THE leader of the opposition in the national assembly, Mathibeli Mokhothu, says they have engaged the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and human rights organisations to intervene on the alarming rise in killings stemming from alleged acts of police brutality.
Mr Mokhothu said this in a recent interview with the Sunday Express. Mr Mokhothu, who is also outgoing deputy leader of the Democratic Congress (DC), said they were worried by the alleged police brutality.
He further said they recently compiled a list of victims who had died at the hands of the police and presented it to the head of the SADC facilitation team to Lesotho, retired Justice Dikgang Moseneke.
“We reported the killings to Justice Dikgang Moseneke and last week we also presented the SADC Oversight Committee with a list containing the names of people who have died at the hands of the police,” Mr Mokhothu said.
He said SADC Oversight Committee had informed them that they were working on a report which would be availed upon completion.
“It is time that the electorate also took up this matter of police brutality because the voice of the people is the voice of God.
“The voice of the people is the final word and it is very sad to see people dying at this rate. The electorate elect a government and they have the power to remove it,” Mr Mokhothu said.
He said the list contained more than 30 victims including Mr Poshoane Moloi of Kao in Motete whose postmortem report confirmed that he died from torture at the hands of the police.
The most recent victim is Mr Lethusang Mongali of Leribe who was allegedly tortured to death on 16 January 2019.
However, the Commissioner of Police, Holomo Molibeli, said all cases of people who allegedly died at the hands of the police were being investigated and there were some cases that had been recommended for prosecution.
“There is simply no way that human lives that are lost at the hands of police as is being alleged can go without being investigated. We have been in consultations with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and there have been some directives for prosecution where such need has been established.
“I can’t recall specific incidents where people have died at the hands of police but investigations are ongoing,” Commissioner Molibeli said.
Fellow opposition party, the Socialist Revolutionaries (SR) recently blamed Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and some of his ministers for giving the police a blank check to abuse civilians’ rights.
Last November, Dr Thabane told an ABC rally in Ha Lesiamo in Leribe that the police should be tough on criminals, saying “anyone who chooses to steal should suffer immensely at the hands of the police”.
Police and National Security minister ‘Mampho Mokhele also courted controversy with her admission early last year that the police used illegal methods including torture to extract confessions from suspects.
Ms Mokhele made the revelation at a ceremony where the LMPS was presented with forensic equipment which was donated by the Algerian government.
She however, said she hoped the donation would go a long way in removing the need for torture as the police could now use it to determine whether or not a suspect had been involved in the commission of a crime.
“We, as the police, are often forced to use violence to get information out of people because at times we would be sure that the suspect committed the crime but due to lack of tangible evidence we have to use force,” Ms Mokhele said.