Be afraid, be very afraid

Lesotho Times - - Scrutator -

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!!!!

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