Justice is not blind

Justice is not blind

It’s often said that justice is blind. And if by this expression it is meant that justice is impartial and objective, then I don’t believe it.
Consider how it has taken more than three years for suspects in the Ramahloko murder case and the Moshoeshoe II and Ha Abia bombings to be arrested and charged.

Where is the justice here?
Consider too the delayed justice for the victims and families of those affected in the cases listed in the SADC Commission Report in which members of the LDF are alleged to be involved where the LDF command was said to be blocking the cause of investigations. These include:
Morija police station CIR 673/01/12 attempted murder, Mafeteng Police Station CIR 30/04/12 murder, Mohale police station CIR 03/04/12 attempted murder, Mokhotlong police Station CIR 274/06/13 attempted murder, Leribe Police Station 12/04/13, Thamae Police station CIR 146/05/14 murder, Maseru Police station CIR /2535/02/15 murder of a security guard and attempted murder of an LDF member.

Still not one single conviction to speak of and you say there is justice?
The previous government led by Pakalitha Mosisili created and sustained the conditions for this lawlessness. They demonstrated no desire to ensure equality of persons before the law.

They proved this beyond doubt when they tried to legalise criminality by sending to Parliament an Amnesty Bill intended to grant amnesty that would have included individuals who committed some of these crimes. There was absolutely no consideration that there be justice for the victims.

The Thomas Thabane-led government seems to be making a clean break with this culture of impunity.
By getting rid of the Commissioner of Police, the Attorney General, and the Director of Public Prosecutions and bringing in new people, they are making clear their intention to remove individuals I am convinced history will judge to have had a hand in justice in Lesotho being raped.

Had these individuals done their jobs as required, all reported cases to the police would have been investigated and arrests where required made, necessary legal measures to safeguard and protect our constitution and laws would have been taken to prevent the lawlessness we saw and there would have been no selective institution of criminal proceedings against individuals alleged to have committed offences.

This Government would be remiss in its responsibility to the citizens of this country if it fails to ensure that there is accountability for instances of negligence and misconduct by the individuals removed if such evidence is found.
All those who are responsible for contributing to this mess we find ourselves in must account and not be rewarded with golden handshakes.
I am not alone in my view that we have very serious challenges. Perhaps nothing more strongly supports this than some of the findings from the Phumaphi Commission.

Consider the following,
PARAGRAPH 137 a – “That some of the mutiny suspects were subjected to torture and forced to confess to a mutiny plot and to implicate other people”. PARAGRAPH 137 q. – “That there are several investigations by the LMPS on LDF members which were hindered by the Lieutenant General Kamoli by refusing to hand over suspects to the police. This disregard for the rule of law as evidenced by existing warrants of arrests on some members of the LDF including Lieutenant General Kamoli charged with High treason arising from the 30th August 2014 unrests”.

PARAGRAPH 137 s – “That the investigation on the death of Mahao has been stopped. The Commission is persuaded to believe that this move was calculated to hide the fact that the LDF hindered the investigations. The facts are that the LDF refused to surrender physical evidence (weapons and vehicles used and the deceased mobile phones”.

These are signs of a country that is very sick and in need of emergency help. The situation is made worse when you consider that these things all happened under a democratically elected government.

Even though I have accepted that we have serious challenges, nothing discourages me more than the fact that two years on, there is still no justice for Lt General Mahao’s death notwithstanding all the external pressure brought to bear on Lesotho to investigate this case to its logical conclusion. Let alone all the world’s attention on this case.
It just makes you wonder how much more pathetic the situation must be for cases hidden from the spotlight where the victims are less prominent and SADC and the rest of the world are not watching.
It’s scary.

Even though we should credit the Thabane-led government for effecting swift changes in the LMPS, Office of the Attorney General and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions i.e. changes that have resulted in arrests and some individuals being charged including the former Commander of the LDF Lt General Tlali Kamoli, (thus giving families such Khetheng, Noko, Pakela, Makibinyane, Ramoholi, Moletsane, Tšooana hope that even though delayed, justice will be served), we must not be complacent.

These efforts are far from being enough. They are sufficient only to stop our freefall. This is not therefore the time to gloat and to rest on our laurels.
This is the time to begin the hard and real work to build a country where justice is blind.

Poloko Khabele

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