Sense­less at­tacks and killings must end

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“The earth is the Lord’ and ev­ery­thing in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and es­tab­lished it on the wa­ter”.

Fur­ther, the Con­sti­tu­tion of Le­sotho, Sec­tion 5(1) pro­vides: (un­der the head­ing Pro­tec­tion of Fun­da­men­tal Hu­man Rights and Free­doms), “Ev­ery hu­man be­ing has an in­her­ent right to life. No one shall be ar­bi­trar­ily de­prived of his life”.

In the same vein the Pe­nal Code Act, 2010, sec­tion 30, 65 and 72 stip­u­lates that: “A per­son who in­ten­tion­ally ap­plies un­law­ful force to the per­son of an­other, com­mits the of­fence of as­sault”, and un­der sec­tion 65 there in a se­ries of of­fences that amount to “house­break­ing”, and there­fore con­sti­tute crim­i­nal con­duct.

House­break­ing is uni­ver­sally de­fined as forc­ing one’s way into some­one’s else’s house and thereby caus­ing dam­age to the house.

More­over, as ear­lier stated, sec­tion 72 of the same Act, pro­vides that: “A per­son who, with­out law­ful ex­cuse, does any act with the in­ten­tion of dam­ag­ing prop­erty, even if singly or jointly owned or pos­sessed, com­mits the of­fence of un­law­ful dam­age to prop­erty”.

The pur­pose of this ar­ti­cle is to high­light the im­por­tance of and the sanc­tity of hu­man life, prop­erty and per­son as en­shrined in the con­sti­tu­tion and other leg­is­la­tions and, above all else and crit­i­cally, the Holy Book.

Th­ese are uni­ver­sally and al­ter­na­tively, called Con­sti­tu­tional Con­ven­tions, gen­er­ally de­fined as, prac­tices re­lat­ing to the ex­er­cise of their func­tions by the Crown (Ex­ec­u­tive), the gov­ern­ment, Par­lia­ment (Leg­is­la­ture) and the Ju­di­ciary that at cer­tain times, depend­ing on their scope, are not legally en­force­able but are com­monly fol­lowed as if they were.

One of the most im­por­tant con­sti­tu­tional con­ven­tions is that the state or gov­ern­ment must en­sure that the se­cu­rity of all its cit­i­zens and prop­erty un­der its ter­ri­tory should be en­sured.

As a corol­lary, the state, through its crit­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions and or­gans such as the army, the courts and the po­lice ser­vice, must en­sure that its cit­i­zens and all per­sons in­side its ge­o­graph­i­cal bor­ders en­joy cer­tain fun­da­men­tal hu­man rights and free­doms as en­shrined in the Con­sti­tu­tion, the Supreme Law.

With con­sti­tu­tional con­ven­tions, there are a mul­ti­plic­ity of fac­tors why the state has to fol­low them, else gov­ern­ment would not func­tion prop­erly or in a worst case sce­nario, we re­fer to such as a failed state.

Fur­ther­more, their vi­o­la­tions would cre­ate se­ri­ous ten­sion be­tween the gov­erned and the gov­ern­ment. It would erode public con­fi­dence in the gov­ern­ment of the day.

The un­der­ly­ing rea­son for obey­ing th­ese con­ven­tions by any gov­ern­ment and of course, the cit­i­zenry, is to en­sure that the ma­chin­ery of gov­ern­ment should func­tion smoothly.

In light of the fore­go­ing sce­nario, it is there­fore im­per­a­tive for this ar­ti­cle to in­ter­ro­gate the fol­low­ing two events that oc­curred to prom­i­nent cit­i­zens of this coun­try.

Firstly, the Le­sotho Times story of the May 14 2015 edi­tion, un­der the head­line “Matekane’s home burgled” makes for dis­turb­ing read­ing.

It is re­ported in the piece that: “Min­istry of Po­lice Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary Re­filoe Matekane’s Maseru West gov­ern­ment res­i­dence was on Sun­day bro­ken into and wrecked by un­known as­sailants ….

The break-in oc­curred four days af­ter the with­drawal of Mr Matekane and Gov­ern­ment Sec­re­tary Moahloli Mphaka’s Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Se­cu­rity by Act­ing Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Keketso Mon­a­heng who had found the around-the-clock pro­tec­tion ‘un­nec­es­sary’.”

“Mr Matekane was granted se­cu­rity soon af­ter the Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) si­mul­ta­ne­ously at­tacked Po­lice Head­quar­ters, Maseru Cen­tral Charge Of­fice and Mabote Po­lice Sta­tion on 30th Au­gust, 2014, in what then Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane de­scribed as an at­tempted coup.”

What is dis­turb­ing is that con­trary to the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to grant the PS a po­lice se­cu­rity de­tail, the Act­ing LMPS Com­mis­sioner Mon­a­heng, who is in­ci­den­tally a sub­or­di­nate of the PS, with­drew this se­cu­rity de­tail.

Un­der­stand­ably, Mr Matekane fears for his life and had to hire pri­vate se­cu­rity. This, he is do­ing while the min­istry which he heads can still ex­tend se­cu­rity de­tail to him.

Im­pliedly, this calls into ques­tion the wis­dom of the act­ing com­mis­sioner’s de­ci­sion to with­draw secu- rity for the PS.

Mr Matekane, notwith­stand­ing the fact that he is a very se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial and a law-abid­ing, tax­pay­ing cit­i­zen of this coun­try, is en­ti­tled to and ought to be granted se­cu­rity by the Act­ing Com­mis­sioner, yet the lat­ter saw it fit to with­draw such se­cu­rity de­tail.

In the same news­pa­per else­where, it is re­ported that a prom­i­nent busi­ness­man and phi­lan­thropist Thabiso Tšosane was killed by a hail of gun­shots at around 20:30hrs last Satur­day evening by an un­known as­sailant.

It is re­ported that the de­ceased was one of those men who ded­i­cated his life, to fight­ing poverty and hunger. It is said he con­trib­uted so much to the eco­nomic growth of Le­sotho as a whole.

He was an en­tre­pre­neur in the trans­port and con­struc­tion in­dus­tries.

“Mr Tšosane did not only take care of his fam­ily but also more than 1000 less-priv­iledged fam­i­lies,” ac­cord­ing to the story.

The de­ceased’s life was cru­elly cut short at the peak of his pow­ers when he was go­ing to ben­e­fit not only his fam­ily and em­ploy­ees as well as the trans­port and con­struc­tion in­dus­tries, but also the en­tire na­tion in terms of his phil­an­thropic work of so­cial up­lift­ment for the less-priv­iledged mem­bers of our com­mu­nity.

In­deed, speaker af­ter speaker at his home pass­ing con­do­lences be­moaned how he em­ployed scores of Ba­sotho and thereby ex­tended a help­ing hand to scores of de­pen­dents to help them eke out a living.

How­ever, I can­not help but be­moan the ut­ter­ances at­trib­uted to some of the mourn­ers who are very prom­i­nent politi­cians, who re­port­edly vowed to avenge his death.

They re­port­edly vowed that: “. . . our enemies’ fam­i­lies must cry the way we are cry­ing to­day: we can’t let hor­rific crimes like this go un­pun­ished” (sic).

Un­less I am quot­ing th­ese speak­ers out of con­text, to which I stand sub­ject to cor­rec­tion, we can­not tol- er­ate our lead­ers preach­ing vi­o­lence and re­venge.

Our lead­ers ought to, as role mod­els, teach their fol­low­ers that this orgy and cy­cle of vi­o­lence ought to stop, forth­with.

Such ut­ter­ances, if taken to their lit­eral mean­ing, which is in­flam­ma­tory, can lead to dis­as­trous con­se­quences for the whole coun­try, our moral con­science and so­cial fab­ric as a peace-lov­ing na­tion.

This na­tion was founded on ethos of peace. Our greet­ing is “Khotso”, mean­ing peace. Our fore­fa­thers, Moshoeshoe I, called “peace” his sis­ter, so to speak.

How­ever, in all fair­ness to th­ese politi­cians, much as I ap­pre­ci­ate the mag­ni­tude of their loss, we ought to urge them to ex­er­cise re­straint, in fact ci­vil­ity and diplo­macy in their public ut­ter­ances.

But this does not de­tract from the mag­ni­tude of the loss. It is heart-break­ing and the huge void left by this ir­re­place­able per­son­al­ity is too huge to fill.

How­ever, we ought to give peace a chance, no mat­ter the cir­cum­stances.

This is why I be­lieve th­ese ut­ter­ances were a knee-jerk re­ac­tion at the spur-of-the-mo­ment. They are, how­ever, re­gret­table.

Politi­cians, as role mod­els and lead­ers, should not al­low them­selves to be pushed-over the edge by rab­ble-rousers. They should re­main calm and civil through­out.

I am not far-off the mark, when I cau­tion that ut­ter­ances like th­ese can lead to a cy­cle of vi­o­lence that can es­ca­late to a proxy civil war.

The sit­u­a­tion is too volatile and the na­tion is on edge. This na­tion can­not af­ford an es­ca­lated civil war, let alone fur­ther deepen the acute po­lar­i­sa­tion.

How­ever, no one has a right, ex­cept through a law­ful court or­der, to end some­one’s life. Pe­riod!

I strongly urge all the rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers, par­tic­u­larly the politi­cians across the spec­trum, the trans­port and con­struc­tion in­dus­try lead­ers to let that in­sti­tu­tion of gov­ern­ment, the po­lice, to in­ves­ti­gate and un­ravel th­ese ut­terly das­tardly deeds be­fore com­ing to con­clu­sions that we will all later re­gret.

The sit­u­a­tion is too volatile and fluid. It calls for sound an­a­lyt­i­cal minds and lead­er­ship. It there­fore calls on all those af­fected to let jus­tice run its course.

As for the gov­ern­ment, I strongly urge it to take all nec­es­sary mea­sures to en­sure the se­cu­rity of all per­sons it gov­erns, ir­re­spec­tive of po­lit­i­cal per­sua­sions.

In short, gov­ern­ment must un­leash the full might of the law and its agen­cies to abide by the said con­sti­tu­tional con­ven­tions.

It is the pri­mary re­spon­si­bil­ity of gov­ern­ment and its se­cu­rity in­sti­tu­tions to en­sure the se­cu­rity of all its cit­i­zens in an im­par­tial man­ner.

If th­ese un­for­tu­nate in­ci­dents go un­re­solved and there­fore un­pun­ished, it will lead to an orgy and cy­cle of vi­o­lence that this na­tion can ill-af­ford, it call for strong de­ci­sive lead­er­ship to rein-in the er­rand to plunge our beloved coun­try into chaos and be­come un­govern­able.

Min­istry of Po­lice PS Re­filoe Matekane.

The late Thabiso Tšosane.

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