Police boss wants more  women  at the top

Police boss wants more women at the top

MASERU – IT is an institution that has for years remained deeply patriarchal. All the top four positions of deputy police commissioner are currently held by men. Now the Commissioner of Police Molibeli Holomo says this must change. Holomo was speaking at a Women’s Day celebration organised by serving women police officers in Maseru last week. He said he is deeply concerned by the absence of women in senior positions within the police.

“Women are strong like men so they should also be in higher positions,” Holomo said. He said he wants to see the two deputy commissioner positions being allocated to women with the other two positions going to men. At present all deputy commissioners are men.

He said of the current 16 senior superintendents, only one was a woman. Holomo said they also have three regions in the police service which are all run by men, who are assistant commissioners. He said they also have 15 district police commanders, who are all men.

Holomo said these shocking stats could be blamed on history. He said from the time when the police service was established in 1872, there have always been more men than women in the police.

He said this however needs to change adding that women are just as intelligent as men and have other qualities such as love and mercy.
Holomo the police only started recruiting women into the service in 1973 but women were not allowed to hold higher ranks.

The first woman commissioner was ’Malejaka Letooane, who was appointed in 2012. Her appointment broke the glass ceiling that had blocked women from attaining higher ranks for 130 years. Holomo said women were needed to solve certain crimes and hoped that the Women Network which was set by the Lesotho police will help in that aspect.

He said in Maputsoe, for example, children often disappear only to be found dead later. He said they need to work with the women in that area to guide them on how they can protect their children.

Holomo criticised some women police officers who think their colleagues are only getting promoted because they sleep with their bosses.
The issue of political polarisation within the police was also a big issue, he said.
Holomo said it is common to hear some police officers referring to their colleagues as liphiri (hyenas, a derogative and offensive term given to supporters of congress parties) and object to their promotions.

“There should be no party politics in the LMPS,” he said.
“We are one. So, we should never let ourselves be divided on the basis of political parties,” he said.
Assistant Commissioner Matšepo Sooko said more men in the LMPS continue to be promoted to higher positions, leaving women colleagues who are equally qualified behind.

Sooko urged the commissioner to ensure that women also get promoted on merit. “We need a mix-up of men and women in senior positions,” she said. “Women are capable of doing what men also do. So they can hold higher positions,” she said.
Meanwhile, as a part of commemorating International Women’s Day marked on March 8, the Lesotho police Women’s Network donated M14 520 to the needy.

The donation was to help repair the houses of some women police officers that were burnt down and while the other had its roof blown away by the wind.

They said a Back to School campaign that was held in January this year saw the network raise a total of M14 520 towards the project.
The money was donated to two women officers who hold the ranks of Lance Sergeant and Woman Police Constable whose houses were destroyed last year.

They said they did that because they want to show them love and support during this difficult time of their lives.
Sooko said since the inception of the Women’s Network, it has been extending a helping hand to orphans through donating school accessories and also improving the lives of police officers who go through tragedies.

“We also help people in the communities especially women and children,” she said Senior Superintendent Litsietsi Selimo, the Thaba-Tseka district commander, said just a few years back they used to think the Women’s Network was not important.

He said however police women have proved that the network is really important. The Sesotho Media and Development’s Monitoring and Evaluation Coordinator, Hape Moshabesha, said they have been working closely with the police through the Child and Gender Protection Unit and Community Policing Unit.

She said last November they signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the police to make their partnership strong.
“We make their job easier in the villages,” Moshabesha said.

‘Makhotso Rakotsoane

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