DEPUTY Prime Minister, Monyane Moleleki, has condemned the killings of Chinese and other foreign nationals, saying such criminal activities prevented the country from fully realising the economic benefits they brought to the country through their investments.
Mr Moleleki said this during the recent gala dinner to commemorate the first anniversary of the Chinese Community and the Security Cooperation Centre (CCSCC) in Maseru.
The CCSCC was officially launched on 4 July, 2016 with the aim of creating a safer environment for the Chinese community in Lesotho.
This came against the background of criminal incidents that resulted in the killings of at least seven Chinese nationals. Mr Moleleki attended last year’s launch ceremony in his capacity as then Minister of Police.
Speaking at the first anniversary commemorations, Mr Moleleki said the number of killings had dropped from seven in 2015 to just two after the launch of the centre.
He however, called for end to the killings, saying even one “Chinese national killed was one too many”.
“When a project like this starts any right thinking, person should ask themselves about statistics,” Mr Moleleki said, adding, “In this case the statistics of Chinese people killed a year before the project was established is seven and now the number has dropped to two”.
“I would like to welcome Chinese and I’m sure that we all that agree that two Chinese people killed is too many. In future, I would want to invite you to celebrate zero killings.
“The Chinese come here in good will and they are investors. They did not cross the border to come here to suffer at the hands of criminals.
“The Chinese never colonised us and never looked down on us, so let us appreciate them and let us protect them. It’s not good to attack foreigners and it’s not good to have a reputation of harassing them.”
He said it was necessary to protect people who came to invest and create jobs for Basotho.
For his part, the CCSCC Director, Chen Thabiso Kehui said the centre had helped create a cordial atmosphere of co-existence, adding before its inception, the Chinese experienced challenges relating to their security in the country.
“Currently we are safe and feel more welcome and protected than before. We are therefore very grateful to the Lesotho Mounted Police Service for their cooperation,” Mr Chen said.
He said Chinese businesses used to be targeted by robbers but this had since changed after the establishment of the centre.
“In various instances, seven Chinese people were killed but it is better now. I’m sure police are doing their all to protect Chinese people to live in peace.”
He said as much as they protected them from criminals, the police also had duty to bring to book Chinese nationals who fell foul of the country’s laws.