By Neo Kolane
Tertiary students from around Lesotho were joined by parents at a memorial service for the late Manyai Theoha, a second year Lerotholi Polytechnic business management student was gang-raped and killed by three men at Thabong in Maseru two weeks ago.
Speaker after speaker condemned the heinous and senseless murder of the hapless 20-year old girl and called on law enforcement agencies to pull out all stops to find the killers.
Shortly after the gruesome incident, members of the community meted out their own form of justice which saw them lynching the killers; one died on the spot from burn wounds while the second suspect was admitted to hospital with severe burn wounds and has since been taken into police custody. The third assailant is still at large.
Lerotholi Polytechnic Student Representative Council president Tṧolo Thaanyane said the crime happened in an ‘unusual’ manner and warranted to be dealt with in an equally unusual manner.
He hinted at the possibility of the crime having been influenced by the fact that the school has over the years gained notoriety for violence by old students on new freshmen.
The deceased’s classmate, Matṧeliso Maqhai described Manyaias an integral member of the school’s Students Entrepreneurial Community Hand, which was formed with the aim of giving back to the community, which plays a crucial role in their welfare.
Manyai’s father, who was in tears, said he would like to see justice taking its course and those responsible for her death pay for the act.
In another development, the United Lesotho Students Association (ULSA) has petitioned the Prime Minister,demanding that he made sure that Manyai’s killers face the full might of the law.
“The United Lesotho Students Association has learned of the gruesome act of rape and murder of the Lerotholi Polytechnic student enrolled in Business Management, Manyai Theoha, who was in her second year of studies.
“ULSA is aware of the ensuing outcry and the motion by our Students Union that ‘an injury to one is an injury to all’, and hereby demands justice for Manyai and her family. ULSA therefore calls on the government of Lesotho to intervene accordingly and ensure that the perpetrators are made to face the wrath of the law and the justice is served
“Despite one perpetrator having declared dead after mob justice, we call for further investigation in order to confirm if indeed the act was done individually as we aware that three people have been implicated in the matter. As the All African Students Union said, the dire increase of rape cases most especially during this era of COVID-19 has become a pressing and prevalent concernin our societies across board.
“As such, ULSA strongly stands against the injustices of the continuing rape and murder of women in Lesotho, that continues to fester without accountability. The statistics and cases in this country are not given enough attention and sexual violence against women cannot be normalized. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. We act now to protect victims of GBV in Lesotho and we call on you and your government to do the same,“ the petition reads.