Se­jana­mane’s anal­y­sis still paral­ysed

Lesotho Times - - Leader -

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.

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