THE depressed socio-economic situation in Lesotho has significantly contributed to the currently high crime and murder rates in the country, the World Population Review shows.
Oct. 11, 2022
2 min read
Politicians make it difficult to control famo gangs
LCN’s Executive Director, Seabata Motsamai
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Famo gangs, which are allegedly being sponsored by some politicians and certain corrupt police officers have been blamed for the current situation.
Lesotho is marked by an upward spiral of violent criminality including sexual and gender-based violence.
Data from the World Population Review shows that the country, with just over two million people, is ranked number one in Africa and number three globally among the top 10 countries with the highest homicide rates, behind EL Salvador and Jamaica.
Only three African countries feature on this unenviable list of countries considered dangerous destinations in the world.
The three include Lesotho at number three, South Africa at position eight, and Nigeria ranked 10.
Part of the culture of violence manifest ahead of the 2022 general election was the famo musical gang wars which translated into serious wars at the illegal mines in South Africa.
This is according to the Lesotho Council of Non-Governmental Organisation (LCN)’s Interim Observation Mission during the general elections that were staged on October 7.
“The complication of dealing effectively with the violence perpetrated by the gangs was compounded by the fact that these groups have links and alliance with some of the security officers who are alleged to be supplying them with ammunition and are also linked with the two major parties in the outgoing coalition government, namely the All Basotho Convention (ABC) and the Democratic Congress (DC), which makes them difficult to handle,” said LCN’s Executive Director, Seabata Motsamai.
Recently, politicians’ support for gangsters has been blamed for hampering police’s work in line with efforts to try and arrest the perpetrators.
Some police officers have, however, actually been linked with the famo gangs in the past.
Famo music, which was initially intended purely for entertainment has rapidly developed and become highly commercialised.
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The commercialisation has led to the creation of rival gangs in different communities, eventually ending up in actual violent attacks.
The overall socio-economic situation ahead of the elections included low human development, a high crime rate, poverty, unemployment, and inequality.
About 49.7 percent of Lesotho’s population lives below the poverty datum line. The unemployment rate stands at 22.5 percent and youth unemployment is at 33.68 percent.
The country’s socio-economic predicament is further compounded by climate change as well as health pandemics such as HIV and AIDS along with COVID-19.