Joint march start­ing point for LDF, LmPS

Lesotho Times - - Leader -

The seem­ingly small ges­ture of mem­bers of the Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) and Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice (LMPS) en­gag­ing in a joint march yes­ter­day was no mean feat, and should be cel­e­brated by all pro­gres­sive Ba­sotho.

For this na­tion to func­tion prop­erly, the two agen­cies need to com­ple­ment, rather than sab­o­tage each other. What is clear, beyond the turf wars that rocked the agen­cies, is that the rank and file mem­bers want noth­ing more than to dis­charge their du­ties in the ser­vice of their pay­mas­ters who are the hard­work­ing tax­pay­ers.

We have to ac­knowl­edge the ster­ling role played by South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) Fa­cil­i­ta­tor to Le­sotho, Cyril Ramaphosa, in bring­ing the bel­liger­ent lead­ers of th­ese agen­cies to­gether and chart­ing a course which all sides could ac­cept. Mr Ramaphosa’s bro­ker­ing of the Maseru Se­cu­rity Ac­cord on 23 Oc­to­ber 2014 has changed the na­tion’s tra­jec­tory from doom and gloom to hope and ex­pec­ta­tion.

How­ever, now is the time for Ba­sotho to the rise to the oc­ca­sion and show that we have the where­withal to chart this na­tion’s fu­ture de­spite all the chal­lenges we face. Thank­fully, act­ing LDF com­man­der, Ma­jor Gen­eral Khoan­tle Motšo­motšo and his LMPS coun­ter­part, Deputy Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice, Ma­supha Ma­supha, rose beyond the bit­ter di­vi­sions be­tween the agen­cies and marched in uni­son as they sang the na­tional an­them.

The peo­ple’s re­sponse in the com­mu­ni­ties the pro­ces­sion passed through should have given the army and po­lice bosses food for thought. The cheers and amaze­ment of on­look­ers speak vol­umes about a peo­ple who are not in­ter­ested in the wran­gles of the army and po­lice, but want to live in peace and tran­quil­lity.

De­spite shoul­der­ing most of the blame for the bit­ter tiff be­tween the LDF and LMPS, Lt Gen Kamoli al­legedly penned a roadmap, be­fore his leave of ab­sence, which would en­sure the agen­cies worked in har­mony be­fore and after the SADC-bro­kered early elec­tions in Fe­bru­ary 2015.

He pro­posed the ini­ti­a­tion of di­a­logue at strate­gic and op­er­a­tional lev­els be­tween the two se­cu­rity agen­cies and the es­tab­lish­ment of a Joint Op­er­a­tion Cen­tre to man­age the op­er­a­tions of both the LDF and LMPS, which will ul­ti­mately work to­gether be­fore and dur­ing the elec­tion pe­riod in plan­ning op­er­a­tions and mon­i­tor­ing of ex­e­cu­tions of op­er­a­tions.

how­ever, we are un­der no il­lu­sions of the for­mi­da­ble task at hand, es­pe­cially when it comes to the army com­ply­ing by hand­ing over the eight sol­diers the po­lice need to in­ter­view in con­nec­tion with the si­mul­ta­ne­ous bombing of three Maseru homes on the night of 27 Jan­uary 2014

One of the at­tacked homes be­longed to LMPS Com­mis­sioner, Khothatso Tšooana, while the oth­ers were owned by Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane’s part­ner, Li­a­biloe Ramo­holi, and her neigh­bour, ‘Mamo­let­sane Mo­let­sane.

In a bid to build one­ness be­tween the LDF and LMPS, Lt Gen Kamoli called for the agen­cies to hold dif­fer­ent sport­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, joint clean­ing cam­paigns, fun walks and work­shops cov­er­ing such as­pects as peace­keep­ing do­mes­tic vi­o­lence; HIV & AIDS and the Ebola out­break.

Lt Gen Kamoli also called for prayer ses­sions which would be con­ducted by chap­lains from both agen­cies.

How­ever, while it all sounds good on pa­per, it is common cause that ac­tions speak louder than the most elo­quent words. Lt Gen Kamoli made ev­ery ef­fort to un­der­mine his LMPS coun­ter­part Khothatso Tšooana be­fore he was re­lieved of his du­ties by Dr Tha­bane on 28 Au­gust for al­leged in­sub­or­di­na­tion. The fact that yes­ter­day’s march started from Mabote Po­lice Sta­tion, which was among the in­sti­tu­tions raided by the army that fate­ful 30 Au­gust morn­ing, shows an at­tempt to ac­knowl­edge the wrongs of the past.

How­ever, it bears no­tice that LDF mem­bers out­num­bered their LMPS coun­ter­parts at the march, which speaks vol­umes of the mis­trust the lat­ter still hold for the for­mer. The trauma of the vi­cious at­tacks is still very fresh in the mem­ory.

So, be­fore all the joint ini­tia­tives are con­ducted the LDF com­mand should started with a sin­cere apol­ogy and com­pli­ance with all the out­stand­ing re­quests.

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