FEMALE politicians in the opposition Movement for Economic Change (MEC) and the Socialist Revolutionaries (SR) have called on Prime Minister Thomas Thabane to fire the Minister of Police, ’Mampho Mokhele, for alleged incompetence.
The women said this at a recent press conference at AME Hall in Maseru.
They accused Ms Mokhele of failing to ensure investigations were completed in crimes against women including the June 2017 assassination of former First Lady, Lipolelo Thabane.
Ms Thabane was shot dead in Ha ’Masana, Maseru.
The women also said that Ms Mokhele had failed to protect women such as the fraud-accused ’Makarabo Mojakhomo who allegedly disappeared from police custody on 31 May this year.
Ms Mojakhomo was last seen by her relatives at the Police Headquarters in Maseru on 30 May 2018 where she was detained for allegedly defrauding the ‘Maesaiah Thabane Trust Fund of at least M200 000.
She was arrested on 29 May this year and she was due in court on 31 May in connection with the fraud allegations. The police however, claimed that she had escaped while they prepared to take her to court.
Ms Mojakhomo’s family has insisted that there is no way she could have broken out of tightly guarded police station. The family has since petitioned the High Court for an order for the police to produce her dead or alive.
MEC spokesperson, ’Malichaba Tšiu, said they have lost faith in the police minister since the crimes have happened under her watch.
“We have lost all hope in the Minister of Police since the cruelties against women are happening under her watch and the latest and worst of all is the recent disappearance of ’Makarabo Mojakhomo,” Ms Tšiu said.
“It is painful that Ms Mojakhomo went missing while in police custody under the watch of another woman. We cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that Police Constable Mokalekale Khetheng also went missing under similar circumstances at Hlotse police station.
“When PC Khetheng went missing, there was still hope that he would be found safe but he was later found dead and recalling that gives us goose bumps as to what really happened to Mojakhomo. Where is Mojakhomo? Her kids and relatives also want to know what happened to her.
“Khetheng’s and Mojakhomo’s cases are very similar and it is too scary for us as women.”
She said it was time that women stood up to protect their rights.
MEC women’s league deputy chairperson, Mpho Tšosane-Mapeshoane said: “When a minister fails to deliver, it is only fair that they are relieved from their duties or taken to task by other means”.
“We know that the PM is the one who knows the right thing to do when things go out of hand. The Mojakhomo incident has made us lose all hope in the minister of police. She must go.”
Secretary general of Socialist Revolutionaries (SR) women’s league, Rethabile Kahlolo, accused the police of delaying justice by failing to apprehend suspects in the fatal shooting of Ms Thabane.
“It is more than a year since Mme Lipolelo was shot and to date there is no word as to how far the investigations have gone as police are quiet about the matter.
“The daughter-in-law of Lithoteng constituency legislator, Lehlohonolo Moramotse, was also killed in cold blood and to date the police have not said a word on what their investigations have yielded,” Ms Kahlolo said.
Martha Kota-Moramotse (23) was shot dead as she drove into her in-laws’ residence at Ha Seoli on the night of 22 June 2016. In August that year, the police said her husband was arrested in connection of her murder, while three suspects were still on the run. The husband was released soon afterwards and nothing has been heard about the case since then.
Ms Mokhele could not be reached for comment this week as her phone rang unanswered and she did not respond to text messages sent to her phone.
For his part, government spokesperson, Nthakeng Selinyane said while the government could not answer on the technicalities regarding the investigations, the concerns are a wake-up call.
“The country stands to benefit from all these quarters raising volumes of concern and employing such credible instruments of showing the credibility of their worries,” Mr Selinyane said.
Police spokesperson Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli said giving updates would disrupt their investigations.
“As for the outstanding cases, there is never a point when police give a progress report on them lest they jeopardise the investigations. All that I can say for now is that investigations in all these cases are still ongoing,” Supt Mpiti said.