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We’ll revive the death penalty: Mochoboroane

Lesotho's widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa.

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Moroke Sekoboto

MOVEMENT for Economic Change (MEC) leader, Selibe Mochoboroane, says he will implement the death penalty if he wins next month’s eagerly anticipated general elections.

Addressing more than 2000 supporters at a campaign rally in Qalabane, Mafeteng this week, Mr Mochoboroane said the rampant murders countrywide were a major cause for concern for all peace-loving Basotho. Implementing the death penalty would go a long way towards curbing the scourge, he said.

“An MEC government will tackle the high murder rates by implementing the death penalty. This is necessary if we are to end murders in this country,” he said.

A 2021 World Population Review report indicated that Lesotho had the highest murder rate in Africa and the sixth highest in the world.

Although the country has the death penalty on its statute books, the judiciary has over the years refrained from imposing the sentence.

In fact, the last execution in Lesotho was carried out on 25 November 1995. The country had joined other “progressive” nations in imposing a moratorium on executions as they are considered to be a cruel, degrading and inhuman form of punishment.

But in recent years, calls for the imposition of the death penalty have unsurprisingly escalated as the country battles to deal with rising cases of murders.

Deputy Prime Minister and Democratic Congress (DC) leader, Mathibeli Mokhothu, is among those who have said there must be zero tolerance and swift action against the killers. His DC predecessor and former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili and former attorney General, Haae Phoofolo, are also on record saying executions are the only way to punish the criminals and deter like-minded people.

Ironically, Mr Mochoboroane’s home turf of Mafeteng is one of the hotbeds for murders and other violent crimes which are often blamed on rampaging Famo gangs that have turned the district into their stronghold.

Unsurprisingly therefore, the MEC leader has now added his voice to calls to impose the death penalty.

“We have to take drastic measures to end the high murder rates in this country.

“Murder suspects should be denied bail. It should only be granted to those who accidentally kill or do so in self defence. The death penalty should be activated,” Mr Mochoboroane said.

He castigated political parties that associate with Famo gangs.

“An MEC government will promote Famo music, but we won’t tolerate Famo gangs killing people and committing other crimes.

“I don’t like the idea of parties affiliating with these gangs because when they commit crimes the politicians will protect them, thereby defeating the ends of justice. It is unacceptable.

“That will change when we get into power. We can’t have a situation where Famo gangs kill people in Lesotho and flee to South Africa. The South African government is running out of patience with Basotho in that country,” Mr Mochoboroane said.

He also talked up his chances of winning the upcoming 7 October 2022 elections, saying he had received reports from various constituencies indicating that party candidates and their followers were working very hard to ensure victory.

His government would improve infrastructure through roads construction, rural electrification and the provision of water countrywide, he said.

It would also grow the economy through the efficient and sustainable exploitation of the country’s abundant natural resources, he added.