in the ongoing war between LEPOSA and the police boss.
For more than a year now, the two sides have been at each other’s throats over a plethora of issues.
The militant police union accuses Commissioner Molibeli of bias and incompetence in handling the grievances of its members.
It accuses Commissioner Molibeli of entrenching his power by unprocedurally promoting his close allies like Deputy Police Commissioner (DCP) Paseka Mokete and Assistant Police Commissioner (ACP) Beleme Lebajoa.
It also accuses the police boss of failing to address the scourge of police brutality which could cost Lesotho the multi-million-dollar second compact under the United States Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) if left unaddressed by February next year.
LEPOSA has even petitioned Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro to fire Commissioner Molibeli. It has also filed a Constitutional Court application seeking the revocation of his powers to dismiss police officers without affording them a hearing.
Commissioner Molibeli has fought back by dismissing Lance Sergeant Motseki and going after other senior LEPOSA officials like its secretary general Inspector Moraleli Motloli and public relations officer, Motlatsi Mofokeng. He has also written strongly worded memos to police officers, warning of “rogue” police officers whom he said are “in open rebellion against the police command”.