A Pandora’s box has been opened

A Pandora’s box has been opened

I struggled to come up with a topic to write about this week. I am not sure the reason for this when so much was happening in the country these last few days. I could for example have commented on Khetheng’s funeral, the PM’s wedding and the detention in police custody of the former Minister of Defence Tseliso Mokhosi. But I decided against discussing these obvious topics. They felt way too heavy and I just did not have the energy required to share my thoughts on these topics.

A lot has been said on the barbaric and gruesome murder of Police Constable Khetheng. In the past, I have also said my two cents worth. I have been unequivocal in my assertion that no stone be left unturned to ensure that all those responsible for this senseless death are brought to book.

In some quarters, I have even gone as far as to suggest that a Judicial Commission of Enquiry be set up to fully investigate this matter. Because, I simply fail to see how the police can be expected to be completely objective and transparent in a matter where even very senior police officers are implicated.

There will be things they will prefer “should never see the light of day”. So, having the police investigate themselves is not likely to be in the best interests of justice.

To arrest and to bring before court those alleged to have committed this crime is good and commendable. However, it’s not enough. More is required to restore the public’s diminished confidence in the police. I think having an external and independent body to investigate current structures, systems and processes and to come up with recommendations would make a big difference.

I could also have said something about what will probably be billed as the biggest wedding this country has ever seen – maybe second only to the Royal wedding in 2000. But I also decided against commenting on this. Don’t get me wrong, I love weddings but something did not feel quite right.

I felt uncomfortable that this government had broadcast a private wedding live on state TV. I am not sure the cause for my disquiet given that this was the Prime Minister and First Lady’s wedding i.e. national figures and therefore their wedding an event of national interest.

Perhaps I am still disgusted by how the previous government abused their control and management of the LNBS. The LNBS by all indications was a captured state institution. It was used as a propaganda machine for the governing parties and not used to reflect and to offer a plurality of views and opinions and to advance national and public interest.

I would hate to see this government go down the same path. Hence the nagging thought in my head – was broadcasting the PM’s wedding on state TV appropriate?

This government must do better. The LNBS must be radically transformed and not captured like what happened to previous governments.

Transformation entails inter alia, that the LNBS has editorial independence and that it is free of obligation to any interest groups including serving the interests of the leaders of parties of the current governing coalition. The LNBS must serve the public’s right to know in a balanced, fair and responsible way.

As for the detention of the former Minister of Defence and current Deputy Leader of the LCD, there is not much to say at this stage. As I write this, there is scant information available in the public domain save reports that Ntate Tseliso Mokhosi has been detained to assist the police with investigations related to the murder of Police Constable Khetheng.

I am however encouraged to see that we seem to be moving in the direction where all suspects are treated the same regardless of their status in society. This is good. A country serious about entrenching the rule of law should ensure that justice is not selective. No one should be accorded special treatment because they are a former minister or the current deputy leader of one of the opposition parties.

It is gratifying to see that in this case, the police seem to be doing their job without fear and favour. They don’t appear to have been intimidated by Mokhosi’s high profile status in the previous government and his high-profile role now as a senior and leading politician in Lesotho.

I am excited by this. I hope that the actions of the investigating officers in this case, will be anchored in the law and nowhere else. I also hope that the rights of all suspects in this case will be respected.

Hopefully I will have something more interesting to write about next week. I have a feeling that a Pandora’s box has been opened. There will be no shortage of stories to analyse in the coming weeks.

 Poloko

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