MASERU – Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli has lodged an application to appeal a high court order instructing him to reinstate the 12 dismissed police recruits removed from training earlier this year. On June 29 before High Court judge Justice Tšeliso Mokoko, the court issued an order stating that all the 12 applicants should be reinstated into the Police Training College (PTC) recruitment programme without loss of the status and benefits.
The said police recruits were discharged from this year’s police training recruitment programme on the grounds that some were found to be members of the notorious prison gang ‘Manomoro’, while one was found to have been pregnant while already enlisted. In an interview, Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) spokesperson Senior Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli confirmed the police appeal against Justice Mokoko’s judgment.
Mopeli said, among others, the grounds for appeal seek that the 12 recruits remain out of the recruitment programme pending finalisation of the appeal. Mopeli further confirmed that the 12 recruits have not been allowed back into training as the court ordered. The recruits were served with dismissal letters on May 25, dated May 19 and Commissioner Molibeli immediately replaced them with the same number of people who are believed to have been hand-picked along political party leanings.
The main reason for the recruits’ dismissal, as mentioned on their letters, was that they are suspected members of the Manomoro gang, with a one female recruit kicked out after being found to be pregnant. Speaking to Public Eye one of the dismissed police trainees expressed shock at the accusation levelled against them, saying it was his first time hear of the gang he is accused of belonging to while at PTC.
“Yes, I have a tattoo but it is just for glamor, nothing more. I have never been to a police cell or been accused of any crime, not even before a local chief,” he said. He went on to say: “This has given us a bad name in our neighbourhoods. We are being accused of things we do not know; now people are looking at us as if it’s us who are terrorising them.”
The Public Eye source went on to say that after the court ordered them to rejoin the recruitment programme they returned to the training college hoping to have their jobs back but they were denied access back into the facility. The officers they found at the PTC gates told them that they had not received any directive from Molibeli to allow them back onto the premises.