A situational analysis of civilian police oversight agencies in the Ministry of Police and Public Safety, Lesotho

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Moliehi Ramonate


Police services around the world are generally tasked with upholding the rule of law and maintaining order in society. However, the use of excessive force by members of police services can result in violations of human rights. For that reason, governments often introduce measures and processes to hold members of police services accountable to ensure that they execute their duties within the remit of the law and in observance of human rights. This paper presents a critical discussion of the current state of accountability within the three civilian police oversight agencies in Lesotho: the Police Directorate, the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) and the Police Inspectorate within the Ministry of Police and Public Safety. Face-to-face interviews, as well as a review of various documents such as legal frameworks, international instruments, media reports and previously conducted research, were used to obtain information. While Lesotho has taken positive steps in observing some of the principles laid down by international instruments for civilian police oversight agencies, legal loopholes and administrative challenges have reduced their effectiveness.

The country’s legislation emphasises the establishment of civilian police oversight mechanisms and the appointment of their senior leaders. Moreover, the lack of relevant legislation covering the powers, functions and independence of oversight agencies erodes respect for them among the various policing services. The omission of clear provisions in these key areas of accountability to oversight agencies enables political interference in policing services to the extent that politicians can take effective control over the country’s police agencies. There is therefore a need for a review of the legal framework that governs the civilian police oversight agencies in Lesotho. A comprehensive Act should underpin the broad and detailed mandate, powers and independence of the agencies.

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How to Cite
Ramonate, M. (2022). A situational analysis of civilian police oversight agencies in the Ministry of Police and Public Safety, Lesotho. The Africa Governance Papers, 2(1), 10–31. Retrieved from https://tagp.gga.org/index.php/system/article/view/22
Research Articles
Author Biography

Moliehi Ramonate

Moliehi Ramonate holds a Master’s degree in Sociology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and earned her Bachelor’s degree in sociology at the National University of Lesotho. She has worked as an information analyst at the Lesotho Ministry of Police and Public Safety since 2018, where her responsibilities include collecting data during administrative inspections, analysis and compiling inspection reports. She has also worked at two other Government of Lesotho ministries, the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services and the Ministry of Employment and Labour. An aspiring researcher, she is interested in research topics in governance such as the relationship between accountability and democracy, labour migration, policing and public administration, as well as monitoring and evaluation. She has a particular passion for children’s rights and gender issues.



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