I AM BACK! With­out vengeance . . .

Lesotho Times - - Scrutator -

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?

Ache!!!!

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

IDI Amin.

adolf Hitler.

Joseph Stalin.

Muam­mar Gaddafi.

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