‘Security agencies must be  apolitical’

‘Security agencies must be apolitical’

MASERU – THE country’s security agencies should strive to be apolitical, Defence Principal Secretary Makotoko Bereng has said, as the country grapples with a reform process aimed at cementing democracy. The reforms envisage that national security agencies such as the military and the police stay out of civilian issues and politics after decades of pervasive military interventions.

Bereng seems to share this idea and made his thoughts known while speaking at a press conference on Tuesday ahead of a security seminar on challenges affecting the army, the police, prison warders and the National Security Service (NSS).
He said the seminar aims at developing a common understanding of the Security Sector Reform (SSR) process amongst all stakeholders in the security sector.
“Vision 2020 advocates for a nation at peace with itself and its neighbours, therefore the conduct of this seminar will contribute towards deepened democracy, good governance, security and stability,” Bereng said.

He said the dialogue is intended to identify key concerns around the security sector.
“Among them are confidence and trust building measures, an inclusive process, apolitical security sector, clarification of mandate for security sector and civilian oversight,” Bereng said.
Security sector reform experts “mainly from the UN, ICRC, AU, and ACCORD” will conduct the training, said Bereng.
Training will include sessions on codes of conduct, standard operating procedures and inter-agency coordination of the security sector.
Bereng said this will build consensus among various agencies of the security sector.

Coordination and consensus building will help solve challenges related to overlapping of mandates and functions of different security agencies, said Bereng.
“The event shall be guided by the SADC decisions in the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Phumaphi Report on the Commission of Inquiry into the tragic demise of Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao of the LDF,” he added.

“It would be recalled that reviewing and reforming of the national security agencies is seen by most Basotho as key to achievement of lasting peace, democracy and a stable political, security and social environment,” he said.

Security sector reform, he said, should depoliticise security agencies and usher in an era of professionalism within the ranks of security agencies.
“This means that state security institutions will strive to meet the security needs of their societies in a manner consistent with democratic norms and principles of good governance, transparency and the rule of law,” said Bereng. He added: “This means there will also be a comprehensive involvement of local actors such as the parliamentary bodies and relevant civil society’s representatives in realising the goals of SSR.

Nkheli Liphoto

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