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The monsters raping own kids

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MASERU – A Quthing man appeared in the magistrates’ court last week where he was charged with raping his 14-year-old daughter and impregnating her.
The girl gave birth to a boy at the Scott Hospital in Morija two weeks ago.
The man, whose identity we will not reveal to protect the victim, has been described as a tšita-baholo; (a Sesotho expression that means one is a problem which even the elders cannot solve).
The charge sheet reads that the man “did wrongfully and unlawfully and intentionally had sexual intercourse with his child (name withheld) who is 14 years old on numerous occasions”.

When thepost crew visited Morija Hospital, they were denied entry into the ward where the girl was recovering.
The hospital said we would need approval from the family since she was still a minor.
While still at the hospital, a couple arrived with a six-year-old girl whom they said had been raped by a family member.
The little girl appeared traumatised.
She was clinging to her mother with blood still oozing from her private parts.

The mother said her daughter was playing outside in the family yard and when she came back, she was crying uncontrollably, with blood flowing from her genitals.
She told them that a close relative had raped her.
A psychologist with the Lesotho Nurses Association, Mosele Shale, told thepost this week of a case in which a father repeatedly raped his own daughter until she fell pregnant.

The teenager was not willing to reveal who had impregnated her and only confessed it was her father after serious interrogation.
Prosecutor Pontšo Jankie told thepost of a stepfather in Ha-Thetsane who impregnated his own stepdaughter while his wife was away at work in South Africa.
When the wife wanted to press charges, the daughter bizarrely took sides with her stepfather.
“The mother of the girl was in South Africa working, she left the child with her stepfather. The stepfather took advantage of her as she was the one who was taking care of everything in the house. The two ended up falling in love and having a baby,” Advocate Jankie said.

When the mother came back home, the child told her that she was not going to accuse her father of anything as he was going to support the child.
“The mother also has a child with the very same person,” she said.
The incidents cited above vividly capture a growing trend in Lesotho in recent years – of fathers and male relatives who rape and sexually molest their own children or close relatives.
thepost spoke to a number of experts in psychology and traditional leaders to “unpack” this evil of incestuous relationships.
One psychologist sees this as an expression of misplaced masculinity with some men struggling to assert control after years of battling to deal with their own trauma.

Rape of your own is part of that culture of seeking to dominate, he says.
Dr Calvin Motebang, a psychologist, says “the rationale behind fathers raping their own blood is often deeper than most people think”.
He says this is caused by a “demonic influence of the 21st century” that normalises the gender-based equality and “as a result men find themselves shamed and want to prove that they are still men hence whenever they see a woman they just rape without considering who that person is”.
“In most cases, many men who rape are the ones who had bitter relationships with their wives or were badly treated by their mothers or any female relative,” he said.

“A background check, if it is to be done, one may find that this man does not have a good relationship with his partner, so the anger and bitterness made him rape any female he sees,” he said.
Prosecutor Jankie said most rape cases are done by male relatives, stepfathers or boyfriends.
She said some men have lost a sense of responsibility and want to put the blame on women.
She said most women are now working secularly and fathers take advantage of their presence and commit terrible crimes.

“A woman who wakes up at 5am and goes to work, leaves a child with her partner and returns home at 8pm, tired and goes straight to bed. So the man takes advantage of that situation and takes out the bitterness and anger that his wife is not satisfying him (sexually),” she said.
Advocate Jankie says there are a number of factors that drive some men to sexually molest their daughters.
The first is substance abuse which she says has the potential to make some men so horny at the sight of their innocent and unsuspecting daughters, “rape them and then later regret it all”.
“The second factor is childhood trauma,” she says.

“Some were abused when they were children and they grew up with such feelings. When their problems are not dealt with timeously, chances are they will develop that tendency of doing what was done to them when they were children,” she says.
“Unfortunately they tend to do that to their own children.”
She says because of childhood trauma, the third factor is the insurmountable desire to have control over other people “and their easiest victims become their own daughters or someone defenceless”.

She says this behaviour is prevalent in some African countries where some fathers say they are grooming their daughters into womanhood.
“This one is not prevalent in Lesotho but it could be there,” she says.
Some of these pedophiles intentionally misinterpret a Sesotho adage mōkōkō o itsoalla lithole (loosely translated a cock turns its own chicks into hens).
A Sesotho language expert, Ratokelo Nkoka, says the expression does not justify incest between fathers and daughters, it merely means a man can marry a woman young enough to be his own daughter.
“This practice is not part of our Sesotho culture, it is actually Satanism,” Nkoka says.

“An elderly man marries a young woman in a polygamous marriage because he has been secretly admiring her (o nyetse sethiba-mathe) and such one is not his blood daughter,” he says.
A customary law expert, Advocate Borenahabokhethe Sekonyela, says “there is nowhere in our Sesotho culture where a sethiba-mathe is your own daughter”.
“Actually, the saying that mōkōkō o itsoalla lithole is a derogatory expression that is intended to detract or disparage pedophiles and it is not something a man can boast of when he is sexually attracted to his own children,” Advocate Sekonyela says.
“Actually, such ones should be beaten up.”

Caswell Tlali & ’Malimpho Majoro

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Mahao, PS in big fight

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PRIME Minister Sam Matekane this week summoned the Basotho Action Party (BAP) executive committee in a bid to defuse simmering tensions within the party.
This comes amid fears that Professor Nqosa Mahao’s fallout with his principal secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Tankiso Phapano, could threaten the unity in the BAP and the government’s stability.

thepost can reveal that Mahao has hinted that he would resign if Matekane doesn’t fire or reassign Phapano.

But there are strong indications that Mahao doesn’t enjoy the backing of his executive committee and MPs in his fight with Phapano.

Inside sources this week told thepost that some members of the BAP’s executive committee and MPs are openly siding with Phapano and have been secretly lobbying Matekane to reshuffle Mahao from the Ministry of Energy to Sports.

A source said Mahao is aware of these manoeuvres, including a clandestine meeting in Maputsoe, and has said he would rather resign than be the subject of a humiliating reshuffle instigated by people he leads.

The source of the bad blood between Mahao and Phapano is not clear but it is understood that they have disagreed over tenders and the ministry’s direction.

The source said Matekane was first briefed of the running battles at the ministry some three weeks ago just as matters were coming to a head.

It is the second briefing which revealed a complete breakdown in the relationship that triggered Matekane’s meeting with the BAP’s executive committee and MPs on Monday.

Three people who were in that meeting said Matekane told the BAP officials to deal with the crisis before it affected the ministry and threatened the coalition government’s stability.

The BAP’s executive committee, including MPs and Mahao, then had a marathon meeting to discuss ways to make peace between Mahao and Phapano.

A source who was in that meeting said “it was clear to Mahao that the majority of the committee and the MPs were on Phapano’s side”.

“Mahao quickly realised that he did not have the backing of the majority and took a conciliatory approach. It was clear that the committee would rather have him resign than get Phapano removed from the ministry,” the source said.

“In the past Mahao had flatly refused to reconcile with Phapano because of seniority. But this time he appeared to be open to a meeting to discuss reconciliation.”

Both Mahao and Phapano told thepost last night that their relationship was still cordial. ‘“We are still in good books with Phapano until further notice,” Mahao said.

“However, we cannot predict the future.”

Mahao denied ever discussing Phapano’s dismissal or transfer with Matekane.

Phapano also insisted that he was working well with Mahao.

“We are still on good terms,” Phapano said, adding that the allegation that they were fighting was “baseless”.

The fallout between Mahao and Phapano has been quick and spectacular.

The two had been almost inseparable months before Mahao agreed to join the coalition government.

Phapano would use his car to drive Mahao around. They would attend party meetings together. Some party insiders saw Phapano as Mahao’s right-hand man and adviser.

Mahao allegedly strongly pushed for Phapano to be appointed as his principal secretary when he became energy minister.

But sources said Mahao started having second thoughts days after recommending Phapano and tried to get his appointment reversed but it was too late.

A source says within weeks Mahao was telling cabinet colleagues that Phapano had captured the ministry and he was unable to function as the minister.

“He started pushing to oust Phapano within days because they were already clashing. It’s been war from the first days,” said the source.

Staff Reporter

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How chicken import ban hit vendors

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MALESHOANE Pakela used to work at small backyard chicken farms where she was paid with chicken heads, necks, legs, and offals that she would roast and sell to factory workers at the Thetsane Industrial Area.

Her job was to clean and pack chicken.
The profit wasn’t much but just enough for the 37-year-old widow to feed and keep her four children in school.

“It also covered her monthly rental of M150 for a room in Ha-Tsolo Sekoting.

Her life was however shattered last October when the government imposed a ban on chicken imports from South Africa following an outbreak of bird flu.
Without day-old chicks the farms quickly shut down, cutting Pakela’s supply of heads, necks, legs, and offals.
Within a few days, her family was starving.

Pakela had been struggling even for months before the ban. The closure of the factories and retrenchments of thousands of workers has severely hit her sales. She was behind on her rent and could barely feed her children.

The partial lifting of the chicken ban has not helped Pakela because her former employers still cannot import day-old chicks or live birds.
Pakela and a family were kicked out of their rented room in November when their arrears were about M1 000.
She has found another room nearby.

A ‘Good Samaritan’ has allowed her to use a room for free until she can afford the rent. But Pakela says she still feels obliged to pay something because she understands that things are hard for everyone.

“Here the rent is still M150 but the landlord accepts every amount that I give her,” Pakela says.
There are days when her children go to bed hungry.

“I have told them (children) that if I have nothing they should accept (the status).”

She now survives on handouts from neighbours and other well-wishers. Pakela’s poverty is apparent.

Barefoot and holding her small child in a seshoeshoe dress, Pakela says her two children usually go to school without eating.
The other child has dropped out of school because she doesn’t have shoes.

’Mako Lepolesa, 44, who has been running a chesanyama (meat grill) at the Maseru West Industrial Estate since 2018. The father of three says his clients are mainly taxi drivers and factory workers.

Chicken was her main product until last October when the ban was imposed. It wasn’t long before his business started wobbling.

“I thought it would be just a short-lived problem (chicken import ban) but it passed on this year,” he says, adding that it might take months for his business to recover.
Moshe Ramashamole, 42, who also owns a chesanyama in the Maseru West Industrial Estate, tried to remain in business by sourcing chicken from local farmers.

It was a stopgap measure that however lasted a few weeks because the farmers also ran out of stock. He resorted to bad chicken but they were double the price of a full chicken before the ban.
Yet Ramashamole thought he could make it work by increasing the price of his plate from M35 to M55. The customers however resisted the new price and Ramashamole had to take the losses.

The poultry ban did not affect street vendors like Pakela alone.
Former Minister of Communications, Khotso Letsatsi, is one of those poultry farmers struggling following the chicken ban.

He ventured into poultry in January last year. It was an audacious venture that included a M100 000 investment in a shelter and other equipment.
He started with a batch of 300 chicks and had reached 1 000 by the time the ban was imposed.

“The business was lucrative,” Letsatsi says.

“I had to employ two people permanently to assist me on a full-time basis,” he says.

When it was time to slaughter the chickens, Letsatsi says he had to employ seven casual labourers.
Since the ban was imposed he had released all his workers.

“I do not know where they are now. Maybe they are starving,” he says of the workers he released.

Letsatsi doesn’t know how he will revive his business.
The Director of Marketing in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MAFS), Lekhooe Makhate, says the ban has been devastating to farmers and businesses.

“Some big businesses are going to declare less tax to the government because there was no business,” Makhate says.

He says Lesotho spends M2.1 billion on the importation of chicken and its products from South Africa every year.
But that amount usually soars to M4 billion depending on the market forces of demand and supply.

Makhate says the M2.1 billion goes to South Africa where the chicken and its products are imported.

At the height of the scarcity of chickens in the country, Makhate says people were supposed to make initiatives to travel to villages to search for chickens.

“There is not enough production of chickens in the country,” he says.
“Economically speaking we rely on South Africa. We have to be self-reliant.”

Majara Molupe

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Letseng fends off threat to sue

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LETŠENG Diamond says it is under no obligation to advertise jobs for Basotho to provide certain services “where it has the capacity to undertake the same services”.
Letšeng Diamond boss, Motooane Thinyane, was responding to a threat to sue by a little-known political party called Yearn for Economic Sustainability (YES).

Matekane’s company, the Matekane Mining Investment Company (MMIC), had been providing blasting, haulage and drilling services at Letšeng mine since 2005.
The deal with the MMIC was terminated in December last year with the mining company saying it was improper because Matekane had now become a politician.

Letšeng Diamonds announced that it had reached an agreement with the MMIC to acquire its mining equipment at the mine and offered employment to its current employees in line with operational requirements.

“This will enable Letšeng to continue with its mining activities,” the company said in its statement.

This infuriated opposition parties that argued that the mine should have called interested Basotho companies to bid for the contract, saying it is provided for in the Minerals Act of 2005.

The leader of Yearn for Economic Sustainability (YES), Molefi Ntšonyana, wrote the mine last week threatening to sue for allegedly failing to follow section 11 of the Act.
Ntšonyana argued that the Act “does not grant the Letšeng Diamond 100 percent to mine with its good own equipment” but it should engage Basotho companies like it did with the MMIC.

Ntšonyana said Letšeng Diamond and the MMIC made the agreement to acquire the MMIC equipment so that the mine could continue with its mining activities “without any advertisement to seek qualified Basotho to provide such services”.

Ntšonyana said the agreement unilaterally denied Basotho a chance to tender for such services and ignored the fact that the government of Lesotho on behalf of Basotho own 30 percent in the Letšeng Diamond.

“It is advisable to reconsider your decision,” Ntšonyana said, adding that they would also write to the mining board requesting the resolution they made regarding this matter of insourcing mining activities.

He said the company should adhere to section 11 of the Mines and Minerals Act of 2005 and within 14 working days the matter should be reconsidered, “failing which we will have no choice but to drag the company to the courts of law”.

In his response, Thinyane said Ntšonyana must “revisit the section in question in full for its correct interpretation”.

“Letšeng Diamond is under no obligation to advertise to seek qualified Basotho to provide services where it is willing and has the capacity to undertake the same services,” Thinyane said.

He said the decision relating to the agreement referred to has been through the necessary governance structures and is therefore procedural.
Thinyane said Letšeng is a corporate citizen that is fully compliant with the laws of Lesotho.

Majara Molupe

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