‘Jail or death’

Tom+ThabaneBy Billy Ntaote

MASERU — Prime Minister Thomas Thabane has declared war on criminals, giving them a three-month ultimatum to clean up their act “or else go to prison or die”.

Addressing his All Basotho Convention (ABC) rally in the Kolo constituency this week, Thabane, who is also police minister, warned criminals that their reign of terror was ending adding that for every crime committed “a thief should pay with his head”.

“Each and every criminal should be imprisoned or die. As the adage goes lesholu ke ntja le lefa ka hloho (loosely translated: a thief is like a dog that pays with its head),” Thabane said.

The premier, whose ABC party is a senior partner in his coalition government established with the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and the Basotho National Party (BNP), added that it was the responsibility of his office to prevent crime at all costs “especially because we control the police”.

“We are part of government now. We have the responsibility to prevent crime as the ministry of police is under our control and in the PM’s office,” Thabane said.

“I’m working on this crime prevention issue with the minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Molobeli Soulo.”

To drive his point home, the premier also announced that this week he would be meeting with Assistant Police Commissioners (ACPs) as well as the Commissioner of Police.

“The meeting is meant for all those in charge to come and receive the final orders that we will be giving to them so that by the end of the next three months there are no criminals running around scot-free,” Thabane said.

Thabane further told the rally that since ascending to power he has gone all out to urge people to desist from engaging in criminal activities but that “there has not been any significant change”.

He said: “It is unfortunate that even the police who are supposed to be key role players in curbing criminal activities are engaged in crimes.”

Thabane also used the platform to accuse his predecessor former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s administration, of being negligent when it came to crime prevention and law enforcement.

“I cannot even say those police officers who engage in crimes were in the wrong as the past administration was carefree about this issue,” Thabane said.

“Our administration is concerned as we take every police officer to be a law enforcement officer. We’d like all law enforcement officers to be just that and nothing else.”

Thabane said what he wants is for every Mosotho rearing animals to not fear for the safety of their livestock in the night but to “sleep comfortably without worries in the next three months”.

Thabane further took a swipe at Mosisili saying: “My former boss used to mock Basotho saying they lock up their animals in unsecure kraals whilst they sleep with their wives in secure households.”

“If livestock farmers cannot be affluent under my government, then they should abandon livestock farming. I am dedicated towards curbing stock theft which has been threatening livestock farming in Lesotho.”

Thabane asked the Kolo constituency villagers to inquire about his successes in stamping out stock theft “in a matter of only six months”.

“I know previously I said within three months I would have dealt with stock theft and other crimes but let me say within six months from now you should ask what I have achieved,” Thabane said.


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