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Sex for higher grades

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ROMA – KATLEHO Tlhapi, a fourth-year student at the National University of Lesotho (NUL), was called to the office of one of his lecturers “to collect some papers”.
As soon as he entered the office, the door was shut.
The next minute, the lecturer was seducing him.

“I felt her hands patting my lower parts,” he recounted last week. He said he bolted out.
But he was called in again by the same lecturer on a different date.
She tried to seduce him.
Again, he fled.

He is one of the “lucky ones” to escape such escapades at the institution.
The country’s oldest university is reeling from allegations of lecturers seducing, or even demanding sexual favours from students.
Students that resist are at the risk of falling out of favour with the lecturers.

“I was scared because my friend had failed the past year, (and I was thinking) now this is happening to me,” said Tlhapi, suggesting that his friend was punished for rejecting a lecturer’s advances.
Tlhapi was speaking at a gender dialogue held at the Roma campus last Thursday.
He was one of two students brave enough to publicly share their experiences with an audience that included the university’s acting Pro-Vice Chancellor, Dr Beatrice Ekanjume-llongo.

So serious is the concern that the university has acknowledged the issue and says it is taking measures that include new policies to fight sexual harassment of students.
Tlhapi’s story paints a picture of brazen attempts by lecturers of both sexes to force students into sexual encounters.
“She gave me a hug and it wasn’t the normal hug of wrapping one’s hands in an embrace. I felt her hands patting my lower parts as her hands were going down,” he said, with a sigh. “I felt

uncomfortable and pushed her away.” He said he left the office immediately.
Tlhapi said he found himself at the lecturer’s office for the second time at her invitation.
This time she locked the office after Tlhapi entered and told him that he would not attend lectures that day, he said.

He said the lecturer made sexually arousing moves after locking the office door, spicing them with lurid and sexual comments.
“She tried to give me a hug but this time around I did not allow her to come closer to me. As she approached, I turned to the door and saw that the key was still there. I unlocked and left the room,” he said.

He reported her to one of the university directors. The lecturer was suspended to pave way for investigations but was later absolved for lack of evidence.
There is no statistical data on sexual harassment cases at the university but authorities believe gender-based violence, including sexual harassment, is prevalent at the campus.
A study by researchers from the University of Venda in Thohoyandou, South Africa, found that broadly, female students were more susceptible to sexual harassment than their male counterparts.
In South Africa, 17.3 percent of male respondents and 25.5 percent of female respondents said they had personally experienced unwanted touching, according to the study.

The study revealed that 1.3 percent of males and 2.7 percent of female students admitted that they had been raped.
It said 10.8 percent of male respondents and 10.2 percent of female respondents had been coerced to comply with a sexual relationship on campus, according to the study.
Sexual harassment of students is not just an African problem.

The research found that in the United States, sexual harassment in institutions of higher learning takes place more frequently than imagined by many people.
They cited a study conducted at the Brown University in the United States, which revealed that among 234 female students, there was an incidence rate of six percent attempted rape and 3.8 percent rape cases.

In another study conducted by So-Kum Tang, Critelli, and Porter at the Chinese University of Hong Kong among undergraduate female students, there was 14.9 percent reported cases of attempted rape and 1.4 percent of rape cases. “The extent of this problem is unknown…It is important to determine the prevalence of sexual harassment in every institution so as to develop strategies that will help in prevention and reduction of its occurrence,” the researchers said in their report.

It was observed that intimidation of students into submitting to unwanted sexual advances in return for marks is prevalent across all universities.
Back home, NUL Acting Pro-Vice Chancellor Dr Beatrice Ekanjume-llongo said she was determined to root out the problem.
She said the gender dialogue was held as part of the annual 16 Days Activism against Gender Based Violence campaign – a sign of the institution’s commitment to tackling the problem.

The event also marked the launch of the university’s process of developing an institutional gender policy that would ensure that the university lives up to its mandate.
Dr Ekanjume-llongo said the NUL is mandated to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development and build an inclusive society.

“The current NUL Strategic Plan has identified gender equality as one of the niche areas to be improved through research. However gender equality issues are not directed by any policy provisions, gender curriculum is scattered around faculties without any clear policy guidance,” Dr Ekanjume-llongo said.
Dr Ekanjume-llongo said the university management is fully behind the Gender Action Plan steering committee consisting of representatives from all of the university’s departments.

The committee is tasked with identifying strategies and actions to prioritise gender equality and mainstreaming in all the operations of the university.
Dr Matšeliso Mapetla described gender as a “very emotional aspect of our lives”.
“It’s lived experiences of women. It’s about relationships between men and women. It’s about how society organises itself, which again is responsible sometimes for violence that we see,” Dr Mapetla said.

Dr Mapetla said she has initiated the “Women’s Research Collective”, an on-campus programme to plug the gap on the lack of locally generated knowledge on gender issues.
Dr Mapetla said the gap was because much of the research on the subject was done by visiting scholars, who oft-times misrepresent women in Lesotho.
“They still do and we agree with them that lobola is a price. But if you interrogate that concept within the cultural context of Basotho, you’ll appreciate what it means,” she said.

’Mamakhooa Rapolaki

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Doctor tampers with corpse

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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

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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

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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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