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‘He fought a good fight’



MASERU-Archbishop Bernard Mohlalisi, who died in Maseru last Friday at the age of 87, was a towering figure who did not hesitate to act as the voice of conscience for his troubled generation.

That is according to Bishop Phillip Mokuku, a friend and colleague who worked closely with the late archbishop to mediate in Lesotho’s political crises in the 1980s and early 90s.
In a moving tribute on Tuesday, Bishop Mokuku said Archbishop Mohlalisi was a “person who had a wonderful sense of humour”.

“We worked so closely together that sometimes I would forget he was Roman Catholic and I was Anglican as we worked to promote the spirit of ecumenism,” he said.
This collaborative leadership was significant at a time when Lesotho was deeply divided along political and religious lines.

Bishop Mokuku served as the secretary general of the Lesotho Heads of Churches while Archbishop Mohlalisi was the chairperson.
Bishop Mokuku told thepost on Tuesday that Archbishop Mohlalisi fought bravely to “live up to his calling”.

But even when things did not go according to plan, which they would often do during those dark days, Archbishop Mohlalisi would quickly “turn to prayer”.
That may have been the archbishop’s subtle acknowledgement that there was a Higher power that could get things done in His own time.
That is what happened, for instance, when there was a massive shoot-out between soldiers from Ratjomose Barracks and those from Makoanyane Barracks who were backing rival camps in 1994.

As bullets whizzed past their heads during their meeting that had been called to resolve the standoff, Bishop Mokuku said Archbishop Mohlalisi “immediately invited us to join him in prayer”.
“It rained so much that day; it was so dark and the people were fighting each other. I do not think I can ever forget what happened that day,” he said.

It was in moments of such dense darkness, politically, and during many other incidents during those troubled days that Archbishop Mohlalisi’s leadership qualities came to the fore.
“While others saw him as a Catholic, I saw him as my bishop,” he said. “May he rest in peace and rise in glory.”

Bishop Mokuku said the late cleric never wavered in the search for a peaceful solution to Lesotho’s political crisis.
He said Archbishop Mohlalisi played a pivotal role in negotiations between the then Military Government and the Lesotho Liberation Army which was waging an armed struggle against the government.

He said they also worked closely with the Roman Catholic Church under the leadership of his predecessor Archbishop Morapeli to accommodate many exiled South African students who fled to Lesotho during the early 1980s.
“Those were very difficult days but we had to go on and fulfil our calling,” he said.

“In our effort to sustain our calling of care and brotherhood in the journey of life beyond our active ministry, our Ecumenical Association of Retired Clergy, visited him recently in Mazenod where he was being cared for.
“It was a remarkable spiritual reconnection that served as a collective farewell to him as brothers in God’s service,” Bishop Mokuku said.
Archbishop Mohlalisi was the Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Maseru from 1990 until 2009 when he resigned due to old age.

He was ordained as a priest on July 14, 1963.
The Maseru Dioceses priest, Reverend Sylvester Mothabeng, told thepost this week that only 15 people will attend the late archbishop’s funeral due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The attendees will be four bishops from Lesotho regions, two representatives of the unions of nuns and monks, four family members while priests, the government, Christians, and church choir will each be represented by the church’s organist.

“We appeal to the members of the church not to come to the Mofumahali oa Tlhōlò Cathedral for the funeral; they can watch the whole proceedings on Lesotho Television,” Reverend Mothabeng said.
The archbishop will be laid to rest on Sunday inside the cathedral.
Reverend Mothabeng said the decision to limit the size of the funeral was meant to avoid the spread of Covid-19.

He said Archbishop Mohlalisi loved people and was always concerned about the welfare of priests, whom he worked with closely, and all congregants.

Staff Reporter

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[BREAKING NEWS] Lebona sets curfew



MASERU– In an effort to curb the rampant increase of homicides in Lesotho, the Minister of Police Lebona Lephema has announced a 10:00pm-4:00am curfew, effective Tuesday May 16, 2023. Failure to comply with the curfew attracts a 2 years imprisonment or a fine.

Staff Reporter

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Two nurses deleted for misconduct



MASERU – A Kolonyama midwife, ’Mamalibeng Ralenkoane, who allegedly neglected a woman during labour has been deleted from the nurses’ register for the next six months.

The woman went on to deliver her baby by herself without professional assistance.

In another case the secretary-general of the Lesotho Nursing Council (LNC), ’Mamonica Makhoswonke Mokhesi, has also been deleted for violating a patient’s privacy.

The LNC’s disciplinary chairman, Advocate Rapapa Sepiriti, said Ralenkoane had committed an act of serious misconduct and deserved severe punishment.

Advocate Sepiriti ruled that Ralenkoane “should not be seen anywhere attending (to) patients”.

Ralenkoane was working as a midwife at the Little Flower Health Centre in Kolonyama, Leribe, when ’Mateboho Letlala was admitted there for labour in August 2020.

Letlala told the panel that Ralenkoane took her to the examination room and later left her despite that there were signs that she could give birth anytime.

“At 19:00 pm Ralenkoane examined the patient but left her unattended and the patient had to deliver on her own,” Advocate Sepiriti said in his verdict.

“Clearly the blame has to be put at the door of Ralenkoane,” he said.

Adv. Sepiriti ruled that she should be deleted with immediate effect for 12 months, half of which was suspended.

“During these six months period, Ralenkoane is prohibited in any way from attending patients and this judgment should be delivered at her place of work,” he said.

Letlala in her testimony said by the time Ralenkoane arrived, she was already having severe labour pains and was told to go to the labour ward for assessment.

She said when she stepped down the labour bed Ralenkoane said to her: “Ua seke ua tatela ho hema empa molomo oa popelo o buleile ka 3cm’ (meaning she seemed to be in a hurry yet the cervix had opened by 3cm only).

“I was so surprised because I could feel I was very close to delivering because this was my second child and I could say I have experience,” she said.

She said she told the nurse that she needed to use the toilet but was instructed to use a pan instead.

“As she left me on the bed pan I could not stand from the pan as the pains were severe. I called for help but to no avail,” she said.

She said the moment she got energy to stand from the bed pan she saw blood, she called her but there was no response.

“Ralenkoane promised to come after two hours but there were no instructions on what to do in case I needed help prior to two hours,” she said.

“I wheeled myself to the bed and sat on it, still calling to no avail.”

She said while still alone, her membranes raptured and the time of birth came and the baby was delivered.

“The child did not fall as I was able to hold him,” she said.

She phoned her aunt who told her to find s scissor to cut the umbilical cord.

She said she bled a lot and ran out of energy, then Ralenkoane arrived at around midnight.

“When she came in she asked where the baby was and I pointed to where I had put him where he clamped the cord,” she said.

She said it was then that she got assistance.

The investigator for Professional Conduct Committee (PCC), one Nteso, told Advocate Sepiriti that his findings were that “the mother’s life was in danger as she was found having bled heavily and tired and the baby’s life was also in danger from prolonged exposure which could lead to hypothermia and brain damage”.

“Ralenkoane was not there for the mother until she delivered in the absence of the midwife, this is a case of negligence,” he said.

However, in mitigation Ralenkoane said this was her first time to appear before the panel and has been a nurse for more than nine years.

She said she has two children to support and she has already been punished by the clinic as she was dismissed and that she has policies and loans.

She pleaded with the panel to have mercy on her.

In another case Mokhesi who was the Secretary General of LNC was also deleted from the register for two years after she was found guilty of sharing a patient’s picture on social media without their consent.

She was accused of defamation of character and violating the patient’s privacy by posting pictures of the injuries he had incurred.

’Malimpho Majoro

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Nurses back at work



MASERU -NURSES who have been on strike since Monday are set to resume work this morning after the government started paying their salaries.

The nurses went on a go-slow last week but escalated to a full-fledged strike on Monday after the government delayed their salaries. Some nurses claimed they had not been paid since March.

Morephe Santi, the secretary general of the Lesotho Nurses’ Association (LNA), said they have started telling members to go back to work after the government said the salaries will start reflecting in their accounts last night.

The strike has inflicted huge reputational damage on Prime Minister Sam Matekane’s government which came to power on promises of efficiency.

Minister of Public Service Richard Ramoeletsi blamed the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) and the Human Resource Management System (HRMS) for the delay in April salaries.

Ramoeletsi told parliament last week that the two financial management systems were unable to reconcile, leading to delays in salaries.

But that explanation was little consolation for patients who bore the brunt of the strike.

At least 20 expectant mothers at Machabeng Hospital in Qacha’s Nek were told to go home because nurses could not help them.

Some of the women were later admitted at Tebellong Hospital, a facility under the Christian Health Association of Lesotho (CHAL).

“We were staying at the hospital’s roundavel awaiting our time to go to labour but on Thursday afternoon (last week we were called by the nurses and they told us to go to other hospitals or go back home,” said Maretlotliloe Mpeli, who is heavily pregnant.

She said the nurses told them that they could not work on empty stomachs.

’Matlotla Poling, 19, from Ha-Rankakala said she had to call her parents because she did not have any money to either go back home or to Tebellong Hospital.

The Machabeng Hospital management declined to comment, referring thepost to the ministry’s headquarters in Maseru.

Ministry of Health spokesperson, ’Mateboho Mosebekoa, said Machabeng Hospital “did not expel the expecting mothers but merely sent them back home”.

“Due to the ongoing strike by doctors countrywide …they decided to take those women to the places where they would get help,” Mosebekoa said.

There was similar anguish at Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital.

“The strike has affected all the departments including the kitchen, maternity, and emergencies, but the managers are on duty,” said ’Makananelo Sepipi, the hospital’s spokesperson.

Sepipi said managers were forced to hold the forte “because some sections cannot be left unattended utterly due to their importance”.

“The operations are happening in the emergency section, even though they do not operate in a normal way.”

She said patients whose operations were scheduled for this week were sent back home.

Santi, the LNA’s secretary general, blamed the government for the chaos caused by the strike.

Santi said as much as the government likes to call them an essential service they do not prioritise their ministry.

“They do not appreciate us, it is like they do not see the importance of our job,” Santi said.

“The government turns a blind eye to the fact that our working environment alone can put us at risk of contracting diseases.”

“Now we are not able to buy food and other necessities.”

Nkheli Liphoto & Thooe Ramolibeli

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