NUL students boo COMPOL at funeral

By Thoboloko Ntšonyane

QUTHING – Angry National University of Lesotho (NUL) students who were attending the funeral of Kopano Makutoane booed the Commissioner of Police (COMPOL) Holomo Molibeli who was about to address the mourners, forcing him to withdraw from speaking at the sombre occasion.

In an emotionally charged atmosphere, where the COMPOL was given the opportunity to address the mourners and possibly to bring the family and mourners up to speed with the latest developments regarding the investigations surrounding the death of Makutoane – Environmental Health student who was fatally shot by the police during the strike on June 16 – NUL students vehemently denied the police boss from addressing the mourners.

The students’ anger was sparked by the heavy-handed approach displayed by the members of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) who were supposed to enforce law and protect lives and property during their strike but instead fired live ammunition at students causing death of Makutoane, a passerby and leaving many seriously injured.  

Amide the presence of heavily armed police, the students ripped off the police gazebo in a fit of anger.

NUL students had embarked on the strike following National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS) unilateral decision to slash their allowance from M1 100.00 to M450.00. It is on this protest that Makutoane was shot and died later at the hospital and another passerby who was not part of the strike.

The embattled students also took swipe at the Minister of Development Planning Hon. Selibe Mochoboroane and the NMDS Director Florina Keketsi calling for their dismissal. 

NUL Student Representative Council (SRC) President Tumo Tsanyane called on the Prime Minister (PM) Dr Moeketsi Majoro who was present at the funeral to fire Hon. Mochoboroane and NMDS Director.

They demanded that June 16 be declared ‘NUL Student Massacre Day’.

Coincidentally, the June 16 is observed as the National Youth Day, on which the youth are commemorated for standing against the imposition of Afrikaans language as a medium of instruction in 1976.

One NUL student, Tšeliso Makeki could not mince his words telling Dr Majoro that he is “disappointed” in his administration and calling for the LMPS to be reformed.

Expressing sympathy over the demise of Makutoane, Dr Majoro commiserated with the deceased family saying he is not only the PM, he is also a parent.

The PM said seven police who were involved in this murder crime have been suspended pending the finalization of the investigations.

The police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli told this publication that the investigations on this matter are ongoing and cannot comment until the police management have pronounced itself on the matter.

He said the cases of murder and the intent to cause grievous bodily harm have been opened and promised to report to the public when investigations are complete in this matter.

He further said they would take “action against” the NMDS officials for taking a sole decision without involving the relevant stakeholders.

He added: “As cabinet, we could have advised”.