If anyone needs any evidence that our police commissioner, Holomo Molibeli, is now a permanent resident of cloud cuckoo land, look no further than his self-congratulatory press conference over a week ago.
If Ntate Molibeli – who has never addressed any press conferences before – called this one in the hope of redeeming his waning reputation as a top cop, then he did a very bad job of it. His performance was not only underwhelming, it was also reckless and unempathetic. He justified that he should not be redeployed to some cushy diplomatic post in Europe as has been reported, he should be dumped straight into the streets.
Lesotho has become a haven for criminals if not a hell-hole. Basotho are being moored every day. Ruthless criminal gangs and Famo terrorists have largely taken charge of the country. Women in particular now regret why their species was ever created. A good number have been raped. Many have been murdered to harvest their body parts. No one is safe anymore in this country. Yet Ntate Molibeli believes everything is just about fine and reports of escalating crime are exaggerated.
So, he presumably works up every day, takes his scented bubble bath, dons his Gucci double breasted suit (or alternatively his sumptuously decorated official Compol uniform resplended with all its Idi Amin style medals) looks himself in the mirror, admires himself for a good half an hour or so, and convinces himself that he is God’s gift to Basotho and no one else, than himself, is the best to lead the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS). How tragic?
As Ntate Matele Matobakele, the highly regarded, highly respected and justifiably decorated deputy commander of our Lesotho Defence Force has trenchantly commented: “We have no police force to talk about”.
Our LMPS has become a tragic joke under Ntate Molibeli’s stewardship. Ntate Matobakele was not only dead right, he is the real God sent for speaking truth to power. The army should not really be involved in policing issues. That is nevertheless under normal circumstances. Our circumstances are no longer normal. Which explains why Ntate Matobakele is right to declare that the army has no other option but to take over the role of the LMPS. To believe that we have a worthy police force is as good as believing that Jesus Christ will land at Moshoeshoe I for the much anticipated second coming this Christmas.
We indeed have no police force worth talking about. I am not even impressed with reports that about 95 murder suspects have been arrested in the first 26 days of November 2021. These could just be knee jerk arrests in response to the widespread condemnation of the performance of the police. The fact remains there has been no single conviction for murder, rape or GBV since Ntate Molibeli was rewarded with the top police job in 2017 yet murders and rapes keep escalating. Lesotho is now ranked third in the world in terms of rapes. At least unlike in the murder rankings, where we are first in Africa, we are second on the continent in terms of rapes. That is no consolation. Number two out of 54 (countries) in terms of bad behaviour is hardly a consolation. It’s tragic.
If it were not for the crisis of crime now gripping Lesotho, Ntate Molibeli’s presser would have been very useful for comic relief. However, we are now living in a hell hole. You have to thank the Gods if your family survives the night. The best the country deserves now is a police commissioner who takes himself and his job seriously.
But inspite all the evidence on hand, Ntate Molibeli believes the media is exaggerating reports of crime in Lesotho. His statement that the media are making issues out of “non-issues” by publicising the World Population Review’s (WPR) 2021 report which places Lesotho at the top of worldwide homicide rankings is not only dumbfounding, it is dangerous, reckless and potentially treasonous.
The WPR, a highly respected body which works closely with the United Nations, has ranked Lesotho number six in the world in terms of homicides after largely failed Latin American rogue states like El Salvador, Honduras, Venezuela, Virgin Islands and Jamaica.
This effectively places Lesotho at number one in Africa, ahead of war-ravaged hopeless states like Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Somalia, the two horrendous Sudans, Ethiopia, among others.
By publicizing this report, Ntate Molibeli accuses the media of making “issues out of none issues”. Seriously Ntate Molibeli? Which cloud cuckoo land has awarded you its permanent citizenship?
Yes, Ntate Molibeli is right that the WPR review report was published this year but relies on 2016 data. The report does state so itself. But alas, unless Ntate Molibeli has been living in a cave, he must know that the crime states have even worsened since 2016. More and more people are being killed. Even the government has belatedly designated the lawless Famo gangs as terrorist organisations. Gender Based Violence (GBV) is now way over the top.
It the WPR had used latest 2021 data, then perhaps Lesotho would have been designated number one in the world in terms of homicides.
But Ntate Molibeli has the temerity to characterise all this as “non-issues”. This is an insult to Basotho. It is an insult to His Majesty King Letsie who has admonished criminals for turning Lesotho into a “laughing stock”.
Let’s revisit Ntate Molibeli’s quotable quote at his presser.
“I don’t know if you are aware of this but one of the things that offend us is that people can make issues out of non-issues. For example, there is this issue that Lesotho is a certain number in the world in terms of murder statistics. Those who conducted that study did so in 2017, using 2016 data and only published the study in 2021. I request that you closely interrogate these issues. We are too ready to admit negative things about our country. It is important to be philosophical when dealing with issues and we should not be too ready to accept (negative things about Lesotho),” he said.
Phew!!! Really Ntate Molibeli. So, you really think we should spend time philosophising when our countrymen are being murdered? What planet are you living on Ntate?
You live Scrutator with no option but to join the brave Lesotho Mounted Police Service Staff Association (LEPOSA) in joining the calls for your ouster.
In any other civilised country, the police commissioner would automatically resign if at least 75 guns are stolen from a police station as we saw in Mafeteng Police Station. It’s called accepting responsibility.
Criminals can only be so daring as to steal weapons from a police station when they know they will get away with murder. We have never experienced such brazenness before. We are only seeing it now because the failure of leadership at the LMPS.
LEPOSA is right to blame you Ntate Molibeli for the theft of the weapons. When criminals are not countered, and they know they will not be countered, they only get more brazen.
LEPOSA is dead right in declaring that public confidence is now eroded in the police force. After robbing the Mafeteng Police Station, the criminals targeted Hlotse Police Station. Why wouldn’t they? In fact, they could possibly walk into all police stations and extract weapons and walk away with no reprisals. That is the true state of the LMPS now. Yet Ntate Molibeli does not believe he should take responsibility because he wasn’t there when the weapons were stolen.
Just spare a thought for the woman – extensively reported in this newspaper – who was raped six times by two men and when he went to Maseru Central to report was instead demonized herself and jeered by the police officers present for breaking lockdown rules. And when he appealed to the police bosses, he was asked to submit a formal complaint to which she has gotten no response? That’s enough to explain the paralysis in the police force under the leadership of Ntate Molibeli.
Despite all these skelem, Ntate Molibeli is convinced that he is the right man to remain in the job of police commissioner. He says he would only go “when the appointing authority decided otherwise”. He should consider himself the luckiest cop in the world. This because he remains in his job because the appointing authority is probably wearing very thick and dark blinkers.
To add insult to injury, Ntate Molibeli accuses those blaming him for theft of the guns from police stations and the collapse of the LMPS under his watch as “attention seekers who had never received any praise in their childhood”.
How callous can a police commissioner be?
He then says those calling for his ouster should similarly demand the sacking of the “person in charge of the ministry” that lost about M49, 5 million to fraudsters. This he says in reference to Finance Minister, Thabo Sophonea, who revealed that some of his staffers had allegedly been involved in fraud and money laundering activities which had prejudiced the government of about M49,5 million.
Ntate Molibely is presumably right there? When such system failures happen in any entity, especially a public entity, the leader in charge of the entity should quit. It’s called taking responsibility. The fact that this does not happen in our society partly explains our current pre-dinosaurian status. We are poor because our leaders do not take responsibility. If they did, Ntate Molibeli would not be tying his own incompetence to Ntate Sophonea’s. Ntate Molibeli would just have resigned of his own accord a long time ago. People are dying under his watch. Dead bodies are piling all over him. That is enough to have got himself announcing he was paving way for someone to take over without him being pushed out.
For any criminal justice system to work, it starts with the police who must thoroughly investigate crimes and present winnable cases for prosecution. It must then have judges who actually do their work and adjudicate cases competently and write good judgments. But everything begins with the police. If the police become leaderless, rudderless and incompetent like the LMPS, then criminals take charge.
How surely can anyone explain a police force in which a woman turns up to report rape then get harangued for breaking down lockdown rules? I
What more should we expect? Your wife or husband will get murdered one day, and Ntate Molibeli’s officers will ask you to bring the dead body at the police to prove that your partner is indeed dead? If you refuse, they will instead lock you up. Many cases of murder that have been reported directly to Ntate Molibeli have not been attended to and will never be attended to because he enjoys too much of his coffee and pancakes.
As Ntate Matobakele has said, we have no police force worth talking about. And unless and until we have a government and prime minister who appreciates that basic truth, we can expect dead bodies to keep piling and more women getting raped with no recourse. That is not the country we want to be. Unfortunately, that is the country we have become and will remain unless drastic action is taken.
Ntate Molibeli is right to congratulate himself for the arrest of those who nearly murdered Lesotho Times editor Lloyd Mutungamiri and the rogue soldiers who wreaked havoc on Basotho before he took over as police boss. But that was then. His role seems to have ended there. Many more people have since perished without the police caring. Cry the beloved country!!!