MOST of us are on cloud nine as we continue to celebrate the milestone of our country’s 52nd anniversary of independence. However, we feel that such momentous occasions would be better used to reflect on where exactly we got off the rails and got left behind by our peers in terms of socio-economic development.
It is no lie to say that we are far, far behind our sibling Botswana who attained independence at the same time as us. Compared to Lesotho, Botswana was a veritable wasteland with fewer natural resources. Theirs is a largely desert country and yet they have used the few resources in the form of diamonds and tourism to transform their country. It would not be far-fetched to say they are close to being a middle-income economy.
The same cannot be said of Lesotho, despite boasting diamonds, tourism, human capital and water resources which Botswana and South Africa have cast their envious eyes on.
It goes without saying that there is nexus between good governance and economic development and you cannot achieve the latter without implementing the former. Our political failings are so well-known and this comment will not focus on that aspect of our post-independence shortcomings.
Rather, it is another failing in terms of our moral direction as evidenced by our sad and unfortunate culture of attaching little if any regard to the sanctity of human life that is our major concern on this page.
Every week we report about the killing of yet another woman and/ or child. We report about yet another rape and the victims vary in age from months-old babies to octogenarian grandmothers.
Even as we commemorate our independence, we need to do some serious soul-searching as more and more statistics of rape and murders confirm that our independence has turned out to be a harvest of depravity and heartlessness.
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.
What has got into us that we exhibit such signs of mental depravity?
Ours is a nation which was founded by His Majesty King Moshoeshoe I on the values of hospitality, tolerance and respect for the sanctity of human life.
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.
On every occasion that he takes to the podium, His Majesty always reminds us of the need to respect each other and value human life.
“We are sick in the mind and our hearts,” His Majesty said at one burial a few years ago.
“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, such advice continues to be ignored and it is even more galling that in May this year, a clergyman murdered his girlfriend.
The fact that murder was been committed by a priest, a member of the very institution that is supposed to lead the nation to moral redemption, leaves us with more questions than answers about the path we are taking as a nation.
Will the violence against women and children ever end? Will this country ever know real peace and respect for its womenfolk and children? What needs to be done and who should lead the process of moral regeneration if those who are supposed to do so are found wanting as the case of the ‘killer’ priest suggests?
This year’s gruesome murders are the latest in the long series of violence and killings of women and children which continue to taint the history of this country.
The World Bank recently said that one in three women worldwide suffers violence from their partner.
“One characteristic of violence against women and girls is that it knows no social or economic boundaries: this issue needs to be addressed in both developing and developed countries, and affects women of all socio-economic backgrounds,” the World Bank states.
We do not have the statistics of how many women are butchered annually in Lesotho, save to say that one life lost is one life too many.
We continue to lose so many women and children to senseless crime. The situation cannot be allowed to go on any day longer. Something must give. But the key question is who will guide the flock and provide direction if those who are supposed to be the shepherds have turned to ravenous wolves? These are the key questions we must grapple with and answer as we commemorate our independence.