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Police officers face suspension

’Marafaele Mohloboli

MASERU — Nineteen police officers are facing suspension for allegedly attending a political meeting.
The officers are accused of attending a Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) meeting in Hlotse on May 2.
Police authorities claim that the meeting happened at Molapo High School.
On Tuesday the officers received letters asking them to “show cause” why they should not be suspended pending disciplinary action.
The letters written by the Officer Commanding Leribe police district, M Nchela, gave the officers until Wednesday this week to respond to the allegations.
This paper understands that some of the letters do not have the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS)’s letterhead while others are not stamped.
In one of the letters Nchela tells a police officer that he was “seen in the company of LCD supporters at or near Molapo High School, during deliberations thereat”.
“Surely XXX the above mentioned scene does not point to a brighter LMPS future which is anchored to (sic) winning public confidence and partnership in the fight against crime,” Nchela said.
He said by attending the meeting the police officer had violated section 66 (1) of the Police Service Act 1998 which prohibits police officers from being members of political parties and trade unions.
Nchela said to protect the LMPS’ interest “in maintaining a neutral image politically and interest of the community” the officer should show cause why he cannot be “interdicted from police duties on full pay
pending the resolution of any disciplinary proceedings”.
LMPS spokesperson, Masupha Masupha, confirmed that some police officers had received letters from Nchela.
The law, Masupha said, was clear that police officers are not allowed to join political parties or trade unions.
“Section 31 of the same Act gives the commissioner of police absolute powers to remove any police officer at anytime if they contravene the said section,” Masupha said.
He said the letters were meant to give the police officers a “fair hearing” and a chance to defend their actions.
However, the LCD’s secretary for the Hlotse constituency, Tšeliso Maputsoe, said he did not recall the party having a meeting on May 2 as alleged by the police authorities in their letters to the 19 officers.
“I was very surprised when some of the police officers came and showed me the letters they had received. I was just shocked,” said Maputsoe.
He added that there was no way “we could have had a meeting at Molapo High School on May 2 because we had
attended a major rally in Teyateyaneng and came late”.
“These are just lame accusations”, Maputsoe said.

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