LDF, businessmen join hands

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Major-General Matela Matobakele (right)

By Motšelisi Sekonyela

The Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) on Monday this week enlisted the help of high ranking Lesotho businessmen at the Makoanyane Barracks to offer career guidance to the 202 youth that are currently undergoing a boot camp.

The initiative started when the LDF last year rounded up members of wayward gangs from the villages of Koalabata, Naleli, Khubetsoana, Sekamaneng, Thetsane and Qoaling and enrolled them in a rehabilitation exercise.

The gang members were regarded as dangerous as they were involved in criminal activities such as robbing members of the public of their possessions such as wallets, mobile phones and handbags.

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They waylaid villagers in various areas. They were rounded up after their photos went viral in which they posed with dangerous weapons like knives. Also, the suspected stolen phones were also seen in the pictures on social media. They unleashed a catalogue of threats to the unsuspecting villagers in those areas.

Subsequently, the LDF command visited some secondary and high schools in the districts of Mafeteng, Maseru, Leribe and Berea in an effort to clamp down on the rise of gangsterism through counselling sessions.

The 202 youth currently undergoing a boot camp at the military barracks are receiving career guidance, patriotism, discipline and good moral conduct from the military officers.

The high ranking businesspersons offered counselling to the youth this week as part of collaborating with the army to offer counselling to the attendees.

Training is done in batches and is conducted at the Makoanyane Barracks.

The training started on December 19 last year and is set to end today. The next batch is scheduled for June 2022.

Deputy LDF Commander, Major General Matela Matobakele, said LDF is committed to transforming as many Basotho youths as possible through their boot camp that provides a series of training programmes.

“If it was up to the LDF, we would have as many youths as possible, such that in three to four years there is a significant transformation among Basotho youth,” said Matobakele.

Captain Bokang Melato who is the LDF youth development leader said the programme was meant to change the lives of the youngsters for a better future while rehabilitating them from their untoward behaviour.

 “Our objective with this boot camp is to leave these young people in a better standard of living, physically, mentally and financially through the programmes we offer so as to sway them away from the past conduct,” Melato said.

One of the programme alumni, Thabang Matsie expressed his gratitude to the LDF for the vocational training that left him able to make a living.

Matsie received training from the Lesotho Purpose Driven Church where he learned how to make dishwashing and floor-scrubbing soap and has as a result started a cooperative with friends.

“I am very thankful to the LDF for the life-changing opportunity that gave me a second chance at life. I was uneducated but now I have a certificate from the short course I did; learning how to make soap that has now given me a career,” he said.

Matsie called for support of the LDF initiative to reach more youth.