Be afraid, be very afraid
YOU better get afraid. Very-very afraid. The brutal murder of prominent businessman Thabiso Tšosane is still dispatching cold shivers down my usually durable spine.
I just cannot fathom the kind of society we are degenerating into. This week, the media is awash with stories of kidnappings and more crime. What the hell is going on? Where are all these illegal firearms with which murder is being committed coming from. It seems Lesotho now has more firearms, mostly illegal, than goats, sheep and citizens combined.
We Basotho mostly want to portray ourselves as the proverbial paragons of virtue. We have created the impression, to the outside world, that we are generally a peaceful society of civilised people. I remember once telling a friend during a foreign visit that the murder of people for their mobile phones is a uniquely Mzansi thing. We don’t have anything of the sort in our tranquil Kingdom in which we leave in total peace and harmony unless it’s one of those odd times when some army guys decide it’s time to create some havoc and engage is some unsavoury actions (such as we saw on August 30 2014) that assure us those rare international headlines. Of course I was wrong.
The impression of a peaceful and tranquil Basotho nation is all bogus. It belies the fact that we have fast degenerated into a rough society in using primitive methods and tactics to define how we settle differences and disputes.
The brutal murder of Tšosane is indescribable. The fact that his murderers will likely get away with it is even more chilling. Why are we Basotho getting so comfortable with violence and murder? Why do we have to settle disputes through crass violence? It seems we have fully embraced the eye for an eye methodology which Martin Luther King long warned would leave everyone blind.
We are fast rattling towards being a com- pletely blind nation. At this rate, all magistrates and judges might as well be pensioned off and we exist without a judiciary as we have resorted to the easy way of settling disputes outside the judiciary system. So should be our many bush lawyers.
Idon’t know what Ntate Tšosane did to his killers to get the treatment that befell him. The fact is no man or woman deserves to die the way he did. Was he murdered because of his political links? He is reputed to have been a staunch All Basotho Convention (ABC) member.
Was he killed because of a business deal gone wrong?
We might never fully know the answers as the chances of his killers getting caught and tried in the courts thus far appear to be as remote as sending a Mosotho to the international space station.
And there is one undoubted consequence of his killers being allowed to go scot free: It will only encourage more such gruesome killings as a way of settling disputes as perpetrators believe they can get away with murder.
We often condemn the thugs in Mzansi for killing people for such mundane items as cheap cellphones or boxes of cigarettes.
But we haven’t thoroughly introspected. We haven’t looked at what happens in our own backyard. Murder is murder and cannot be condoned or justified for whatever reason. But killing someone for their cellphone, abhorrent as it is and as they so often do in Mzansi, can be understood in terms of the economic value perspective of the murder.
Some hungry and impoverished thug is perhaps too hungry and desperate to gain ac- cess to an asset to sell and buy a meal. Please don’t get me wrong. To kill someone for their mobile phone remains completely unacceptable. But I have seen worse motives for killings in Lesotho. How, for instance, does anyone even begin justifying some of the crude murders we have witnessed in Lesotho.
Remember that scumbag who calls himself Lehlohonolo Scott who pulled out the hearts of two innocent Basotho because he believed this is the quickest way of foisting greater charms and luck unto himself and his equally deranged mother.
What about the father from, Ha Kelebone in Mphaki, Quthing district, recently reported in the Sunday Express for murdering his five kids because a sangoma had told him that killing his children was the quickest way to get rich.
Ntate Tšosane was a prominent figure who reportedly did much to share his business success with the down trodden. He is said to have been responsible for paying fees for many orphaned children around.
So his murder and its brutal nature would naturally attract media attention as it did. But how many other such senseless killings are going unnoticed and unreported. Presumably too many to count.
Every week, I hear of someone I know attending a funeral of someone who has been brutally murdered for some very silly reason.
Recently, one of my friends was attending a funeral of his friend who was killed because he had refused to share a sheep head with his nephew at a bottle store. Another of my friends was at a funeral of her relative last week who was killed because he refused to loan a teaspoon of salt to the neighbour. Mur-
One good way of achieving this is to send out a clear and unambiguous message that murder and any other violent crimes will not be tolerated by wholly ostracising any official who has been implicated in violence. I need not elaborate much here.
I have spoken strongly about the need to bring to book all those who have perpetrated heinous acts of violence in this country in recent times regardless of who they are.
The proven, tried and tested tactic of combating violence is an effective policing system in which there is a high success rate in arresting criminals.
No one will ever leave their shack to go and kill someone if they know that there is a high probability that they will get arrested, tried and jailed. But if policing is poor and people know they will get away with chopping off their opponents heads, the opposite obtains.
By rewarding any top officials who have caused or been implicated in violence with plump government posts, the government sends out a clear message that it condones violence. That is not an option.
The temptation is always there for politicians to reward violence which they have benefited from until their own turn comes. I just wish the strife between the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) and the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) had never existed.
As Tito Mboweni once eloquently argued, with no real viable purpose for the LDF’S existence as no country will ever march to invade Lesotho, the army should have been an integral party in helping to fight crime.
But with the uniformed officers themselves still at war with themselves and facing accusations of inspiring some of the violence, we must all be afraid, very afraid.
In the meantime, my prayers are with Ntate Tšosane, the children he fathered and the many orphans he helped and all those who benefited from his generosity and success as a solid entrepreneur. May his soul rest in eternal peace!!! Ache!!!!