Connect with us

News

Back to Eden

Published

on

ROMA-A National University of Lesotho (NUL) Physics and Mathematics graduate has found his niche in farming.
Ntoahae Makhoa has set up big structures and secured large fields where he produces tomatoes, cabbages and cucumbers.
He also raises pigs.

Many have been told that Lesotho has no market for agricultural products.
He disagrees: “We haven’t even started to meet the market needs.”
As we talk, he and his business partner, Likhoa Likhoa, have just produced cabbages, tomatoes, cucumbers and pigs in their hundreds and thousands.
But that was just the beginning.

“This year, we are planning to grow 50 000 heads of cabbages and we plan to deliver 3 600 boxes of tomatoes and 21 000 fruits of cucumbers,” Makhoa said.
“We are also planning to slaughter 15 pigs a month.”
All this is by a man who studied Physics and Mathematics at the NUL and works as a teacher.

He knows a secret or two (which many people evidently don’t know) about Physics, Mathematics and Agriculture.
You can’t separate the three.

“The study of the physical properties of soil has a fundamental place in the application of science to agriculture,” said Bernard A Keen, a researcher who suggests that Physics (and therefore Mathematics) be part and parcel of Agriculture. 

“I was born into a farming family,” Makhoa says as he relates the story of his attraction to farming.
“My parents were engaged in some form of farming but in a traditional sense of it, if you know what I mean.”
You probably know what he means.

Lesotho’s traditional farming is “from the land to the mouth” (re lemela ho ja).
“If we sold something, it was just so that we could keep life going,” he says.
Farming as a business was never part of the family’s — and indeed the country’s — DNA.

“You only have to take a single step outside the country to realise that farming can indeed be big business elsewhere,” he says.
Thankfully, “that’s where we are headed.”
Time came and he left his home for the NUL to study Physics and Mathematics as a future teacher and that is where he got inspired to rethink farming.

He said he met in there a lecturer who had a PhD in Physics, but who was growing plants like no other.
A turning point was when the lecturer got involved in a car accident and “we had to go and see him in his home.”
“I was in complete amazement when I saw all kinds of plants the lecturer was producing in his yard — I can’t name them all.”

Before then, he said he had a complete misunderstanding of what made a university graduate.
He, like the rest of his age-mates, were brought up to picture university graduates as those folks with bow-ties, the kind that you normally find in revolving chairs in government offices, speaking English.

The Physics Dr in overalls working on plants threw that dangerous thinking out of the window, “at least for me,” he says.
From that time onwards, “I was already telling my friends that I was planning to be more than just a teacher when I graduated,” he says. “I was going straight into farming.”

He did graduate and went into teaching.
Since he had a paid job, he also had a choice – many choices.
He could spend it on good cars, he could spoil himself to death in shebeens, he could use it to impress “chicks” — or he could invest it.
He chose the last option.

He went into a five-year investment with Metropolitan Lesotho. 
The investment matured to give him enough money to build the following: housing structures for conceiving piglets and rearing pigs and net structures for protecting his crops from hail, frost and moisture loss.
He and his business partner also received funding from Small-Holder Agricultural Development Project (SADP) for development of greenhouse structures.

They also invested in renting huge agricultural fields for growing their crops.
So what has he learnt?
Contrary to the common belief that there is no market for agricultural products in Lesotho, there is a huge market, he says with confidence after selling most of his produce.

In fact, in his own words, “when it comes to satisfying just the local markets, we haven’t even started”.

This is an open secret because, need we say, we all eat every day.
“The only problem is that we focus too much on supplying the so-called big retailers that we forget the many small ones.”

The second problem is that we produce small (re hlahisa ka sono) while buyers normally want continued supply.
“That is why we plan to start farming on a large scale and in earnest,” he says.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

News

Doctor tampers with corpse

Published

on

THE Mokhotlong Government Hospital has agreed to pay M200 000 as compensation to the husband of a deceased patient after a doctor unlawfully tampered with the corpse.

There is a deed of settlement between the hospital and Jacob Palime, the deceased woman’s husband.

Jacob Palime rushed to the High Court in Tšifa-li-Mali last year after the hospital failed to explain why the doctor had tampered with his wife’s corpse at a private mortuary behind his back.

His wife’s body had been taken to the Lesotho Funeral Services.
Palime lives in Phahameng in Mokhotlong.

In his court papers, Palime was demanding M500 000 in compensation from the hospital “for unlawful invasion, intrusion and interference with” his rituals and rights over his dead wife.

He informed the court that his wife died in September 2020 at Mokhotlong Hospital.

“All requisite documentation pertaining to her release to Lesotho Funeral Services were effected and ultimately the deceased was accordingly transferred to the mortuary,” Palime said.

The court heard that Palime’s family was subsequently informed about the wife’s death.

The family however learnt that one doctor, acting in his professional capacity, went to the mortuary the next day and tampered with the corpse.

The doctor subsequently conducted certain tests on the corpse without the knowledge of family members.

Palime said their attempts to get an explanation from the hospital as to the purpose of the tests and the name of the doctor had failed to yield results.

“It remained questionable and therefore incomprehensible as to what actually was the purpose or rationale behind conducting such anonymous and secret tests,” he said.

Palime told the court that the whole thing left him “in an unsettled state of mind for a long time”.

He said his family, which has its traditions and culture rooted in the respect for their departed loved ones, regards and considers Mokhotlong Hospital’s conduct as an unlawful invasion, intrusion and interference with his rituals and rights over his deceased spouse.

“This is more-so because the hospital had all the opportunity to have conducted any or such alleged tests immediately upon demise of the deceased while still within its area of jurisdiction and not after her release to the mortuary,” he said.

Palime said despite incessant demands, the hospital has failed, refused, ignored and neglected to cooperate with him “to amicably solve this unwarranted state of affairs”.

Palime told the court that there were no claims against the Lesotho Funeral Service as they had cooperated and compensated him for wrongly allowing the doctor to perform tests on the corpse without knowledge or presence of one of the family members.

’Malimpho Majoro

Continue Reading

News

Villagers whipped as police seize guns

Published

on

Dozens of villagers in Ha-Rammeleke in Khubelu, Mokhotlong, were on Monday night rounded up and beaten with sticks and whips by the police during an operation to seize illegal guns.

The villagers told thepost that they heard one man crying out for help saying his wife was sick. And when they rushed to his house, they found the police waiting for them.

The police had stormed the man’s house and ordered him to “cry for help” to lure men from the village.

The men and women were then frog-marched outside the village where the police assaulted the men with sticks, whips, and kicked them.

One man said when he arrived at the house, he found other villagers who were now surrounded by armed police.

“At first I thought they were soldiers but later picked up that they were SOU (Special Operations Unit) members,” he said.

He said they were subjected to severe torture.

“They beat us with sticks at the same time demanding guns from us,” he said.

The police and soldiers also raided other nearby villages in Khubelu area but in Ha-Rammeleke villagers say they identified only police from the Special Operations Unit (SOU).

Several villagers who spoke to thepost asked for anonymity for fear of retribution.

This was the second time within a month that the security forces have raided the villages in search of illegal guns after a spate of gory murders in the areas.

The murders are perpetrated by famo music gangs who are fighting over illegal gold mining in South Africa.

The first raid was on Wednesday preceding Good Friday.

Villagers say a group of armed soldiers stormed the place in the wee hours collecting almost every one to the chief’s place.

“We were woken-up by young soldiers who drove us to the chief’s place,” one resident of Ha-Rammeleke said.

When they arrived at the chief’s home all hell broke loose.

A woman told thepost that they were split into two groups of women and men.

Later, women were further split into two groups of the elderly and younger ones.

She said the security officers assaulted the men while ordering the elderly women to ululate.

Young women were ordered to run around the place like they were exercising.

She said the men were pushed into a small hut where they were subjected to further torture.

A man who was among the victims said the army said they should produce the guns and help them identify the illegal miners.

He said this happened after one man in their village was fatally shot by five unknown men in broad daylight.

He said the men who killed the fellow villager had their faces covered with balaclavas and they could not see who they were.

 

The villagers chased them but they could not get close to them because they were armed with guns.

“We were armed with stones while those men were armed with guns,” he said.

“They fired a volley of bullets at us and we retreated,” he said.

The murdered man was later collected by the police.

The army spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Sakeng Lekola, confirmed that soldiers stormed Khubelu area in response to the rampant lawlessness of unlicensed guns.

Lt Col Lekola said their presence in the area followed two incidents of shootings where one man was fatally shot and a child sustained serious gunshot wounds.

“There were reports everywhere, even on the radios, that things were out of hand in Khubelu,” he said.

He said in just a day they managed to collect six guns that were in wrong hands together with more than 100 rounds (bullets) in an operation dubbed Deuteronomy 17.

These bullets included 23 rounds of Galil rifle.

Lt Col Lekola maintained that their operation was successful because they managed to collect guns from wrong hands.

He said they are doing this in line with the African Union principle of ‘silencing the guns’.

He said it is an undeniable fact that statistics of people killed with guns is disturbing.

“We appeal to these people to produce these unlicensed guns,” Lt Col Lekola said.

Lt Col Lekola said they could not just watch Basotho helplessly as they suffered.

He said some people are seen just flaunting their guns.

“They fear no one,” he said.

Police spokesman, Senior Superintendent Kabelo Halahala, said he was aware of the operation in Mokhotlong but did not have further details.

Majara Molupe

Continue Reading

News

Magistrate saves WILSA boss

Published

on

A Maseru magistrate, Nthabiseng Moopisa, this week stayed the criminal prosecution of Advocate ’Mamosa Mohlabula who is accused of tax evasion, money laundering and corruption.

In her application Advocate Mohlabula, who is the director of Women and Law in Southern Africa (WILSA), said the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) should not charge her pending finalisation of her tax evasion case.

Advocate Mohlabula is out on bail after she was formally charged with tax evasion in July last year.

She told Magistrate Moopisa that the DPP, Advocate Hlalefang Motinyane, was wrong to have agreed with the Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) to bring charges against her.

“In my viewpoint, the DCEO cannot be heard to charge me in relation to matters already seized with this Honourable Court,” she said in an affidavit.

She also said there is a pending civil case in the High Court in which the DCEO’s abuse of power is referenced, saying the precise way the case is handled will depend “on the way an alleged offence comes to the light”.

“Before that pending case is finalised, DCEO has no jurisdiction to detail me to court over isolated phenomenon of tax evasion and or over grievances of former employees of WILSA,” she said.

Advocate Mohlabula was charged together with the WILSA’s chief accounting officer.

She argued that it was WILSA that was being investigated, not individuals, further saying that was “a significant safeguard that the DCEO was impartial from an objective viewpoint”.

“To exclude any legitimate doubt in this respect the DCEO returned the items it seized from WILSA,” she said.

“This was a realistic and practical step towards administering justice and to avoid premature embarrassment to the management of WILSA.”

She said the Board of Trustees of WILSA were sent briefing notes which in certain respects reflected that the DCEO returned the properties of WILSA without warning them that they were suspects.

“In any event, we proceeded to fashion our arguments before the High Court. There was, and could be, no evidence to back up the decision of the DCEO to apply for the search warrant,” she said.

Advocate Mohlabula said before they took the matter to the High Court, she cooperated with the DCEO and it conducted an inquiry into the alleged crimes.

“Now that the matter is pending before the High Court, there is no more reason for the DCEO to remand me before the pending cases are finalised,” she said.

Staff Reporter

Continue Reading
Advertisement

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending