‘Tha­bane cre­ated a se­cu­rity time-bomb’

Lesotho Times - - News - Billy Ntaote

FOR­MER Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili has ac­cused his suc­ces­sor, Thomas Tha­bane, of “desta­bil­is­ing” the coun­try’s se­cu­rity agen­cies — a sit­u­a­tion he de­scribes as a “tick­ing time-bomb”.

Ad­dress­ing thou­sands of Demo­cratic Congress (DC) sup­port­ers who turned Ha Foso hill in Berea into a sea of red dur­ing the party’s fi­nal rally on Sun­day, Dr Mo­sisili ac­cused the pre­mier of dis­rupt­ing the good work­ing re­la­tions be­tween the se­cu­rity agen­cies.

Dr Mo­sisili said the Tha­bane-led coali­tion gov­ern­ment’s fail­ure to re­view the salary and rank struc­tures of Le­sotho Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices (LCS) of­fi­cers, de­spite do­ing so for the Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice (LMPS), had set a “tick­ing time­bomb” among the se­cu­rity agen­cies.

“This is one of the many rea­sons why Ntate Tha­bane should be pun­ished heav­ily by be­ing voted out of power on 28 Fe­bru­ary be­cause he has dis­rupted the peace and sta­bil­ity of the se­cu­rity agen­cies in the two years he was in of­fice by pit­ting th­ese or­gan­i­sa­tions against each other,” said Dr Mo­sisili to ap­plause from the crowd.

“LCS staff have been on strike for two months now and are de­mand­ing a salary re­view but the gov­ern­ment has re­mained si­lent; Tha­bane has ig­nored the is­sue and wants to leave this ma­jor prob­lem to the in­com­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion.”

The DC leader fur­ther said while the po­lice re­quests were speed­ily at­tended to by the pre­mier, those of the LCS were “kept se­cret” and ig­nored. Dr Mo­sisili also ac­cused the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) leader of pri­ori­tis­ing the po­lice at the ex­pense of the LCS, Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) and Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ser­vice (NSS) “thereby spread­ing sus­pi­cion and mis­trust” be­tween the agen­cies.

“This is the divide-and-rule strat­egy at its worst. Why should the po­lice’s salaries be re­viewed and those of the LDF, NSS and LCS ig­nored? This is why I say Ntate Tha­bane has left us a time-bomb.

“The LCS strike is now in its sec­ond month, yet gov­ern­ment has done noth­ing about it.

Now pris­on­ers’ rights are be­ing vi­o­lated as they can­not go for their regular med­i­cal check-ups and are de­nied sev­eral other ba­sic needs merely be­cause the gov­ern­ment does not want to ad­dress the of­fi­cers’ salary de­mands.

“Hu­man rights are be­ing tram­pled on and the gov­ern­ment is al­low­ing it to con­tinue.”dr Mo­sisili also said due to the on-go­ing industrial ac­tion in the pri­son ser­vice, in­mates might be de­nied their right to vote on 28 Fe­bru­ary, al­leg­ing the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (IEC) staff had been de­nied en­try to the coun­try’s prisons.

“The IEC should deal with this mat­ter ur­gently and ad­dress it,” he said.the DC leader fur­ther said Dr Tha­bane’s “de­ter­mi­na­tion to desta­bilise” the se­cu­rity agen­cies also ex­tended to the LMPS where, as Po­lice min­is­ter, he was “hir­ing and fir­ing com­mis­sion­ers willy-nilly”.

“This man has caused in­sta­bil­ity in the po­lice ser­vice with his fre­quent hir­ing and fir­ing of po­lice of­fi­cials,” Dr Mo­sisili said.

“Ini­tially, he ap­pointed Kiz­ito Mh­lakaza as com­mis­sioner, then Keketso Mon­a­heng as act­ing com­mis­sioner.

He later ap­pointed Khothatso Tšooana com­mis­sioner and then we had Act­ing Com­mis­sioner Ma­supha Ma­supha who has since been re­placed by Act­ing Com­mis­sioner Holomo Moli­beli.“can we truly say all those men were wrong for the po­lice or the prob­lem lies with the old man? This is shock­ing! We should send this old man home.”

Ac­cord­ing to Dr Mo­sisili, the pre­mier had “also tried the same ap­proach” at the LDF by fir­ing Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Tlali Kamoli and re­plac­ing him with then Bri­gadier Ma­parankoe Ma­hao “yet Ma­hao was fac­ing a court mar­tial”.dr Mo­sisili fur­ther claimed due to the prime min­is­ter’s “dis­rup­tive de­ci­sions”, the army had to carry-out an op­er­a­tion at po­lice sta­tions on 30 Au­gust 2014, which re­sulted in the “un­for­tu­nate death” of Sub In­spec­tor Mokhe­seng Ramahloko.

How­ever, Dr Tha­bane has since de­scribed events of that fate­ful day as an at­tempted coup af­ter he, and Sports Min­is­ter Th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane, were forced to flee Le­sotho fol- low­ing a tip-off that their lives were in dan­ger.

In the same attack on the LMPS, nine po­lice of­fi­cers were also badly in­jured and an as­sort­ment of firearms seized by the army.

Dr Mo­sisili also ac­cused the pre­mier of “sub­vert­ing the demo­cratic sys­tem” that voted him into of­fice by pro­rogu­ing par­lia­ment for nine months on 10 June 2014.

“I am not say­ing the pro­ro­ga­tion was il­le­gal, but it should be un­der­stood that Ntate Tha­bane abused the pro­ro­ga­tion clause and used it to es­cape a no-con­fi­dence mo­tion in Par­lia­ment,” he said.

“When his party’s Koro-koro and Sta­dium Area Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment, Ntate Thabiso Litšiba and Ntate Mophato Monyake, left his party and it was ev­i­dent the coali­tion gov­ern­ment had lost the sim­ple ma­jor­ity it was gov­ern­ing with, he de­cided to sus­pend Par­lia­ment.”

The pro­ro­ga­tion ended on 2 Oc­to­ber 2014 af­ter po­lit­i­cal party lead­ers agreed to the South­ern African Devel­op­ment Com­mu­nity-bro­kered Maseru Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Dec­la­ra­tion which charted the roadmap to Satur­day’s polls.

Con­tacted for com­ment about Dr Mo­sisili’s al­le­ga­tions, Dr Tha­bane’s spokesper­son, Thabo Thakalekoala, in turn ac­cused the DC leader of “con­niv­ing with a clique of rab­bler­ousers” to de­lay the res­o­lu­tion of the LCS industrial ac­tion.

Mr Thakalekoala said although there had been “a few hic­cups” in re­solv­ing the LCS of­fi­cers’ griev­ances, Dr Tha­bane and Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices Min­is­ter Mot­lohi Maliehe were com­mit­ted to bring­ing an end to the im­passe with ne­go­ti­a­tions still on­go­ing.

He also ac­cused Dr Mo­sisili and Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing of be­ing “hell-bent on caus­ing con­flict in the coun­try in their bid to con­trol the se­cu­rity agen­cies”.

“Mo­sisili is try­ing to spread con­fu­sion in the LCS with the state­ments he is mak­ing,” Mr Thakalekoala said.

“The LCS is­sue is be­ing ad­dressed ac­cord­ingly and what is wor­ry­ing is that there are peo­ple in our coali­tion gov­ern­ment who are try­ing to frus­trate the process and cause trou­ble.”

DC leader Pakalitha Mo­sisili

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