TŠOOANA BOOTED OUT OF PO­LICE

. . . PM Mo­sisili calls out­go­ing po­lice com­mis­sioner ‘a politi­cian in de­nial’ and ‘wolf in sheep’s skin’.

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Keiso Mohloboli

Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice ser­vice (LMPS) Com­mis­sioner Khothatso tšooana (38) has been sent on forced re­tire­ment af­ter gov­ern- ment deemed him un­fit to con­tinue hold­ing of­fice, the Le­sotho Times can re­veal.

Mr tšooana’s fate has been hang­ing in the bal­ance since Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili is­sued him a seven-day ul­ti­ma­tum on 3 June this year to “show cause” why he should not be sent on early re­tire­ment for in­com­pe­tence.

Although the em­bat­tled po­lice chief had re­sponded to the ul­ti­ma­tum and in­sisted he was be­ing harshly judged, Act­ing Govern­ment sec­re­tary em­manuel Le­soma has in­formed Mr tšooana’s his de­fence was not good enough to change the prime min­is­ter’s scathing as­sess­ment of his pro­fes­sional con­duct.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Le­soma’s let­ter dated 14 Au­gust 2015 which Mr tšooana was handed on Monday this week, the premier was now pro­ceed­ing to ad­vice King Let­sie III to re­tire him from the po­lice.

The let­ter, head­lined ‘ In­tended re­tire­ment FROM OF­FICE OF COM­MIS­SIONER OF PO­LICE’ partly reads: “I ac­knowl­edge re­ceipt of your time-barred let­ter of rep­re­sen­ta­tions dated 8 June 2015. the let­ter is time­barred, hope­lessly so, be­cause you served it, and was re­ceived by my of­fice only on 15 June 2015, be­ing five days late af­ter the time within which you were bound to have your rep­re­sen­ta­tions. You were served with the let­ter to show cause, and re­ceived the same, on 3 June 2015, in terms of which you were bound to have made your rep­re­sen­ta­tions within seven days of the re­ceipt of the same but you failed to do so.

“…Sub­ject to all the afore­go­ing, I write to in­form you that I have been di­rected by the Right hon­ourable the Prime Min­is­ter to write and in­form you that af­ter care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion and re­flec­tion, your rep­re­sen­ta­tions, even time-barred as they are, have in fact con­firmed his be­lief that it can­not be in the in­ter­ests of Le­sotho, in par­tic­u­lar, the Po­lice Ser­vice, for you to con­tinue in of­fice as Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice.

“he con­sid­ers that your rep­re­sen­ta­tions have added even more ur­gency for him to ten­der a hum­ble ad­vice to his Majesty the King to re­tire you from of­fice as Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice, in the in­ter­ests of ef­fi­ciency and or ef­fec­tive­ness of the in­sti­tu­tion”.

Dr Mo­sisili ac­cuses Mr tšooana of in­so­lence in his re­sponse to the ul­ti­ma­tum.

Mr Le­soma’s let­ter con­tin­ues: “He finds it very in­ter­est­ing, but sig­nif­i­cant, that you go all out to lam­bast him on his al­leged fail­ures as Prime Min­is­ter in the last 14 years.

“he is mind­ful of the fact that this is the com­mon re­frain and po­lit­i­cal tac­tic of his de­trac­tors and op­po­si­tion po­lit­i­cal par­ties. he says that un­doubt­edly your rep­re­sen­ta­tions de­pict you as if you are the mouth­piece and spokesper­son of such de­trac­tors, es­pe­cially op­po­si­tion po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

“He is mind­ful of the fact that he has, on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions, heard the same crit­i­cism made by sup­port­ers and mem­bers of the main op­po­si­tion po­lit­i­cal party, the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC).

“he ob­serves the fact such po­lit­i­cal crit­i­cism is also adopted by your­self could pos­si­bly sur­prise other peo­ple, but not him; and for this, you may wish to re­mind your­self of the views of the Right hon­ourable the Prime Min­is­ter, as suc­cinctly set out in my said let­ter of 3 June 2015. “…the Right hon­ourable the Prime Min­is­ter is as­tounded by your propo­si­tion, ef­fec­tively that the op­po­si­tion, which in­cludes the of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion in Par­lia­ment, has no role to play in the govern­ment of the coun­try; thus, nec­es­sar­ily sug­gest­ing that the op­po­si­tion has no busi­ness to be mon­i­tor­ing the per­for­mance of the ex­ec­u­tive and its in­sti­tu­tions. that you se­ri­ously be­lieve in that no­tion, he finds it in­cred­i­ble.

“Con­trary to your as­ser­tion, he ob­serves that it is the his­toric mis­sion of the of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion in Par­lia­ment to mon­i­tor the per­for­mance of the ex­ec­u­tive and its in­sti­tu­tions, in­clud­ing the Po­lice Ser­vice. It is not for fun that the of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion is ‘Govern­ment in wait­ing’.

“that con­sti­tutes the RAI­SON D’E TRE for the ex­is­tence of the op­po­si­tion, in all con­sti­tu­tional democ­ra­cies, which Le­sotho is. You surely would have known that in the last two years of your lead­er­ship of the Po­lice Ser­vice, the Right Hon­ourable the Prime Min­is­ter was then in the of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion, and the po­lit­i­cal party he led, the Demo­cratic Congress (DC) was the sin­gle largest party in Par­lia­ment. It is ob­vi­ous that in that ca­pac­ity he had done his as­sign­ment. You can­not prop­erly fal­ter him for mon­i­tor­ing the ex­ec­u­tive at the time”.

Dr Mo­sisili also ac­cuses Mr tšooana of be­ing in “de­nial” re­gard­ing his ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion in pol­i­tics.

“the Prime Min­is­ter is con­vinced that you are in de­nial of your­self as truly an ac­tive politi­cian. he says the whole tenor of your rep­re­sen­ta­tions says it all.

“he tells the story of a wolf in a sheep’s skin; and draw­ing from the anal­ogy, con­tends that your rep­re­sen­ta­tions re­veal your true char­ac­ter as an ac­tive politi­cian, yet mas­querad­ing un­der a po­lice uni­form.

“he says the veil has been re­moved by the na­ture of your rep­re­sen­ta­tions. he con­tends that they un­mis­tak­ably lead to one con­clu­sion only: that you are likely to be hold­ing a brief for op­po­si­tion po­lit­i­cal par­ties. he notes with in­ter­est how you un­leash upon him po­lit­i­cal vit­riol and ran­cour con­cern­ing his al­leged fail­ures as Prime Min­is­ter be­fore”.

Dr Mo­sisili says it is a “shame and scan­dalous” to be harshly crit­i­cised about his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer by a pub­lic of­fi­cer “who is sup­posed to be a model of dis­ci­pline within an or­gan­i­sa­tion such as the po­lice ser­vice”.

The Act­ing GS adds: “For him, such po­lit­i­cal grand­stand­ing and pos­tur­ing as

dis­played by your rep­re­sen­ta­tions, is un­der­stand­able com­ing from his po­lit­i­cal peers and de­trac­tors in the ranks of op­po­si­tion po­lit­i­cal par­ties, but cer­tainly not from a pub­lic of­fi­cer; least of all, one wear­ing a po­lice uni­form.

“In fact, he points out it is in­deed the com­mon re­frain of the op­po­si­tion to crit­i­cise his po­lit­i­cal record in pretty the same way you have adopted in your rep­re­sen­ta­tions.

“On a lighter note, he finds the sim­i­lar­ity amus­ing. If the sim­i­lar­ity is a co­in­ci­dence, he finds it strange. He says that though he is a be­liever in co­in­ci­dences, truly he does not be­lieve that this one is a co­in­ci­dence. In­stead, he sees it as a mir­ror of your true self”.

Dr Mo­sisili fur­ther ac­cuses Mr tšooana of “be­ing silent” and not deny­ing that dur­ing his ten­ure, which be­gan in Jan­uary 2014, po­lice of­fi­cers took part in po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties.

the premier is also con­cerned about Mr tšooana’s reck­less­ness over the way

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Mo­thetjoa Mets-

The let­ter is time-barred, hope­lessly so, be­cause you served it, and was re­ceived by my of­fice only on 15 June 2015, be­ing five days late af­ter the time within which you were bound to have your rep­re­sen­ta­tions. You were served with the let­ter to show cause, and re­ceived the same, on 3 June 2015, in terms of which you were bound to have made your rep­re­sen­ta­tions within seven days of the re­ceipt of the same but you failed to do so

The premier is also con­cerned about Mr Tšooana’s reck­less­ness over the way

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing was served with sum­mons at the Moshoeshoe I In­ter­na­tional Air­port last year. The sum­mons re­lated to charges of sus­pected cor­rup­tion by the Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) leader.

Ac­cord­ing to Dr Mo­sisili, the po­lice should have been “sen­si­tive” and de­vised other means of serv­ing the sum­mons “as op­posed to do­ing it at the air­port in the glare of me­dia pub­lic­ity and pres­ence of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity”.

Dr Mo­sisili pokes fun at Mr Tšooana’s claims of re­ju­ve­nat­ing the LMPS dur­ing his ten­ure.

“You al­lude to what you call your suc­cesses of lay­ing out a plan to im­prove old build­ings, and erect­ing new ones, uni­form and boots, and state of fleet of po­lice ve­hi­cles.

“The Prime Min­is­ter can­not be­lieve the ex­tent of your dis­hon­esty in this re­gard by fail­ing to ac­knowl­edge while you may have as­sumed of­fice at the point of im­ple­men­ta­tion of cer­tain projects, the fact of the mat­ter is pretty much ground, in terms of prior plan­ning, had al­ready been cov­ered by your pre­de­ces­sors who al­ready had vi­sion to im­prove the work­ing con­di­tions of the po­lice.”

Dr Mo­sisili then seals Mr Tšooana’s fate in no un­cer­tain words.

“Af­ter hav­ing care­fully stud­ied, scru­ti­nised and pon­dered over your vo­lu­mi­nous and wide-rang­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tions, it is the serous be­lief and con­sid­er­a­tion of the Prime Min­is­ter that in­deed, the rep­re­sen­ta­tions have not ad­vanced your case an iota to­wards per­suad­ing him to think oth­er­wise than pro­ceed in the man­ner he in­di­cated to you through my let­ter of 3 June 2015.

“The more he goes through your rep­re­sen­ta­tions, the more he be­comes con­vinced that you sim­ply can­not hold any bright fu­ture for the good name, rep­u­ta­tion and im­age of the Po­lice Ser­vice of Le­sotho.

“He is sat­is­fied that you were given suf­fi­cient op­por­tu­nity in the mat­ter to make your own rep­re­sen­ta­tions but failed to com­ply in time.

“Nev­er­the­less, notwith­stand­ing your fail­ure to re­spond on time, he de­cided, with­out prej­u­dice any­way, to en­ter­tain your time-barred rep­re­sen­ta­tions.

“He stud­ied and scru­ti­nised them and ap­plied his mind thereto, but fi­nally was not con­vinced to the con­trary of his in­ten­tions to pro­ceed to have you re­tired from of­fice as in­di­cated to you in my let­ter of 3 June 2015.

“It is in all the cir­cum­stances above that I am di­rected by the Right Hon­ourable the Prime Min­is­ter to in­form you that pur­suant to Sec­tion 5 (3) of the Po­lice Ser­vice Act No.7 of 1998, he will ac­cord­ingly pro­ceed to ten­der a hum­ble ad­vice to His Majesty King to re­quire you to re­tire from of­fice of the Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice, in the in­ter­ests of ef­fi­ciency and or ef­fec­tive­ness of the Po­lice Ser­vice”.

Asked on Monday if he had re­ceived Mr Le­soma’s let­ter, Mr Tšooana said: “I did to­day. I was shocked to re­ceive that let­ter while I still have a case in the High Court about my fu­ture in the LMPS. That case is go­ing to be heard on 21 Au­gust 2015, which is this Fri­day.

“I won’t give too many de­tails about this mat­ter but you must know that I will fol­low the le­gal route un­til ev­ery­thing is dusted and set­tled.

“Again, when the let­ter was de­liv­ered, some se­nior po­lice of­fi­cers went to my house in Ha Abia to let me know that the govern­ment ve­hi­cle al­lo­cated to me and my po­lice se­cu­rity would be taken away with im­me­di­ate ef­fect. I am be­ing told of an in­tended re­tire­ment and at the same time, be­ing de­nied the ben­e­fits of my of­fice.”

Mr Tšooana joined the po­lice in 2006 as a con­sta­ble and rose through the ranks to be­come the head of the LMPS last year. How­ever, his pro­mo­tion to Com­mis­sioner di­vided the LMPS with some within the ser­vice, feel­ing he did not have the nec­es­sary ex­pe­ri­ence for the post. There were also al­le­ga­tions within the po­lice that his pro­mo­tion was po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated be­cause he was favoured by ABC leader and then premier, Thomas Tha­bane.

Mr Tšooana has pre­vi­ously de­nied these claims, in­sist­ing his el­e­va­tion was mer­it­based.

Out­go­ing Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice Khothatso tšooana.

PRIME Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili.

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