SUMMARY OF EVENTS IN LESOTHO
Volume 9, Number 3, (Third Quarter 2002)

Summary of Events is a quarterly publication compiled and published by Prof. David Ambrose since 1993 at the National University of Lesotho in Roma.


Meteorite Explodes over Western Lesotho
Government Reported to be Planning New Privatized Prison
Senators Appointed
Environment Changes Places with Sport; New Principal Secretaries Appointed
WLSA Praises Increased Numbers of Women in Parliament and Cabinet
Barcelona AIDS Conference Highlights Cataclysmic Impact of AIDS
Beautiful Gate Orphanage Expands
Anglogold Pioneers Anti-Retroviral Treatment for Miners
Heavy Snowfall Disrupts Communications in Eastern Lesotho
Three Passengers Drown in Ferry Accident on Katse Reservoir
Parliament Officially Opened
Parliament without Leader of Opposition
NUL Forensic Audit Reports Millions Missing from Bursary
New Textile Workers’ Union Founded
Quadrant Computers Celebrates 20 Years of Growth
Death of Principal Chief of Leribe
Lesotho Participates in the Commonwealth Games
PR MPs to be Addressed by their Names
Lesotho sends Large Delegation to Smart Partnership Dialogue
Cuban Doctors Arrive in Lesotho
NTTC finally becomes LCE
Medicine Murder on Thuathe Plateau
Econet Ezi-Cell Sponsors New Football League
All Lesotho Fixed Line Telephone Numbers ‘Desmondized’
Sietel Wins M211 million Contract for a Wireless Networking System
Man Killed by Hearse at Wife’s Funeral
Vice-Chancellor of NUL Declares a ‘State of Emergency’
Chief Toloane Laid to Rest
MKM Burial Society Temporarily Loses 100 Cars
Genetically Modified Food amongst Food Aid
Food Distribution Gets Underway
Alleged Car Thieves Mercilessly Beaten and Burned to Death
New Books Produced by Members of NUL History Department
Wind Power to be Documented
LCD Wins Fresh Elections
Thabeng High School Suffers Double Calamity
Vice-Chancellor of NUL ‘Declares War’
United Nations and Commonwealth Secretaries-General Visit Lesotho
Maseru Lodge No. 2835 Celebrates Centenary
Welsh and Basotho Cyclists Tour Country
Sekara Mafisa Appointed Ombudsman
New Driving Licences Introduced
Case against Alleged Murderers of Deputy Prime Minister Proceeds
Lesotho Team Puts up Good Fight against Senegal in Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying Round
Death of Father Manyeli
South Africa’s Highest Mountain ‘Steals’ Name from Lesotho
Justice Mahapela Lehohla Appointed Lesotho’s New Chief Justice
Wole Soyinka’s King Baabu Performed in Lesotho
Acres International Found Guilty of Paying Bribes
University Honours James Motlatsi and Cyril Ramaphosa at Graduation Ceremony
2001-2 Wettest Water Year on Record in Parts of Lesotho

Meteorite Explodes over Western Lesotho

A loud explosion rocked western Lesotho at 15 49 (13 49 GMT) on the afternoon of Sunday 21 July. It was heard over a wide area including Maseru, Ladybrand, Butha-Buthe, Thaba-Tseka and Mohale’s Hoek, as was later ascertained by interviewing students returning for the new academic year at the National University of Lesotho. Initial reaction was that something serious had happened such as an accident at an ammunition dump or explosives store. However, no such calamity was reported.

In fact what occurred was no ordinary explosion. It was very loud and continued at high intensity for about 20 seconds, but it did not begin with an initial very much louder report as occurs with thunder and many other explosions. The explosion created an air shock wave which rattled windows, but the ground did not shake. A check with the LHDA seismic analyst revealed that no ground shock had been recorded, so a ground-based blast or a major impact on the earth’s surface was ruled out. The magnitude of the event ruled out an aircraft sonic boom. The noise was heard over a circle of some 200 km diameter and for this to have been possible, there must have been a major explosion in the atmosphere some kilometres above Lesotho. Confirmation that something had indeed happened up there came from several observers, who despite the 80% cloud cover, reported that they had seen a smoky trail, wider than a normal aircraft vapour trail, high up, above and visible between the clouds. From Roma, this crossed the sky on the north side from east to west and had a highest angle of elevation of about 70º. However, from Thaba-Tseka, the trail was seen only to the west. From Roma, the noise seemed to come from the north-west, while from Maseru it seemed to come from the east. There was also one very useful observation from a couple driving towards Lesotho between Bethulie and Smithfield about 150 km south-west of Maseru. They heard no noise but saw in a clear patch of sky low down in the Maseru direction a moving object described as like a sparkler firework or a distress flare. The head of the object was a sparkling white but there were also some orange to red sparks in the tail behind. It moved from right to left across the sky.

Putting the evidence from a number of observers together, the conclusion was that an object had entered the earth’s atmosphere travelling in a generally east to west direction before exploding over western Lesotho. It was unlikely to have been a large piece of a space craft coming out of earth orbit, because, although this would have become very hot, it would not have exploded, and would very likely have fallen to earth. It would thus seem that the object which exploded must have been a meteorite, and an article by your Summary of events compiler to this effect appeared in the University’s Information Flash weekly news sheet, together with the above illustration (except for ‘Ha Ralimo’) with the speculation that the meteorite must have exploded over the western part of Lesotho, probably over the Berea Plateau (known in Sesotho as Sehlaba-sa-Thuathe or the Thuathe Plateau). Very likely the meteorite had fractured into successively smaller parts and fallen as dust, although it was not ruled out that something larger could have fallen to the earth.

When the article was written, it had not been known that a group of villagers from a small village on the Berea Plateau, Ha Ralimo, had already gone to the police and complained that rocks had rained down on them from the sky, and they had brought samples with them as evidence. They obviously had an understandable complaint, but also one for which the police would have had difficulty in opening a charge sheet. The police took the villagers to the Commissioner of Mines & Geology, and a geologist from the Department, Joachim Makhaola, then went with a reporter from the police newspaper, Mosoaboli Mohlomi, to the village. One consequence was most unusually, instead of the police newspaper coming out with a headline reporting a serious crime, the issue of Leseli ka Sepolesa of 15 August 2002 had the headline ‘Naleli e oela Thuathe’ (Star falls on Thuathe).

Your compiler of Summary of events went with his assistant, Mamdlongo Maphisa and Joachim Makhaola, to Ha Ralimo on 23 August 2002. The Headman, Mpho Moseme, whom we met, gave a particularly graphic account of what happened. On the afternoon of 21 July, he had been walking back from the village of Baruting towards Ha Ralimo, passing between the Monyake Dam and Ha Ralimo’s outlying settlement, Motsekuoa. There was quite unexpectedly a very loud noise in the sky and he saw flames (malakabe) in the sky a few seconds later. Between 1 and 2 minutes later, according to his estimate, he heard the noise of a huge splash in the Monyake Dam, with waves spreading out from where something had fallen in. He started running, but did not know in which direction to run as more rocks hit the ground, one of them less than ten metres away. It appears that four different rocks gave him a near miss within a space of about a minute or so. He was relieved to get home unscathed.

Two days later, having established that doomsday had in fact been postponed, and indeed that providence might instead have favoured the village with diamonds from heaven, he went back to the point where he had apparently been targeted from space, and picked up some of the meteorites, the largest of which had embedded itself in a ploughed field to a depth of ‘about half the height of a man’. It was an irregular black rock with a maximum diameter of about 15 cm, and with a mass estimated to be between that of 2.5kg and 5kg bags of mealie meal or sugar, thus about 3 to 4 kg. Curious about its interior, he cracked it open with a sledgehammer. Inside was a granular grey material with scattered fine shiny inclusions, the grey contrasting with the black fusion crust, which was only about 0.1 mm thick. One of the three main pieces into which it had been split was retrieved by Dr Molisana Molisana of the National University of Lesotho Physics Department and later weighed, and was found to have a mass of 1.020 kg. Your compiler also interviewed ’Matukule Khoeletsane at her home in Motsekuoa Ha Ralimo, some 700 metres from Monyake Dam. The house had received a direct hit from a small meteorite, which had apparently struck a glancing on the sloping metal roof, and was found lying beside the house. More meteorites, typically 30g to 80g, were retrieved from fallow fields nearby, and it appears that the meteorites had fallen over an elliptical area with an approximately east-west major axis of length about 2 km and minor axis of length about 1.2 km.

A number of small meteorites and a larger one with a mass of about 2.4 kg were purchased from villagers, and preserved for further study and a possible exhibit at the Morija Museum. The stones all have conspicuous fusion crusts showing that their outer surfaces melted during their passage through the atmosphere.

Although the incident had initially escaped media attention, Radio Moafrika, devoted a programme of one and a half hours to the event on the evening of Thursday 29 August in which Morena Mpho Moseme and Dr Molisana were interviewed.

How big was the original meteorite before exploding? The drawing exaggerates its size. It may well have been considerably less than a metre in diameter. Kinetic energy (as those who remember their school physics will recall) is ½mv2, where m is the mass and v the velocity, and our meteorite could well have entered the atmosphere at 100000 km/h, or a hundred times the speed of sound. Squaring such a speed and putting it as v in ½mv2 gives an indication of the enormous energy to be dissipated. The largest recorded event in historical times similar to what seems to have happened in Lesotho on 21 July 2002 occurred, according to The Guinness book of records, on 30 June 1908 over the basin of the Podkamennaya Tunguska, a tributary of the Yenisei river in Siberia. An area of about 4000 km2, equal to more than 10% of the area of Lesotho, was devastated, all trees in the area being blown flat radially from the hypocentre (the point on the Earth immediately below the explosion). Fortunately it was a remote and uninhabited region. The culprit on that occasion is thought to have been a stone meteorite of about 30 metres diameter, coming in at an angle of 45º and disintegrating before reaching a height of 10 km. The shock wave from the Tunguska meteorite was felt 1000 km away. In the Lesotho case, the shock wave was only felt up to about 100 km away, and Lesotho must be grateful that the meteorite was comparatively small, and did no significant damage.

Lesotho was in fact host to an extremely rare event, and to have eyewitness accounts of meteorites actually impacting close by on the earth’s surface endangering human life must be almost without precedent. Only about 2000 authenticated meteorites exist in museums and collections around the world, and while it is estimated that about 500 meteorites might penetrate to the surface of the Earth each year, the vast majority fall in the sea or in very remote areas and at best only ten of those seen to fall annually are actually recovered. Of course on average also half of all meteorites fall at night. Lesotho’s surface area is about one seventeen-thousandth of that of the earth, and villages cover less than a hundredth of the area of Lesotho, so it can be calculated that what happened on 21 July is an occurrence so rare that it is unlikely to be repeated in the present millennium.

A world expert on meteorites, Professor Uwe Reimold, arrived in Lesotho on 28 September. He was particularly interested in the type of meteorite which had fallen, and took away samples from the some 100 separate stones ranging in size from 30 g to a few kilograms, which had by now been retrieved from the ‘strewn field’. It is now assured that the Lesotho Meteorite of 21 July 2002 will find a place in scientific literature.
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Government Reported to be Planning New Privatized Prison

The newspaper, Public Eye, in its issue of 28 June 2002, included a report by Nthakeng Selinyane that the Lesotho Government is considering a proposal to establish a new Lesotho Central Prison at Ha Motloheloa on the road from Roma to Masianokeng. The prison would apparently be managed by Group 4 International, a firm with experience of managing prisons in Britain, and also, according to the report, in Bloemfontein.

Apart from a small prison at the new district headquarters at Thaba-Tseka, no new prison has been constructed in Lesotho since Independence. Despite the population doubling since then, rather remarkably for most of the post-Independence period, the prison population has not shown a similar increase. For example, the daily average number of prisoners in 1966 was 1674, while 30 years later as at 31 December 1996, the prison population was 2175 and it actually fell to 1796 on 31 December 1997. However, recent legislation relating to stock and vehicle theft includes long mandatory prison sentences for those convicted, and although figures are not available, this is likely to have resulted in a recent steep rise in the prison population.

The Maseru Central Prison was constructed one wing at a time from sandstone blocks by convict labour over several years in the 1950s, the convicts thereby acquiring useful building skills. It is not clear whether any of the present generation of prison staff have the necessary building skills to supervise a similar operation. If an outside firm obtains the contract for constructing and managing a new prison it seems unlikely that it will use the construction methods of the former prison service.

Ha Motloheloa is a large village on a plateau, which suffers from a perpetual water problem. If a new prison is constructed there, it seems likely that the village will benefit from a proper water scheme, and the new installation will also provide employment. However, no environmental impact assessment seems to have been carried out, and the views of the local community seem to have not yet been sought.
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Senators Appointed

The Lesotho Senate or Upper House of Parliament has a hereditary component consisting of Lesotho’s 22 Principal Chiefs who have seats in the Senate ex officio. The other 11 members of the 33-person Senate are chosen by the King acting on the advice of the Council of State, which meets for this purpose only after the National Assembly has had its first meeting after a General Election, by which time the new Prime Minister and Speaker are in office. The Council of State, which has up to 14 members, includes the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the National Assembly, two judges, the Attorney-General, a representative of the Law Society, the Commander of the Defence Force, the Commissioner of Police, a Principal Chief, the leaders of the two strongest parliamentary opposition parties as chosen by the Speaker, and up to three persons nominated by the Prime Minister. Although it is not a foregone conclusion, this composition of the Council of State apparently provides sufficient support for the Prime Minister whenever he proposes a person as Senator so that he can fill a vacant cabinet position.

In the case of the new Senate, the Prime Minister did indeed need to use the Senate to fill four key cabinet positions. Mr Timothy Thahane, who has long experience in the World Bank, and more recently as Deputy Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, became a Senator, so that he could be appointed Minister of Finance and Development Planning. Ms Lebohang Ntšinyi, most recently Ambassador to Germany, also became a Senator, so that she could be appointed Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment (she is also a former Director of Tourism). A former Regional Director of the Institute of Development Management, Dr ’Mamphono Khaketla, also became a Senator and Minister of Communications. The fourth cabinet Senator was Mr Refiloe Moses Masemene, reappointed to Senate and as Minister of Justice, Human Rights, Law and Constitutional Affairs. Mr Masemene, a lawyer by profession, is blind and was considered by some to have originally been appointed to Senate to represent the interests of disabled persons.

The other seven Senators are Chief ’Mualle Moshoeshoe and Chief Qajela Lebona, Chiefs of the Independent Wards in Mohale’s Hoek District. These chiefs have always aspired to have their status raised to principal chiefs, but in practice occupy a rather equivocal status rather greater than area chiefs, but less than that of full principal chiefs. Also appointed Senator is Major-General Phisoane Ramaema, successor to Major-General Lekhanya as Head of the Military Government; Mrs ’Malerotholi Ntsubise Sekhonyana, a widow of the former BNP leader Evaristus Retšelisitsoe Sekhonyana; Chieftainess ’Manapo Majara, who always insists on being addressed ‘ntate’, Leader of the New Lesotho Freedom Party; Dr Rakoro Phororo, a veterinary surgeon who has played a major role in economic planning initiatives; and Mrs Mookho Mathibeli of the LCD Women’s League. Five of the eleven appointed Senators are women.

At its first meeting, the new Senate re-elected Chief Sempe Lejaha as President and in a three candidate election chose Chief Letapata Makhaola to be Vice-President of the Senate. It also had to consider the fact that the Senate chamber was not designed to accommodate disabled Senators confined to wheelchairs. Principal Chief Moletsane of Taung Ward was confined to a wheelchair and because there were no suitable ramps, could only participate in Senate debates if his wheelchair was lifted into place by ushers. Even then he could not reach the normal seats in the chamber used by Senators.
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Environment Changes Places with Sport; New Principal Secretaries Appointed

In the new cabinet, the Environment portfolio, which was formerly linked with Gender and Youth Affairs, has now been exchanged with Sports, so that it forms part of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment. Sport is now part of the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Sports.

The practice of shuffling the civil service heads in ministries continues with the new government. The new Principal Secretary for Tourism, Culture and Environment is Mr Tebello Metsing, formerly PS for Home Affairs; the new PS for Agriculture, Cooperatives and Land Reclamation is Mrs ’Mamoruti Malie, who was formerly PS for Gender, Environment & Youth Affairs; the new PS for Health & Social Welfare is Mrs Mahali Lebesa, who was formerly PS for Economic Affairs; while the new PS for Gender, Youth & Sports is Mr Teboho Kitleli, formerly PS for Health & Social Welfare.
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WLSA Praises Increased Numbers of Women in Parliament and Cabinet

Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA), as reported in Mopheme of 16 July 2002, has through its National Coordinator, Keiso Matashane-Marite, expressed its pleasure about the increased numbers of women in Parliament. There are now 12 women MPs (although Mopheme for some reason seems to think the number is 13), making the number 10% for the first time. This is however still far short of the target set by SADC that women should comprise 30% of parliamentarians by the year 2005. The proportion of women in the Lesotho Senate does, however, come close to the 30% target.

As far as Cabinet is concerned, the proportion is also higher than 10%. There are four women cabinet ministers (two of them Senators, two of them MPs), and two assistant ministers. Women cabinet members occupy the portfolios of Local Government (Dr Pontšo Sekatle); Gender, Youth and Sports (Mrs ’Mathabiso Lepono); Communications (Dr ’Mamphono Khaketla); Tourism, Culture and Environment (Ms Lebohang Ntšinyi); and there are also women Assistant Ministers of Education (Mrs ’Malijane Norah Maqelepo) and Justice & Human Rights (Ms Mpeo Mahase).
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Barcelona AIDS Conference Highlights Cataclysmic Impact of AIDS

At the 14th International AIDS Conference which began in Barcelona, Spain on 7 July 2002, a new UNAids report was released, which, as quoted in The Star of 3 July 2002, gave information about the latest infection rates in southern Africa. According to the report, the number of pregnant women testing HIV-positive at government health facilities was 44.9% in Botswana, 42.2% in Lesotho, 35.0% in Zimbabwe, 32.3% in Swaziland, 29.3% in Namibia and 24.8% in South Africa.

While there are obvious difficulties in extrapolating these figures to the population as a whole, they are indicative of the cataclysmic impact of AIDS throughout southern Africa, and although infection rates were higher in neighbouring countries, South Africa had the dubious distinction of having 5 million of its citizens infected, more than any other country in the world.

The United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Africa, Stephen Lewis, made a statement which was in part reproduced in the National University of Lesotho’s Information Flash of 23 August 2002. The stark facts were that by 2020 HIV/AIDS was likely to cause 68 million deaths worldwide, and 55 million of them would be in Africa, where the prevalence was highest in southern Africa. The UNAids report contained figures with estimates of current rates of infection between two confidence limits, but Lewis chose to take the higher figure in each case because that seemed to be the likely rate of infection shortly even if it were not already. The figures for HIV/AIDS prevalence he gave for young people (aged 15 to 24) were 45% for young women in Botswana, while for young men it was 19%. For Lesotho the same figures were 51% for young women and 23% for young men, and in South Africa the same figures were 31% for young women and 13% for young men.

Quoting from a second report prepared by UNICEF, Lewis came up with rather different figures. For example, the report stated an infection rate of 17% to 22% amongst girls aged 15 to 19 in major urban areas of eastern and southern Africa. One of the features of AIDS in Africa was its assault on women. 67% of AIDS cases amongst young people were women. Women sufferers thus outnumbered men by 2: 1. The UNICEF report documented some of the causes and consequences including the predatory sexual behaviour of older men, girls pulled out of school to care for sick and dying parents, ‘the complicating malevolence of the sex trade’ and the growth of the orphan population.

As reported in The Star of 10 July 2002, also speaking at the conference was Professor Alan Whiteside, the Director of the University of Natal’s HIV/AIDS Research Division. Confining himself to South Africa, the predictions were that 65% of deaths in South Africa would be AIDS related by 2008, and by 2010 there would be 2 million orphans, one in every 20 South Africans. Much was still unknown about the impact of the disease. For example, in KwaZulu-Natal, the enrolment in the first year of primary school had dropped by 100000. He asked about the missing enrolments, ‘Have they died, are they heading households, or do they simply not care? The point is, we don’t know.’
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Beautiful Gate Orphanage Expands

Beautiful Gate is a care centre near the Industrial Area in Maseru which was first opened in June 2001 to care primarily for HIV-positive and dying children. The centre (originally known as Little Feet) is sponsored by a missionary organization, Youth With A Mission, and the centre was founded by Ray and Sue Haakonsen.

By 2002, Beautiful Gate had 22 children and employed no less than 16 care workers and a nurse. Many of the children in the centre had been found abandoned, and initially their HIV-status was unknown, because it cannot be definitely ascertained until the child is 9 months old.

As reported in the MS (Danish Aid) periodical Lumela of July 2002, as many as possible of the 22 children were recently tested. To the delight of the staff, 18 children tested HIV-negative. There was one HIV-positive child and three have still to be tested.
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Anglogold Pioneers Anti-Retroviral Treatment for Miners

A report in the Mail & Guardian of 26 July 2002 announced that agreement had been reached between the gold-mining giant, Anglogold and the five unions it recognizes to supply anti-retroviral drugs free to infected miners. Unofficial estimates put levels of HIV infection in the mining industry between 25% and 30%. A large proportion of the miners who will benefit are from Lesotho, although it is far from clear whether they will continue to receive the treatment after leaving mining employment.

Although AIDS is frequently stated to be incurable, it is, when resources are sufficient, a manageable disease akin to diabetes. The problem is that the anti-retroviral drugs, testing and counselling programme cost about M1000 per person per month, far beyond the means of most people. However, gold and diamond miners have now become a privileged group who will get this treatment.

In coming to its decision, Anglogold was no doubt influenced by the experience of Debswana at the Orapa Diamond Mine in Botswana. As quoted in the Weekly Telegraph of 28 August 2002, the mine’s medical officer, Dr Dudley Wang, stated that if the HIV infection is caught early enough, 98% of people who would be dead within a year can expect not just to be alive but still working. ‘All the evidence points at between 50 and 100 of our employees who would otherwise be dead, being alive today because of the treatment’.
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Heavy Snowfall Disrupts Communications in Eastern Lesotho

Heavy snowfall throughout the eastern Maloti on 19 and 20 July, resulted in Mokhotlong and Qacha’s Nek being cut off from the rest of Lesotho for a number of days. Sani Pass was closed for over a week, and a number of visitors stranded at Sani Top had to be rescued by helicopter.

The snow was confined to eastern Lesotho and adjoining areas of South Africa, where communications were also severely affected for several days. In western Lesotho, most places recorded no rain at all in July. For many rainfall stations, it was the first below average rainfall month, after nine consecutive months each with above average rainfall.
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Three Passengers Drown in Ferry Accident on Katse Reservoir

According to the police newspaper, Leseli ka Sepolesa of 1 August 2002, three persons drowned when the ferry transporting them across the Katse Reservoir from Ha Kosetabole to Bokong capsized in the middle of the lake on 7 July 2002. Two of the bodies had not been recovered. Those who were rescued had been wearing life jackets, but it appears that the boat was not carrying enough for all the passengers.

A local policeman, Sergeant Tota Khobotlo, appealed to the boat owners (‘bo-ralikenchana’) to obtain licences for their work and to be trained to understand the weather conditions on the lake. It appears, however, that at present, there is no statutory requirement for those operating boats to have licences.
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Parliament Officially Opened

The official opening of Lesotho’s Sixth Parliament took place on Friday 12 July 2002 with the Speech from the Throne in which the King traditionally outlines the policy of the new government.

In his speech, the King indicated that high on the agenda of the new Parliament was the establishment of democratically elected local authorities in both urban and rural areas that would be effective, accountable and sustainable. ‘Local government shall be the key instrument for the decentralization of government functions and services, as well as the devolution of political authority. The fourth and fifth Parliaments enacted the Local Government Act 1997 and the Local Government Elections Act 1998 respectively. My Government intends to utilize these pieces of legislation to deliver on its promises of genuine and democratic local government.’

The King also made reference to fundamental changes in the development planning system and the development of Vision 2020; poverty reduction strategy; public sector reform; plans to launch the new revenue authority; strengthening of the Treasury; the coming into force of a new Southern African Customs Union; further privatization; expanding the country’s industrial base; integrating small enterprises into the main economy through the Basotho Enterprises Development Corporation (BEDCO); a trade policy review to make Lesotho’s products accessible to foreign markets; a feasibility study for a Lesotho Lowlands Water Project as well as another for the Metolong Dam on the Southern Phuthiatsana to serve Maseru; the expansion of free primary education to cover the whole primary cycle; expansion of technical and vocational education and review of the curriculum to ensure relevance; legislation to regulate the development of higher education and the conduct and supervision of examinations; and the coordination of a national response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic through LAPCA, the Lesotho AIDS Prevention Coordinating Authority.

Capital projects which would be embarked upon during the life of the Sixth Parliament would include a new Parliament Complex, a National Referral Hospital, a Phase IV Government Complex, and a High Altitude Sports Training Centre at Ha Mohale.
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Parliament without Leader of Opposition

Lesotho’s Sixth Parliament convened without an official Leader of the Opposition. The Leader of the Opposition, a post with a higher salary than that of other opposition MPs, is required to lead a party or coalition of at least one-quarter of the total seats in Parliament. Although the Basotho National Party had been allocated 21 seats under the proportional representation system, it needed to form a coalition with at least two other parties to achieve the necessary coalition of at least 30 seats. It was clear from the anti-BNP stories being printed in Nonyana, the newspaper of the Lesotho People’s Congress, that the LPC, which has 5 seats, was unlikely to agree to forming a coalition. This left the BNP with the task of persuading the National Independence Party, also with 5 seats, and parties such as the Basutoland African Congress and Basutoland Congress Party, both with 3 seats, to form the necessary coalition. Given the antipathy amongst members of some of these parties towards the BNP, the prospects of a coalition at this stage seemed slight.
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NUL Forensic Audit Reports Millions Missing from Bursary

As reported in the University’s weekly news sheet, Information Flash, of 12 July 2002, and as also reported widely in all national newspapers, the forensic audit undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers on behalf of the National University of Lesotho management had revealed serious cases of financial impropriety and/or fraud. It was reported that the auditors had submitted 21 different reports on university financial transactions between 1997 and 2001, and had inter alia found that cheques for large sums had been signed without supporting documents; certain individuals in the Bursary had colluded with companies to defraud the University of large sums under false pretences; investment projects had been carried out without due authorization from the University Council; and numerous vital files and other critical financial documents had disappeared from the Bursary in the period before and during the investigation. The auditors also reported gross negligence and general chaos in the Bursary manifesting itself in a total absence of proper financial management and acceptable accounting controls. It also reported cases of dereliction of duty on the part of individuals entrusted with the supervision of others for the purposes of ensuring adherence to good financial practice in the Bursary.

On receiving the reports from the forensic auditors, the University Council instructed the University Management to institute disciplinary action against staff; to institute criminal proceedings for fraud, forgery, theft and corruptions as applicable; and to institute civil proceedings against companies implicated to recover the University’s losses.

It was reported by some newspapers that the forensic audit, which had taken over a year to complete, had cost the university well over half a million maloti.

The University Bursar, Matsobane Putsoa, a former Auditor-General, had been suspended by the University during the investigation. He declined to report to the press on the forensic audit, saying that the report had not been made available to him.
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New Textile Workers’ Union Founded

According to the LCD party newspaper, Mololi of 25 July 2002, a new union, the National Union of Textileworkers (NUTEX) has been founded with General Secretary, ’Mathakane Nyabela. The new party, affiliated to the Lesotho Federation of Democratic Unions (LFDU) competes to represent factory workers with the existing Lesotho Clothing & Allied Workers Union (LECAWU).
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Quadrant Computers Celebrates 20 Years of Growth

One of the best known of Lesotho’s computer companies, Quadrant Computers, is in 2002 celebrating its twentieth anniversary. As reported in Public Eye of 26 July 2002, Quadrant was founded by Graham Jennings in 1982, three years after he had first come to Lesotho as General Manager of Maluti Skin Products. Subsequently it has trained more than 50000 Basotho in management and information technology skills, and more than twenty former Quadrant employees have started their own successful businesses. The Technical Director for several years was Lebeko Sello, whom Quadrant recruited from the National University of Lesotho staff, where he had been Lecturer in Mathematics and Computing Science. Sello now works in a senior position with the Southern African Development Community in Pretoria.
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Death of Principal Chief of Leribe

The Principal Chief of Leribe, Chief Bolokoe Motšoene, died of bone cancer on 30 July 2002. He had been ill for many years. His wife, Chieftainess ’Mamolapo, had been Acting Principal Chief since 1986.

Chief Bolokoe Motšoene, was the great-grandson of Chief Motšoene, a man of prodigious girth, who as the offspring of Chief Letsie’s daughter, Senate, and Molapo’s eldest son, Josefa, had once been favoured by King Moshoeshoe to be his eventual successor. Bolokoe Letsie Koabeng Motšoene was born on 25 March 1937, and had married Exinia Setori Lejaha (who is now Chieftainess ’Mamolapo) at what was then billed the Lesotho ‘wedding of the year’ in December 1965.

The Leribe Ward is one of two wards in Leribe District (the other is Tsikoane) and extends into the Maloti to include part of the area of the Katse Reservoir.
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Lesotho Participates in the Commonwealth Games

In the Commonwealth Games, held in Manchester, England, from 25 July to 10 August 2002, Lesotho was represented by a delegation consisting of 29 athletes, 13 officials and 4 government representatives. Lesotho had participants in athletics, boxing, squash, table tennis and athletics for the disabled. There were hopes that Lesotho might repeat the success in Malaysia in 1998, when Thabiso Moqhali won the gold medal for the marathon. In the event Lesotho had to be content with a single bronze medal, won by one of its boxers, Letuka Sephula.
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PR MPs to be Addressed by their Names

Parliamentary etiquette, enshrined in Standing Order 37(6), requires that Members of Parliament are addressed in the National Assembly, not by their names, but as the Member of Parliament for X Constituency, or in the case of members who are of ministerial rank, by their ministerial position. However, the new Parliament has 40 members, those who are elected under proportional representation, who are neither constituency MPs nor ministers.

On 25 July 2002, Standing Order 37(6) was amended to read ‘a member shall refer to another member by his constituency or ministerial office, but not by name except for proportional representation members who shall be referred to by their names’.
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Lesotho sends Large Delegation to Smart Partnership Dialogue

According to the ruling party newspaper, Mololi of 25 July 2002, the Prime Minister was to head a delegation of 17, including his wife and several cabinet ministers, to a ‘Global 2002 International Dialogue on Smart Partnership’, being held in Langkawi, Malaysia from 1 to 4 August 2002.

Over the previous few years, the Prime Minister has attended numerous ‘Smart partnership’ conferences in Malaysia, Victoria Falls and Namibia. However, the tangible benefits to Lesotho from the original Malaysian pioneered idea have so far not been very evident.
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Cuban Doctors Arrive in Lesotho

A first group of 17 Cuban medical professionals arrived in Lesotho in July and according to a report from the Lesotho News Agency (LENA) were welcomed at a reception on Monday 29 July by the Minister of Health & Social Welfare, Dr Motloheloa Phooko. Their arrival follows an agreement signed in Havana between Lesotho and Cuba, and a further 10 doctors were due to join the first 17 in less than a month. The Cuban doctors are apparently earmarked to serve in the remoter areas of Lesotho where local doctors are reluctant to serve.

Cuba has 11 million people and 67000 medical professionals, one of the highest ratios in the world, which makes it possible to make medical professionals available to other countries. The LENA report did not indicate whether a language problem was anticipated given that these were Spanish speaking doctors who would be mainly working with patients who only speak Sesotho.
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NTTC finally becomes LCE

The Lesotho College of Education Act 1997 under which the National Teacher Training College was to be renamed the Lesotho College of Education and given greater autonomy had long been expected to be brought into force. It was finally brought into force on 31 July 2002 (by Lesotho Government Gazette Extraordinary no. 83 of 2002 (22 July 2002), and from 31 July NTTC officially became LCE.

LCE held its 25th Graduation Ceremony (the 1st under the new name) on Saturday 31 August 2002. There were altogether 269 graduands and speeches were made by the Minister of Education, Hon. Lesao Lehohla and the new Director of LCE, Professor J. C. S. Musaazi.
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Medicine Murder on Thuathe Plateau

At the small village of Khotong, some 9 km east of Maseru on the Thuathe (Berea) Plateau, a herdboy disappeared on 4 August 2002. His body was found on 27 August in a ploughed field by other herdboys. It was severely mutilated and eyes, nose, mouth and armpits were missing. It became general knowledge that the body parts had been used to make medicine to ‘strengthen’ the small store of one of the village women who was also one of the perpetrators of the crime. According to a report in Nonyana of 11 September, the police have arrested five men and two women. The deceased, Lebohang Makoanyane, aged 16, was from the nearby village of Litšukulung Ha Sepinare, at the foot of the plateau. He had been engaged by the Lethuba family of Khotong to look after their animals, and had been staying with them.
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Econet Ezi-Cell Sponsors New Football League

The new cellphone division which is part of Tele-Com Lesotho, Econet Ezi-Cell (EEC) Lesotho has announced that it is sponsoring a Buddie Challenge Cup League for 44 Lesotho football teams from a Premier League through Divisions A to C. The tournament, with total sponsorship money is M800 000, will end with the finals being played in the usual round-robin system between the four best clubs. The first fixtures were set for 10 August 2002, but it would require a tight fixture schedule, even though some teams were seeded, for the competition to reach the round-robin finals stage by the Independence holiday early in October when football finals are held. The knockout competition will apparently proceed in parallel with the normal football league fixtures.

The ‘Buddie’ in the Buddie Challenge Cup name is the name that EEC has chosen for its prepaid card system for its cellphones.
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All Lesotho Fixed Line Telephone Numbers ‘Desmondized’

Tele-Com Lesotho the privatised company which manages fixed lines in Lesotho announced at the end of July 2002 that all Lesotho telephone numbers would be changed from the present six digit system to an eight digit system with effect from 1 August 2002, but with the new and old numbers running in parallel until 31 October 2002. For most subscribers the new number is the same as the old number but with the additional digits 22 added on the front. Telephone numbers were popularly being described as ‘Desmondized’ (22 = Tutu).
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Sietel Wins M211 million Contract for a Wireless Networking System

Business Report of 14 August 2002 gave details of a M211 million contract which had been won by Siemens Telecommunications (Sietel) to supply a wireless networking system for Tele-Com Lesotho. Tele-Com Lesotho is 70% owned by Mountain Kingdom Communications, a consortium consisting of Econet, Eskom Enterprises and Mauritius Telecoms and 30% by the Lesotho Government. Tele-Com Lesotho has a five year exclusivity licence for fixed lines, and under the agreement has to install 150 000 new telephone lines in underserviced areas by 2005. The Chief Executive of Tele-Com Lesotho, Adri van der Veer, said that expansion of the network using wireless technology would bring telephones to the remote areas of Lesotho, and the company hoped to connect 29000 new customers before the end of the year. Lesotho currently has some 24000 fixed line telephones and 30000 cellphone connections.
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Man Killed by Hearse at Wife’s Funeral

Lentsoe la Basotho of 22 August 2002 reported the sad story of a funeral at Matomaneng near Mantšonyane on 3 August 2002. After a funeral service, the hearse was transporting the corpse and the husband of the deceased to the graveyard in an area where roads are almost non-existent. The hill proved too steep and the vehicle could proceed no further. The driver got out but the brakes did not hold, and the vehicle ran backwards and overturned throwing out both the coffin and the husband, who fell underneath the overturning vehicle and was killed instantly.
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Vice-Chancellor of NUL Declares a ‘State of Emergency’

At a meeting on Thursday 8 August 2002 at Netherlands Hall on the Roma Campus, the Vice-Chancellor of the National University of Lesotho, Dr Tefetso Mothibe, addressed the student body on matters of concern. His speech was reported in the campus newsletter Information Flash of 9 August 2002, and also widely reported in the national press. He used strong words about student behaviour saying that the student community was ‘becoming a community of bankrupt men and women with animal instincts ... including rapists, drug pushers and addicts, criminals of all sorts, and highly informed but poorly formed individuals’.

Having taken a tour of student hostels, he and his staff had found widespread vandalism, including fire hoses used by unknown male students in an attempt to force women students out of their rooms. At one hostel, damage caused in the past seven days had amounted to M24 675. Moreover, ‘scores’ of fraudulent certificates had been discovered by which students had obtained admission to the university.

In view of the extraordinary times and extraordinary circumstances, the Vice-Chancellor said that he was declaring a state of emergency introducing a code of conduct whose provisions included: NUL hostel residents to sign a contractual agreement of conditions for occupancy; new security procedures for all halls of residence; smoking and use of foul language to be banned in halls of residence and public places on campus; and no liquor to be sold on NUL campuses except at authorized outlets.

The same issue of Information Flash gave more details about the forged Cambridge Overseas School Certificate examination certificates which had been detected by the admissions staff. Some 30 to 40 dubious certificates had been discovered which had apparently originated from ‘a highly sophisticated syndicate’ in Maseru, which had charged between M500 and M1500 per certificate for its services.

A correspondent in the following issue of Information Flash, while not alluding to the state of emergency, provided indication that apart from the student body, not all was well with the administration of the university. He gave instances which included chairs having been removed from classrooms before the last day of lectures, examinations being delayed because rooms and papers were not ready, supplementary examination results not published in time for student registration, and lectures not beginning on the day scheduled because there was no timetable.

In fact the whole of the first week of lectures was lost because there was no timetable, providing ample time for idle students to resort to mischief of the kind which the Vice-Chancellor had deplored.
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Chief Toloane Laid to Rest

Chief Motjoka Ramosa Toloane, Chief of Ha Toloane, the village which sits astride the main tarred road just south of Morija, was buried together with his grandmother, ’Masoko Toloane, at Ha Toloane on 10 August 2002. Chief Toloane who was 25, had been shot by unknown gunmen in the evening as he returned home from Maseru, after making arrangements for the funeral of his grandmother who had died naturally shortly before. According to a report in The Mirror of 21 August 2002, Chief Toloane had been a compaigner against stock theft and the illegal possession of arms in areas under his jurisdiction.
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MKM Burial Society Temporarily Loses 100 Cars

According to The Mirror of 14 August 2002, the Car Theft Section of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had the previous week seized approximately 100 cars from the MKM Burial Society in the Industrial Area, Maseru, on suspicion that they were stolen. However, the Chief Executive officer of MKM stated that they were shortly afterwards returned and he blamed the incident on disgruntled employees which the firm had dismissed. In his interview with The Mirror, he said that MKM owned a number of unique or rare vehicles, including three Toyota Mark Two 800s, the only ones in Africa,and also the latest model of Pajero, the only one of its kind in Lesotho. He wondered how a company as large as his, with which even the King has opened a burial policy could have been targeted by the police.

Funeral companies have been one of the growth areas in Lesotho in recent years and if nothing else, the newspaper article documents how rapidly a single company can grow on the funeral business in just 12 years since its foundation. Such companies are amongst the very few which benefit from the HIV/AIDS epidemic which seems to have more than doubled the death rate in the past five years. Funeral companies compete with each other, and to many people one of their less welcome innovations has been the introduction of sirens which are used to indicate the arrivals of corpses on Friday afternoons. Funerals almost invariably take place on Saturdays following a wake on the previous night.
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Genetically Modified Food amongst Food Aid

The food crisis in southern Africa has resulted in a major humanitarian problem to meet the needs of several million people threatened with starvation in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Mozambique and Lesotho. Whereas the countries to the north have suffered from harvest failures as a result of drought, in Lesotho the poor crop has been the result of excessive rainfall. The crisis in Lesotho, which on average grows less than half of its maize requirements, has been exacerbated by the price of maize more than doubling, meaning that families who normally buy their maize (‘mealie meal’) requirements have often been able to buy only half as much as they really need.

As reported in the South African Sunday Independent of 4 August 2002, the United States has so far been the major contributor to the World Food Programme appeal. However, much of the 292 000 tons available from the USA are genetically modified (GM) crops, posing a dilemma for food aid recipient countries. (In the USA today, two-thirds of soya and one-third of all maize grown are now GM, and 90% of all GM crops emanate from one company, Monsanto.) The Zambian president is reported as saying that he would rather let his people die than feed them hazardous food. Zimbabwe after initial hesitation, agreed to accept GM maize provided it was milled. On the other hand Lesotho, Malawi and Swaziland apparently have had no reservations about accepting GM food, although in Lesotho there seems to have been no public debate on the matter. In Lesotho’s case a certain amount of realism was in any case appropriate, because of what was already happening on its borders. An article by Rachel Wynberg in the South African Journal of Science for May/June 2002 showed that genetically engineered (i.e. GM) maize was being already grown commercially in the three South African provinces which immediately adjoin Lesotho, while genetically engineered soya beans were being grown commercially in the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal, and genetically engineered wheat in the Free State.
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Food Distribution Gets Underway

As reported in Mopheme in its issue of 6 August, only 88704 people had so far registered as recipients of food assistance, which was still awaited from various different international relief organizations.

Meanwhile the World Food Programme (WFP) estimated that 444 800 people were in need of food assistance in the worst hit districts of Qacha’s Nek, Quthing and Mohale’s Hoek, where excessive rains in the summer of 2001-2 had led to widespread crop failure.

Baroness Valerie Amos, British Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister responsible for Africa, paid a one day official visit to Lesotho on 30 July 2002 and indicated that the British Government had pledged £45 million for the countries of southern Africa most hit by crop failure, of which the share allocated to Lesotho was £2.5 million (about M40 million).

WFP food arrived in Durban in early August together with over 200 vehicles donated by the Norwegian Government to be used in the five countries of Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe during the distribution process.

Actual distribution of the food began in Qacha’s Nek, Quthing and Mohale’s Hoek Districts in August and was extended to five other districts in September.

Meanwhile there were reports from different parts of Lesotho of people actually dying of hunger. According to Leselinyana la Lesotho of 16 August 2002, five people, including three young children, had recently died of starvation in the village of Ha Sekoala, which is in fact only 2 km from the Scott Hospital in Morija. Those who were taken to hospital were taken there too late.

WFP in 2001 fed more than 77 million impoverished people in 82 countries including Lesotho.
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Alleged Car Thieves Mercilessly Beaten and Burned to Death

In a lead story, gruesomely illustrated with photographs of burned corpses, the Catholic newspaper, Moeletsi oa Basotho of 18 August 2002, described the fate of four alleged car hijackers.

On 9 August 2002, a ‘4 plus 1’ taxi (driver with four passengers) picked up four young men near Carewell Clinic in Maseru. At Borokhoaneng on the outskirts of Maseru, they overpowered the driver with a gun and knife, bundled him into the boot, and drove via Ha Makhoathi to Ha Makhalanyane on the Roma road to get petrol. As they tried to fill the vehicle, the driver emerged from the boot and called for help. The thieves went off in the vehicle, but the alarm had been raised, and at Mahlabatheng they abandoned the vehicle and took to their heels. Unfortunately for them they went in the direction of Ha Ramaqhanyane, a village notorious for killing and burning thieves, there having been at least two previous incidents, one the previous October when thieves had been dealt with mercilessly.

By the time the thieves were near Ha Ramaqhanyane, they had split into two pairs, but in each case villagers seized them, beat them with sticks and stones and threw them onto hastily created fires, where according to the newspaper, quoting the testimony of a villager, the victims cried out ‘God help us! Don’t burn us because we are going to burn in hell’. It was to no avail because they were indeed burned to death, if not already dead when thrown onto the fires.

According to the newspaper, the four men have not been identified. There is also no report of any villagers being arrested for taking the law into their own hands. It also appears that no action had been taken when inhabitants of the same village had killed and burned three alleged cattle thieves in the same way on 19 October 2001, nor when similar events had taken place at the nearby villages of Ha Liile, Khokhotsaneng Ha Majara and Ha Ntsane over a period of some months prior to that.
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New Books Produced by Members of NUL History Department

The National University of Lesotho History Department in August 2002 published a new book, Essays on aspects of the political economy of Lesotho 1500-2000. The book is the work of five authors, Tefetso Mothibe, Maria Ntabeni, Motlatsi Thabane, Balam Nyeko and Neville Pule, all present or past members of the staff of the History Department or of the Political and Administrative Studies Department at the university. It is edited by Motlatsi Thabane and Neville Pule.

The book contains an introductory chapter dealing with the period 1500-1800 for which oral tradition and archaeology are the main sources. Following that, the nineteenth and twentieth centuries get four and a half chapters each, and the story is brought up to the elections of 1998 and their unfortunate aftermath.

Most of the chapters lean heavily on other existing summaries of Lesotho history, but one chapter by Motlatsi Thabane analyses features in Sir Philip Wodehouse’s character which played a part in enabling him to persuade Britain to annex (‘colonise’) Lesotho in 1868. In doing so, he draws on material in Basutoland records, volumes 4 to 6, which he had recently edited for publication by the Institute of Southern African Studies of the university.

Basutoland records, a documentary history of Lesotho from 1833 to 1868, had been compiled by G. M. Theal and published in three large volumes in 1883. He had also prepared three other volumes for publication covering the years 1868 to 1872 immediately following Lesotho’s annexation by Britain. It had long been known to scholars that these volumes 4 to 6 existed in Cape Town, with a photographically reproduced copy (it was made before the time of photocopiers) also available in the Lesotho National Archives. With the publication of Basutoland records, volumes 4 to 6, the whole 6 volumes are now much more generally available. Their appearance is timely because the Lesotho National Archives is currently closed indefinitely to users and does not even have a suitable building to store its precious records.

The three new volumes as published do not have any explanation as to why their publication was delayed 119 years. However, one can sense that certain of their contents might have been less than welcome if they had been published in 1883. There are for example sworn testimonies from seven Basotho women as to their each having been gang-raped by members of the Orange Free State army, and this would have embarrassed the many Dutch-speaking Cape residents. Sadly, these are the only women’s voices in the three volumes. All other documents and correspondence are apparently from the pens of men only.

The editor, Motlatsi Thabane had to struggle with text in French and High Dutch (translations of these passages are provided) and also with difficult handwriting. Where he did not succeed in deciphering names, he has left them as they actually appear to be spelled. For example, in volume 6, a specimen divorce agreement is provided, using as example an 1843 divorce granted to a wife of Moshoeshoe so that she could become Christian. In the document, the wife is named ‘Nsserio’ and amongst the witnesses are ‘Yorefa Isiu’ and ‘Yathua Nan’. Such garbled names are the consequence of poor handwriting being mistranscribed by persons not knowing Sesotho and would defeat most people trying to make sense of them. However, Nsserio is almost certainly Ntšebo, who was baptized at about this time, Yosefa Isiu is Josefa Tšiu, while Yathua Nan is none other than Joshua ’Nau Makoanyane, King Moshoeshoe’s most famous warrior. The earliest French missionaries used a style of handwriting in which they wrote the letters n and u so that they looked alike. (This style can still be found amongst Basotho today many generations down the line.) It is therefore not difficult to see how ’Nau or Nau came to be written Nan.
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Wind Power to be Documented

According to a report in Lesotho Today of 22 August 2002, Lesotho is to compile a wind atlas with assistance from the People’s Republic of China. This was announced when the Minister of Natural Resources accepted meteorological equipment worth M158000 from China.

At present, according to the article, there are wind measuring stations at Letšeng-la-Terae, Moyeni and Sani Top operated by Lesotho Meteorological Services. Another anemometer (not mentioned in the report) is operated by the Department of Civil Aviation at Moshoeshoe I International Airport.
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LCD Wins Fresh Elections

The ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy won both the ‘Fresh Elections’ held on Saturday 24 August. These elections had been necessary in two constituencies because at the time of the General Election in May, in each case one of the candidates had died between the nomination day and the election day. As a result on the General Election day voters in these constituencies had only been able to vote in the party ballot and not the candidate ballot.

In the Hlotse Fresh Election, Sello Maphalla, of the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy won with 1937 votes, 62% of the votes cast. His nearest rival was the Basotho National Party dissident, Molapo Majara, standing as an Independent candidate, received only 397 votes, 12% of the votes cast. The official BNP candidate received 245 votes. Altogether there were ten candidates. There was a low turn-out with only 27% of registered voters turning out to vote.

In the Mount Moorosi Fresh Election in a similarly low turn-out, Kose Makoa of the LCD won with 2413 votes, followed by Ntšoeu Sechaba of the BNP with 1128 votes. Altogether there were nine candidates.

Meanwhile, with the death of Mpe Koabola, Member of Parliament for the Motete Constituency, at the age of 71, there will be need for a by-election in that constituency, although it is understood that it will not be held until the new year.
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Thabeng High School Suffers Double Calamity

The oldest high school in Lesotho, Thabeng High School in Morija, was seriously damaged when boarding pupils rioted on Monday 26 August 2002. The headline in the church newspaper, Leselinyana la Lesotho of 30 August 2002 was ‘Ba siea sekolo e le lithako’ (They have left the school in ruins). However, it appears that most of the damage was in the form of broken windows. The students’ main grievance appeared to be the bad food, a particular grievance being beans served in pork fat. Other grievances were denial of sporting facilities, very long study periods in the evenings, and not being allowed to watch television.

The following issue of Leselinyana, on 13 September 2002, reported the death of the Headmaster of Thabeng High School, C. T. Leoli, who died after a short illness on 7 September 2002. He was 67.
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Vice-Chancellor of NUL ‘Declares War’

On Wednesday 28 August 2002, twenty days after his address to students, the Vice-Chancellor of the National University of Lesotho, Dr Tefetso Mothibe, addressed the University Congregation, a body consisting of academic and senior administrative staff. In a similarly uncompromising speech, in which he spoke ‘as your Commander-in-Chief’ he stated ‘I hereby declare war on the current administrative and academic malaise and a bankrupt institutional culture’. He then stated the steps he was taking which included Heads of Departments and units immediately to assume managerial roles and responsibilities. The Director of Human Resources was to conduct with immediate effect a skills audit of all staff, and to develop a human resources strategy and policy. Senate was to review all academic routines and procedures with a view to improving efficiency, and to review admissions requirements so that there would be a new admissions policy. His whole statement consisted of 20 separate points designed to correct a situation which he regarded as encapsulated in a disturbing but truthful message he had received from a staff member: ‘the culture of this institution encourages and rewards impunity, disregard, disrespect and breaking of rules [and] encourages and rewards wild individualism instead of creative initiative’.

After the Vice-Chancellor’s address, staff members were able to ask questions and make points. Several described the situation which had arisen as a result of an unexpectedly high intake of first year students, so that in many classes, there were many more students than seats. A large proportion of these students had not met the normal entrance requirements, but had been admitted after a ‘bridging course’ held during the long vacation. Because, hostel accommodation had not been increased, another crisis had arisen because large numbers of students could not be found rooms on the campus, and had been forced to lodge in nearby villages or to commute from Maseru.

Amongst other matters that were touched on in the Congregation were the position of the Bursar and Deputy Bursar, both of whom had been suspended pending the outcome of a forensic audit of the Bursary. It was mentioned that summons to appear before the Staff Disciplinary Committee were being issued that same day to both the Bursar, Matsobane Putsoa and the Deputy Bursar, John Sekoere. This matter was subsequently covered in some detail in a lead story by the newspaper, Public Eye, of 6 September 2002. Public Eye quoted a number of charges against the Bursar, particularly those in which he had not followed correct procedures. Matsobane Putsoa, when interviewed by the newspaper, said that he found it ludicrous that NUL management had issued him with a summons, without providing him with the forensic audit report by PricewaterhouseCoopers on which the charges were apparently based. The audit is believed to have cost between M500 000 and M1 million. It consists of 21 separate reports, and according to Public Eye of 13 September 2002, a sub-committee appointed by the Vice-Chancellor is preparing a summarised edition ‘for public consumption’.

Matsobane Putsoa is a former Lesotho Auditor-General and is currently the President of the Lesotho Institute of Accountants and President of Maseru Rotary. No criminal charges have yet been laid as a result of the forensic audit.
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United Nations and Commonwealth Secretaries-General Visit Lesotho

The wild olive of Lesotho, locally known as mohloare, was once known scientifically as Olea africana. It is now known as Olea europaea, subspecies africana, reflecting the fact that it is essentially the same tree as the wild olive of the Mediterranean littoral, even though separated by the Sahara and tropical Africa where no olives are found. In Lesotho, olive trees are mostly found in the Lowlands and Foothills and are not hardy enough to withstand the coldest parts of Lesotho, so the trees at Mohale may need some protection from frosts. When found growing in large groves, as for example near Mokhokhong, olives are commonly parasitized by the red-berried mistletoe Viscum rotundifolium, known in Sesotho as mphahamele, for its supposed properties of bringing success in such matters as court cases and job interviews. (You carry a piece in your pocket as a talisman.)

The Earth Summit or World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Sandton, Johannesburg at the end of August brought together what was probably the largest number of Heads of State and Heads of International Organizations to visit southern Africa at the same time. Some of them took the opportunity also to visit Lesotho.

The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan and his wife Nane Annan, arrived in Lesotho on Wednesday 28 August 2002, for a two day visit. This followed a visit to Botswana, where the government there emphasized their most pressing national problem by having him visit a hospital with AIDS patients. In Lesotho, to commemorate the International Year of the Mountains, Kofi Annan and the Lesotho Prime Minister, Pakalitha Mosisili, each planted an olive tree near Mohale Dam.

Kofi Annan is a 64-year old Ghanaian who first joined the United Nations in 1962 as an administrative and budget officer in the WHO in Geneva. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, and Lesotho added to the long list of honours he has received by making him a member of the Most Dignified Order of Moshoeshoe (MDOM), at a State Banquet in Maseru. Earlier in the day, the Maseru southern by-pass road had been officially named Kofi Annan Road in his presence. The Commonwealth Secretary-General has also found time to address Parliament, including in his speech references to the protection of women’s rights, and to HIV/AIDS in relation to which he made reference to the estimate that 30% of the population between 15 and 49 was estimated to be HIV positive. He also applauded Lesotho’s efforts to introduce free primary education.

Ten days after Kofi Annan’s visit, on Friday 6 September, Lesotho was also visited by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, the New Zealander, Donald McKinnon. He also addressed the Lesotho Parliament, concentrating in his speech particularly on the role of parliament in a democracy. During his visit, he was taken to Malealea Lodge in Mafeteng where he was able to enjoy some horse-riding.

Another visitor was the former Norwegian Prime Minister, now Director-General of the World Health Organization, Gro Harlem Brundtland. She paid a two day visit to Lesotho early in September. In a press conference she stressed WHO’s role in coordinating contributions from richer countries to fight HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. From what she had learned in her visit to Lesotho, the general health status in Lesotho was worse than it had been ten years earlier.

During Dr Brundtland’s visit, the Lesotho Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr Motloheloa Phooko, spoke about genetically modified (GM) food, and said that he was satisfied that it was fit for human consumption. Moreover, since the food aid coming through the World Food Programme was milled maize and not maize which could be cultivated, there was no risk to Lesotho. Dr Brundtland said that WHO was preparing technical advice about GM food, information which would be made available ideally before the end of September. This would enable countries receiving such food to make informed decisions about its use.
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Maseru Lodge No. 2835 Celebrates Centenary

Freemasonry in Lesotho traces its origins back to a Warrant to found a Lodge which was issued but destroyed before reaching Lesotho when a British convoy was burnt by Boers in the vicinity of Harrismith in 1899. A second Warrant was issued and brought and delivered personally by Worshipful Brother Ivan Haarburger, and the Lodge was consecrated in the Masonic Rooms, then also the Resident Commissioner’s Office and Courtroom, on 8 March 1902. Funds were raised to build a Masonic Temple which was built on a vacant site on what is now Kingsway in Maseru. The Temple was dedicated on 31 July 1909, a small grey plastered building with sandstone quoining and window surrounds and a wrought iron ornamental gateway. It was for more than half a century a landmark on Kingsway, in latter years closely abutting the British Council building. It was demolished shortly after Independence to make way for what was then called Development House (now known as Mafike House), a building which in its early days housed the Lesotho Bank and the Lesotho National Development Corporation. Today the Masonic Lodge is at King’s Grazing in Maseru West.

Amongst the 13 founding masons were many colonial officers, and also the Government Medical Officer, Dr Edward Charles Long. Two months later, others who joined were the Resident Commissioner, Sir Herbert Sloley and Rev. Nelson Fogarty, the first Director of the Lerotholi Artisan Training Centre, today known as the Lerotholi Polytechnic, but familiarly also as Fokothi, a corruption of the name Fogarty.

Freemasons belong to a secret society (although today they prefer to say it is a ‘society with secrets’) which emphasizes brotherly love and mutual assistance between members.

The Maseru Lodge celebrated its centenary at a meeting at the Maseru Sun Convention centre on 31 August 2002.
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Welsh and Basotho Cyclists Tour Country

A cycle tour with 19 Basotho and 8 Welsh riders began on 1 September, aiming to cover all districts of Lesotho by 12 September. The event was organized by the Student Christian Movement and Welsh Link, and the aims included HIV/AIDS awareness and support for local hospitals. The Welsh riders brought with them £10000 for this particular purpose.
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Sekara Mafisa Appointed Ombudsman

A Lesotho Government Gazette Extraordinary of 9 September 2002 announced that with effect from 2 September 2002, the new Ombudsman is Sam Sekara Mafisa. Mafisa, a lawyer by profession, is best known for having been the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission at the time of the 1998 General Election. He was also Secretary of the Commission which investigated the 1994 disturbances which occurred in the Lesotho Defence Force. Mafisa becomes Ombudsman following the retirement in February 2002 of Henry Mohale Ntšaba at the age of 77.
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New Driving Licences Introduced

New credit-card style driving licences officially came into operation on 4 September 2002. The new licences which bear both a photograph and a thumbprint of the holder and cost M100 each, are of a kind uniform throughout the 12 SADC countries, and are valid for driving in any of those countries.

Case against Alleged Murderers of Deputy Prime Minister Proceeds

The long-delayed trial of 25 members of the Lesotho Defence Force who are alleged on 14 April 1994 to have murdered the then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Selometsi Baholo, continued during the period August and September 2002.

Baholo was shot shortly after he had rejected a demand for a 100% salary rise, which had been sent to the Prime Minister. Other ministers had been detained the same day, but had been released unharmed. Baholo’s death took place in the Maseru suburb of Liraoheleng Ha Abia near Ha Matala. He had spent the night there with a friend, Ms ’Makalle Makara, who was unharmed in the early morning shooting, and was able to give evidence in the court case.

The counsels for the defence in the case, Advocates Tšupane Maieane and Hae Phoofolo, according to a report in The Mirror of 4 September 2002, challenged the neutrality of the court, given that the presiding judge, Mr Justice Semapo Peete, had been a pupil of Baholo, when he was a teacher at Peka High School. The assessors, moreover, Messrs Leboela and Mathiba, had been neighbours of Baholo with ties to Baholo’s family.

As a result of these challenges, the assessors withdrew from the case, but the presiding judge stated he would continue with the case. As was the practice in such situations, no new assessors would be appointed, because this would essentially require the whole trial to be restarted.
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Lesotho Team Puts up Good Fight against Senegal in Africa Cup of Nations Qualifying Round

The Africa Cup of Nations, which will be held in Tunisia in 2004, divides competing national football teams into groups of four nations each of which plays against the other three at home and away, the two best in each group proceeding to the next round. The luck of the draw pitted Lesotho against Senegal, Gambia and São Tomé & Príncipe in Group G, and the first match was against Senegal in Maseru on Sunday 8 September, when Lesotho did well to hold Senegal to a 1-0 win, the single Senegal goal being scored by Henry Kamara. Senegal is the African team which defeated France in the World Cup and proceeded as far as the quarter finals. It was the first visiting team to make use of the new facilities at the new Bambata Tšita Sports Arena, built on the former polo ground.

Although there seems to be little doubt that Senegal will be one of the teams qualifying for the next round, Lesotho’s chances seem quite good and depend on how they perform against Gambia. São Tomé & Príncipe is no longer a threat, because it has withdrawn from the competition, apparently because of the high cost of air fares for its team which would have had to play in three different distant countries.

Lesotho’s next match will be away against Gambia in October. It will subsequently play away against Senegal in June 2003, and at home against Gambia in July 2003.
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Death of Father Manyeli

The death occurred on Tuesday 10 September 2002 at Hydromed Hospital, Bloemfontein, of Father Thomas Lesaoana Manyeli OMI. He had been ill for a long time with kidney disease, but in 2001 had recovered quite well after a kidney transplant.

Father Manyeli was born in 1936 at Mokhokhong near Roma, the son of Gabriel Clovis Manyeli, who later became Minister in the Government of Chief Leabua Jonathan. Thomas Manyeli entered the novitiate of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1956, the order to which most Lesotho Catholic priests belong. He took the full vows in 1959. Academic by inclination, he eventually joined the staff of the National University of Lesotho, where he eventually became Head of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies.

He was the author of several books including Religious symbols of the Basotho (1992), which was a published version of his MA thesis at the University of Ottawa. In this he discussed the stem -limo for God, favouring the linkage with holimo (above) and showing that Father Laydevant’s attempts to link the word with the Hebrew word for the deity, Elim, were etymologically unsound. A second book was Phenomenological perspectives of Basotho religion (1995), which built on the earlier book and added considerable comparative material from other linguistic groups in southern and central Africa. A book on a different topic was Drop-outs, migrant labourers and curriculum policy in Lesotho (1994). The book contains considerable material on the history of education in Lesotho and concludes that while in 1892, academic and industrial subjects each took up half of the curriculum, the situation subsequently changed and ‘our current educational system, inherited from the colonial powers, is élitist and irrelevant to the peasant and rural populations’.

In a conference paper, ‘Values: African and Christian’ delivered at Lumko in South Africa in February 1995, he argued that Africans have a large capacity for feeling and knowing the sacred. Their subjective appreciation of symbols (examples given include palms, Holy Water, medals (miraculous) and soil from the tomb of the Blessed Joseph Gérard) is so strong as to be ‘sometimes very close to the incorrect and [shows an] inadequate or exaggerated understanding of the symbols’.

A memorial service was held at the National University of Lesotho on Thursday 19 September, attended by the King and Queen of Lesotho, members of the Manyeli family, and approximately 2000 other people. Father Manyeli was buried in the Oblate Cemetery at Mazenod on Saturday 21 September.
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South Africa’s Highest Mountain ‘Steals’ Name from Lesotho

Whereas it is common knowledge that Lesotho’s highest mountain (and indeed southern Africa’s highest mountain) is Thabana-Ntlenyana at 3482 metres, few people can name South Africa’s highest mountain, and indeed its name is also uncertain.

As reported in The Star of Johannesburg of 18 September 2002, to celebrate the International Year of the Mountains, a team from the Mountaineering Club of South Africa climbed South Africa’s highest mountain, and using modern technology obtained for it a new height of 3451 metres, adding a metre to its previously recorded height on maps of 3450 metres. The mountain in question is on the watershed between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans and is thus shared equally by Lesotho and South Africa. The problem is that the name for the mountain published in the newspaper and apparently being used by the MCSA is Mafadi.

The Lesotho 1: 50 000 topographic map of this area was published in 1961, whereas the corresponding South African sheet showing the same border area only appeared in 1971. Although the Lesotho map showed the highest point in South Africa as Injasuti, when the South African map came out, as a result of some whim of the cartographer, this name, wrongly spelled Nyesuthi, was transferred to a smaller rise 1 km east, creating the need for a name for the highest point. The South African cartographer filled the blank space on the map by ‘stealing’ the name Mafadi from a point in Lesotho 2.5 km to the west.

Mafadi is in fact a completely wrong name for the mountain shared by Lesotho and South Africa. It originally appeared where it did on the Lesotho map because it was the mountain at the source of the Bafadi or Mafadi river (spelt Bafali or Mafali in Lesotho Sesotho orthography), and this river which descends to join the Mokhotlong River in Lesotho in turn got its name from the Bafali waterfall. This is a rather spectacular 6 metre high waterfall much further downstream, whose name means ‘something audible at a distance’. There is no tributary of the Bafali which runs off the highest point in South Africa, so Mafadi is quite simply a wrong name for the mountain.

The Star in its article rather implausibly tried to defend the theft by explaining the name ‘Mafadi’ as meaning ‘woman’, but if so, in whose language? In Sesotho, woman is mosali, and in Zulu or Xhosa, umfazi. These are the only African languages used in the immediate surroundings of the mountain.

In finding a solution to the problem, South Africa should probably simply call the mountain Njesuthi, adjusting the name to the correct Zulu spelling. It is the name used on the Lesotho 1: 250 000 map and is a more plausible name, because it means ‘the well-satisfied dog’ presumably relating to the time when hunting on the summit plateau was not without its rewards for man’s best friend. The smaller rise to the east which at present has appropriated the name Njesuthi hardly warrants a separate name, but Njesuthi Cave Mountain can be suggested. The cave on its northern flank holds up to 20 persons, is well-known to mountaineers, and was probably influential in causing the name Njesuthi to shift eastwards in the first place. One hesitates to call the mountains Njesuthi Peak or Njesuthi Cave Peak, because, like virtually all mountains on the summit plateau, they have rounded summits for which ‘peak’ would seem a misnomer.
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Justice Mahapela Lehohla Appointed Lesotho’s New Chief Justice

Mr Justice Mahapela Lehohla was sworn in as Lesotho’s new Chief Justice on Tuesday 17 September 2002. He replaces Chief Justice Lebona Kheola, who had recently retired because of ill health.

Justice Mahapela Lehohla, who comes from Mafeteng, graduated in 1969 with a LLB from the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland, having graduated at the time when the University’s law programme was shared with the University of Edinburgh, and students spent two years in Scotland. He served government from 1972 to 1986 as a Magistrate and Registrar of the High Court and Court of Appeal. He became an Acting Judge of the Lesotho High Court in 1986 and was confirmed as a Judge in 1988. Amongst his achievements, one is that he is the only person to have given the annual Moshoeshoe Lecture twice, in 1991 and 1998.
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Wole Soyinka’s King Baabu Performed in Lesotho

A new play by the Nigerian Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, was performed at the National Convention Centre, Maseru from 17 to 20 September 2002. King Baabu, a Nigerian-Swiss-British co-production by Nàwáo Productions of Zurich, is a play about a ruthless yet pathetic character, who has come to power through a military coup in an imaginary African country. He becomes King, because although military dictatorships are frowned on, he is persuaded that monarchies are considered internationally allowable. The model might be Emperor Bokassa or Idi Amin, although doubtless Nigerian leaders and the situation in Sierra Leone might well have inspired some of the action, especially when in silhouette the hands of opponents are seen being systematically amputated, and the axeman is seen picking up and pocketing the victims’ rings.

Obese, anally incontinent and ignorant, King Baabu (played with appropriate gusto by the London-based actor, Yomi Michaels) is a megalomaniac schemingly manipulated by his ruthlessly ambitious wife Maarija (played in a charged performance by another London-based actress, Susan Aderin). His regime attracts sycophants including an eclectic religious leader, a traditional ruler, and a Maoist firebrand, who are nevertheless prepared to shift to the opposite camp when the commander-in-chief of the army stages a rebellion which seems likely to succeed. The caste, many of them playing double roles, provided an impressive performance, maintaining audible dialogue throughout the play.

The matinée performance on Tuesday 17 September was designed for university and high school students and was followed by a short address by Wole Soyinka himself, in which he saw his play as a descendant of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, via Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi, also about an African dictator, and premièred in Paris over 100 years ago. Soyinka referred to his play’s relevance to modern African regimes, taking the opportunity to castigate Robert Mugabe’s corrupt dictatorship where land redistribution, supposedly to benefit the masses, had ensured that his own wife had benefited with the most luxurious farmhouse. He also related the play to his own Nigeria where only a few years earlier his own life was at risk, and the writer Ken Saro-Wiwa had been effectively murdered by the regime of Sani Abacha to silence him. He also appealed to Miss Lesotho if there was one, not to boycott the forthcoming Miss World Contest in Nigeria, because to do so would play into the hands of the elements who supported the stoning to death of a woman because she had had a child born out of wedlock. He apparently felt that having the Miss World Contest in Nigeria would provide some kind of antidote to religious extremism.

The recent change of regime in Nigeria made it possible for the play to have its world première in Lagos, after which it had been seen in Zurich, Switzerland and Düsseldorf, Germany, before its present tour of South Africa and Lesotho.
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Acres International Found Guilty of Paying Bribes

The Canadian civil engineering group, Acres International, was found guilty on 17 September 2002 by Judge Mahapela Lehohla of paying a bribe of $680000 to the former Chief Executive of the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority, Masupha Sole, who has himself already received a long prison sentence for receiving bribes. Sentencing in the Acres case will be in October. It is the first of a number of separate trials in which prominent international engineering firms are being accused of paying bribes. If found guilty they are likely to be blacklisted by the World Bank, and will be barred by World Bank funded projects.
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University Honours James Motlatsi and Cyril Ramaphosa at Graduation Ceremony

The annual National University Graduation Ceremony took place at the Roma Campus on Saturday 28 September 2002. 103 Certificates, 165 Diplomas, 524 Bachelor’s Degrees and 12 Master’s Degrees were awarded by His Majesty King Letsie III, Chancellor of the University. Honorary doctorates were conferred on Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa and Thokoana James Motlatsi.

Cyril Ramaphosa was born in 1951 in Johannesburg and as General Secretary became a skilled negotiator for the National Union of Mineworkers, thus helping to enable many Basotho miners to obtain better working conditions. He was later Secretary-General of the African National Congress and played a vital role in the talks which led to peaceful transition in South Africa, becoming a parliamentarian in the post-apartheid government. More recently he has become an international figure, serving for example as Weapons Inspector in Northern Ireland together with Finland’s Marti Ahtisaari.

James Motlatsi, himself a migrant worker, was co-founder and president of the National Union of Mineworkers from 1982 until 2000. He played a major role in fighting for the rights of miners, including both a living wage and security from unfair dismissal. He has also fought for the rights of career miners to settle with their families in South Africa, and is also noted for his view that Lesotho and South Africa should form a single nation. The day after the award of the degree, James Motlatsi and Bobby Godsell, Chairman of Anglogold, went to Morifi in Mohale’s Hoek District, where Motlatsi was born in 1951. There they opened a new high school, funded by Anglogold to the extent of R2.5 million.
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2001-2 Wettest Water Year on Record in Parts of Lesotho

The ‘Water Year’ which runs from October to September, consists of the six generally wet summer months from October to March, followed by the six generally dry months from April to September. Although figures are not yet available for all rainfall stations, there is an indication that for much if not all of the country, the water year rainfall has set new records. Roma figures are set out in the table below, which shows from 69 years of records at Roma, the lowest ever recorded in each month, the mean rainfall for that month, the actual rainfall during the 2001-2 water year, and the maximum rainfall ever recorded for the month:

The water year 2001-2 beat by more than 23% the wettest previous water year, the 1288 mm which fell in 1949-50. A new record rainfall was set for the month of May and in eleven out of the twelve months rainfall was above the mean, often spectacularly so. The one dry month in western Lesotho was July, when no precipitation was recorded, although eastern Lesotho had heavy snowfall.

The extremely wet growing season has been a disaster for crops in many areas, contributing significantly to the present serious food crisis. The extremely wet weather has also contributed to both soil and escarpment erosion. In the Roma valley, a portion of cliff collapsed between the villages of Ha Mokhitli and Ha Subilane around 8 a.m. on 14 September 2002. Several thousand tons of rock tumbled down breaking up into boulders, many of them the size of houses, but fortunately no-one was injured. This is the largest rock fall in human memory in the Roma valley and has left a scar which is likely to be visible for decades to come.

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