TšooanaTšooan sues govt

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Keiso Mohloboli

PO­LICE Com­mis­sioner Khothatso Tšooana on Tues­day filed an ur­gent ap­pli­ca­tion in the high Court seek­ing an or­der com­pelling Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili to al­low him to re­sume his du­ties with im­me­di­ate ef­fect.

The com­mis­sioner cited Po­lice Min­is­ter Monyane Moleleki, Deputy Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice (DCP) Keketso Mon­a­heng and At­tor­ney Gen­eral Tšokolo Makhethe, as sec­ond to fourth re­spon­dent re­spec­tively.

In ad­di­tion to re­sum­ing his du­ties, Mr Tšooana had also wanted Mr Mon­a­heng to show cause why he should not be in­ter­dicted from op­er­at­ing as the com­mis­sioner of po­lice pending the fi­nal­i­sa­tion of the case.

Mr Tšooana also wanted Mr Mon­a­heng’s ap­point­ment as Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice Act­ing Com­mis­sioner on 8 April 2015 to be nul­li­fied, and to be awarded costs of the suit in the event of op­po­si­tion.

While the court granted some of his prayers — ac­cept­ing that the case was ur­gent; that the re­spon­dents should file their op­pos­ing af­fi­davits, if any, on or be­fore 30 April; that he should also file his re­ply­ing af­fi­davit on or be­fore 4 May 2015 and that the two par­ties shall file their heads of ar­gu­ment on be­fore 7 May 2015 — Mr Tšooana did not get his great­est wish of re­sum­ing his du­ties as com­mis­sioner of po­lice “forth­with”.

This means the case would now be heard by the high Court on 8 May 2015, ac­cord­ing to Tues­day’s In­terim Court Or­der.

In his af­fi­davit, Mr Tšooana gives a back­ground of how he found him­self go­ing on spe­cial leave out­side the coun­try in Novem­ber last year, ex­pect­ing to im­me­di­ately re­sume his du­ties as po­lice com­mis­sioner on re­turn. Mr Tšooana also ex­plains how he was ap­pointed po­lice com­mis­sioner on 16 Jan­uary 2014.

“Fol­low­ing the po­lit­i­cal in­se­cu­rity that faced Le­sotho in 2014, and the in­ter­ven­tion of SADC (South­ern African Devel­op­ment Com­mu­nity), the po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship rship in Le­sotho signed the Maseru Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Dec­la­ra­tion on 2 Oc­to­ber tober 2014. This dec­la­ra­tion was meant to pave the way for elec­tions andnd bring nor­malcy to Le­sotho.

“On 23 Oc­to­berr 2014, an­other doc­u­ment was signed gned which was termed the Maseru ru Se­cu­rity Ac­cord. In terms of thehe said Ac­cord, I, to­gether with the Le­sotho De­fence Force Com­man­der, der, Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Maa­parankoenkoe Ma­hao and Lt Gen Tlali Kamoli li agreed to go on “leave of ab­sence” for spec­i­fied pe­ri­ods. Dur­ing the leaveave of ab­sence, we un­der­took work­ingg vis­its in SADC and Com­mon­wealth th coun­tries. As part of the Ac­cord, I went to Al­ge­ria for a pe­riod of three months,” Mr Tšooanaoana noted.

The com­mis­sioner oner says af­ter the SADC DC Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Mis­sionon was com­pleted fol­l­low­ing the 28 Feb- ru­ary 2015 gen- eral elec­tions, he re­turned home on 2 April 2015 and d ex­pected to re­sumee his du­ties im­medi- ately.

“Upon my ar­rival in the coun­try, I im­me­di­ately re­ported for duty and met the Min­is­ter of Po­lice (Mr Moleleki), the 2nd re­spon­dent herein. The 2nd re­spon­dent then grace­fully di­rected me to go home and rest, and that I would be called into of­fice later on. I did not read much into th­ese state­ments and sim­ply took it that he found it be­fit­ting that I take a lit­tle rest and time off with my fam­ily af­ter a long time away from home.

“In fact, I ar­rived in the coun­try on Thurs­day just be­fore easter and I rea­son­ably ex­pected to be called for duty af­ter the hol­i­days. I must em­pha­sise that the hon­ourable Min­is­ter did not and cor­rectly so, say that he was send­ing me on forced leave of what­ever na­ture.

“Dur­ing my meet­ing with the hon­ourable Min­is­ter, he told me that he was not the ap­point­ing au- thor­ity but the Prime Min­is­ter is, and that is­sues per­tain­ing to Of­fice of the Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice were still be­ing ad­dressed. At the time, I did not un­der­stand the rel­e­vance of this state­mentsta and out of re­spect for theth hon­ourable Min­is­ter, I did not bother ask­ing him to ex­plaine fur­ther. I sim­ply went h home as di­rected. “I was sur­prised to learn on 8 April 2015 that on the same day, a memo waswa is­sued ad­dressed to all rel­e­vant of­fices to the ef­fect that DCP — Op­er­a­tions, Keketso Mon­a­heng,Monah had been ap­pointed Act­ing Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice. I was i in­deed sur­prised be­cause at the tim time, I was ea­gerly await­ing a call from ei­ther the hon­ourable Min­is­ter o or Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary, in­form­ing mem to re­port for duty.”

Ac­cordingAc­cordin to Mr Tšooana, the worst thingthin was that the ap­point­ment was made with­out for­mally ad­vis­ing him as the in­cum­bent com­mis­sioner.com­mis

“DCP“DC Mon­a­heng marked his ass as­sump­tion of duty as Act­ing Co Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice by con­ven­ing­conve a meet­ing of se­nior of­fi­cer­sof­fice at the Po­lice Train­ing C Col­lege where he spelled out hish vi­sion as the Act­ing Com­mis­sion­erCom of Po­lice. his re­mark­srem and tone clearly sentse a mes­sage that he was in that of­fice for the fore­see­able fu­ture, if not for good. I was par­tic­u­larly alarmed to hear DCP Mon­a­heng ad­dress fel­low po­lice of­fi­cers as if he was now the new Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice. For in­stance, he out­lined his longterm plan to deal de­ci­sively with el­e­ments within the LMPS that were, ac­cord­ing to him, re­spon­si­ble for the un­for­tu­nate events of 30 Au­gust 2014 (when the army in­vaded and took over three Maseru po­lice sta­tions, dur­ing which one po­lice of­fi­cer was killed). As he out­lined his vi­sion and plans to the se­nior of­fi­cers, it dawned on me that he knew he was in that of­fice to stay. He did not talk like some­one ex­pect­ing the in­cum­bent to be in of­fice the next day.

“The meet­ing was fol­lowed by trans­fers of of­fi­cers, in­clud­ing As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice (ACP) Sello Mosili. It is im­por­tant to men­tion that ACP Mosili has ap- proached the court for an or­der to pro­tect his rights. ACP ezekiel Senti, who is also op­er­at­ing as a pseudo Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice, has writ­ten sev­eral let­ters in­ti­mat­ing that I am on leave. he has said as much in a sworn filed op­po­si­tion of ACP Mosili’s case.

“Al­ter­na­tively, if the di­rec­tive from Mr Moleleki that I should go home and rest is taken to be leave, then I re­spec­tively sub­mit that the same has no legal ba­sis. Firstly, Mr Moleleki is not the ap­point­ing author­ity for the po­si­tion of Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice and can­not there­fore send me on leave. Se­condly, Mr Moleleki has no author­ity to send me on forced leave.

“I have been to the of­fices of the Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary of Po­lice and of the Gov­ern­ment Sec­re­tary on sev­eral oc­ca­sions re­quest­ing and de­mand­ing clar­i­fi­ca­tion on my sit­u­a­tion. None has been forth­com­ing.

“I there­fore, ve­he­mently deny be­ing on leave and there is ab­so­lutely no doc­u­men­ta­tion ev­i­denc­ing same.”

Mr Tšooana, who is be­ing rep­re­sented by Ad­vo­cate Tu­misang Mosotho in the case, says he had been treated un­fairly “and with­out cour­tesy”.

“My rights have been fla­grantly vi­o­lated and I am duty-bound to with­stand all the in­jus­tices be­ing meted out to me within the perime­ters of the law.

“I suf­fer a lot of prej­u­dice as the Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice if my deputy is ap­pointed to act in my po­si­tion in my pres­ence.

“The im­pres­sion that has been cre­ated by the un­fold­ing events is I am on leave or sus­pen­sion if my du­ties have been passed to my deputy in a for­mal process of ap­point­ment. That is wrong­ful and un­law­ful. I have, as a re­sult, suf­fered ex­ten­sive prej­u­dice and there is no other al­ter­na­tive rem­edy in the cir­cum­stances. I con­tinue to suf­fer as an of­fi­cer and Com­mis­sioner if my deputy con­tin­ues ex­er­cis­ing my du­ties and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. The mat­ter is ex­tremely ur­gent on the ba­sis of the fore­go­ing rea­sons.”

PO­LICE Com­mis­sioner Khothatso Tšooana

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