Po­lice chief angers MP

Lesotho Times - - News - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

THE All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment (MP), ’ Mam­pho Mokhele, has ac­cused Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice (LMPS) Act­ing Com­mis­sioner, Keketso Mon­a­heng, of “ly­ing in my name to fur­ther his per­sonal agenda”.

Com­mis­sioner Mon­a­heng, who was ad­dress­ing se­nior LMPS mem­bers on Fri­day last week in Maseru, used Ms Mokhele as “a good ex­am­ple” of an of­fi­cer who de­cided to re­tire from the ser­vice be­fore en­gag­ing in ac­tive pol­i­tics.

How­ever, the Ma­put­soe-based leg­is­la­tor has re­acted an­grily to Com­mis­sioner Mon­a­heng’s state­ment, in­sist­ing when she quit the po­lice in 2010, it was due to her hus­band’s death and not pol­i­tics.

A se­nior su­per­in­ten­dent sta­tioned in Butha-buthe at the time of her re­tire­ment, Ms Mokhele won the Ma­put­soe con­stituency dur­ing the 26 May 2012 gen­eral elec­tions un­der a Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) ticket, and at­tained a pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion seat through ABC fol­low­ing the 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 poll.

Com­mis­sioner Mon­a­heng, who was As­sis­tant Po­lice Com­mis­sioner (ACP) re­spon­si­ble for the North­ern Re­gion and Ms Mokhele’s im­me­di­ate su­per­vi­sor when she quit the LMPS, lam­basted of­fi­cers who en­gage in ac­tive pol­i­tics and vowed to take ac­tion against such “un­pro­fes­sional” el­e­ments.

He then used Ms Mokhele as a shin­ing ex­am­ple of a pro­fes­sional who de­cided not to mix pol­i­tics with her po­lice du­ties when she left the LMPS five years ago. LMPS mem­bers are for­bid­den from en­gag­ing in ac­tive party pol­i­tics through the Po­lice Act of 1998.

Com­mis­sioner Mon­a­heng said in his ad­dress at Po­lice Train­ing Col­lege: “As an ex­am­ple, I will use Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent ’Mam­pho Mokhele, who took early re­tire­ment in 2010, and is now an MP.

“At the time she went for re­tire­ment, she told me that she in­tended to join ac­tive pol­i­tics and there­fore didn’t want to drag the name of the LMPS into dis­re­pute.”

How­ever, Ms Mokhele on Mon­day told the Le­sotho Times: “Ntate Mon­a­heng used my name for his own per­sonal agenda. It’s a pure lie that I took early re­tire­ment to join ac­tive pol­i­tics but had to re­sign be­cause my hus­band had passed away in Jan­uary 2010. He was stay­ing alone at our home in Ma­put­soe at the time, and I was based in Butha-buthe. I ap­plied for early re­tire­ment be­cause I wanted to go home and take care of the fam­ily and Ntate Mon­a­heng knows that very well.

“I be­came a politi­cian by pure chance af­ter be­ing ap­proached by the Ma­put­soe com­mu­nity to con­test the May 2012 gen­eral elec­tions as an LCD can­di­date. This was shortly af­ter the for­ma­tion of the DC (Demo­cratic Congress) from the LCD, and the per­son who was sup­posed to stand for the LCD had moved over to the DC. How could I have known in 2010 when I re­tired from the po­lice that the DC was go­ing to be formed two years later so that I would then be­come the LCD can­di­date?”

How­ever, Com­mis­sioner Mon­a­heng on Tues­day main­tained his state­ment re­gard­ing Ms Mokhele.

“I am a per­son of in­tegrity and some­one in my po­si­tion can’t go about telling lies about peo­ple as highly re­spected as Why would I do that?

“The fact of the mat­ter is Ms Mokhele joined ac­tive pol­i­tics and is do­ing well, for that mat­ter.

“Why would she be so an­gry about my state­ment? There is noth­ing bad about what I said and don’t re­gret any­thing I said that day.”

’Me

Mokhele.

And while Com­mis­sioner Mon­a­heng’s ad­dress to the po­lice — that they had dis­graced the LMPS by aban­don­ing their law-en­force­ment du­ties in pur­suit of pol­i­tics in the runup to the elec­tions — was gen­er­ally criti­sised by or­di­nary Ba­sotho for “fail­ing to ad­dress the real chal­lenges fac­ing the LMPS”, Com­mis­sioner Mon­a­heng told the Le­sotho Times: “Be­fore I held Fri­day’s meet­ing with se­nior po­lice of­fi­cers in the pres­ence of the me­dia, I had held an­other im­por­tant meet­ing with them dur­ing which we ad­dressed all th­ese se­ri­ous is­sues peo­ple are con­cerned about.”

One of the is­sues the act­ing po­lice com­mis­sioner was ac­cused of fail­ing to ad­dress last Fri­day, was the fa­tal shoot­ing on 30 Au­gust 2014, of Sub-in­spec­tor Mokhe­seng Ramahloko by rene­gade Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) mem­bers.

Sub-in­spec­tor Ramahloko was shot dead at Po­lice Head­quar­ters as LDF mem­bers took over Maseru Cen­tral Po­lice Sta­tion, Po­lice Head­quar­ters and Mabote Po­lice Sta­tion in a predawn raid then prime min­is­ter, Thomas Tha­bane, later said was an at­tempted coup.

Dr Tha­bane and other se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials fled to South Africa at the time of the raids, and when the ABC leader re­turned to Le­sotho five days later, he was un­der South African po­lice guard.

How­ever, Mr Mon­a­heng said those were “is­sues of a se­ri­ous na­ture” which could not be dis­cussed in the pres­ence of the me­dia last Fri­day.

Act­ing Po­lice com­mis­sioner Keketso Mon­a­heng

ABC MP ’Mam­pho Mokhele.

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