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Modern-day food is killing us



…Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food – Hippocrates

This should be the only way to curb an ever-ballooning health budget by promoting good nutrition as a preventative method (preventative medicine).

However, before we start, I once asked this question: What is the most important part or organ of the body? Two, which vegetable has the highest nutritional content?

To digress a bit, I’ll forever be thankful to the RFP for preventing Mathibeli Mokhothu from being the Prime Minister of Lesotho. Hee u re thusitse Ntate Matekane. Ka nnete, re kabe re oetse ka moholokohlong.

Why do I say this? I took a jog to Moshoeshoe One International Airport last Saturday and was just stunned on how beautiful and clean the place looks after it was painted. I mean, this only took about a week or so but the place looks new.

As I was walking around the airport to admire the new coat of paint, I kept asking myself, “But what really prevented Ntate Moeketsi Majoro and Ntate Mokhothu from doing this? They were in power for two full years and surely used the airport on numerous occasions. Didn’t they ever see the need for the airport to be painted?” More-so for Mokhothu because he’s a relatively young person.

Surely, Mokhothu should’ve spotted that the airport needed some cosmetic attention. I guess the same sentiments could be extended to the CEO’s of LHDA and LNDC. Both organisations are headed by relatively young people. But look at the state in which their buildings are in. Look at the grime on the Bank Tower building. Aikh’ona guys!

All in all, the new RFP government must be congratulated for a job well done to beautify the city by planting new palm trees and shrubs. The only criticism I have is that the palm trees have been planted too close to the road boundary. Those trees grow big and within no time, their trunks will grow larger in diameter.

My fear is that when the trunk matures it will be too close to oncoming traffic and may cause road accidents. Moreover, they may cause damage to the road surface. But that can easily be corrected by planting the trees on the centre-line of the road island. Good work though!

Let’s talk nutrition. But before we do that, have you ever wondered why Lesotho has 100 million insurance companies and not even one agriculture or food company that exports produce to the world? Why is this? Does it mean we eat insurance?

I mean, anywhere you walk along Kingsway Road, you are sure to see an insurance company. Talking about insurance companies, there’s an irritating advert on Lesotho Television of a teacher that laughs out loud and says, Ke ja lance kwikiwkwi….. Jesus Christ! I don’t even know what the advert is all about because I always change the channel every time the teacher starts laughing, Kwikwikwi! Please spare us the misery and change that advert before I smash my TV set.

Now, back to nutrition. This is possibly the biggest challenge that Lesotho has at the moment. Even bigger than corruption and way bigger than crime. The challenge with poor nutrition is that it may not scream as loud as corruption and crime but its underlying effects are prolonged and may be seen in generations to come. An example being stunting and a nation that is not so smart. An inability to solve easy challenges.

But poor nutrition is influenced by our diet. I’ve always wondered why our national breakfast changed from leshele-shele to bohobe ka tee (bread and tea). But a challenge with all those meals is that people pour excessive amounts of sugar in them to enhance the flavour.

In my view, sugar is satan that is a catalyst to the spread of cancer and should be banned as a matter of urgency. What happens when you have your bread and tea with sugar in the morning?

The sugar causes an energy spike and soon afterwards, the energy levels drop so low that you feel as if your intestines are being sucked by a vacuum cleaner. Have you ever felt that? At around 10:00am in the morning?

Then the tendency is to fight the emptiness with makoenya ka tee (fatcakes and tea). Then pour three to four tea-spoons of sugar in the tea cup. What happens after that? The sugar is absorbed in the body causing spikes in insulin yet again and drops to the lowest level at round 12:30.

In the meantime, people may snack here and there with biscuits and tea. But the body was not designed to carry so much refined sugar. I don’t even think God engineered the body to carry any refined sugar.

Then what happens around lunch-time? People will go and have a heavy meal which consists of papa (maize-meal). Now, the stomach is full of another devil called papa. Now, papa turns into glucose and spikes the sugar levels as well. In fact, papa wasn’t meant for human consumption.

At around 16:00pm, the sugar levels drop to their lowest level. This is why government employees (civil-servants) are usually tired, moody and grumpy at four in the afternoon. “Ntate ke kopa o tle hosasa hoba nna kea chaisa.”

After a prolonged period of eating like this, this is where Type-2 diabetes creeps in. The current surge in cancer cases is also caused by our poor diet and nutrition. I need to run a workshop to explain how this works.

I say this because I live with a doctor and hear all sorts of horror stories in the evening. I tell you, I need counselling. But seven out of 10 (70%) emergencies are cases related to poor diet and nutrition.

Yes, there may be cases here and there where you get woken up for an emergency because some ‘smart pants’ decided to ride a bike on a rainy night, drunk as hell and flying at the speed of 200 km/h. Then when he hits a puddle of water and skids on the highway, some of us are called at 2am to drive doctors to the hospital for an emergency. Motho a ne a taoa re le siko.
But guys, this alcohol issue is a national problem. Unfortunately, our African governments are too afraid to confront multi-national brewing companies because they are desperate for jobs and tax revenue.

The biggest problem that we have now is that with the scourge of unemployment, most people resort to drinking beer throughout the day (likh’otho).

Now, after a prolonged period, the alcohol then affects the most important organ in the body called the gut (the passage between the mouth and the back-side (well, what other word can I use?)

Now, when beer is consumed without food the gut looses its ability to absorb nutrients to the body. That’s why you find most young men so thin, they become invisible when you look at them from the side (boketa bo otlang pelo).

These young and unemployed men and women of late, will drink beer and when they feel hungry, they resort to makoenya. Maybe two or three fat cakes and continue drinking.

This is why the agriculture sector can never work productively in Lesotho. Mostly because of malnutrition. Young men and women don’t have the strength to carry labour intensive work for hours in agricultural fields.

That’s why most of them resort to driving 4+1 taxis. Have you seen how malnutrioned most of these 4+1 taxi drivers are? It’s because they drink all day in those taxis. And when they have a meal, it mostly consists of papa ka nama (a thin slice of pork) or at the very least, it’s fat-cakes. How do you then have a productive nation with such a poor diet?

Now, on the flip side, there is a devil called obesity that we need to deal with. Le’a tseba re na le mathata. Modern day food is killing us. Let’s look at an average meal that most people have. Chips ka makoenya le russian (processed meat). What are the contents of these so-called russians (how do you even spell it?)

This is a problem. I’ve seen russians as cheap as two maloti (ponto) at the bus stop and these russians are mostly consumed by school kids. From what I’ve learnt, russians are made of blended meat that should be disposed off.

Instead of throwing them away, they are reused/repurposed and recycled into an edible plastic and named russian. Now, there is another devil called ‘kota’ that is consumed in South African townships and slowly making its way to Lesotho. I tell you, this is another pandemic and approaching like a tsunami.

This is a dag-wood type of meal that consists of bread (1/4 loaf bread), margarine, reshene, palone, eggs, chips, cheese, atchar and tamati soso (sauce). Then, this meal will be consumed with fizzy drinks or beer. Every day of the week. Staple diet!

The end result will be high blood pressure because of the salt from the bread. Another problem is the bread we buy from shops. It should be banned as well. People must cook bread from home if they crave bread.

In fact, the food-stuff that should be banned if our leaders are serious about good nutrition consist of sugar, beer, bread, papa, frozen chicken and processed meats.

Now, I’ve stopped eating frozen chicken (braai-pack) after learning that it is full of chemicals especially on the wings. Eating frozen chicken (braai pack) is eating cancer. The same goes processed milk. It is full of hormones. That’s why modern men now have breasts and big buttocks and girls mature way before their age.

I tell you, if our African governments are too afraid to confront multi-national food and beverage companies and allow their citizens to consume poison (sugar + papa + alcohol + frozen-chicken), the health budget will forever increase and spiral out of control because people will continue to fall sick because of high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, diabetes and cancer.

Yes, of course, the brewery companies are very smart and very cunning and will claim to create jobs and contribute millions in tax revenue but at what cost to the economy? At the cost of people living with chronic diseases and eventually dying. Will Minister Selibe Mochoboroane act on this emergency? Only time will tell.

‘Mako Bohloa

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Lawyer in trouble



A local lawyer, Advocate Molefi Makase, is in soup after he flew into a rage, insulting his wife and smashing her phone at a police station.

It was not possible to establish why Adv Makase was so mad at his wife. He is now expected to appear before the Tšifa-li-Mali Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, he was released from custody on free bail on condition that he attends remands.

Magistrate Mpotla Koaesa granted Advocate Makase bail after his lawyer, Advocate Kefuoe Machaile, pleaded that he had to appear for his clients in the Court of Appeal.

Advocate Makase is facing two charges of breaching peace and malicious damage to property.

According to the charge sheet, on October 5, 2023, within the precincts of the Leribe Police Station, Advocate Makase allegedly used obscene, threatening, or insulting language or behaviour, or acted with an intent to incite a breach of the peace.

The prosecution alleges that the lawyer shouted at his wife, ’Mamahao Makase, and damaged her Huawei Y5P cell phone “with an intention to cause harm” right at police station.

During his initial appearance before Magistrate Koaesa, Advocate Makase expressed remorse for his actions and sought the court’s leniency, pleading for bail due to an impending appearance in the Court of Appeal.

His lawyer, Advocate Machaile, informed the court that an arrangement had been made with the police to secure his release the following day, as he had spent a night in detention.

Advocate Machaile recounted his efforts to persuade the police to release him on the day of his arrest.

He noted that the police had assured them of his release the following day, which indeed came to fruition.

Following his release, he was instructed to present himself before the court, which he dutifully complied with.

Advocate Machaile underscored Advocate Makase’s standing as a recognised legal practitioner in the court.

Notably, he was scheduled to appear in the Court of Appeal but had to reschedule his commitment later in the day to accommodate his court appearance.

Advocate Machaile asserted that Advocate Makase presented no flight risk, as he resides in Hlotse with his family and has no motive to evade his legal obligations.

He respectfully petitioned the court for his release on bail, emphasising that he had demonstrated his ability to adhere to the court’s conditions.

The Crown Counsel, Advocate Taelo Sello, expressed no objection to the bail application, acknowledging that the accused had a forthcoming matter in the Court of Appeal.

Consequently, the court granted Advocate Makase bail without any financial conditions, with the stipulation that he must not tamper with state witnesses and must fully participate in the trial process until its conclusion.

’Malimpho Majoro

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Trio in court for killing ‘witches’



THREE elderly women were all stabbed to death with a spear during a deadly night after they were accused of being witches.

Three suspects, all from Ha-Kholoko village in Roma, appeared in the High Court this week facing a charge of murder.
They are Jakobo Mofolo, Oele Poto, and Pakiso Lehoko.

They accused the elderly women of bewitching one of Poto’s relative who had died.

The stunning details of the murder was unravelled in court this week, thanks to Tlhaba Bochabela, 32, who is the crown witness.

Bochabela told High Court judge, Justice ’Mabatšoeneng Hlaele, last week that he had been invited to become part of the murder group but chickened out at the last minute.

Bochabela said in March 2020, he was invited by Rethabile Poto to come to his house in the evening.

He said when he went there, he found Mofolo, Poto, and Lehoko already at the house. There were two other men who he did not identify.

“I was told that the very same night we were going to do some task, we were going to kill some people,” Bochabela told Justice Hlaele.

He said he asked which people were going to be killed and was told that they were ’Malekhooa Maeka, ’Mathlokomelo Poto, ’Mampolokeng Masasa.

They said the three women had successfully bewitched Rethabile Poto’s uncle leading to his death.

Bochabela said after he was told of this plot, he agreed to implement it but requested that he be allowed to go to his house to fetch his weapon.

He said Lehoko was however suspicious that he was withdrawing from the plot and mockingly said “let this woman go and sleep, we can see that he is afraid and is running away”.

Bochabela said the only person he told the truth to, that he was indeed going to his home to sleep instead of going to murder the three elderly women was Mofolo who also told him that he was leaving too.

He said he told Mofolo that he felt uncomfortable with the murder plan.

Bochabela said he left and when he arrived at his place he told his wife all about the meeting and the plot to kill the women.

He said his wife commended him for his decision to pull out.

“I told my wife to lock the door and not respond to anyone that would come knocking looking for me,” Bochabela said.

He said later in the night, Rethabile Poto arrived at his place and called him out but they did not respond until he left.

Bochabela said in the morning they discovered that indeed the men had carried out their mission.

The village chief of Ha-Kholoko, Chief Thabang Lehoko, told Justice Hlaele that it was between 11 pm and 12 midnight when he received a phone call from one Pakiso Maseka who is a neighbour to one of the murdered women.

Chief Lehoko said Maseka told him to rush to ’Mampolokeng Masasa’s place to see what evil had been done to her.

“I rushed to Masasa’s place and on arrival I found Pakiso in the company of Moitheri Masasa,” Chief Lehoko said.

He said he found the old lady on the bed, naked with her legs spread wide.

“I was embarrassed by the sight of the old lady in that state, naked and covered in blood,” the chief said.

He said he went out and asked Maseka what had happened but Maseka referred him to Moitheri Masasa.

Chief Lehoko said Masasa told him that there were people with spears who had threatened to kill him if he came out of the house.

He said Maseka said he knew that Masasa’s neighbour, ’Malekhooa Maeka, was a light sleeper and she could have heard something.

The chief then sent one Patrick Lehoko to Maeka’s house to check if she had heard anything but Patrick came back saying Maeka was not at her house.

“I immediately stood up and went to ’Malekhooa’s place,” Chief Lehoko said.

He said when he arrived, he knocked at her door but there was no response so he kicked the door open, went in and called out ’Malekhooa Maeka by name.

Chief Lehoko said he then lit his phone and saw her lying in bed covered in blankets.

He said he then went closer to her and shook her but she was heavy.

Chief Lehoko said he tried to shake her again one last time while still calling her out but he touched blood.

He said he immediately left and went back to tell others that Maeka seemed to be dead too.

“I decided to go and buy airtime from the nearest shop which I had passed through near ’Matlhokomelo Poto’s home.”

He said on his way he met one Sebata Poto who asked him who he was.

Chief Lehoko said he only replied by telling him that the two women, Masasa and Maeka, had been murdered.

He said Sebata Poto told him that “’Matlhokomelo has been stabbed with a spear too”.

Chief Lehoko said he rushed to ’Matlhokomelo Poto’s house where he found her seated in the middle of the house supported by her children with blood oozing from her chest, gasping for air.

“I stepped out and went to get airtime, but I found her dead when I returned from the shop,” the chief said.

The case continues.

Tholoana Lesenya

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Opposition fights back



THE opposition is launching a nasty fightback after Prime Minister Sam Matekane defanged their no-confidence motion by roping in new partners to firm up his government.

Matekane’s surprise deal with the Basotho Action Party (BAP) has trimmed the opposition’s support in parliament and thrown their motion into doubt.

But the opposition has now filed another motion that seeks to get Matekane and his MPs disqualified from parliament on account that they were elected when they had business interests with the government.

The motion is based on section 59 of the constitution which disqualifies a person from being sworn-in as an MP if they have “any such interest in any such government contract as may be so prescribed”.

Section 59 (6) describes a government contract as “any contract made with the Government of Lesotho or with a department of that Government or with an officer of that Government contracting as such”.

Prime Minister Matekane’s Matekane Group of Companies (MGC) has a history of winning road construction tenders. Other Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) MPs, most of whom were in business, had had business dealings with the government.

It is however not clear if the MPs were still doing business with the government at the time of their swearing-in.
Matekane’s MGC Park is housing the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), which is a government institution established by the constitution, getting its funds from the consolidated funds.

The motion was brought by the Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) leader Lekhetho Rakuoane who is a key figure in the opposition’s bid to topple Matekane.

The motion appears to be a long shot but should be taken in the context of a political game that has become nasty.
Advocate Rakuoane said the IEC’s tenancy at the MGC is one of their targets.

“The IEC is one of the government departments,” Rakuoane said.

“It is currently unethical that it has hired the prime minister’s building.”

“But after the motion, he will have to cut ties with the IEC or he will be kicked out of parliament.”

The Democratic Congress (DC) leader, Mathibeli Mokhothu, said although the IEC is an independent body, it can still be regarded as part of the government because it gets its funding from the consolidated fund.

The Basotho Covenant Movement (BCM)’s Reverend Tšepo Lipholo, who seconded the motion, said the Matekane-led government “is dominated by tenderpreneurs who have been doing business with the government since a long time ago”.

“Now they have joined politics, they must not do business with the government,” Lipholo said.

He said some of the MPs in the ruling parties are still doing business with the government despite their promises before the election to stop doing that.

“Those who will not abide by the law should be disqualified as MPs,” Lipholo said.

“Basotho’s small businesses are collapsing day-by-day, yet people who are in power continue to take tenders for themselves.”

He applauded the Abia constituency MP Thuso Makhalanyane, who was recently expelled from Matekane’s RFP for rebellion because he withdrew his car from government engagement after he was sworn in as an MP.

“He set a good example by withdrawing his vehicle where it was hired by the government,” Lipholo said.

Rakuoane said during the past 30 years after Lesotho’s return to democratic rule, section 59 of the constitution has not been attended to even when it was clear that some MPs had business dealings with the government.

“This section stops you from entering parliament when doing business with the government. Those who are already members will have to leave,” he said.

Rakuoane said they are waiting for Speaker Tlohang Sekhamane to sign the motion so that the parliament business committee can set a date for its debate.

“The law will also serve to assist ordinary Basotho businesses as they will not compete with the executive,” he said.

“There are many Basotho businesses in business these MPs are in. They must get those tenders instead.”

The new motion comes barely a week after a court application aimed at disqualifying Mokhothu.

The government-sponsored application sought the Constitutional Court to declare Mokhothu unfit to be prime minister because he was convicted of fraud in 2007.

Mokhothu has been suggested as Matekane’s replacement should the motion of no confidence pass in parliament.

Nkheli Liphoto

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