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Very damaging allegations



PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane’s decision to send Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli on forced leave has now triggered a spate of allegations that are extremely damaging to the Premier.
In a letter suspending Molibeli dated January 3, 2020, the government accused the police commissioner of unbecoming conduct that had a negative impact on the performance of his duties.
The government accused Molibeli of failing to investigate the leakage of sensitive and confidential material and the tapping of phones belonging to senior government officials.
It also accused of presiding over a brutal system that has seen scores of people die in police custody.

But all these charges now appear trivial in the greater scheme of things following a very damning letter Molibeli penned to the Prime Minister on December 23, 2019.
In the letter addressed to the Prime Minister, Molibeli requested Thabane to name the person his cell phone number was communicating with and the subject matter that was under discussion on the night that former First Lady Lipolelo Thabane was killed in June 2017.

It is also clear that the police had also sought help from the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to crack the murder.
It is clear that it was that investigation into Lipolelo’s murder that touched a raw nerve and triggered Molibeli’s suspension.
We find it extremely odd that the Prime Minister went ahead and suspended Molibeli when there was already an investigation into the killing of Lipolelo.
The suspension coming as it did a few weeks after Molibeli wrote that bold letter to Thabane gives the impression of a Prime Minister who is desperately trying to make a pre-emptive strike.
By attempting to suspend Molibeli in the middle of such a key investigation, the Prime Minister thus comes out as an individual with something to hide.

The attempt to suspend Molibeli and the subsequent court challenge have the potential to do further harm to Thabane’s already battered reputation.
In our opinion, the attempt to suspend Molibeli also comes out not just as malicious but as ill-advised. That suspension will likely torch yet another security crisis this time within the police.
It would therefore appear to be a travesty of justice were Molibeli to be suspended pending retirement while that key investigation into Lipolelo’s murder is still going on.
Of course Molibeli is no angel. Terrible things have happened under his watch, particularly the torturing of suspects. In fact, he might be guilty of all the things that he is being accused of.
But the simple reality is that Thabane got the timing wrong.

The result is that Thabane is now facing a monumental Public Relations disaster that is entirely of his own making. That he has now been named in the murder of his own wife has done irreparable harm to his reputation.

And the perception on the ground is that by suspending Molibeli, Thabane has something to hide.
The allegations levelled against Thabane are of such a serious nature that ordinarily he should have stepped down to pave way for an unimpeded investigation. Or he would have vehemently rebuffed the allegations and launched a robust defence in the courts of law. So far, we have not heard anything from Thabane.
It is critical that we hear Thabane’s response to these allegations which are being levelled against him by a senior police officer he himself appointed.

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