All hands on the deck for SADC


WE have no doubt that it will come as sweet music to the ears of peace-loving Basotho that the police have started receiving training in forensics from the Southern Africa Development Community Prevention Mission in Lesotho (SAPMIL).

As we report elsewhere in this edition, officers of the Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS) have begun a month-long forensic training course at the Police Training Centre in Maseru.

The training will help improve the investigative capacities of the LMPS and they will apply their new-found skills to investigating murders, robberies, sexual offences, house-breaking, cybercrimes and scenes of explosions.

While we fully appreciate and are indeed grateful for the work that the police have been doing since the June 2017 advent of the four party coalition government and the installation of a new committed and professional Commissioner of Police, a lot still needs to be done to combat escalating crime in the country, particularly murders and the abuse of women and children. The SADC-sponsored training will go a long way in improving police efficiency.

Ours is a country where lives have been taken with such impunity. Who does not know of the murders and assassinations that were perpetrated by soldiers in recent years including the 2014 killing of Police Sub Inspector, Mokheseng Ramahloko, and the 2015 and 2017 assassinations of army commanders, Lieutenant Generals Maaparankoe Mahao and Khoantle Motšomotšo?.

But while political assassinations have ceased since the demise of Tlali Kamoli and the Pakalitha Mosisili coalition, we are deeply saddened that other criminal murders continue escalating as we have been reporting in our previous editions. For these to be combated, we need a fully committed cadre of police officers. While training is important, it will not be enough without the zeal and enthusiasm of the police officers who must investigate and prosecute crime.

We are also happy that the army is turning a new leaf under the new commander, Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela.  A new era of cooperation between the police and the army can only help in the nation’s anti-crime efforts.  We reiterate that hose soldiers that committed heinous crimes under the watch of the former command must face the full wrath of the law.

For that to happen, the police will need every assistance they can get. They will need every skill they can acquire and we have no doubt that the forensic skills will enable them to comb every crime scene and make use of every kind of lead to achieve the necessary breakthroughs against criminal elements.

So we say hats off to SAPMIL. This development will no doubt put to shame all naysayers who were shouting on rooftops that Lesotho does not need the SADC force.

Some elements in the opposition stated without evidence that the SADC forces spent their time in Lesotho playing football and engaging in romantic liaisons.

They relied on huge doses of cheap populist rhetoric in a vain attempt to stir nationalist outrage by suggesting that as a sovereign country, we do not need SADC.

We are heartened by the fact that most Basotho can see through such self-serving pronouncements and would gladly cooperate with the SADC force which has come with a clear mandate to help  set the country on the path to lasting peace and stability.

We already know of other work which has centred on the SADC ballistics team rendering their assistance in attempts to resolve the Lt-Gen Mahao assassination.

With this latest training exercise which comes barely two months after the deployment of SAPMIL, we are assured that SADC actually means business.

We are confident that other elements of SAPMIL like the military component will soon be giving us updates on the progress of their work with respect to the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF).

This is one other branch of our security sector that needs urgent reform to ensure that it becomes professional, steers clear of partisan politics and submits to civilian authority.

There cannot be any other way and this how it should be in a democratic dispensation.

The nation is heartened by the fact that the new army commander, Lt-Gen Letsoela, has so far said all the right words.

But just like the LMPS, he will need all the help he can get to ensure that his vision of a disciplined LDF is realised.

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