Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU – The Minister of Local Government, Chieftainship, Home Affairs and Police Hon Lephema Lebona has been urged to adequately resource the police to effectively respond to crime and ensure respect of law and order are maintained in the country.

These sentiments were said during the vehicle hand-over ceremony at Police Headquarters last week.

Handing over the vehicle to the Minister of Police, the United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator in Lesotho who doubles as the UN Designated Official for Safety and Security, Amanda Khozi Mukwashi said the police job is not a mean feat, as it is a “calling” to serve.

“It’s not an easy job that you have, because it is a noble calling where you are there to serve, to protect, to safeguard people and property across the entire country. The reason why we are able to sleep safely at night is because we know that there is a police service in this country.

“At the same time, I don’t want to pretend, I know the challenges you face are a lot. The rates of homicides in this country are very high, the rates of crime and criminality are also high, sexual violence against women and girls is extremely high, and we look to you to help us keep us safe whether is a woman in a home, whether is a girl child or a boy child at school, or in the streets we know that the police are there,” she said.

The UN Designated Official for Safety and Security further underscored that sometimes there are talks about the police as if it is only a building adding that there are people behind and inside the building.

She said the vehicle handing over is not about the car, it is a gesture saying “let us do everything that we can Hon Minister to make sure that our police are not set up to fail, to make sure that they have all the equipment and the tools that they need at their service in order for them to do an excellent job that is needed.

“We can’t just put them out there like a lamb to the slaughter, we need to make sure that they have everything that they need, that they are well equipped, that they too are protected as they go out to serve the nation.”

Mukwashi further committed the UN support to the police in their functions and the services that they render to the nation.

She added: “I hope that you see us as friends that support you whether in capacity building, whether it is raising awareness on human rights, whether it is just being there and continuously encouraging you do the right thing …even when we are being critical, because sometime Hon Minister and Commissioner [of Police] we will be critical where we see that maybe you could have done better…because that’s what a good friend does.

“A good friend doesn’t turn a blind eye, a good friend will tell you when you are doing well and also speak out and tell you either privately or inside that here you could have done better, there could have been better protection.”

She also urged the police to put effort in serving the country appealing to the members of the community to avail the information that they have to help the police as they carry out their investigations.

For his part, the Minister said the vehicle will contribute immensely to the police efforts in discharging their duties which involve protecting the people and their properties as well as members of the international community residing in the country and the international tourists.

Hon Lephema further highlighted that the gift will help enhance the police efficiency in responding to crime.

He said the government is in the process of procuring more cars to ensure the police effectively and speedily respond and combat the crime.

The Minister also stated that they are in the process of resuscitating the police workshop to ensure that the cars are fixed and fit for purpose all the time.

Appreciating the gesture, the Commissioner of Police (COMPOL) Holomo Molibeli thanked the UN for the car saying the hand-over marks the “milestone” in the relationship between the police community and the UN community.

“We have on various occasions met for various reasons, but today as the Lesotho Mounted Police Service we are receiving a donation in the form of a motor vehicle.  We have relations with the UN in various aspects of our mandate and today in our mandate to provide safety and security we are receiving a motor vehicle that will designate our team to deal decisively where and when necessary… for a special assignment that we have in as far as their [the members of the public] safety and security is concerned.