Opposition fumes over death of police recruits

Opposition fumes over death of police recruits

MASERU-Opposition parties this week blamed the death of four police recruits at the Police Training Centre (PTC) on government negligence.
The four died last week during a recruitment session.
In a statement this week, Police Minister ’Mamoipone Senauoane said they have launched investigations to establish what killed the recruits.
“Strong measures have been taken to ensure the safety of the remaining ones,” Senauoane said.

She said one of the recruits was sent home because she was found pregnant.
Three women and a man died during the recruitment process.
The opposition, however, blamed what it said was the government’s negligence for the deaths.
The Lesotho Congress for Democracy (leader), Mothetjoa Metsing, told thepost that the government should have waited for the lockdown to be relaxed before taking the recruits.

He suggested that the four could have died of Covid-19 related illnesses because of the congestion at the college.
Metsing said under the current lockdown rules there should be not more than 50 people at a gathering.
The government flouted its own rules when it brought 300 recruits at the PTC, Metsing said.
“Only 50 people are allowed so far, why did they gather those recruits there?” Metsing said.

“How did the minister and (police) commissioner allow close to 300 people at the PTC?”
Metsing said while all schools have been shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the government had the audacity to open their training college.
“It is the police who have the responsibility to enforce the law, not to break it as they did by opening their college,” he said.

“We are waiting for post-mortem results for the four deceased recruits,” he said, adding that regardless of the cause of death those recruits were not supposed to be there.
He said by admitting the recruits at the PTC both the Commissioner of Police Holomo Molibeli and Senauoane defied the Prime Minister’s orders.
Metsing added that by not adhering to the Prime Minister’s Covid-19 guidelines the police authority “has proven that they are not fit to keep law and order as well as ensuring that people abide by the lockdown restrictions”.

“If it was not for the negligence and carelessness maybe the four recruits would still be alive,” he said.
“To those who lost their loved ones, we are sorry and embarrassed and they should be consoled.”
Metsing said those who called the gathering of the recruits should face justice.

He said last December the government broke its own laws by allowing thousands of migrant workers from South Africa to cross into Lesotho without testing for Covid-19.
He said it is the government that worsened the state of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
In a statement, the Alliance of Democrats (AD) secretary general, Dr Mahali Phamotse, said they too were shocked by the deaths of the recruits.
“The cause of murder or death of these four is unclear . . . It is unclear if it is carelessness, torture or illness,” Dr Phamotse said.

The AD has called on Majoro to launch “thorough investigations, deep and wide, about the cause of these deaths”.
“The investigation of the cause of death requires foreign independent investigators including the Lesotho MPs,” she said.
She said once investigations are complete and conclusions have been reached, the findings should be shared with the public in a transparent manner.

“The government should also display transparency when there are suspects in these deaths. Legal action should be taken against such suspects.”
Attempts to get comment from the police failed last night.

Nkheli Liphoto

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