Mo­sisili warns po­lice against pol­i­tics

. . . premier says ‘even politi­cians’ don’t have right to buy votes

Sunday Express - - NEWS - Billy Ntaote

PRIME Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili has warned mem­bers of the Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice (LMPS) against dab­bling in party pol­i­tics ahead of the 3 June 2017 gen­eral elec­tions.

The premier says any of­fi­cer who wants to be in ac­tive pol­i­tics should leave the LMPS first, adding that vote buy­ing in the up­com­ing polls would not be tol­er­ated by politi­cians let alone by cops.

Ad­dress­ing a pass-out cer­e­mony for 297 re­cruits at Po­lice Train­ing Col­lege on Fri­day, Dr Mo­sisili said en­gag­ing in party pol­i­tics af­fected the LMPS mem­bers’ abil­ity to per­form their du­ties im­par­tially and pro­fes­sion­ally.

He told the new con­sta­bles they were start­ing their ca­reers “at a very im­por­tant and crit­i­cal time” in the coun­try’s his­tory.

Ba­sotho go to the polls on 3 June 2017 after Dr Mo­sisili’s seven-party coali­tion gov­ern­ment was top­pled in a par­lia­men­tary no-con­fi­dence vote en­gi­neered by a four party op­po­si­tion coali­tion on 1 March 2017.

“The cit­i­zens of Le­sotho will cast their bal­lots soon, but my mes­sage to you re­cruits and to all LMPS mem­bers is leave pol­i­tics to me and my col­leagues,” Dr Mo­sisili said.

“Avoid be­ing drawn into pol­i­tics or be­ing af­fil­i­ated with po­lit­i­cal par­ties by all means.”

While po­lice of­fi­cers were within their rights to vote for par­ties of their choice in the elec­tions, he said, they could not be overtly par­ti­san.

“It is clear then, that as cit­i­zens, you have a right to vote in the 3 June elec­tions.

“How­ever, your po­lit­i­cal party al­le­giances should be a se­cret and not be known pub­licly.”

The premier said they should vote for par­ties with the best poli­cies for the coun­try’s ad­vance­ment.

“You don’t nec­es­sar­ily have to be a mem­ber of a po­lit­i­cal party to vote, but you should be at­tracted to the best cam­paign man­i­festos and poli­cies.

“What a party prom­ises when elected into gov­ern­ment should be what de­ter­mines your vot­ing be­hav­iour.”

Dr Mo­sisili said he pre­vi­ously heard al­le­ga­tions that some LMPS mem­bers were used by some po­lit­i­cal par­ties to buy votes from the elec­torate ahead of the 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 gen­eral elec­tions.

The prime min­is­ter said while he was not sure if the al­le­ga­tions were true or false, such con­duct would not be tol­er­ated.

“There is also some­thing I heard that I don’t know if it is true or false. There are claims that in the Fe­bru­ary 2015 elec­tions, some po­lice of­fi­cers were be­ing used by cer­tain po­lit­i­cal par­ties in vote buy­ing,” he said.

“That claim, if it is true, would be very un­for­tu­nate and I stand here to con­demn such acts with all hon­esty.”

Dr Mo­sisili stressed that politi­cians also didn’t have a right to buy votes.

The is­sue of vote buy­ing has of late come into fo­cus after the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion Tri­bunal found Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Min­is­ter and Demo­cratic Congress (DC) can­di­date for Malin­goa­neng con­stituency, Se­ri­a­long Qoo, guilty of vote buy­ing dur­ing the elec­tions pe­riod.

Mr Qoo had do­nated 33 com­put­ers to Maphola­neng Pri­mary and High Schools in the same con­stituency lo­cated in Mokhot­long district on 13 March 2017.

All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion leader Thomas Tha­bane has also been ac­cused of vote buy­ing after he do­nated var­i­ous ba­sic com­modi­ties to 35 el­derly and dis­abled peo­ple in Mo­hale’s Hoek last week.

“Even a politi­cian does not have a right to buy the peo­ple’s votes,” Dr Mo­sisili said.

“It is worse if com­mit­ted by a po­lice of­fi­cer. I hope I have been loud and clear enough and this is­sue will not sur­face again.”

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