Connect with us

Staff Reporter

MASERU

IN the early 1980s Khotso Morojele was among a small group of Lesotho Liberation Army (LLA) cadres who executed a low level guerrilla war against the then government of Lesotho.

Morojele admits that their sporadic acts of sabotage against key government institutions such as police stations proved largely ineffectual.

The whole idea behind the military operation was “to cripple government business so that it would relent” and eventually agree to a negotiated settlement, he says.

“Our idea was that we needed to push the government led by Chief Leabua Jonathan to the negotiating table. We were never taught to harass the general population. Our target were people who were helping the military attack civilians,” he says.

While the government forces were well armed and trained to repel their attacks, Morojele admits that the LLA fighters were woefully prepared in terms of having enough arms of war to take on the government forces.

They had to rely on a few guns smuggled from Mozambique and the mines in South Africa. They also relied heavily on home-made bombs. To make the bombs they used explosive materials smuggled from South African mines.

While the stacks were heavily tilted against the LLA on the field of battle, Morojele argues the “we were not as bad as people say we were”.

“Ours was a disciplined force that stood its ground when necessity required it,” he says, citing a fierce battle at Kolonyama in Leribe on June 7, 1983 when the LLA took on the might of the Lesotho army.

Morojele says there were heavy casualties on both sides.

The LLA was the armed wing of the Basotho Congress Party (BCP). The BCP, which was led by Dr Ntsu Mokhehle, had scored a landslide victory in the 1970 general election but the then Prime Minister Leabua Jonathan, the leader of the Basotho National Party (BNP), refused to accept the election result. He nullified the election result, annulled the Constitution and began ruling by decree.

The government began a massive crackdown on the BCP arresting its leaders and harassing its supporters countrywide. In 1974, most of the BCP leadership fled into exile to Botswana where they formed the LLA with the sole agenda to topple Jonathan’s government back home. That gave birth to a bruising two-decade long life-and-death contestation for political supremacy in Lesotho.

For Morojele his political consciousness was awakened when he was still a student at Peka High School in Leribe in 1973.

He says although he was still young he gradually became aware of the horrendous acts of cruelty against people by government agents.

“One could see there was something wrong that was happening in the country,” he says.

For instance, Morojele says one of his cousins, a police officer, was fired from his job telephonically merely because he was suspected to be a BCP supporter. His house was burnt and his cattle were killed, he says.

“I began to wonder why people were being treated that way,” he says.

“We began to realise that a lot of people were being victimised because of their political affiliation. They could not get jobs in the civil service because they did not belong to the BNP.

“We felt this was not right and something had to be done to correct this. We decided enough was enough and left the country for Botswana.”

He says their stay in Botswana was not easy as the government led by Sir Keretse Khama had banned the BCP from undertaking any military training on its soil.

Because of the BCP’s strained relationship with the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the party could also not send its cadres for military training in friendly states such as Tanzania, Uganda, Libya and Syria.

The OAU had declared Mokhehle persona non grata after it concluded that he was collaborating with apartheid South Africa, a charge Morojele fiercely rejected.

Morejele says it is a glaring historical untruth that Mokhehle and the BCP was hobnobbing with South Africa adding Pretoria merely tolerated the LLA and Mokhehle because they were not fighting their government.

He says the OAU did not approve of the BCP’s armed struggle because they did not want a sovereign African state which was a member of the organization to be ousted militarily.

IMG_1747Morojele says the BCP leaders had to rely on their good rapport with the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), an ally of the BCP, to “smuggle” some of their cadres for training in North Africa.

But 27 years after the guns fell silent in 1989, Morojele says the majority of the LLA fighters are bitter that their efforts in restoring democracy in Lesotho have not been recognized.

 

“The whole thing is a betrayal of the people who died. They died for nothing,” he says.

His biggest gripe is that the core grievances that sent them to war in the mid 1970’s have not been addressed.

“One cannot get a job without a ruling party card,” he says. “People are using democracy for their own personal advantage. The whole thing about Pan-Africanism and Ubuntu is gone.”

He says while he does not regret the decision he made over three decades ago to skip the country and go into exile, he is disappointed by the type of “political leadership that we installed” after the reintroduction of democracy in 1993.

Morojele says the BCP ideology was pinned on the need to ensure Basotho reclaimed their wealth from the coloniser as epitomized by their slogan, “Africa for the Africans”.

But today, Lesotho’s wealth is now in the hands of a small clique that cares only for its own interests, he says.

“No one seems to care about the veterans, they only care about themselves,” he says.

He says it is standard practice that all developed countries deeply care about their veterans. They are taken care of and are given some form of thank you, he says.

In Lesotho, Morojele says the government has done very little to advance the welfare of LLA veterans. He says veterans currently get a monthly pension of M580, money he says is only enough to fill a full tank on his vehicle.

He says the government has not done anything to compensate families that lost their loved ones during combat.

Families that had their children die during the war are wallowing in poverty, he says.

“They are all bitter because all we have been having are promises and more promises,” he says.

Despite the challenges, Morojele argues their struggle was not in vain. A lot of good things associated with the restoration of democracy have taken place since 1993, he says.

When he looks back on over three decades of political activism, Morojele says he does so with a tinge of regret at Lesotho’s missed opportunities.

For instance, he says when he first arrived in Botswana in 1977 he realized the country was 10 years behind Lesotho in terms of development.

“Everybody was using a bicycle,” he says.

“But now when you go to Botswana what you see is maybe a country that is now 20 or 30 years ahead of us.”

The University of Botswana, for instance, is so huge as compared to our university here in Lesotho which started way back than theirs, he says.

Morojele blames what he calls the dearth of leadership in Lesotho.

“We have a leadership that is not patriotic,” he says. “Ours is a leadership that cares about themselves.”

While Morojele says he is a self-confessed critic of Jonathan he would be the first to admit that the former premier despite ruling Lesotho for more than 20 years did not die a millionaire.

“The leaders of the BCP also died paupers. These were people who cared for the country and not themselves,” he says.

Morojele had no kind words for the new crop of leaders in Lesotho who he says only focus on their personal interests.

“That is the reason they can’t declare their assets because of the humongous amounts of money they have accumulated in a short of time. This is what is dragging this country down.”

Morojele says “we have lost the aims of the struggle”.

“The revolution has gone off the rails.”

“We have taken a round-about turn politically. We are right off course.”

The few jobs that are there in the civil service are being parceled to those that are connected politically, he says.

To fix these problems the government must create a friendly environment for businesses to thrive so that the private sector can be empowered to create jobs for the masses.

We must be patriotic and elect a leadership that truly cares for the people, he says.

 

Morejele bio-data:

 

  • Khotso Morojele grew up in Mafulane village in the Senqu valley in Mokhotlong
  • His father was a primary school teacher in Mokhotlong
  • Enrolled at Peka High School in 1973 where he received his first ‘political indoctrination’
  • Skipped the border and went into exile in Botswana in 1977
  • Lived on 30 pula a month while in Gaborone while undergoing secret military training
  • Returned to Lesotho to wage underground military campaign against the government in late 1979

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Features

‘We lost direction in the ABC’

Published

on

THE Mechechane MP, Nyapane Kaya, defected from the All Basotho Convention (ABC) to the Movement for Economic Change (MEC) contrary to the expectations that he would cross the floor with Nqosa Mahao’s new party, the Basotho Action Party (BAP). In fact, Mahao had earlier said Kaya was one of the MPs who would dump the ABC for his party. Kaya’s defection to the MEC took many by surprise. Our reporter, Margaret Katimbo, spoke to Kaya the day he joined the MEC. Below are excerpts from the interview.

What does it mean to you having to switch to the MEC?
It gives me special happiness and satisfaction, a special feeling of strength having changed parties. I joined the ABC from the very first day it was formed as a teacher, and I wasn’t even an active politician at the time. It was a vibrant party which filled people with a lot of hope. The problem, however, is that we abandoned the direction which we took with the people from the beginning after we felt cushioned.

I have to accept that the ABC has done a great deal of good things for Lesotho that I can point to but unfortunately there are times when people feel like they have reached a stage where they feel successful and the love for their nation is no longer there. I was aware that with my (ABC) party, there is no longer an interest to maintain the rhythm of working for the people. Having changed to the MEC, I feel that special kind of satisfaction because I trust that I will get the new strength to work for the people.

What attracted you to the MEC?
Well, in particular the MEC leader is one hard-working politician with vigour and a strong wish to produce results in this country. He makes and leaves a mark wherever he goes. Therefore, being close to him this much encourages me and gives me pleasure because I too am a results-oriented politician. I hope that we will work together with other politicians, not necessarily the MEC, in order to give the country the boost it needs. Even better, I worked with him in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) where we tended to understand the underlying problem in this country. Corruption has made Lesotho what it is today so I want to align myself with people that fight against it.

By fighting against corruption, does it imply that the current government is corrupt?
There are still instances of corruption but not at the same levels as we saw during the so-called 4 x 4 government. There is some improvement on that but there are reports of corruption that we get especially when working in the PAC. There are still issues I still have to follow up with regards to allegations of corruption. There is a slight improvement I must accept.

Why did you leave Mahao for the MEC?
I must say I have always wanted to work with the MEC for a while now. It was simply a question of time. However, I still had strong alliances with Ntate Mahao’s group so much that by the time they were packing to leave the ABC it would have been thought that I would leave with them regardless of some developments which had already discouraged me. At some point, a WhatsApp group was created and my number was left out. There were other instances where I would get sidelined from meetings I knew they had.

As a matter of fact, I would learn from you reporters that they had held meetings amongst themselves without me. It is only about a week ago when they were preparing to leave the ABC, and they thought that I would leave with them but I told them No, I can’t go with you people. I told them that they had already sidelined me and that they no longer needed me. That is also when they told me the truth that the fact that I had stood for elections for the deputy speaker, it had been the decision rather conclusion in the government party’s caucus as to who would be elected deputy speaker.

However, there was a great encouragement from a number of them that I should stand which I did but little did I know that my group (that was just a small faction) within the ABC felt offended that I had stood for the post, although some had actually voted for me. So that is how and why I left them because to keep such alliances was no longer safe. My political career is now much clearer and this should be the last round in my political journey. Age also has caught up with me. However there are really no guarantees, something might arise in the future.

Continue Reading

Features

Bullet-proofing your online data

Published

on

ROMA – Dr Makhamisa Senekane, a lecturer in the Department of Physics and Electronics at the National University of Lesotho (NUL) is assessing a new way of bullet-proofing your online information to ensure it is safe.
When you send sensitive information online, such as banking information, there is a way to hide that information from crooks.
“However,” he says, “some methods of hiding information (encryption) are very difficult to bullet-proof. That is why we are assessing a new way of bullet-proofing the security of your online experience.”

In the world of information hiding (encryption), you are sending the information from this side and your name is Alice.
And the one who receives the information on the other side is called Bob (Robert).

As far as Alice and Bob are concerned, one can sleep peacefully at night, these folks cause no problems whatsoever.
But then comes the third person called Eve (Eavesdropper, if you know what we mean?) and everything turns upside-down.

Eve is interested in getting the message that Alice is sending to Bob, so that she (Eve) can use this message for her personal gain.
That message may as well be a password you use to log into your online banking system.

If Eve is successful, you may wake up one day with all your money wiped off from your bank account in one stroke.
Now you know why the gurus, like Dr Senekane, are working day and night to make sure that that just won’t happen, if possible.
First, let’s consider one of the normal approaches which Senekane says it’s hard to prove their security.
Rest assured, we are using the simplest examples, in real life, it is more complex.

Suppose Alice is sending a number 10 to Bob on the other side of the online device.
But both know that Eve, that shady character, is waiting like a hungry shark on the route between them, to devour the information.
Hiding now begins.
The computer system generates the information called security keys.
Let’s say it gives the first key to Alice as the number 3 and the second key to Bob as the number 7.
“Prime numbers, those numbers such as 2, 3, 7, 11, 13, 17, the numbers that can only be divided by 1 or themselves, are often preferred because, as they get bigger, they are often hard to deal with,” Senekane says.
A bit of maths here but a simple one will suffice.
On the side of Alice, 10 is raised to power 3 times 7 (Remember 3 for Alice and 7 for Bob).
So 3 times 7 is 21.

So 10 is raised to power 21 which makes the number 1000000000000000000000, that is, 1 followed by 21 zeros.
When Eve the crook tries to steal the information, she comes across this ginormous number.
She is fooled because she doesn’t know that actually, that number represents 10.

When this mammoth number reaches Bob’s side of the system, Bob’s side has two advantages.
It “knows” Bob’s own key, 7, and it “knows” Alice’s key, 3.

Immediately, it can tell that there was a number which was raised to power 3 times 7—a number that was raised to power 21.
To arrive to this mammoth number (1 with 21 zeros), it can only mean that 10 was raised to power 21.
Now it is clear, Alice sent Bob the number 10!

But it appeared to Eve as a huge number she could not make sense out of.
Problem solved?
Not so fast.
It is not difficult to see that should Eve have access to both Alice and Bob’s keys, that is 3 and 7 respectively, she doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to realize the hidden number sent was actually 10.
“That is why we need to hide these keys also, 3 and 7 and that is the most difficult part,” Dr Senekane says.
“It is hard to prove mathematically, that Eve can’t find the keys and use them for her own benefit.”
That is why he is assessing the use of quantum physics.

In this case, another line is created between Alice and Bob to exchange keys.
But the keys are sent, not as numbers but as photons (very tiny particles that make up light).
The number of particles interpreted in the binary format, are translated to either 3 or 7 for Alice and Bob.
But here is the big trick for Eve.

Photons are quantum particles (that is enough).
When you try to measure them they become something else.

So when Eve tries to measure these particles, they lose their identity (from quantum to classical) and the Bob’s side immediately realises that Eve interfered and the whole transaction stops.
What matters, is not so much that Eve did not see the information.

It is that we can detect that she saw the information and we can stop her on her tracks.
So Dr Senekane and the team are working to ensure that the techniques used to generate these keys using quantum physics are indeed mathematically provably secure.
This is to ensure that if the techniques are implemented correctly, the only way that Eve can interfere without being detected is by violating the fundamental laws of nature; a feat that is quite impossible.

Own Correspondent

Continue Reading

Features

The electronic ticket

Published

on

ROMA – THATO Rammoko and Mohale Molieleng, two National University of Lesotho (NUL) trained computer enthusiasts, are introducing eventspoynt, your electronic ticket to your favourite events.

It is fully paperless!

You buy your ticket online, you pay online with either M-Pesa or Ecocash or even your bank account and, listen to this one, you only bring your phone to the event!

No paper. Nothing!

Just your phone!

This is it! www.eventspoynt.com or inbox Eventspoynt.

So you are one of those in the Born After Technology (BAT) generation who is baffled by the prevalence of paper-based tickets in the 21st century?

Or, are you, perhaps, one of those hardworking fellows who like organizing events but get frustrated when potential clients blame distance or even obscurity, of your ticket selling outlet?

Or maybe you are just a good old environmental enthusiast bewildered by the ever-declining forest resources that help keep our atmospheric greenhouse gases balanced—and you want to see paperless technology reinforced, bit by bit?

Take heart.

Thato Rammoko and Mohale Molieleng have a solution.

“I am a computer trained hip-hop artist,” Rammoko said in an interview.

“It turns out those double passions, computer and hip-hop, combine in him to create the product we are introducing today,” he said.

How?

Everybody somehow knows a thing or two about Lesotho’s rising hip-hop music.

But have you heard a thing or two about the music from an insider?

Okay, listen to Rammoko relate.

“Outside my technology life, I am a hip-hop artist,” he said.

“Some people call our fast-moving music industry sotho-hop.”

In a nutshell, it is a version of hip-hop delivered in a combination of Sesotho and English or in Sesotho only.

It drives young people crazy!

But behind the vibe, pop and fanfare, there are glaring cracks.

“It is an industry that is moving fast, but with no financial rewards in the end,” said Rammoko.

‘In this industry, it is not uncommon for you to be famous, have your music played on radios, TV and all over, while you are broke.”

‘It is a survival industry!”

He added in a tone layered with determination to transform the status-quo.

Here are the problems.

Lack of proper copyright law means “you can sell just one CD for M100, and the next thing you hear your music played across the country, while you remain with that measly M100 you started with, in your pocket”.

Your CD has been copied!

So they have a strategy, they no longer make money through selling CDs.

They give them for free and then organize live events.

“But this alternative is no picnic either,” Rammoko added, holding his breath.

Fraud, fraud, fraud, is a problem here.

“When you are on a stage delivering music to your fans, you can see the hundreds and hundreds in the adoring crowd, only to receive income that clearly doesn’t correspond to the numbers.”

“It leaves you wondering, what happened there—we mean, like— at the gate?”

Oop! Eventspoynt jumps in at this point.

It is a brilliant solution, not only for hip-hop events but for all kinds of events.

Doing it is as simple as ABC.

You go online—register.

Then you choose your event, and the kind of ticket you want to buy, e.g. VIP, Goldern Circle or normal ticket.

Then you pay the given price with your M-Pesa, Ecocash or through your bank account.

During the paying process, a unique number, called order number, is generated.

This you use as a reference when you pay in any of those options.

Once they receive your payment, Eventspoynt folks confirm both by your email and by your order number and your e-ticket is sent to your email.

You can either print it (but please don’t, save the trees), or you can leave it on your phone.

When time comes for the event, you show up with your phone on hand [or your printed paper if you are the Born Before Technology (BBT)].

And here is Rammoko again: “In your e-ticket, there is a code called QR code.”

That is Quick Response two dimensional bar code, it determines if or not you will enter the event.

“We scan the code, in your electronic PDF ticket on your phone or on you printed paper. For scanning we use any phone that has a camera, as long as an app is installed there, to recognise the QR code.”

This time around, no money is exchanging hands.

Thus fraud is kept at bay.

It is stress-free for both the buyers and sellers of the tickets.

All you need to attend you favourite show is to have a phone and money in your M-Pesa account.

That is it!

It doesn’t get easier than that!

The beauty of this system is that it is versatile – all kinds of event organisers can use it as a tool.

And you can buy a ticket, while in any corner of the Mountain Kingdom, or beyond.

Eish! Those are NUL trained computer gurus for you!

Own Correspondent

Continue Reading

Trending