- wants him suspended until the finalisation of his sexual assault case
THE Lesotho Police Staff Association (LEPOSA) has intensified its war with the police command by demanding the suspension of Deputy Police Commissioner (DCP) Paseka Mokete.
LEPOSA secretary Inspector Moraleli Motloli yesterday wrote to Police and Public Safety Minister, ‘Mamoipone Senauoane, demanding that she orders Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli to suspend DCP Mokete pending the finalisation of his criminal case for sexual assault.
DCP Mokete is charged “with a sexual offence” after he allegedly touched the buttocks of Inspector ‘Makatleho Mphetho near parliament without her consent on 29 April 2020.
He is also charged with assault after he “unlawfully and intentionally” assaulted Inspector Mphetho by pulling and dragging her on the ground. He is further charged with “malicious damage” after he allegedly tore the pair of trousers Inspector Mphetho was wearing when the sexual offence was allegedly committed.
DCP Mokete’s first court appearance on 13 July 2020 where he was charged and released on free bail by Magistrate Senekal Qobolo. His case is still pending before Senior Resident Magistrate Phethise Motanyane.
In her letter to Ms Senauoane, Inspector Motloli said DCP Mokete’s suspension was necessary for the “wheels of justice to turn”.
He said the deputy police boss should be treated like any other criminal suspect and have his fingerprints taken as part of the investigations against him.
“We are very disappointed at the inconsiderate manner in which the office of the Commissioner (Molibeli) continues to deal with the criminal case involving the DCP (Mokete),” Inspector Motloli states in his letter.
“We appeal to your good office to cause the office of the Commissioner to ensure that the fingerprints of the DCP are taken for the alleged offence just like the youths who allegedly violated the Meeting and Processions Act of 2010.
“We appeal to your good office to cause the office of the Commissioner to ensure that the DCP is interdicted thereby allowing the wheels of justice to turn. We subscribe to the assertion that ‘charity begins at home’. I hope you find this in order.”
LEPOSA’s remarks about youths is a reference to the 11 youth protesters who were arrested on Friday for embarking on an unsanctioned demonstration in Maseru against the government’s failure to address high unemployment and other socio-economic ills.
The youths spent the weekend in police custody and on Monday appeared before Maseru Magistrate ‘Makopano Rantšo on charges of violating the Meetings and Processions Act by engaging in an illegal protest.
They were however, released on free bail and ordered to appear before Chief Magistrate ‘Matankiso Nthunya on 14 December 2020 who will set the date for their trial.
LEPOSA’s demands for DCP Mokete to be suspended are the latest instalment in the militant police union’s long-running war with the police command.
LEPOSA has also petitioned Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro to fire Commissioner Molibeli over what the police union views as his bias and ineptitude in handling police grievances. LEPOSA alleges that since taking charge in August 2017, Commissioner Molibeli has been a very incompetent police boss. They accuse him of favouritism, among other things, citing his “unprocedural” promotion of his “blue eyed boys” like DCP Paseka Mokete and Assistant Police Commissioner (ACP) Beleme Lebajoa.
LEPOSA also accuses him of failing to deal decisively with the thorny issue of police brutality.
Commissioner Molibeli has however, fought back by invoking section 31(1)(i) of the Police Act in a bid to dismiss LEPOSA officers including Inspector Motloli for insubordination and allegedly tarnishing the image of the police force. The two sides have filed applications and counter-applications against each other which are pending in the courts of law.