THE Lesotho Police Staff Association (LEPOSA) has registered its displeasure at what it views as attempts by the opposition Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) to gain political mileage from an essentially labour dispute between the police union and the government.
This follows a recent radio interview in which LCD spokesperson, Teboho Sekata, pledged his support for LEPOSA’s proposed march to petition Prime Minister Thomas Thabane to ensure that police officers are paid a six percent salary increment back dated to 2015.
However, LEPOSA was not impressed by the LCD’s pledge of support and the police union this week issued a stinging rebuke to the opposition party, telling it not to involve itself in matters that did not concern it.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the pledge of support as articulated by the LCD,” LEPOSA said in the press release.
“It is important that the party avoids putting its nose where it does not belong. We will not allow our non-partisan noble association to be embroiled into any political controversy whatsoever. We are not a political movement but we are a labour movement.
“It should be stated in clear unambiguous terms that the matter of 6 percent (salary increment) is solely between the association (LEPOSA) and the government. This matter has never been and will not be a political platform for an ill-gotten political vendetta.”
LEPOSA further warned that any political party that haboured a “hidden agenda to compromise, sabotage or compromise the process (to negotiate with the government) will be met with a robust but appropriate legal force”.
The police union also said it was baffled by the fact that the LCD now professed its support when it had been part of the former governing coalition which failed to award all police officers their salary increments in 2015.
“Why do they (LCD) want to benefit from their own wrongdoings?
“They were a part of the regime that discriminated police against the pronouncement of the minister of finance to adjust public servants salaries by 6 percent across the board.”
However, Mr Sekata said although he still felt they should be awarded the salary increments, LEPOSA had misdirected itself in thinking that his party was seeking political mileage through them.
“Who do they think they are to give LCD any mileage? We know that they are politicians but we are not stranded and we don’t need them in our circles. They are wrong.”
He said although he had spoken in support of LEPOSA’s demands, he had done so in his own capacity not on behalf of the LCD.
Meanwhile, LEPOSA’s proposed Thursday procession to petition Dr Thabane hangs in the balance after the union was asked to ‘show cause’ why they should be granted permission when they failed to apply within the seven working days’ timeframe before the date of the proposed march.
The district police Commissioner of Maseru Urban, Api Letsie, said he only received the LEPOSA application on 6 April this year.