Connect with us


Therapeutic intervention



THABA-BOSIU-A long history of political, social and economic turmoil has left many Basotho severely traumatised and in need of healing, participants at a seminar on the trauma said this week.
The seminar was held in Thaba-Bosiu on Tuesday.

A clinical psychologist, Bosao Monyamane-Moyo, said the levels of trauma in the country call for healing.
“People are deeply wounded hence the need to heal,” she said.
She said the behavioural change of a person reeling from hurt could affect people around them.

“A healed person is in the right space of mind to act, think and make better choices,” she said.
Monyamane-Moyo said the state of the country called for therapeutic intervention.
“Rehabilitation and counselling are already offered but some of those offering it bring more damage due to lack of training,” she said.
“We don’t give advice but rather explore one’s situation so that they decide on broader choices,” she said.

Issues that workshop participants said people need to heal from include harassment at the workplace, politics, orphanhood, cultural practices and traditions, daily hassles and absentee parents.
Healing Lesotho Project Manager, Advocate Mothepa Ndumo, said the motive behind the project “is to bring healing to Basotho through the helping professions to promote healing, social cohesion and unity.”

This would be achieved through professionals in the fields of psychology, social work, counselling, meditation and professional coaching.
She said the initiative is non-partisan and is privately funded by a “concerned” Mosotho living abroad.
“Things are bad between Basotho and the funder thought we needed to talk more and see where we lost it,” she said, adding that unity is key for the process to succeed.

After Tuesday’s dialogue, stakeholders will be reaching out to areas such as Leribe, Mafeteng, Mokhotlong, Matsieng and Thaba-Bosiu.
There is something special about Lesotho, said Ndumo, adding, “and I wish we can find, unlock it and through dialogue such as this. I hope we will find it.”
“We found it necessary to engage stakeholders and get their views on what needs to be healed and how to go about it and eventually their collaboration as a way forward,” she said.

She said the project will run from October to January 2021.
Advocate Ndumo said more dialogue is needed and that politicians cannot always be blamed for the situation in the country.
“I feel strongly about legacy. We are beneficiaries of a toxic legacy.”
Healing Lesotho Advising Team Member Mathe Ntšekhe said the country can only develop if Basotho change their mindset.

“We need mechanisms in place to ensure that people can productively participate in the economy. It’s through healing that they become productive,” she said.
She said although forgiveness and peace weren’t achieved this year “the vision remains that we want Lesotho to be at peace with herself.”
She said forgiveness was not guaranteed but “it’s for one’s emotional, mental and psychological health.”
“Eventually there has to be something that allows one to let go of the anger, be forgiving and move on.”

National University of Lesotho (NUL) Counselling and Psychology Lecturer, Paballo Mokenela, said she was concerned about psychology and its potential benefits.
“The concept is misunderstood and since I see how helpful it can be, I think people need to be educated about it and understand it,” she said.
In April 2017, a Berea Hospital Psychiatric nurse, Kopo Manamolela, wrote on a global mental health website called Globally Minded, that factors contributing to depression included poor socio-economic conditions in Lesotho

Manamolela blamed high unemployment among young people, as some people found themselves trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty.
“This is due to traditional family structure of the Basotho, where one member of the family may be a breadwinner for the whole extended family and the effects of unpredictable climate changes which have made it almost impossible for farming,” Manamolela said.

“Most people are factory workers and domestic workers with minimum income either in the country or in neighbouring South Africa, thereby having to leave their families, resulting in a stressful situation,” he said.
Manamolela said psychosocial issues also play a major role in depression.
He mentioned divorce, loss of jobs, the current unstable political situation, chronic illnesses such as HIV/AIDS and bereavement as other contributing factors.

“Adolescent depression and childhood depression are also being diagnosed in health settings,” he said.
“Health care workers are also high-risk groups because of having to work under stressful conditions with lack of staff and facilities and approaching retirement.”
Measures to diagnose and manage depression early remain a challenge due to fear of stigma, understaffed hospitals, lack of mental health specialised workers and the negative attitude often displayed by health workers towards mental health patients.

Mental health personnel are trying to integrate mental health into other health services, but the process has been slowed by resistance and fear from other disciplines. Lack of resources such as transport, fuel and audio-visual materials hinders awareness and training campaigns, experts said.
One-fifth of Lesotho’s 2.2 million people suffer from mental illness, according to a 2016 study led by Dr Daniel Vigo of the Harvard School of Public Health, in work supported by Partners-in-Health (PIH).

“That’s the highest rate of mental illness of any country in which Partners-in-Health works,” reads a passage in the PIH website.
The PIH says the only mental health professionals in Lesotho are psychiatric nurses; usually just one or two for every 200 000 people.
Many communities are in remote areas far from the nearest health facility.

’Mapule Motsopa

Continue Reading


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

Continue Reading


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

Continue Reading


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

Continue Reading