De­ci­sive ac­tion needed to stem gun vi­o­lence

Lesotho Times - - Leader -

As re­ported else­where in this edi­tion, five lives were claimed this week ow­ing to gun vi­o­lence which has be­come en­demic in Le­sotho. this time, the vic­tims were mas­sa­cred in what is be­lieved to be a Famo turf war.

this is the lat­est in a se­ries of eerily sim­i­lar sto­ries we have heard over the years. Un­known gun­men opened fire and shot the vic­tims point blank, only to dis­ap­pear and never to be heard from again — un­til the next shoot­ing, that is. Mean­while the po­lice then cus­tom­ar­ily re­as­sure us that in­ves­ti­ga­tions are un­der­way and that the “per­pe­tra­tors will be brought to book”. that would be the end of that, and sooner rather than later, we will again grap­ple with an­other gun-re­lated in­ci­dent.

It is thus no ex­ag­ger­a­tion that there is a small-scale civil war be­ing waged across the coun­try since il­le­gal guns seem to be avail­able to all and sundry.

Al­though statis­tics on gun vi­o­lence in Le­sotho are not read­ily avail­able, the ram­pant in­stances of gun vi­o­lence paint a de­press­ing pic­ture of a na­tion at war with it­self.

Even though po­lice say a lot of il­le­gal firearms have been con­fis­cated and sur­ren­dered, there are still too many il­le­gal guns in the hands of the pub­lic.

As SADC Com­mis­sion of In­quiry chairperson, Jus­tice Mpa­phi Phumaphi, noted dur­ing the tes­ti­mony of Le­sotho Defence Force Com­man­der Lieu­tenant Gen­eral tlali Kamoli last month, Ba­sotho have nor­mal­ized the ubiq­uity of firearms. Lt Gen Kamoli even joked that guns were as com­mon­place among Ba­sotho as the Moshoeshoe blan­ket.

While th­ese re­marks were said in jest, the high num­ber of in­juries and fa­tal­i­ties ow­ing to gun bat­tles in Le­sotho is no joke.

Gov­ern­ment and Ba­sotho should see this prob­lem for what it is; a na­tional cri­sis. Many young and pro­duc­tive lives are be­ing lost be­cause of ac­cess to guns. Ad­dress­ing this prob­lem should top gov­ern­ment’s pri­or­ity list be­cause no one is im­mune to the dele­te­ri­ous ef­fects of a gun. No one is safe, and more con­certed ef­forts should be made on the part of law en­force­ment agen­cies to nip this trend, which is clearly out of con­trol, in the bud.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.