The Security Sector leadership in Lesotho affirmed their support to the on-going national dialogue and reforms process with a commitment to work together in making sure that the rule of law is upheld and to prevent all forms of human rights abuse in Lesotho.
The commitment was made during a high-level meeting that took place in Maseru on 15th May 2019, where the security sector high command from the Lesotho Defense Force (LDF), Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS), the National Security Service (NSS) and Lesotho Correctional Services (LCS) met to exchange views on leadership and capacity building-initiatives planned for the security sector and enhancing their participation in the national dialogue and reform processes for long-term stability and sustainable peace in Lesotho.
Among other issues, leaders also discussed issues around, the national dialogue and reforms, human rights, rule of law, accountability, gender mainstreaming and psycho-social support for the members of the security services and their families.
In his opening remarks Mr Tseliso Mokoko the Principal Secretary Ministry of Defence and National Security underscored the importance of enhanced leadership capacity and enhanced security in Lesotho. Complimenting the Principal Secretary, Ms Christy Ahenkora, UNDP Resident Representative ai emphasized UNDP’s commitment to support Basotho in their pursuit for reforms. She called upon the security sector to apply their positions of power and authority in the best interest of the Basotho.
Speaking at the occasion, Lieutenant.General Mojalefa Letsoela, Chief of Defence Staff - Lesotho Defence Force noted that, “The Lesotho army has the primary mandate to defend the sovereignty and protect the independence of Lesotho including the citizens’ human rights but this mandate is not achievable in isolation. The LDF has to work collectively with other sister security entities to achieve this mandate.” He further noted that in order to achieve lasting peace and security in Lesotho it is important for security institutions to have national identity, interest, will power and values. He appealed to his security colleagues to adapt a high level of integrity in leadership that will enable them to shape their entities into professionally established security institutions and allow Basotho people to live in harmony, peace and tranquility.
Giving his view, the LMPS Commissioner Holomo Molibeli noted with appreciation the progress so far made on national reform process which also covers the security sector reform. “The national reform process is giving us the Lesotho that we want and the Lesotho Mounted Police that we want”, said Commissioner Molibeli. He challenged his colleagues when he posed a big question, “But where do we start?”, Molibeli asked rhetorically. “We should start with changing the mind-set of our leaders. We should start with the children and teach them to have the right mind-set so that they can grow up to build the Lesotho that will have stability and peace in future”, said Molibeli. He revealed that the LMPS has already started implementing a program targeting young people and equipping them with skills in leadership, discipline, respect of rule of law among others. Lastly, the Commissioner of Police pronounced that LMPS is working harmoniously with the LDF and other security agencies in the country.
Speaking at the same meeting the LCS Deputy Commissioner, Moshooane Tšolo showed appreciation to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for organizing the March 2019 training on Human Rights and UN Conventions which was held for security sector personnel. “As we rehabilitate inmates in our correctional facilities we are subjected to a lot of stress and before the human rights training we used to do things the wrong way and released our stress to the vulnerable inmates. But the training was an eye-opener and from now on we will do the right things”, indicated Tšolo.
Lebohang Mafisa spoke on behalf of the Director General of NSS and he indicated that, “Security leaders should be accountable and respect the rule of law. NSS will adhere to human rights and will be accountable at all times for the benefit of Lesotho.”
In closing, LCS PS Bereng Makotoko alluded to LMPS commissioner remarks that the four wings of security in Lesotho are working hand in hand. He further noted that the training would be more complete if the politicians who are the constitution makers would also have a similar training. He continued to show appreciation towards UNDP and its partners’ contribution to bring harmonization in the country through involving the Government security sector. He then declared the meeting officially closed.
The meeting was convened by UNDP and Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) under the Lesotho National Dialogue and Stabilization Project, which is funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund and in collaborating with the Government of Lesotho, Southern African Development Countries (SADC), United Nations Women (UN Women), Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL), Lesotho Council of Non-governmental organizations (LCN) and other partners.