Security cluster must put its house in order

ONLY someone who lives in Cloud Cuckoo Land could assert that all is well in Lesotho’s security cluster at the moment.

More than any other arm of government, the security services sector should be the most stable in order to guarantee a nation’s peace and prosperity.

Over the past few weeks, there have been very disturbing signals emanating from this sector.
We have published several stories, since the beginning of the year, which add up to paint a worrying picture of simmering dissonance within the sector.

First, we have the long-running court-martial trial of Second Lt.

Thabang Phaila, who is facing mutiny charges. Subsequently, we had a whole company (120 troops) raiding the house of former soldier, Maseru’s District Administrator, retired Major General Samuel Makoro in the wee hours of the morning, purportedly in search of weapons and some army uniform.

Then followed the suspension and subsequent convening of a court-martial, to try Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao for “unbecoming behaviour of a military officer”, following an altercation with a junior.

Then there was the forced five-month leave of former acting Commissioner of Police, Deputy Police Commssioner Lebohang Monaheng in the same week that there were bomb attacks on the homes of the Police Commissioner and Prime Minister Thomas
Thabane’s partner.
Last week we had a soldier testifying before court-martial
pledging extraordinary allegiance to the head of the Lesotho Defence
Force (LDF).
What was striking about his testimony is not that he swore allegiance
to the LDF commander, Lt. General Thlali Kamoli; soldiers
are highly disciplined professionals and allegiance to leadership
is key.
What seems unsettling are the clear differences within the disciplined
force that one could pick from his story.
Then again, earlier this month, there were allegations that the
Principal Sceretary for Defence, David Sehloho, was threatened
with death over his alleged intention to change the LDF command.
All this comes against the backdrop of last month’s bombings at
two private homesteads in Maseru.
Ordinary Basotho are unsure whether peace is still guaranteed
in this otherwise tranquil kingdom.
While we await the results of police investigations into those
early morning attacks at the homes of the Police Commissioner
and Thabane’s partner, ordinary citizens are worried that common
criminals, who could be behind the bombings, can take advantage
of the seeming instability in the army to wreak further
havoc.
To the ordinary people, the question becomes: if such criminals
can dare attack the homestead of the sitting Police Commissioner,
who then is safe?
To aggravate such worries, we continue to see signs that the
army, the country’s last line of defence, seems to be undergoing
some internal upheavals.
Such signs of acrimony within key security organs, if unchecked,
do not augur well for the future of Lesotho.
The powers-that-be must move quickly to quell any symptoms
of internal strife so that the security cluster can focus on the core
business of protecting the citizens of Lesotho.
By its nature, the security sector is a closed book, and there is
nothing out-of-the ordinary about this.
Authorities in all countries treat matters in this sector with
strict confidentiality because they can put national security in
jeopardy.
Yet in this case, even if we may not be privy to the goings-on in
the security sector, recent reports clearly show that increasingly
no one can put a lid on disharmony brewing within this very important
sector.
Lesotho has been there before.
In 1998, the country burnt largely because of instability in the
security cluster sector.
The last thing this country needs is re-ignition of any memories
of that sad chapter in the history of this country.
The sooner the problems bedevilling our army and police are
resolved, the better

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