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Serious crime calls for serious time

Reading newspapers nowadays has become a lot like reading a horror novel.
The pages are filled with chilling stories of rape, murder and other violent crimes.
This week, the Sunday Express front page carries the story of a bloodbath where two guards were killed when a gunfight broke out at their workplace.
Last week, the Lesotho Times carried the story of how a 10-year-old boy was bludgeoned to death for stealing.  The alleged killer reportedly struck the boy on the head with a knobkerrie despite seeing that the suspected thief was only a boy.
We will not even bother to talk about the horrific reports of rape we have encountered lately.
Clearly serious crimes remain at unacceptable levels in this country.
The police recently announced that they were embarking on an outreach programme to teach people in the rural areas about crime and the requirements of the law.
This is a valiant effort, but one whose impact needs to be carefully evaluated and monitored.
Meanwhile, the killing continues and there is need for the law to get tough on individuals who do not value the life and liberty of their fellow man.
The courts of law in this country appear to be lenient to perpetrators of serious crimes.
Too many times, persons on trial for serious crimes are granted bail on very easy conditions. And even after their conviction, it is not surprising to see someone sentenced to five years in prison for manslaughter while a livestock thief gets a disproportionate 10 years in prison.
Is it some sick way of preventing over-crowding in jails?
The courts need to get serious with all persons convicted of crimes involving guns or other weapons. While we’re not calling for public hangings, there should be a clear message sent out that serious criminals in this country will do serious time.
For example, there should be a serious difference between the guy who steals your car while you are sleeping and the one who forcefully takes it away at gunpoint.
One is a thief and the other is a ruthless villain willing to kill for a pile of metal.
To the judiciary we say serious crimes call for serious time.

Mall shoppers
With all the blood-letting on the streets, we were more than happy to see some champagne flowing instead while celebrating the official opening of the Pioneer Shopping Mall in Maseru.
When the fireworks started, the directors at Newsmakers & Noisemakers were enjoying a sumptuous open-air dinner at one of the restaurants in town.
Imagine our surprise, therefore, upon hearing the explosive boom. We thought it was another shootout and more bodies would be piled up the next morning.
Thankfully, it was only the fireworks display which carried on for a few minutes.
The light reflected well on our white plates laden with roast salmon.
All credit goes to people from all walks of life who flocked to the mall the next morning.
As we have discussed before in this column, the support of all citizens and residents of Lesotho will help create more jobs in this country.
The dependence on all things South African is crippling the development of this nation.
To our further delight, we notice that plans are afoot to construct a housing estate near the Maseru Golf Club.
From what we saw on the billboard, this is gonna be one grand affair and we cannot wait to see construction begin.
We are however realistic and know that it will probably be some years before this project is completed.
Kudos all the same to investors who are showing their faith in Lesotho and risking their money for the future of this country.

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