Lesotho’s police minister arrested for violating alcohol ban during lockdown

Ama Nunoo April 22, 2020
Photo: Flipboard

The police minister of Lesotho has been arrested after he failed to appear in court for disobeying the COVID-19 lockdown rules. He is facing the law because he was seen buying alcohol, his office confirmed on Tuesday.

To ensure the safety of citizens, many countries have put in place a mandatory lockdown policy that prohibits unnecessary movements unless to purchase essential items.

Alcohol has not been listed as an essential commodity and Lesotho is no exception to enforcing its ban. The police minister, Lehlohonolo Moramotse, was to appear in court to be formally charged on Monday by a magistrate after a viral video of him buying alcohol surfaced two weeks ago.

An arrest was made on the day of the said incident and the minister was held behind bars overnight at the police headquarters in the capital Maseru.

“I can confirm that the minister was detained at the police station last night,” police spokesperson, Mpiti Mopeli, told AFP. He faces charges of violating lockdown regulations and illegal connection of water at his… home.”

However, an urgent High Court Order saw to the release of the police minister early Tuesday morning.

No one is above the law, especially not those who are to help enforce it because the Kingdom of Lesotho declared a 24-day lockdown on March 29, which was scheduled to end on Tuesday at midnight and everyone is expected to abide by the regulations of the lockdown.

Although Lesotho as a country has not recorded any COVID-19 case yet, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane ordered for its borders to be closed as it is landlocked by South Africa, which has recorded about 3,300 cases so far.

Meanwhile, in what seemed to be a regular routine check at the Gauteng roadblock in South Africa, a woman was discovered in the car trunk of her boyfriend’s vehicle supposedly being “smuggled” to another district, Mpumalanga.

Some South Africans and as a matter of fact people all over the world are devising crafty ways to breach lockdown measures meant to protect the people from contracting COVID-19, as well as, mitigate its spread.

According to Faith Mazibuko, Gauteng Community’s Safety MEC, the man was stopped because he did not have a permit to commute between districts.

In a viral WhatsApp video, the police is heard laughing at the discovery in the trunk as the woman nervously gets out of the boot to wear her shoes, News24 reported.

They initially thought it was a case of human trafficking and said the driver must be arrested. However, according to Mazibuko, both the man and his girlfriend were arrested, after she admitted to giving consent to be “smuggled”.

Apparently, Mazibuko’s Twitter feed during South Africa’s national lockdown has been one to follow as she updates her followers with similar incidents from those adamant citizens, who want to thwart the lockdown regulations.

The roadblocks on community, provincial and national roads were setup to help enforce the national lockdown that prohibits movement between provinces, metros, and district areas.

Those excluded from the movement restrictions are emergency service officials, healthcare workers service delivery personnel and the police. At the roadblocks everyone, who is permitted to cross, will be screened by health officials as the police conduct searches.

Only essential goods and cargo are permitted to undergo a cross-border trip. Mazibuko explained that alcoholic beverages are not considered essential and anyone caught transporting it will be arrested.

According to a local news outlet, a man was arrested with crates of beer in his car over the weekend in Mpumalanga by the police.

Per the new amendment the man was in breach of the regulation, which states that, “the transportation of liquor is prohibited, except where alcohol is required for industries producing soap, hand sanitiser, industrial use, disinfectants and household cleaning products.”

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: April 22, 2020


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