MP stripped naked in search

MP stripped naked in search

MASERU – POLICE subjected a female MP to a humiliating body search that included stripping her naked when she tried to attend the Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa (SCCA) Conference at ’Manthabiseng Convention Centre on Monday.
Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) women’s league deputy leader, ’Maeketsang ’Molotsi and other two other MPs were about to get into the conference when the police stopped them at the door.

’Molotsi, a proportional representation MP, says the two MPs were thoroughly searched before they entered the conference.
She says when it was her turn two policewomen were instructed to accompany her to the toilet.
’Molotsi said once in the toilet, the officers instructed her to remove her clothes so they could search her.

“I was wearing a pink blanket and a pink dress of the seshoeshoe fabric,” she says.
“I removed the blanket first and I thought they just wanted to run their hands on my body while I am still wearing my dress but to my shock they ordered me to remove it too.”
“I hastily obeyed, now afraid that they would beat me up if I resisted because it is now their culture to assault people.”
’Molotsi says she removed everything until she was completely naked.

“At the time there were other women who were entering the toilets and were looking at me curiously as I was removing my clothes and they stared at my nakedness.”
“What makes me angrier is that these policewomen were too young, they were just children.”
She was later allowed to put on her clothes and told that she could attend the conference.

’Molotsi says she felt humiliated, especially because some who attended the conference saw her being stripped by the police.
She decided to skip the conference and report the incident to the secretary of the women’s caucus in parliament, Senator ’Makholu Moshoeshoe, who immediately reported the matter to Police Minister ’Mampho Mokhele.

Moshoeshoe said Mokhele promised to investigate the matter.
Moshoeshoe also said she was disturbed when she heard what the police did to the MP, someone who deserved VIP treatment at all government events.
“We will meet as the women’s caucus and discuss the matter and issue a statement,” she said.

One of the MPs who were with ’Molotsi, ’Majoel Tlali who is also from the LCD, said they were surprised when they were searched but did not protest because she felt it was a routine procedure at such a conference.
Tlali said she however became worried when the police took ’Molotsi to the bathrooms.

“She came back embarrassed and unhappy saying they stripped her naked,” Tlali said.
Mokhele was not available for comment on her mobile phone.
Police spokesman Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli said he was not aware of the incident.

He however said the law allows the police to search people.
’Molotsi said they as opposition MPs decided to attend the conference “because cancer knows no political colours”.

“In my understanding, we as Basotho are united in the fight against any disease irrespective of our different political inclinations,” she said.
She said the police had no reason to subject her to such a humiliating search.
“They were just playing petty party politics at an important event such as this one.”

“We were the only ones who were stopped and searched, and I am the only one whose search went like this.
’Molotsi’s ordeal came days after the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) grilled commissioner Holomo Molibeli over the police’s behaviour.
The PAC was concerned that millions of maloti allocated to the police are being used to compensate people who claim to have been harassed, tortured and humiliated by the police.

Nkheli Liphoto

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