Thabane in fresh bid to oust Molibeli?
POLICE Commissioner Holomo Molibeli says any renewed attempts by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane to oust him would be in contempt of the High Court which has already ruled that he should not be removed from his position.
Commissioner Molibeli said this in an interview with the Lesotho Times yesterday in the wake of widespread information that Dr Thabane had launched a fresh bid to remove him from his post after his initial attempt was thrown out by the High Court last month.
Top placed government sources said despite losing the court case, Dr Thabane was still determined to oust Commissioner Molibeli.
“A letter asking Holomo to show cause why he cannot be retired has been written by the prime minister and is ready for delivery,” a source said.
However, Dr Thabane’s Senior Private Secretary (PSP), Thabo Thakalekoala, dismissed the allegations.
“I have just talked to the government secretary and he says there is nothing to that effect,” Mr Thakalekoala said yesterday.
On his part, Commissioner Molibeli said he was aware of the allegations that the premier was planning to fire him again.
“I have heard of such allegations but I have not received any formal communication from the government. However, if it is true then that would be contemptuous of the courts,” Commissioner Molibeli said.
Dr Thabane and Commissioner Molibeli have been at loggerheads ever since the premier attempted to send the police boss on forced leave in January this year. When that failed, the premier then attempted to suspend him. That too failed after Commissioner Molibeli challenged the move in court. On 10 January 2020, Dr Thabane wrote to King Letsie III advising His Majesty to immediately appoint Senior Assistant Commissioner Janki Hlaahla as the new police commissioner. Dr Thabane claimed that Commissioner Molibeli had taken early retirement, a fact which was disputed by the latter in his ultimately successful court challenge.
In his court papers, Commissioner Molibeli accused Dr Thabane of seeking to get rid of him to avoid prosecution for the 14 June 2014 murder of the latter’s estranged wife, Lipolelo. The police chief said investigations into Lipolelo’s murder pointed to Dr Thabane’s involvement.
First Lady ‘Maesaiah Thabane has since been charged with the murder of Lipolelo and the attempted murder of her friend, Thato Sibolla.
Dr Thabane has moved to stop the state from charging him by filing a Constitutional Court application saying he cannot be charged with any crime as long as he remains in office as prime minister.
Dr Thabane had denied attempting to fire Commissioner Molibeli to stop the Lipolelo murder probe. The premier claimed his decision was driven by his desire to rejuvenate the police force which was being harm-strung by what he described as Commissioner Molibeli’s incompetence.