We have lost our humanity

We have lost our humanity

For people who live in a crime zone Basotho are strangely judgmental. One would think that they believe they will never be victims of violent crime or are leaning on a strong police and judicial system which will protect them. This of course is sadly not the case. Should one become a victim of a violent crime in this country, the chances of getting justice are slim to none.

The chances of you or someone you know becoming a victim however skyrocket with each passing day. So why we pontificate and make judging statements on what really happened when it befalls other people makes no sense. But then again, very few things make sense in this land of our forefathers.

Take this past weekend as an example. We woke up to news that of a double murder at the now infamous Mpilo Knoll. Mpilo knoll or hill is that area past Lesotho Sun, the new parliament buildings, and all the way up to Mpilo Estate and down to the Institute of Extra Mural Studies. It is also the Maseru’s hotspot for violent and petty crimes.

People have been mugged, held at gun point, raped and murdered on what was supposed to be a prime residential area right in the middle of town. In any case living up to its reputation a man and woman, allegedly a couple were found murdered gruesomely there this past weekend. I heard there were pictures but due to not being brave enough did not request to see them but those who did attest that the murder was done in a barbaric and especially cruel manner.

A man, partaking of his morning run was one of the first to discover the bodies and he reported this to a popular social media based new site who in turn reported it on their page. That is when things got as the youth would say “wild”. To read the comment section of what is supposed to be a tragic event would make one lose hope in the populace of this country.

While of course normal people reacted to news of this tragedy with shock, fear and justifiable anger. There were comments in the hundreds doing the exact opposite. First were those, especially men who wanted to know if the woman, the murdered woman, was naked and if so the witness saw her privates.
These were followed with the licking lips emoji. Then there were those who blamed the two deceased and insinuated that what they got was what was rightly deserved as they were supposedly engaging in coitus when they should have been at a guest house. Suggestions were then made as to where in this town one could rather go for outdoor hanky panky without the interference of the criminal element.

Next of course came the ones who insinuated that since one of the victims is allegedly married, the spouse must have tracked them down and issued their comeuppance. All in all, the general consensus seemed to be that the victims deserved to be murdered for being out on the town when they should have been home and the whole thing was treated as a joke. It was all very upsetting.

The belief amongst sane citizens of this country and of course sane people everywhere is that the police should be both on the lookout and on the punishing end of those who would seek to commit crime, violent or otherwise. This is of course the right way to look at it. What we often seem to forget is that the police force is comprised of people. These people do not live or exist in isolation to the rest of society.

They live amongst us and they adopt the mentality of other citizens of this country. If the citizens of this country have a belief that murder is either funny or a just punishment for alleged harlotry then why do we believe our police force would be any different?

I once wrote on this very column that Basotho have a government that they deserve. It would seem we also have the police force we deserve. Any state institution will forever be reminiscent of the prevailing attitudes of the society in which it operates. State institutions, such as the police are made up of the very same people who lick the lips at the thoughts of the privates of a murdered woman.
People who work at police headquarters were raised by the very same society that raised its children to think of murder as funny. They went to the same schools, drink at the same bars and have the same conversations as anyone else in what is obviously a decaying society.

It is painful; it really is that what was supposed to be one of this country’s prime areas has today turned into a haven for criminals.
It is especially scary knowing that this has been going on for a few years now with no visible end in sight. Some people have even gone as far as saying that when one reports a crime that occurred there, the officers in charge will remark with you that they indeed also fear for their lives when walking there. (After all what would Lesotho be if not a constant source of these little mirthless jokes).

However, much as we might want to blame the government and police, which we rightly should hold accountable, the truth is the inefficacy of our government and state institutions will forever remain a reflection of ourselves as a nation. Judging by what was being said this weekend, it is not a reflection we can be proud of.

Hopefully this time though we will finally get streetlights and visible policing at Mpilo knoll. It is also advisable to stay away from that area, especially at night. For people who actually have to live there, please be vigilant and stay safe.

Thakane Rethabile Shale

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