THE Alliance of Democrats Women’s League (ADWL) has condemned workers who sang songs calling for Labour and Employment Minister, Keketso Rantšo, to be raped as punishment for failing to award them a salary increments.
The ADWL said it was not only morally reprehensible but also an incitement to criminal behaviour for the protesting workers to call for anyone to be raped.
The AWDL said this at a press conference in Maseru yesterday.
The press conference was called in the aftermath of Monday’s protest march by thousands of workers who converged at the Moshoeshoe 1 monument in Maseru where they handed a petition to Prime Minister Thomas Thabane demanding wage increases for all workers.
The protestors, who comprised of factory employees, security guards and general workers from the retail and catering sector, want a 15 percent increment for all workers. They are also demanding a minimum wage of M2000 for factory workers.
The workers had hoped to deliver the same petition to Ms Rantšo by they were disappointed by her failure to meet them on Monday.
Government sources say that Ms Rantšo was granted medical leave of absence by Dr Thabane to enable her to seek treatment outside the country for an undisclosed ailment.
Upon realising that Ms Rantšo was not present to receive their petition, the incensed workers, who were predominantly female, broke into a song calling for Ms Rantšo to be raped by three men whose names they did not disclose.
Ms Rantšo is the only female leader of a political party in Lesotho. Her Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) is part of the governing coalition along with Dr Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC), Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki’s Alliance of Democrats and Communications Minister Thesele Maseribane’s Basotho National Party (BNP).
Addressing yesterday press conference, the deputy president of the ADWL, ’Manthaiseng Phohleli, condemned the protestors for their song which she said was an incitement to commit crimes.
“We, the ADWL, understand and appreciate the importance of every Mosotho’s right to protest because we believe in democracy,” Ms Phohleli said.
“However, we were appalled to hear the protestors singing that song calling for the Minister of Labour and Employment to be raped.
“While we admit that the protestors’ demands are valid, we strongly abhor that song. It was demeaning, insulting, inciting and uncalled for. It was wrong not just because she (Ms Rantšo) is a minister, but because she is human being and deserves respect.
“Rape is a crime and…it is inhuman. We are against all forms of violence and we are even more embarrassed that the song was led by women. When has rape ever been used to reprimand or correct anyone for any wrong doing?
“Are these women and men really saying that the cruel act of rape should be used to punish Basotho women, especially a woman leader,” Ms Phohleli asked.
Ms Phohleli said her party was committed to fighting all forms of violence against women, children and men.