Leposa turns on the government

Leposa turns on the government

MASERU – THEY are all birds of the same feather.That is the scathing assessment by the Lesotho Police Staff Association (LEPOSA) of the current coalition government led by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.
The union said the government is behaving in the same way like its previous predecessor in refusing to honour its pledge to award police officers a decent salary increase.

“The issue of the six percent salary increase for police officers is moving at a tortoise’s pace,” Morapeli Motloli, the LEPOSA secretary general told a press conference this week. Motloli said they received a cold shoulder from the past regime headed by former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili and are now receiving a similar cold shoulder from the current coalition government.

Motloli said LEPOSA first raised that their salaries should be increased by six percent in 2015 but the then government was hostile to the idea.
“The previous regime had initially pointed out that an expert opinion would be solicited to determine the appropriateness of the police salary review,” Motloli said.

Motloli said the Police Constables, Superintendents, and Senior Superintendents, Lance Sergeants, Sergeants and Sub Inspectors were the only ones who qualified for a six percent increment.

He said they did all that was in their power to settle the issue but to no avail. They also approached individual ministries, wrote to the Minister of Police and held meetings with different ministries all to no avail.

Motloli said when Commissioner Molibeli Holomo came back into office the first issue he dealt with was the proposed six percent increment.
“He even advised us to withdraw the case and settle the matter out of court,” Motloli said.
But LEPOSA did not withdraw the matter but rather went back to the board to try and solve the issue amicably.

He recalled that in November 2017, the office of the Minister of Police represented by its Principal Secretary, the Ministry of Public Service and LEPOSA dealt with the issue in which all parties agreed that the government owed a six percent salary raise to the police.
Motloli said the Ministry of Public Service said even though they agreed that the police were owed six percent, the ministry extended a request stating that they would like to study the police pay structure from the 2012 normalisation process.

Motloli said they were disappointed with the manner in which the matter was handled.
He said at the end of January they wrote to the Minister of Police about the six percent and promotions issue but nothing has worked in their favour.
“The reply we got was very cold,” he said.

Motloli said the minister told them that she had received their letter and that she would call them when she had time.
He said that did not sit well with them.
Motloli said the issue of the six percent raise is still dragging with no clear answer on the way forward.
Police spokesman Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli said the police management is assisting the police in the push to resolve the 6 percent salary increase.
Meanwhile, LEPOSA has condemned the manner in which police promotions are made.

The association argued that there is no difference between the manner in which former Commissioner of Police Molahlehi Letsoepa dealt with promotions and the way the current Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli is doing.
LEPOSA said it sees no difference between the two commissioners.
Motloli said the manner in which the January police promotions have been effected is not different from those of June 2017 under the administration of Letsoepa.
Letsoepa has since fled the country and his whereabouts are still unknown to the government.
He said they have since instituted a case challenging the January promotions in the High Court.
But their case is still pending in the court as it has not yet been given a date of hearing
Motloli further argued that “the promotions are without merit and have been effected in the same financial year in which there were no new positions budgeted for”.

He said the January promotions pose a serious threat to the June 2017 promotions which are currently pending in the Court of Appeal, should the Court of Appeal not rule in favour of the promoted police officers.
He said they are pinning their hopes on the Court of Appeal to decide the case on its merits.
Motloli said the 2017 promotions were carried out without following proper procedures because they were not advertised.

He said procedurally, the posts were supposed to be announced and applications be made based on the advertised positions.
And subsequently, the applicants would be shortlisted and those who qualify for the interviews would be selected.
Motloli said what was done during the promotions was the opposite.

He said positions for advertisements were announced and the interested candidates applied.
He said the procedure was flawed where there were no police officers shortlisted and no interviews were conducted yet people were promoted.
Motloli said it was for this reason that they approached the court to block the promotions.

On the issue of promotions, Mopeli said the aggrieved party has since lodged a case in the courts.
He said they are waiting for the judgement in the courts.

’Makhotso Rakotsoane

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