By: Thoboloko Ntšonyane
MOHALE’S HOEK – The Commissioner of Police (COMPOL) Holomo Molibeli urges tough action against perpetrators of heinous crimes as the country continues to grapple with a high crime rate.
“Hurt people, hurt people” he said.
COMPOL said boy children are subjected to herding animals and when they grow up, they go to South Africa and carry out illegal mining activities. He said some of them do not go to these abandoned mining voluntarily, but because they are “trafficked”.
He recounted a story where Basotho young men were instructed by the abandoned mine “bosses” to come back to their country and kill, as a form of initiation into the illegal mining activities.
“When you trace the background of these people, some of them are hurt, so they are ready to hurt other people. The message that I want to send, is that, let us turn victims of crimes into survivors, because when they are survivors… [there is hope for the future].
“But if they remain victims for entirety of their lives, they are ready to pounce on anyone. They are ready to avenge even to the people who are not related to what happened to them,” he said.
COMPOL said the law offenders should be “punished” and “should feel that they are in jail”. “When you are amending the laws, please take these into consideration,” he appealed.
Molibeli continued: “We cannot afford having people who commit these heinous crimes to feel that they deserve to be corrected. The only way to correct them is to make them fear committing that crime.”
He highlighted the Anti-Trafficking Act, 2011 that emphasizes “punishment”.
He said some ex-offenders who had been charged, commit more crimes when they return from the correctional facilities.
“So this correction is not working for us, let us punish,” he stressed.
“There are countries who punish and those countries that punish have a low crime rate. So which one do we choose, do we choose to correct and have a high level of crime, or to punish and have a low crime rate? It is up to us,” he charged.
Lesotho phased out prisons and ushered in the correctional services facilities, they pay premium on offenders rehabilitation. It would be recalled that, on July 1, Lesotho Correctional Service Act 2016 came into effect repealing the 1957’s Basutoland Prison Proclamation.
The Act charges Lesotho Correctional Service (LCS) with the mandate to reform, rehabilitate and facilitate the reintegration process of the inmates into the communities.
Meanwhile, Lesotho had seen a concerning increase in murder cases, the development that prompted it to rank high in the world according to statistics.
According to data published by PopulationU.com, Lesotho ranks high amongst countries with the high homicide rate. Lesotho is in second position with 44 murder rate per 100 000 population and it follows, Virgin Islands topping the list with 46 murder rates per 100 000 population.
Owing to alarming rate of murder cases, the country had last month imposed a curfew on movement from 10pm to 4am, a move to curb the spike in murder cases.
The curfew had since been lifted by the COMPOL the same month saying there has been an improvement as criminal cases had dropped.
The Gender Equality Academy and Femicide Observatory Lesotho (GEAFOL), a local think tank, founder and executive director Dr Mosiuoa Ramakoele said in April the country recorded 38 homicide and femicide cases. Of these cases, 27 victims involve men and 11 women.
Among the male victims, nine deaths were, eight were victims of assault, and 10 were stabbed to death. For the female victims, four were gunned down, eight were victims of assault, and 10 were stabbed to death.
COMPOL has urged the authorities and communities to work jointly in order to combat the crime happening.
He said theirs is mainly to “prevent” crime emphasizing on the need for efforts to address and prevent crimes.
In efforts to enhance law enforcement and curb crime happening in communities, the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) had mounted the community police forum the initiative hailed as bearing fruits.