I AM BACK! Without vengeance . . .
IT’S with a very heavy heart that I return to my calling as a wordsmith. Most of you know will know the very traumatic developments of the past few weeks. Very traumatic issues indeed. These developments weighed heavily upon me. They ripped and sapped my bountiful energy. I could not summon enough zest to lift a finger to crank the keyboard.
It’s now nearly 10 years since the invention of this column. A very good invention since John Logie Baird dispatched the first television signal on January 26 1926, some of you might argue. Over the period since the invention of this column, I have tried my best to dispatch some priceless advice to make this Kingdom a better place for all who belong herein.
For those who have heeded my advice and prospered, I have not asked for a penny in return. For those who have ignored my advice and imperiled themselves along the way, I have managed to shed a tear. This all defines my qualities as a good citizen. I have always loved you Lesotho and all of you Basotho.
As I have cranked the keyboard each week to produce this column, it has never occurred to me that my bountiful energy and enthusiasm for sharing knowledge and making this Kingdom a better place could cause offence. Such a level of offence to result in my Publisher and CEO being charged criminally over my well-intentioned opinions. That matter is now sub judice and I am legally not allowed to comment on it.
So I will leave the subject for some day. But to his credit, my Publisher has not canned this column despite all his trials and tribulations over my input. Very brave man indeed. I just love him. So it’s Aluta Continua.
But as I resume this column, there is no denying that I am a broken woman. I have to be brutally honest. I am broken. What has broken me is not so much the criminal defamation charges levelled against my Publisher. I am shaken to my bone by the brazen assassination attempt on my editor Lloyd Mutungamiri a few weeks ago. I was outraged. The world was outraged. Some of you good people were outraged. Were it not for the grace of God, Ntate Mutungamiri would not be with us, just like so many Basotho who have been killed in senseless atrocities in recent times.
Even though he survived, I was still gutted by the extent of his injuries. I could not summon enough courage to write this column while he was in that state. This is why over the past few weeks, you have been greeted by a black dark page instead of my written words. It has indeed been dark days for me and the journalism fraternity. That is the message that the dark page was meant to convey.
But now I hear that Ntate Mutungamiri is in a stable condition and out of danger, I can return to this column. In any event, remain- ing silent indefinitely is tantamount to conceding defeat to the dark forces of evil bent on silencing enlightened forces of good. That’s what the ghastly perpetrators of the crime against my editor want. They should never win.
I have always struggled. I will always struggle to understand what implores any human being to be so callous as to want to destroy the life of another. The reason Scrutator is a vegetarian is because I hate to see the destruction of life. I cringe when I see a hen’s life being destroyed. I never slaughter a single of my enormous herd of sheep. I rear the sheep and sell them to others.
Just consider this. Here is a loving father of three. A committed professional. A man who, like all of us, braves the chilly morning weather to come to work so as to put food on the table for his growing kids. He does not hold public office. So he is powerless to change the Kingdom’s political course. Yes, Ntate Mutungamiri wields the power of the pen.
Which some say is mightier than the sword. But that’s just about it. Throughout his tenure, there can be no disputing that he has discharged his functions diligently. On all the publications he has worked for, he has left a good story. In Lesotho, he has been doing his best to train local journalists on the job. One version by a government Minister was that the attack on Ntate Mutungamiri was an ordinary criminal act. Really? Which dumb criminal would waylay a man? Fire several rounds at him. Then walk away without touching his wallet or cellphones. If there are any such criminals, then King Letsie III’S words after the demise of Maaparankoe Mahao that “we have become a sick society” resonate.
Surely why should any grievances be resolved through murder and violence? The gift of life is the most precious of all. The reason why most civilised societies have abolished the death penalty is precisely because of the universal recognition that no man has a right to take the life of another. Even the abuse of animals is prohibited. So why do other people find it so easy to take life? What happens in the minds of these senseless murderers? Does that person go home after killing another person and remain at peace with themselves? Does a murderer, enjoy a lovely evening, have dinner and enjoy a restful sleep after taking a life? I have often wondered. If they do, they are not human.
But there is also one good thing about evil. It always begets evil. Evil possesses its own unguarded ability to breed evil repercussions for the perpetrators. A person who commits murder today may escape human justice, as we have often seen in Lesotho and elsewhere, but they will never escape God’s justice. No individual, be it the most powerful politician, the richest businessman, the most brilliant entrepreneur, the most powerful soldier, the most revered diplomat, the most influential clergyman and whosoever can ever escape eternal justice.
At the height of their power, Benito Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler, Idi Amin, Muammar Gaddafi and many other such uncouth rogues thought they owned the world. But they eventually all met their well-deserved comeuppance at the hands of those they had terrorized. Equally men of less or no power will also never escape eternal justice.
The ordinary low-life criminal that commits murder, rape theft against other ordinary peace-loving citizens will also meet his comeuppance. The day will always come when every evil act gets its answer. When every evil man and woman meets their maker. Those who operate with impunity today will meet their day of justice. Nothing in life is ever constant.
Ntate Mutungamiri’s tragedy exposed another side of life. As a family of professionals, we were humbled by the outpouring of support from every corner of the world. Inevitably, attacks on journalists don’t come without consequences. We have established effective international solidarity systems. And there is a motto that guides our profession; An injury to one is an injury to all. We stand side by side. Yes we may have our differences but we put our craft above these differences. So those bent on attacking journalists better think again.
But even more comforting was the support we got from those we deemed enemies or adversaries. The salutary lesson Scrutator picked up from this is that as humans – there is more that unites than divides us. We have to emphasize our common humanity more than our differences.
Our differences should make us more humane and never lead us into the trespass of murder and other such ignoble vices. To all of you who spoke out, who stood by us during our biggest moment of need, Scrutator says; A Big Thank You. As per Edmund Burke — “All that is essential for evil to prevail is for good men to sit and do nothing”.
To all those of you who remained silent, despite that your positions and authority required you to speak out against a dastardly atrocity against one of the Kingdom’s most foremost newsmen, Scrutator equally says; thank you as well for your silence.
Now I only have one prayer. That we transmogrify into a better society ruled by love and tolerance and not murder, violence and fear. I look around me and see the ever increasing number of private citizens now moving around with bodyguards. Why should that be so? There was a time when I did not even bother to close my gate.
Now, arriving at home and opening your manual gate has become the most dangerous undertaking. The murderers would be waiting to pounce. Why? Why should fear rule us? Why should differences be settled through criminal violence? Why should I require a bodyguard to traverse the distance between my village and my boyfriend’s? Why should I require a bodyguard to go to the office, golf course, shebeen or to my favourite drinking hole?
Let all the tragedies we have been experiencing: the tragedy of those who have been killed in either political or criminal violence, the tragedy of our political leaders living in exile, the tragedy of the masses of other Basotho who have fled into exile, the tragedy of those who have been shot and survived, the tragedy of the increasing number of fleeing MPS, the tragedy of Lesotho always making international headlines for the wrong reasons, and all other tragedies spur us into collective self-introspection as a country and ask ourselves. Is this the kind of Kingdom we want to live in? Yes a violent Kingdom may work for those perpetrating atrocities, albeit temporarily, but what of the majority of His Majesty’s peace loving citizens?
Our differences should make us more humane and never lead us into the trespass of murder and other such ignoble vices. To all of you who spoke out, who stood by us during our biggest moment of need, Scrutator says; A Big Thank You. As per Edmund Burke — “All that is essential for evil to prevail is for good men to sit and do nothing