THE militant Lesotho Mounted Police Service Staff Association (LEPOSA) has vowed to go ahead with its protest march to petition Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro to fire Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli.
This despite the premier calling them to a meeting yesterday at his office in a bid to get them to reconsider their decision.
LEPOSA had initially planned to march tomorrow but decided to postpone to 18 September 2020 after being denied permission by the Police and Public Safety Minister ‘Mamoipone Senauoane.
Ms Senauoane yesterday decided against authorising the march after the police command’s own decision on Monday to deny LEPOSA permission to protest on the grounds that public order and security would be compromised if police officers left their work stations to participate in the march.
The officer commanding Maseru Urban, Senior Superintendent ‘Malebohang Setsomi, authored the police command’s letter turning down LEPOSA’s request for permission to march.
She said the march should not go ahead due to the public health regulations which prohibited marches, protests and demonstrations to stop the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Prior to Ms Senauoane’s refusal to sanction the march last night, LEPOSA had vowed to go ahead with the protest come hell or high water.
Even an earlier meeting yesterday evening with Dr Majoro failed to get LEPOSA officials to reconsider their decision.
Dr Majoro wanted to establish why LEPOSA wanted to go ahead with march when he had set an inter-ministerial committee to probe the instability within the police force and other security agencies.
The committee includes Police and Public Safety Minister ‘Mamoipone Senauoane, fellow ministers Prince Maliehe (Defence and National Security), Kemiso Mosenene (Prime Minister’s Office) and Professor Nqosa Mahao (Law and Justice) who is its chairperson.
Government Secretary Lerotholi Pheko last night confirmed the meeting between Dr Majoro and LEPOSA representatives. Mr Pheko also said no agreement was reached in the meeting. He said instead of explaining why they insisted on marching, LEPOSA representatives asked for time to consult their members. He said they still insisted on the march.
“They (LEPOSA representatives) met with the honourable prime minister himself,” Mr Pheko told the Lesotho Times last night.
“The honourable prime minister wanted to establish circumstances surrounding their decision to go ahead with the protest march while there is an ongoing inquiry by a ministerial committee.
“No decision was reached. LEPOSA asked for time to go and discuss the matter amongst themselves. We don’t know what they will decide. But if they go ahead with their procession, they said their representatives will come to the office of the prime minister tomorrow at 2:30 pm to hand-over the petition.”
After snubbing Dr Majoro’s efforts to stop the march and allow the inter-ministerial committee to look into their grievances, LEPOSA only backed down after Ms Senauoane refused to sanction their march.
Going ahead in the circumstances would have been illegal.
In a memo announcing the postponement last night, LEPOSA said it had decided to defer the march to Friday 18 September 2020 to “give…stakeholders time to amicably and finally deal with…our current impasse. Undoubtedly, this landmark procession, which is a sine qua non (a condition for) the lasting peace of the Kingdom of Lesotho, remains in place.
“We want to appreciate the energy and seriousness that the prime minister, the commission of inquiry and the parliament of Lesotho have invested in this stalemate,” Insp Moraleli Motloli said in his memo to LEPOSA members.