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Tale of two police forces




The students smashed windows and damaged buildings this week. One even threw a fire extinguisher at police from the roof of a building.

No. We are not talking about the students from Limkokwing University. We are talking about university students in the United Kingdom.

Student demonstrations and riots are not unique to Lesotho, as events of this week clearly showed.

However, what is interesting is how the powers-that-be in the two aforementioned countries reacted to violent protests.

First, indulge us as we look at the numbers.

In the UK, one newspaper reported that an estimated 50 000 activists turned out to vent their anger at government plans to raise tuition fees while cutting the state grant for university teaching.

Activists who had masked their faces with scarves traded punches with police to chants of “Tory scum”.

Police said at least eight people — “a mixture of police and protesters” — had been injured, and a number had been arrested, the newspapers said.

It was a protest of 50 000 people and yet only eight were injured.

No guns were fired although police on horseback were accused of charging at students with their horses.

Ramajake Thebe, a student at Limkokwing University, must therefore be wishing that he was studying in the UK.

On Monday, Thebe was one of the students at Limkokwing University who were shot by  the police during a student protest which turned violent.

Reports did not specify how many students there were but, judging from the pictures of the protest, they were far below 1 000. Most likely less than 500.

We at Newsmakers & Noisemakers are then flabbergasted as to why, in a student protest 100 times smaller than the one held in London, police shot and injured seven students in the ensuing violence.

Two guards from Security Lesotho were also shot and they must no doubt  be cursing whoever wrote the duty roster that placed them on duty at the university.

For their heavy-handedness and apparent lack of compassion, the officers of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service win this week’s Noisemaker award.



Bokang “Lefty” Mothoana


A while ago, it was reported that American medical researchers had travelled to Kenya to try and establish what makes the people from that country’s highlands such good runners.

Clearly, Lesotho’s highlands seem to have the same effect on our long-distance runners and the country is well-represented in that sport, albeit on a smaller scale than in Kenya.

However, those researchers also need to look at why both Lesotho and Kenya have some of the worst footballers on the continent.

It is always with joy and genuine surprise that we receive news of a Lesotho footballer who is playing for a team outside the country. Better still if that footballer is performing impressively for that said team.

You can therefore imagine our relief at Newsmakers & Noisemakers when we read this week about how Bokang “Lefty” Mothoana is doing in Tunisia.

For those who don’t know his history, Mothoana first signed for US Monastir in 2007 and helped the club reach its first Tunisian Cup final in 2009.

He briefly returned to Lesotho last year in September and played for Likhopo for three months, during which he scored four goals in seven games. He rejoined Monastir last December on a three-year contract.

Lefty has achieved a lot despite growing up in a country without a professional football league.

This year he is impressing with his fine form, featuring in all but one of his team’s seven matches so far.

Lefty’s story is true testament to Lesotho’s potential to export sporting skills.

However, it is our feeling that research might find that  we could have many more Leftys in our country if it were not for one thing — the shoddy manner in which sporting bodies in this country are running our sport.

As we write, six local athletes might be forced to forfeit their Soweto Marathon prize monies for competing without clearance letters from the national authority, the Lesotho Amateur Athletics Association (LAAA).

If it goes ahead with its threat, the LAAA is on the verge of denying poor Basotho athletes the chance to feed their families and to reach the heights of sporting success.

Granted, the LAAA might have a genuine concern over the performance the athletes put up at the Commonwealth Games. However, such a complaint can be solved through the intervention of a third party, such as the Sports and Recreation Commission. The LAAA cannot be judge and jury if it is a democratic institution.

Besides, the problem certainly cannot be solved in the space of a week.

Sporting bodies must lead the way in uniting athletes and supporting their development.

Basotho must not be satisfied with just exporting miners and labourers to South Africa.

This country needs to fully develop its talent in the area of sport.

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