Elsewhere in today’s issue we carry two articles that denote in the most graphical and yet harrowing terms how a certain police station in the capital Maseru is slowly earning a name as a slaughterhouse.
The Thetsane Police station situated at the brim of one of the country’s business hubs-the Thetsane Industrial Area is steadily earning a reputation for police brutality incidents followed by robust attempts of cover-up.
While we are still reeling from the shock of the apparent ambiguity surrounding the death of a late factory worker Motšelisi Ramanase who died following the massive strike by workers earlier this year, another Thetsane worker’s case comes up.
This time the worker is not a female working in the textile factories, but a middle-aged man working for a liquor store in the Ha Lesia village within the Thetsane abode which is also home to Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro, Minister of Small Business Development Machesetsa Mofomobe and Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli.
Tšeliso Sekonyela succumbed to death and his corpse bore injuries that epitomised brutal assault meted on him as proven by an autopsy report which indicated that he had inter alia broken ribs causing intense internal bleeding leading to his demise.
A Thetsane Police station officer who told the suspect’s mother that they were going to assault him until they broke his ribs, made good on his word and smashed his ribs-in leading to his brutal demise.
The unnamed officer who was supposed to interrogate the late Tšeliso Sekonyela (28) is said to have told his mother that he was going to break Tšeliso’s ribs, and incidentally an autopsy report performed on his lifeless body revealed inter alia that he had broken ribs which led to internal bleeding and death.
Back to the Ramanase case.
Whereas the doctor who received and stabilised her at the Maseru Private Hospital affirms that she had arrived with gunshot wounds, the medical report of which proves same, one police officer, who has assumed the role of a god-an all-knowing being, says she could not have been received at the hospital because she had had no money to pay for medical costs.
The officer, one Mphutlane, is, in his own wisdom, the only person who knows everything about what happened to Ramanase until she breathed her last, and has all sorts of theories.
According to Mphutlane, the deceased was hurried to Queen Mamohato Memorial Hospital (QMMH) following the rejection to be served at the Maseru Private Hospital because no family member was around to pay for her bills.
He further contends that the deceased could not have been shot because that would directly link the incident to the only armed guys on the day, the police. He says some rogue criminal could have taken advantage of the situation and stabbed Ramanase.
The two incidents could be but just a tip of the iceberg of cases that go unreported having culminated off the brutality and subsequent cover-up by police officers at the Thetsane police station.
We plead with Commissioner Molibeli and the government to launch an in-depth investigation into the ills going on at the police post to stop the cancer jumping to other stations.