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Who killed Matséliso Thulo?

IT is now two months after Matséliso Thulo was brutally killed by the police at the National University of Lesotho (NUL) campus.
The 30-year-old political science student was shot during three days of mayhem as students protested over the non-payment of their allowances.
At least 14 other students were seriously injured during the protest.
One injured pregnant student is said to have lost her baby after she suffered a miscarriage.
Another female student failed to sit for her exams as a result of injuries.
They say time heals all wounds.
But for students who witnessed their colleague die the traumatic experience might remain etched in their minds for life.
It is clear that the festering wound has refused to heal.
A feeling of bitterness seems to permeate the whole student community.
We know the police at first tried to absolve themselves of any guilt by claiming that Thulo had died in a stampede.
But an autopsy conclusively stated that Thulo died after pellets fired by the police perforated her lung and heart.
We expected that the police would at least set up their own commission of inquiry to probe the death of Thulo.
We also expected the results of the probe to be made public so as to reassure the public’s faith in the law enforcement agency.
But two months down the line nothing of that sort has been done. We think the police really bungled the manner in which they handled the Thulo case.
As far as we are concerned, the police have not kept the nation fully informed about progress on their investigations into the murder.
In fact, no arrests that we know of have been made in connection with Thulo’s murder.
This information is important to understand the new threat to stage fresh protests by students.
Last week, we heard some “war talk” from the president of the Students’ Representative Council, Caston Thaanyane.
In a chilling warning, Thaanyane promised to lead a fresh wave of student protests to demand justice for Thulo.
When the police appear reluctant to act against suspects it can only sow seeds of further unrest at the university campus.
The truth of the matter is that Thulo’s killer has been allowed to roam the streets with no action being taken against him.
We would have expected the police to at least inform the nation that the culprit had been suspended from duty and that he would soon face justice. But again nothing of that sort has been done.
We would like to believe that the police know who shot Thulo. The evidence against the culprit must be overwhelming.
We cannot therefore understand why it is taking the police eternity to arrest the culprit and bring him before the courts to face justice.
We would like to believe that two months of thorough investigations must be sufficient enough to conclude the case.
The case has serious ramifications for our justice delivery system.
We would not want to believe that the mighty and powerful in society will be allowed to go scotfree even after committing serious crimes.
This case therefore provides a golden opportunity for the custodians of our justice delivery system to reassure the nation that the system still works.
It would be sad if the police allow themselves to shield one of their own from facing justice.
Such an act would seriously damage the credibility of the police.
In fact, it would inflict irreparable harm to the system and erode the public’s already shaky confidence in the police and the justice delivery system.
When the public loses confidence in the police they resort to crude methods to resolve conflicts in their communities.
Such methods are almost always counter-productive.
It would therefore be in the interest of the police and the larger society to move with haste in dealing with the Thulo issue.
It is also clear that delays by the police to deal with the matter are beginning to irritate the students’ leadership.
We might not agree with the students’ methods in expressing their disgust.
But we are at the same wave length with them in demanding answers over the unfortunate tragedy.

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