By Moipone Letsosa
The government of Lesotho has introduced the state of emergency curfew due to high rates of gun murder cases that have been raising day and day. After the murder of Ts’enolo FM popular radio presenter and Journalist Ralikonelo Joki which took place in the previous weeks, the government immediately imposed the curfew from 10pm to 4am.
Basotho are wondering if the current government looks on both sides of the coin before embarking to such extensive measures which may well affect multiple businesses and Lesotho’s night life. Citizens are concerned and losing confidence in their government’s abrupt decision without looking at the consequences of this action in the private sector. The country’s economy has been struggling to perform and this action also brings negative impacts on the drowning economy. The unemployment rate is already on its peak and this action is about to worsen the situation. Cuban linx employee asked to remain anonymous but expressed his opinion saying that this action has badly affected business especially because they operate at night, after all it is a “night club”, meaning it starts operating from 6PM to 6AM. Due to the curfew their operating hours have gone down from 12 to a mere 4, one can only wonder how it’s going to survive and meet its monthly obligations.
He continued to share his sentiments, saying that he thinks the government has been wrongly advised because there has been more than two killings since the imposition of the curfew. Indicating that criminals don’t actually consider the time of day to commit their foul actions if an opportunity arises they just do. He says the business finds itself in havoc having to downsize on stuff due to the reduced hours of operation and this is going to negatively affect families and increase the already high existing rate of unemployment.
Teboho Mahalika (Eagle DJ) also expressed that this action by the government has affected their businesses negatively. The short lived working hours are just too few at night, especially because day events are not as successful as the night ones. In the day people are busy with their chores and commitments only at night do they have some free time which they use to go out and socialize. He further went on to say that people are not willing to spend their money on such short hours of events hence forcing event organizers to run losses. He said this situation is very challenging as sometimes they have no other choice but to postpone or cancel events.
Mrs. Makhotso Monyakole one of the workers at Puma Garage mentioned that before the curfew approximately 600 liters to 1000 liters were sold from 8pm to 4am but since the imposing they sell approximately 200 liters which means they made more money before the curfew was imposed. She added that nowadays they get paid according to how many hours they worked, meaning they all are feeling the pinch in the pocket as their household income has been cut down leaving other people in a vulnerable state, unable to cover their basic needs. One of the interviewee said they are scared to express their opinions and this violates one of the principles of democracy which is freedom of speech as they are being threatened by government favorites. He further expressed that the current situation is not different from the covid-19 lockdowns on their businesses.