LCS speaks out on ra­dio sta­tion saga

Lesotho Times - - News - ‘Marafaele Mohloboli

THE Le­sotho Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices (LCS) has de­nied its mem­bers who barged into Tha­hakhube (TK) FM stu­dios dur­ing a live broad­cast on Wed­nes­day last week were armed.

Ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence in Maseru this week, LCS Com­mis­sioner ’Matefo Makhalemele said con­trary to the sta­tion’s news depart­ment As­sis­tant Man­ager Moseketsi Nkuebe’s claims, the three of­fi­cers were not armed.

Ms Nkuebe had told the Le­sotho Times last week the LCS of­fi­cers stormed into the stu- dio dur­ing a cur­rent af­fairs show in which LCS Staff As­so­ci­a­tion Sec­re­tary-gen­eral Le­bona­joang Ramo­ha­lali was talk­ing about the re­cently-en­acted Le­sotho Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices Act (2016).

Dur­ing the pro­gramme, ti­tled Morn­ing Par­lia­ment, Mr Ramo­ha­lali said the new law only fo­cused on the of­fences and pun­ish­ments for staff and not on their wel­fare.

How­ever, she said the three of­fi­cers en­tered the stu­dio and de­manded to know why the sta­tion had af­forded Mr Ramo­ha­lali an op­por­tu­nity to talk about the new law with­out telling the LCS they would dis­cuss the is­sue on the pro­gramme.

Ms Nkuebe said she felt “in­tim­i­dated” by the in­tru­sion by the of­fi­cers, “Two of them were not in uniform, while the third one was in full LCS uniform,” she said.

“One of them called me to where he was by wag­ging his fin­ger. At the time, we were still live since the mi­cro­phones were still on. I was very scared and didn’t know what to do. I felt help­less.

“I tried to ex­plain that I would give them an op­por­tu­nity to set the record straight if they felt ag­grieved. How­ever, they shouted ‘we want to set the record straight now!’ and I gave one of them a seat and the mi­cro­phone to state their point of view.” How­ever, Com­mis­sioner Makhalemele said the of­fi­cers, two of whom were her guards and the other LCS Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer As­sis­tant Su­per­in­ten­dent Neo Mopeli, were not armed. “It is not true that they were armed. I was told what hap­pened,” she said. “The only per­son who was man­dated to en­ter the ra­dio sta­tion was the pub­lic re­la­tions of­fi­cer of the LCS. The other two only ac­com­pa­nied him be­cause they pro­vided trans­port.” Com­mis­sioner Makhalemele also de­nied the of­fi­cers in­ten­tion­ally in­ter­rupted the ra­dio pro­grame: “I was told there was no one at the re­cep­tion. That’s why they went to the stu­dio to speak to the pre­sen­ter. If they had found some­one at the re­cep­tion, they would have left the mes­sage they wanted to con­vey and left.” The LCS chief said t the me­dia should en­gage the cor­rec­tion­al­cor­rec­tiona in­sti­tu­tion’s man­age­ment as a mat­ter of course in­stead of Mr Ramo­ha­lali who was sus­pended. Mr Ramo­ha­lali was susp sus­pended from the LCS in Jan­uary this year for speak­ing to the me­dia with­out auth au­tho­ri­sa­tion. “Let’s make it a point that each time you talk about this in­sti­tu­tion, you talk to the man­age­ment,” said Com­mis­sioner Makhalemele. “This is not to say w we will al­ways agree, but the ex­pec­ta­tion i is for all me­dia prac­ti­tion­ers to be eth­i­cal.” She said­sai while some peo­ple were cr crit­i­cal of the Le­sotho Cor­rect Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices Act (2016 (2016), the me­dia should hand han­dle the is­sue with car care. ““There are is­sues we ca can openly talk about a and those we can’t, b be­cause we are an in­sti­tu­tion that deals with se­cu­rity is­sues. It is there­fore very vi­tal for our of­fi­cers to talk to the me­dia af­ter be­ing given the au­tho­ri­sa­tion. If any of­fi­cer chooses to talk to the me­dia with­out such au­tho­ri­sa­tion, we take them to task.” Mean­while, the LCS and TK-FM yes­ter­day promised to is­sue a joint state­ment on the is­sue, but later opted to is­sue it to­day.

LCS Com­mis­sioner ’Matefo Makhalemele.

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