Sejanamane’s analysis still paralysed
ONCE again, Lesotho grapples with the scourge of gun violence as well-known Mafeteng taxi boss Mare Nthunya was shot dead last Saturday by an unknown assailant. The spectre of gun violence naturally hangs over this story, especially given the numerous identical cases over the preceding years.
Time and again, Basotho and in some cases foreigners have been shot by unknown assailants who disappear and are never heard from again. Of course the police always claim investigations are ongoing, but it is more likely than not that the trail of the probe runs cold.
The latest shooting brings back to the fore the simmering threat of gun violence amid the seeming tranquillity of the Mountain Kingdom. The most common thread in these shootings is politics and the famo turf wars, although criminality is also rising.
While some may argue that shootings in Lesotho are not a new phenomenon, the fact that we try to normalise the abnormal should, in itself, be cause for concern. As rightly noted by former Trade and Industry, Cooperatives and Marketing Minister S’khulumi Ntsoaole elsewhere in this edition, the negative perception of the country stymies any chances of luring viable foreign direct investment.
Cases of shootings remain high because, for so long, Basotho have been able to access firearms smuggled from South Africa through the porous border. While the police deserve commendation for going after people illegally possessing firearms, more needs to be done to ensure guns are only in the hands of law-abiding and responsible citizens.
A strategy to address substance abuse is also in order since the vice plays a significant role in the prevalence of serious and violent crime in the country.
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 the 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 a result, gun and gang violence can also lead people who are not involved in gangs to also carry guns out of fear. After all, the need for safety is a key reason people join gangs.
What little research exists points clearly to the risks of increased gun ownership in Lesotho. A gun in the home is more likely to be used on a resident of that home than on an intruder.
Any access to a firearm increases the risk of death by homicide, particularly for women. According to researchers at the University of San Francisco, firearms play a significant role in both suicide and homicide, accounting for slightly more than half of all suicide deaths and two-thirds of homicide deaths
Yet, the gun industry profits from each of these acts. It is in their interest to keep guns easily available so that people who fear random gun violence will buy more guns.
It’s no secret that countries with stricter gun laws do not have these heart-breaking headlines week after week. For instance, Australia has not had a mass shooting since 1996 thanks to tough gun control laws and the banning of a large array of weapons.
In light of the continuation of these senseless killings, we can and we must change the conversation around gun culture and gun violence. The gun culture’s worship of the protective capacities of guns and their power to be wielded against perceived enemies is a message that resonates with many among us, and it needs to be changed.
We must also challenge the narrative that more guns will make us safer, and fight against the complacency and complicity of elected officials in failing to come up with stricter gun laws.
Furthermore, the seemingly easy to and fro movement of guns across the border needs more concerted efforts to nip in the bud. This brings in the role of border guarding agencies, their capacity, numbers, deployment pattern and ability to operate in largely underdeveloped and difficult areas. Reform is certainly in order. JUST as Jesus cured a man of paralysis in Mark 2:5, any sane and intellectually sound person would have thought that the Prime Minister’s Political Advisor, Dr Fako Likoti, through his article “Sejanamane’s paralysis of analysis” ( Lesotho Times, 31 March 2016) would have healed Prof Mafa Sejanamane’s paralysis of analysis. But true to his nature as evidenced by his record as the former Vice-chancellor of NUL, and as is the case with most within the All Basotho Convention (ABC), the prof is at it yet again.
Ntate Sejanamane, being a fear monger that he is, has published what can only be termed a contemptible wish list in his blog Lesothoanalysis, in which he is attempting to throw the government and its supporters into a panic mode.
His absurd disdain for the present government, probably as a result of bitterness at the fact that his ABC messed up an opportunity to stay in power, oozes from the top of his forehead.
Ntate Sejanamane claims that the January 2016 summit came as an “intervention by SADC in the affairs of a member state, which seemed unable to handle criminal cases of murder of a former Commander of its forces…” This repulsive statement only serves to undermine the efforts of the government after the unfortunate passing of the then Lt-gen Maaparankoe Mahao.
The prof characteristically neglects to mention that it was Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili who approached SADC to set up the inquiry, and it was not the initiative of the regional bloc as he wants to portray it. It is imperative here to remind the prof that it was well within the government’s rights to establish that commission of inquiry.
With his wealth of experience and intelligence, Ntate Mosisili, knew that because of the cacophony of noises that Ntate Sejanamane and opposition would likely make regarding the credibility of such a commission, took this drastic step to request SADC to institute such a commission.
He further claims that leaders of the opposition parties had fled the country as a result of “credible threats to their lives”. How does one define such conflicting stories as credible, given the fact that there were at least two versions of exactly how the message that former premier Thomas Thabane’s life was in danger, was actually delivered to him?
One version is that while he was dining with his partner in a Maseru hotel, one of his bodyguards came to warn him that an attack on him was imminent; while the other claims that can only come to Lesotho if he is offered SADC security?
“The government is fearful of the retribution of Kamoli should they try to remove him. They are aware of his earlier declaration that he will not leave office.”
This statement is not only ludicrous but is also preposterous. The prof wilfully forgets here that the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) has sworn to defend this country from enemies abroad and domestic.
This includes the prime minister if they overstep their boundaries. What Prof Sejanamane is wailing about here is Lt-gen Kamoli’s stance when Ntate Motsoahae tried to shove the army into his pocket like he did with the police. The Prof also says “…the government had been regularly making (arguments) that it will pick and choose those recommendations it felt like”.
The prof argues that since the summit had directed that recommendations be implemented in full, this will have to be done. As many before me had already done, I will remind the prof that indeed there is a reason why those are called recommendations. They are not binding, period. Ntate Mosisili will never be held liable by anyone for saying that some of the recommendations will never see the light of day, for the reasons that he gave when he came back from the SADC meeting.
Lastly, the prof yet again talks about the “scenario whereby an expeditionary force is dispatched to disarm and arrest the suspected criminals for prosecution”. I wish to reserve my comments on this one. The reason being that if Dr Likoti, who did so much good work in trying to cure Prof Sejanamane’s paralysis could not in the end achieve that objective, my efforts will have been in vain since Dr Likoti expertly responded to this malicious claim by the prof.
I would suggest that Prof Sejanamane and a larger portion of the ABC supporters take positive measures to rid themselves of unnecessary stress that is seemingly clouding their health at the moment. A good start would be to accept that the ABC is no longer in government due their own recklessness, and the present government needs to keep busy with improving people’s lives, and not waste its time with the likes of Prof Sejanamane.