NSS boss attacks politicians

NSS boss attacks politicians

MASERU – NATIONAL Security Service (NSS) Director General Phello Ralenkoane says he is tired of politicians interfering in the running of his institution to influence the recruitment of political activists. Speaking at the first plenary of the multi-stakeholders national dialogue on security sector reforms on Tuesday, Ralenkoane complained of political meddling in the intelligence agency.

Ralenkoane said the meddling is so deep that some politicians go as far as insisting that the agency should employ political activists with criminal records.
“Recruitment should be done with (a clear) procedure to stop politicians from picking their uninformed followers to be NSS agents,” Ralenkoane said.
He said politicians pick “people with criminal backgrounds and lack of knowledge”.
He called for an oversight body to supervise the recruitment of the NSS director-general.

Participants at the dialogue heard that it is not only the NSS that has been infiltrated by politicians, with the police and the correctional service also battling the same problem.
Former police commissioner ’Malejaka Letooane said it was a big challenge to lead security institutions because of political affiliations.
Letooane said top officers such as commissioners end up sneaking out at night to meet politicians.

“People should leave their politics behind and remember that they are supposed to serve the nation and nothing else,” Letooane said.
Deputy Commissioner of Lesotho Correctional Services Matingoe Phamotse said some officers made crucial operational decisions over wine and other drinks with politicians.
“Politicians approach us as officers and we also do the same,” Phamotse said.

Outspoken Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC) secretary-general, Bokang Ramatšella, told thepost yesterday that depoliticising security institutions is long overdue.
In a clear indication of the wide chasm in the understanding of the challenges facing Lesotho, Ramatšella blamed Prime Minister Thomas Thabane for the crisis in the security sector, claiming that “there was peace before he was made prime minister”.

“The last time we had conflicts (in the security sector) was in 1998 and reforms were made,” Ramatšella said.
He said even if laws are amended, the problems will persist without a change in the attitude and behaviour of political leaders.
“I agree that we have to put politicians far away from the (security) institutions because of the experience we have with Thabane,” said Ramatšella.
Ramatšella said commanders of security institutions should be hired on professional merit rather than on political affiliation.
“There should be a select committee on security to shortlist at least three people and then the prime minister will have to pick one from those recommended. He should not be the only one choosing,” said Ramatšella.

He said the committee’s decisions “should be based on consensus not based on numbers of people”.
Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) spokesman Teboho Sekata said he is happy that de-politicisation of the security sector is on the agenda.
“They have conceded to their mistakes. It is very correct to put politicians away from the security institutions,” Sekata said.
Sekata also said there should be an independent body to govern security institutions.

“Politicians should not be the ones directly running security institutions or making appointments, promotions and demotions,” Sekata said.
The ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) youth league spokesman, Mphonyane Lebesa, dismissed allegations against Thabane.
Lebesa instead pointed the finger at LCD leader Mothetjoa Metsing, Ramatšella and former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili as being responsible for the chaos in the security sector.
“They refused (to accept) the appointment of Maaparankoe Mahao when the Prime Minister appointed him commander of LDF in 2014 and that caused conflicts more than anything else in the security institutions,” Lebesa said.

He described Thabane as the remedy to the problems in the security sector reforms, claiming that all security institutions have been working harmoniously since the 79-year-old returned to power in 2017
“Soldiers and police now collaborate to reduce crimes unlike before,” said Lebesa.

Last year, the Alliance of Democrats (AD) leader and current Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki confessed in parliament that recruitment in the police was politically driven.
Moleleki, who was the minister of police in the past government, even asked for forgiveness from the public for his involvement in the politicisation of police recruitment.
When the current government took power last year, the newly appointed Police Minister ’Mampho Mokhele rehired 21 police officers, claiming that the previous regime had failed to follow proper procedures when it fired them.

They were fired from the police service by the then police commissioner, Molahlehi Letsoepa, for alleged offences ranging from misconduct to participating in political activities.
Letsoepa is now in exile in South Africa after he was suspected of involvement in the murder of police constable, Mokalekale Khetheng, in March 2016.
Among the recalled officers was Moraleli Motloli, the Lesotho Staff Police Association (LEPOSA) General Secretary who was dismissed from the service shortly before elections for refusing to take orders from his superiors. He had just demanded that Letsoepa and his advisory board respond to Moleleki’s statements that police recruitment was riddled with nepotism, partisanship and corruption.

Nkheli Liphoto

Previous Judges attacked
Next Funeral parlour disowns ‘fraudster’

About author

You might also like

News

Protests rock Roma campus

MASERU – THE National University of Lesotho (NUL) was this Tuesday rocked by protests by students who were demanding the release of their allowances. The disturbances were continuing as of yesterday.

News

Majoro warns of tough times

MASERU – FINANCE Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro yesterday warned of tough times ahead as he presented his M16.1 billion budget. Majoro said over the past eight years he has come to

News

The ticking time bomb at NUL

MASERU- TIK-tok-tik-tok-tik-tok-tik-tok. That is the sound of a time bomb at the National University of Lesotho (NUL). As NUL Senate members trooped into a boardroom for a marathon meeting on Monday