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Ntšinyi: a life well lived



MASERU – IT was the brutal manner in which she was fired that left Lebohang Ntšinyi deeply aggrieved and offended.
Ntšinyi, who turns 71 on July 29, and was Lesotho’s ambassador to China, was recalled in March this year. Her contract was due to end in May next year.
She says her letter of recall, although expected in diplomatic circles, was blunt and was in “very bad taste”.
Her biggest grievance was that despite serving Lesotho loyally abroad as a diplomat for years, the letter gave an impression to the Chinese government that she was almost a “criminal” who had to be hounded out.

“I could have been escorted to the airport by the police,” she says. “The situation had become untenable.”
Ntšinyi says she wished the new coalition government led by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane “would be more civil in dealing with other human beings”.
“I know I did my best for my country when I was in Beijing and all I wished was that they could do things more decently.”

She says even though she remains a member of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), “I was serving as a Mosotho and as an ambassador for Lesotho”.
Her recall from China was a new low in what had generally been an exciting journey, first in the civil service, then in government and then finally in the diplomatic arena.
But is she bitter at the manner of her dismissal?

“No,” she says. “I have seen worse things in life.”
“I did what I thought was best for my country and at the same time enjoyed my life to the full. God has blessed me so much. I have few regrets in life.”
Not surprisingly, that was not the first time that Ntsinyi had been fired in her long political career.

In 2010, Ntšinyi was booted out of Cabinet by the then Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili at the height of a bitter factional battle for the control of the then ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy(LCD) party. Ntšinyi was the party’s deputy secretary general and was fighting in Mothetjoa Metsing’s corner in the battle to succeed Mosisili.
Ntšinyi says she paid the price for being seen as too close to Metsing.

But after serving in China for five years, Ntšinyi appears determined to learn and adopt some of Beijing’s “secrets to success”.
“China has 1.3 billion people and there is no reason why China is feeding Lesotho. Instead of China feeding us, why don’t we ask the Chinese to help us become producers and not just consumers?”
Ntšinyi wants to see closer co-operation with China to stimulate economic growth in Lesotho.
That should be possible with the right political leadership in Lesotho, she says.

She argues that the reason why Lesotho has lagged behind in terms of economic development is because we have had a “leadership that has not been receptive to new suggestions and ideas”.
“Look at Ethiopia and Rwanda. Rwanda has just come out of a genocide, but look at where it is now?”
Unless there is a political will, Lesotho will remain in the mire, she says.

Ntšinyi wants the current political leadership to bequeath to future generations a functional country.
“We have to leave a legacy for these children; that is a functioning, well developed country. Our children deserve a better Lesotho and if we think this is a better Lesotho, we are deceiving ourselves.”
For Ntšinyi, the key to economic development lies in developing and growing the private sector.
“We have to grow the private sector,” she says. “We need a serious private sector not a private sector that is angling for tenders from the government.”
While she has nothing but praise for the Chinese model, Ntšinyi is not advocating for a wholesale endorsement of every Chinese “investor” to Lesotho.
She only wants “serious investors” to come to Lesotho.

The Chinese who come to open up small businesses like supermarkets should not be allowed into the country, she says.
“We want these big Chinese companies to invest in Lesotho and stop those who want to open cafes,” she says.
“They must invest in big projects such as hotels, roads and ICT. Our people can be in partnership with the Chinese companies.”
That partnership with the Chinese would be critical to address the issue of youth unemployment.

“We have youths who are educated but are unemployed. That combination is a disaster waiting to happen,” she says.
The biggest lesson she has learnt over the last six decades she has been in politics is that politicians must be responsive to the needs of the people.
That is why she thinks there is an urgent need to develop the private sector “so that no one can clamour to go into the public service”.
“Everyone wants to share that small cake.”

Apart from fixing the private sector, Ntšinyi also wants a radical shake-up of Lesotho’s education system. It should produce future employers and not employees.
Critics say the education system has remained colonial in nature in that it still produces “teachers, civil servants and administrators” who will not threaten the status quo.
Ntšinyi wants a system that produces graduates who have the right set of skills and who can become self-employed.
“How many lawyers and graduates in counselling can we continue to produce? And when we produce 5 000 of those kids, what can they do?”
“We need to change the educational system and see how they can fit into the mainstream.”

The government will also need to assist with capital to fund incubation industries, she says.
Recently, National University of Lesotho students have been coming up with new innovative ideas, the government should be assisting them with capital to bring these ideas to reality. This is how many other developed countries started.

We must invest and encourage new ideas, after all Microsoft started as an idea, she says.
Ntšinyi says she has done her part and “is not looking for a job”.
But if she had a chance to speak to Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, whom she says was an excellent foreign affairs minister under Mosisili, she would tell him “exactly the same things I am talking about”.

“I am not looking for a job but my concern is that this country has to develop. We are in a rut and we have to get out of this,” she says.
Ntšinyi, who served under Mosisili as tourism minister, says the former premier did his best for the country by introducing innovative programmes that sceptics thought would never work in Lesotho.

She speaks of the free primary school programme, the old age pension scheme and the free health-care programme.
“The sceptics were not sure whether Lesotho would sustain the programmes. He introduced feeding schemes for primary schools to ensure the children had at least one decent meal per day.
“He built roads in the interior and tamed the mountainous areas. He also built schools to ensure children did not walk for miles in a treacherous environment.”

Staff Reporter

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Doctor tampers with corpse



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

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Villagers whipped as police seize guns



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

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Magistrate saves WILSA boss



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

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