MPs want rogue police officers disciplined

MPs want rogue police officers disciplined

MASERU – PARLIAMENT has directed Police Minister ’Mampho Mokhele and Commissioner Holomo Molibeli to ensure that legal and disciplinary action is taken against police officers implicated in crime.
The directive comes after Mokhotlong MP, Serialong Qoo, who is also the spokesman for the main opposition Democratic Congress (DC) party, brought a motion seeking action against rogue cops.
Qoo told Parliament on Monday that for a long time the government had turned a blind eye to the brutal manner in which the police are killing suspects in holding cells.

“It is high time that the government, especially the Ministry of Police, takes action against these police officers,” Qoo said.
“We cannot afford, as a nation, to have citizens killed by the police whose main duty is to protect them from any kind of harm.”
The motion, which was seconded by the Thabana-Morena MP Selibe Mochoboroane who is also the leader of Movement for Economic Change (MEC), was discussed and an agreement to deal with the rogue police was sealed on Monday.
Mochoboroane said the rogue cops should face disciplinary action, including criminal charges.
“We cannot afford to have criminals in our police service,” Mochoboroane said, adding: “They should be arrested like any other crime suspect and be hauled before the courts.”

The Leader of Opposition, Mathibeli Mokhothu, who is also the DC leader, supported the motion. He expressed concern that many crime suspects were being tortured to death by rogue cops.
Mokhothu said over 40 cases of police brutality in just two years ended with the deaths of suspects but the police have up until now not charged anyone in connection with the deaths.
The MP for Butha-Buthe Motlohi Maliehe, who is also the chairman for the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC), said several people have been killed by the police in his constituency and no action has been taken.
“Truly, the situation is so bad that the public’s confidence in the police has been totally eroded,” Maliehe said.
He also specifically talked about the police’s killing of two men of Kao, Terene Pitae and Poshoane Moloi, and no one has been held accountable.

Instead, the police who allegedly killed the men were transferred without any criminal charges laid against them.
Even Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, who is blamed for the police’s behavior after he told them to beat up crime suspects, said the killings are getting out of hand.
“I strongly support this motion that the police officers who torture and kill suspects should be held accountable for their acts,” Thabane said.
The debate comes barely two weeks after former Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC) secretary-general, Bokang Ramatšella, wrote to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague seeking the prosecution of Thabane, Commissioner Molibeli and Minister Mokhele.

The motion also comes four weeks after the United States Ambassador Rebecca Gonzales warned Thabane that if the issue of police brutality is not dealt with urgently Lesotho risks losing multi-billion grants from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).
Gonzales was speaking at the signing of the MCC Compact Development Grant Agreement worth M81 million in February this year.
Gonzales said the US was deeply concerned about corruption and reports of police brutality in the country.

Nkheli Liphoto

 

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