Lesotho: Police Must Act to Stop Senseless Killings

27 November 2019
editorial

Ours cannot be a soulless nation where human life has no value and people are brutally massacred at the drop of a penny. We have said this before and we will continue repeating this message until someone finally listens. We will repeat it until the police finally begin to apprehend the cold-hearted criminals and until the government comes up with clear programmes to deal with the scourge of killings which are fast turning us into the murder capital of the world. If need be we will shout from the mountain tops in Mokhotlong and in the valleys of Roma and other low-lying parts of our beautiful but blood-soaked kingdom.

We are well-known for our beautiful dams and flowing rivers which supply South Africa (and very soon Botswana) with water. But the blood of women folk, our men, our youth is also flowing. And it is a relentless flow which can only be stopped if we all put our heads together to end the senseless killings that continue to plague our nation.

Every week there is a report of a brutal killing. We recently reported on the deaths of a 69 year-old man, Nkopane Mokhesi, and his four grandchildren whose their lives were abruptly ended by trigger-happy killers on the night of 24 October 2019 in Ha Molungoa.

Before that we had reported on the murder of well-known former policeman, Makoae Moshoeshoe, who was gunned down in cold blood by an unknown gunman.

In this edition, we report that the family of the slain Mr Mokhesi has fled its Ha Molungoa, Maseru home to seek refuge elsewhere in fear of the unknown killers who could still be in the area and plotting their next round of heartless killings.

What worries us is that while cold-blooded indiscriminate killings have become the order of the day in Lesotho most of these murders remain unresolved.

We have bemoaned the killings of police officers and civilians in equal measure. We have implored our nation to do some serious soul-searching after each cold-blooded murder.

Will the violence ever end? Will this country ever know real peace and respect for its womenfolk, children and other ordinary people if the very people entrusted with their protection have no clues as to the identity of the criminals?

It has been a year and four months since the murders of the five Rothe women in July 2018. Like many others, the case remains unresolved and more people have been killed since then. That the killings of innocent men, women and children continue with each passing week could be due to the killers believing they will never be brought to account.

The gruesome Ha Molungoa killings are the latest in the long series of violence and killings of men, women and children which continue to taint the history of this country.

We do not have the statistics of how many people, including police officers, are murdered annually in Lesotho, save to say that one life lost is one life too many.

Newly appointed Social Development Minister, Motlohi Maliehe, is worried by the murders and has called for the death sentence for perpetrators.

Mr Maliehe says murderers should immediately be executed than sent to prison where taxpayers' money was wasted on their welfare. While we are not advocates of the death penalty we share his outrage over the wanton killings.

We continue to lose so many of our people to senseless crime. The situation cannot be allowed to go on any day longer. Something must give. If there is no behavioural change we at least expect the police to apprehend the criminals. The government too, must come up with a clear plan of action to tackle the scourge. Populist calls to mob justice by ministers will not suffice to deal with the problem.

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