Police chief angers MP
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.”
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.