COMMEMORATIONS of Lesotho’s 52nd anniversary of independence are continuing in various parts of the country and we feel that the celebrations should also be an opportunity for introspection into our sad and unfortunate culture of attaching little if any regard to the sanctity of human life.
Ours seems to be a never-ending tale of violence and senseless killings and hardly a week ever passes without media reports of lives being lost.
The past few weeks are no exception and as we recently reported, an 83-year-old granny was raped and murdered in her own house on 15 September 2018 in a suspected case of a ritual killing.
Senior Inspector Rantoane Motsoetla from the police public relations office said that ‘Masefali Mporoane, of Malealea, was found dead by her nephew Molikeng Mporoane in the morning of 16 September 2018. He however, said he did not have the details of the case.
The gruesome murder is the latest in the long series of violence and killings of women and children which continue to taint the history of this country.
On 23 July this year, five women were murdered in cold blood in the Ha-Mokauli village, some 25 kilometres south of the capital, Maseru.
Now 52 years into independence, we ask what has become of the nation that was founded by King Moshoeshoe I on the principles of peaceful co-existence, hospitality and generosity even to strangers.
What has got into us that we exhibit such signs of mental depravity?
And for all our professions of love and respect for our King Letsie III, we continue to turn a deaf ear to His Majesty’s pleas to retrace our steps and rediscover our humanity.
It seems like yesterday when His Majesty decried the senseless and callous killing of businessman, Thabiso Tšosane, who was gunned down by unknown assailants on the night of 9 May 2015 in Ha Tsolo in Maseru.
“What happened to this man, this killing, is a clear sign that as a people, as a country, we are really sick,” His Majesty said at Tšosane’s funeral in 2015.
“We are sick in the mind and our hearts. Such terrible acts are only done by sick people. As Christians, as Basotho, you know this kind of sickness can only be healed by prayer.
“I invite you, as Christians, to come and pray together, not only on Sundays but all the time and even at our places of work and ask God to heal us because we are truly a sick people.”
Sadly, those words appear to have had no effect on the national psyche as lives continue to be cut short week in and week out.
We seem to have developed a DNA of violence and consequent murderous streak.
And the killers at village level are just a microcosm of our society which has unsurprisingly bred callous individuals who are ever ready to sacrifice precious lives at the altar of political expediency.
We may establish commissions of inquiry into politically-motivated killings, seek external help from SADC and impose punitive prison sentences and even if we impose the death penalty, it would still not end the culture of impunity which has clearly invaded and modified our genetic make-up.
Such is the impunity that even army commanders can be shot in cold blood in broad daylight.
All of this is happening because at the level of the households where values of respect and the sanctity of human life are supposed to be inculcated, the responsibility has been abandoned.
This is the issue that we have to grapple with as we commemorate our independence. What kind of nation have we become? We need to return to the values that were at the heart of the founding of our nation.