Pursue justice without favour

Pursue justice without favour

IN this edition we publish a story in which Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC) secretary-general Bokang Ramatšella calls on Police Commissioner Molibeli Holomo to investigate 17 murder cases he says have been ignored.
The suspects in all the cases are police officers.

The pith and marrow of Ramatšella’s plea to Holomo is that police officers should not be allowed to get away with murder.
In a highly polarised political environment it is predictable that some might want to offhandedly dismiss Ramatšella’s call as a political prank.
Indeed, Ramatšella is a political animal who is garrulous and sometimes susceptible to reckless political statements.
His petition might as well be part of the opposition’s elaborate scheme to pile pressure on the government.

Yet even if that is the case we strongly believe that Ramatšella is raising fundamental issues of rule of law and justice. What matters is the substance of what he says and not his character or political affiliation. To dismiss his petition will be to confuse the tree for a forest.
His petition paints a depressing picture of a police service that has long lost its moral compass and neglected its duty to the people.
For years we and other newspapers have reported incidents in which people have lost lives to trigger-happy, reckless and abrasive policing methods.
What makes Ramatšella’s petition compelling is that he has done some digging on the progress made in investigating those murder cases that have been reported but remain unsolved.

He is saying the police are turning a blind eye to murder cases in which police officers are suspects.
“There is no doubt that the LMPS selects persons against whom the law is enforced in a well-calculated pick and choose kind of law enforcement,” says the activist in his petition.

We too and everyone should be worried that some of these cases have remained unsolved for years. Equally disturbing is that while the police have been dragging their feet on investigating these cases it has moved quickly to investigate murder cases in which soldiers are suspects.
What is reprehensive here is not that the police have been quick to investigate army-related cases but that they are not showing the same zeal in probing police-related cases.

To a rational person it would seem that the police are selectively pursuing cases. That perception can only undermine public confidence in the police.
It feeds into the common narrative that our police are only interested in justice in so far as the suspects are not from their ranks or the cases don’t have political angles to them.

History tells us that our police can be efficient if they choose to be. The problem is that they don’t seem to show the same competency when it comes to weeding out bad elements in their ranks. The result is that people have come to believe that the police are not interested in dealing with justice especially when it involves police officers. Now we wait for a response from the police commissioner to Ramatšella’s call.

He cannot dismiss Ramatšella’s allegations without investigating them. His salvation lies in proving Ramatšella wrong by showing that the police are investigating the cases. He will be doing it not to prove Ramatšella wrong but to show that the police are committed to justice even in cases in which some its officers are suspects. Above all, he will be doing what he is employed to do: pursue justice without fear or favour.

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