Weed out criminals at polytechnic

Weed out criminals at polytechnic

TWO students from Lerotholi Polytechnic were reported missing this week after they disappeared during an initiation ritual in Mohokare River last weekend.
The tragedy is yet reminder that the secretive rituals are continuing unabated despite previous pledges by the institution that they would put an immediate stop to the nonsense.

But year-after-year we still read sad stories of more students dying during these highly secretive initiation ceremonies.
We then write powerful editorials condemning the practice.
Government ministers then rush to deliver powerful eulogies at the burial of the victims.
And that is how the story ends while waiting for more students to die the following year, and the cycle of condemnation begins again.

Yet deep down, nobody, including the government, is acting with the necessary force and determination to put a stop to this perennial nonsense.
That to us is simply tragic.
What has been happening at Lerotholi Polytechnic over the last couple of years is a serious indictment on the school management, the Lesotho Mounted Police and our criminal justice system.

Despite a few “arrests” of the alleged ring-leaders, we do not remember any of the cases being taken to their logical conclusion – resulting in convictions and long jail sentences for the perpetrators.
What we have seen are “token arrests” after every storm. That has left the key players who are stoking these murders virtually untouched.

What else would explain their continuity despite the widespread condemnations every year?
In our opinion, we think only long, deterrent sentences for those stoking the killings at Lerotholi Polytechnic will halt these senseless murders.
The fact that virtually none has been held accountable for the deaths sends a wrong message that society has accepted the current reality. These students think they can get away with murder, literally.
That simply needs to stop.

That this has been going on for years could also point to what is evidently a catastrophic failure of leadership at Lerotholi Polytechnic.
The question is: Why has this been allowed to happen? Only the school management can provide an answer. In fact, society needs a cogent explanation of why this has been allowed to happen.

It cannot be acceptable to lamely state that the students are “secretive” about the whole thing. If they are secretive, what has management done to effectively infiltrate and crack these “secret cells”?
The school must smash these secret societies at the campus, using whatever means.

If they need help, they must ask for help from the police and other national security organs. We do not think Lesotho is short of skills in that aspect.
But the violence at Lerotholi Polytechnic is not entirely a surprise. The school is merely a microcosm of who we are as a people at the national level.
We glorify violence in our music.

We teach our sons that for them to be manly they must exhibit masochistic attitudes; we are an angry society that thinks every dispute should be resolved through the use of deadly force.
We are now paying the price as a society.

But ours is not a hopeless case. We believe we can rescue our situation by drawing a line in the sand and say never again shall we worship and promote violence.
That should start at the family level then trickle down to institutions such as Lerotholi Polytechnic.

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