Com­mis­sioner vows to cleanse po­lice

Lesotho Times - - News - Keiso Mohloboli

PO­LICE Com­mis­sioner Moolahlehi Let­soepa says he is work­ing tire­lessly to de­poli­titi­cise the law-en­force­ment agen­ncy and wants ded­i­cated of­fi­cer­srs “who work for the in­sti­tu­tionon like they are serv­ing God himm­self”.

Com­mis­sioner Let­soepa a was ap­pointed to his cur­rentt po­si­tion on 3 Novem­ber 20155 amid al­le­ga­tions the Leso- tho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vicee (LMPS) had be­come deeplyy di­vided along po­lit­i­cal par­tyy lines.

In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with the Le­sotho Times this week, the po­lice boss said party pol­i­tics had no place in the LMPS and vowed to rid the ser­vice of any of­fi­cer who goes against this “very important prin­ci­ple” of the pro­fes­sion.

Com­mis­sioner Let­soepa said what Le­sotho needs are po­lice of­fi­cers ded­i­cated to serve their coun­try with­out bias.

“Le­sotho’s po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment over the past two, three years, has had a huge im­pact on the po­lice ser­vice be­cause of­fi­cers had be­come very ac­tive in party pol­i­tics and on so­cial me­dia at the ex­pense of ser­vice-de­liv­ery. This was to­tally un­pro­fes­sional, un­eth­i­cal, and un­ac­cept­able hence we took mea­sures to root this out of the ser­vice,” Com­mis­sioner Let­soepa said.

“Po­lice of­fi­cers are not sup­posed to take part in party pol­i­tics but have to serve the gov­ern­ment of the day. Like I said, we have taken mea­sures to make sure no of­fi­cer is in­volved in any of th­ese un­ac­cept­able prac­tices.

“The po­lice ser­vice needs of­fi­cers who work for the in­sti­tu­tion like they are serv­ing God him­self be­cause peo­ple are God’s crea­tures and pro­tect­ing them is pro­tect­ing God him­self.

“But to achieve this, the of­fi­cers need to be ded­i­cated.”

Asked if the shakeup which took place in the LMPS when he was ap­pointed com­mis­sioner was due to th­ese “un­ac­cept­able” prac­tices, Com­mis­sioner Let­soepa said: “No; it must be very clear that the move­ment of of­fi­cers had noth­ing to do with party pol­i­tics like some peo­ple have al­leged; it was very trans­par­ent as it in­volved the Po­lice Ap­point­ment and Pro­mo­tion Board.

“This Board com­prises the Po­lice Com­mis­sioner, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the po­lice chain of com­mand and Min­istry of Public Ser­vice, and bases it­self on per­for­mance and noth­ing else when mak­ing any ap­point­ments.

“Some of­fi­cers had been mis­led into be­liev­ing trans­fers and pro­mo­tions were done ac­cord­ing to party af­fil­i­a­tion and I truly think that was the main rea­son why some of them had be­come ac­tive in pol­i­tics.”

He con­tin­ued: “But let me re­mind my col­leagues that the Board looks at of­fi­cers who know and un­der­stand the man­date and vi­sion of the in­sti­tu­tion, con­trib­ute in mend­ing re­la­tions among of­fi­cers and sis­ter se­cu­rity or­gan­i­sa­tions and have shown de­vo­tion and loy­alty in ex­e­cut­ing po­lice du­ties.

“Th­ese are of­fi­cers who are then pro­moted by the Board and no other cri­te­ria is used.”

Ac­cord­ing to Com­mis­sioner Let­soepa, he would not tol­er­ate any of­fi­cer who brings pol­i­tics into the LMPS.

“It is re­ally an em­bar­rass­ment for any of our mem­bers to be la­belled Congress or Na­tion­al­ist po­lice of­fi­cers when they are sup­posed to be His Majesty’s gov­ern­ment’s po­lice, so we will not al­low the LMPS to be politi­cised,” he said.

Com­mis­sioner Let­soepa also re­sponded to al­le­ga­tions that he was not see­ing eye-to-eye with Po­lice Min­is­ter Monyane Moleleki over of­fi­cers’ pro­mo­tions and trans­fers.

“I could not ask for a bet­ter Min­is­ter be­cause we have an ex­cel­lent and smooth work- ing re­la­tion­ship.re­la­tion­ship

“Ntate Molelek­iMolele has been the best Min­is­ter I have worked w with so far. He has shown his sup­port by shar­ing­shar lead­er­ship skills be­cause it was not easy f for me, at the be­gin­ning, to be in this po­si­tion.

“I have en­joye­den­joye ev­ery minute I have worked with Ntate Molelek­iMol be­cause I can re­port to him about poli po­lice is­sues with­out any prob­lem and any­tim any­time. There was never a time he com­plained abo about ei­ther the polic­ing ef­forts or con­duct of the LMPS un­der my lead­er­ship. He is eth­i­cal an­dan pro­fes­sional and never in­trudes in po­lice op­er­a­tions,” Com­mis­sioner Let­soepa said.

Asked about an on­go­ing po­lice op­er­a­tion in Mafeteng du dur­ing which of­fi­cers are seiz­ing tra­di­tional b blan­kets com­monly as­so­ci­ated with feud­ing famo­fam mu­sic gangs by the names Terene and Seakhi,Sea Com­mis­sioner Let­soepa said there was ur­gent need to put a stop to the killings asso as­so­ci­ated with the groups. Dozens of Ba­sotho have been killed and in­jured over re­cent monthsmo due to the groups’ turf war which has been fanned by of­fen­sive lyrics in their song songs. The two groups, which are iden­ti­fied by the dis­tinct colours of their tra­di­tional blank blan­ket-at­tire, orig­i­nate from Mafeteng but t the killings have since spread to diffe dif­fer­ent parts of Le­sotho and neigh neigh­bour­ing South Africa. “W “We started the op­er­a­tion in Ma Mafeteng be­cause famo-re­lated k killings have es­ca­lated in that district.

“There is ur­gent need to search and take blan­kets from peo­ple wear­ing them in town be­cause some are tak­ing ad­van­tage of th­ese blan­kets and us­ing them to con­ceal weapons which they then use to kill oth­ers or in rob­beries.

“The po­lice are out in full force to dis­man­tle famo gangs be­cause Ba­sotho have lost so many rel­a­tives and the killings must come to an end be­fore the sit­u­a­tion gets worse.”

Com­mis­sioner Let­soepa fur­ther said be­cause the famo turf war had spilled into South Africa where Ba­sotho liv­ing in that coun­try are also killing each other over the same gangs, a del­e­ga­tion from the Free State was in the coun­try on Sun­day for con­sul­ta­tion.

“A SAPS (South African Po­lice Ser­vice) del­e­ga­tion of nine of­fi­cers led by Free State Pro­vin­cial Com­mis­sioner Gen­eral Si­mon Mpembe vis­ited us on Sun­day.

“We dis­cussed how best we can share in­tel­li­gence and tac­tics on stop­ping vi­o­lent crime in all its forms, and that in­cluded famo-re­lated killings,” he said.

Com­mis­sioner Let­soepa also urged the po­lice to work hard for the ben­e­fit of their coun­try and never to be par­ti­san in their op­er­a­tions.

“The po­lice au­thor­ity is not only here to con­demn but also re­ward and mo­ti­vate of­fi­cers who un­der­stand their man­date,” he said.

Po­lice of­fi­cers are not sup­posed to take part in party pol­i­tics but have to serve the gov­ern­ment of the day. Like I said, we have taken mea­sures to make sure no of­fi­cer is in­volved in any of th­ese un­ac­cept­able prac­tices. The po­lice ser­vice needs of­fi­cers who work for the in­sti­tu­tion like they are serv­ing God him­self be­cause peo­ple are God’s crea­tures and pro­tect­ing them is pro­tect­ing God him­self

PO­LICE Com­mis­sioner Mo­lahlehi Let­soepa

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