A SENIOR Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) officer has accused some LCS officers of dabbling in partisan politics, a development which he says has negatively impacted on the correctional service institution’s operations.
Senior Assistant Commissioner (SAC) Chabana Majara made the claims during a recent inquiry that was conducted by the Ombudsman, King’s Counsel Leshele Thoahlane, on the procedure that is used in the promotion of LCS officers.
SAC Majara said some LCS officers flagrantly violated the rules prohibiting them from engaging in partisan politics to the extent that some donned the regalia of their chosen parties and actively participated in political rallies. He said some officers and their relatives donned party colours at LCS facilities in contravention of the rules.
SAC Majara said this in response to the submissions by one of the complainants, Correctional Officer Tšeliso Liphalana, who complained that he been perennially overlooked for promotion despite serving in the LCS for 19 years.
“I asked my immediate bosses at the Maseru Central Correctional Institute about the criteria (for promotions) after noticing that I had been ignored since my engagement by the LCS,” CO Liphalana said.
“I have served the LCS for almost 19 years now but I still have not been promoted.
“It was during that discussion (with his superiors) that I was told that my wife had been seen wearing the yellow regalia of the All Basotho Convention within the LCS premises.
“It then became clear that I had been not considered for promotion because of my wife’s political affiliation.”
However, SAC Majara said wearing political party regalia within the premises of LCS was prohibited. He said the practice was outlawed by a 2008 circular issued by the LCS.
“There has been a standing policy that no serving public officer should be active in politics.
“There was a circular issued in 2008 that no one should be seen wearing political party regalia within the LCS premises.
“The understanding was that since we stay within the LCS premises, we should all inform our family members that the wearing of political party uniforms was prohibited.
“However, we are now in a state of confusion because some serving officers are seen wearing political party uniforms either at their houses or at political rallies.
“This is all in violation of the 2008 circular and this calls for disciplinary action because the misconduct has gone too far”.
SAC Majara accused the executive arm of government of “playing part in all this confusion”.
“I say this because when supervisors try to discipline those actively participating in politics, they often discover that those very people would have been promoted even before the disciplinary processes are complete. It is not easy to control the situation, unless those in power intervene, because they also play a part in all this trouble.”
SAC Majara also alleged that some officers who performed their duties professionally were sidelined when it came to promotions.
The Ombudsman’s inquiry will release its findings on a date that is still to be announced.