Lesotho: Abused because of political differences

Lesotho: Abused because of political differences

Date: December 3, 2014
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*Trigger warning: Violence*

I was on my way, when I was at Ha-Makhate a car stopped me and they asked me where I was going and my sister was also there. They forced me to get into the car and took me to the charge office. My sister told the police that I did not want to pay tax and therefore she had brought me there so that they could punish me. She said they could also kill me; she already had a place to bury me in her mind. She was claiming that I was a bad influence on our community.

At around 4 o’clock I was called and I was told that I had been arrested for not paying tax for the past nine years and I was accused because I was not in the same political party as they were. My political party was Congress and they were National. They beat me saying that I should join the National party and my sister was just there when they were beating me as though I had done something wrong. The cell was full and I was told that I should go to Likhutlong with some other prisoners, but we should come back the next day. I was abused by my own my mother and my siblings just because of our different politics affiliations.

Police said they arrested me because I was not paying tax, but when I was there, all it was about was my political party. There was a time when they were talking about tax, but it was really about the fact that I was a Congress supporter. One night I was asked to come outside and it was very dark, when I got outside, one police officer asked me why I did not respond when he was calling me. I told him I did not hear him as I was looking after 12 children that were beaten very badly because they were accused of rape. They asked me where I belonged in politics and I told them where I belonged; they did not even allow me to finish, they beat me so badly. While I was on the floor helpless, one officer told them to stop and let them castrate me and show me the right way.

They asked me why I was not crying as they said all the people that they normally beat cried, but I was not crying, they did not like it and they beat me even more. When they were satisfied they left me there outside bleeding a great deal. I did not know what happened, but I saw that I was in my cell and all my clothes were very bloody. I was bleeding every where and that was the life I was living in prison just because I was not a member of my mother’s political party.

My wife came to see me and she was asked whether I was paying tax. She said I was, because it was the truth, she had not brought the receipts showing that I was paying, but she returned home and brought them back. They looked at them and saw that I was really paying tax, but they did not release me as they claimed that I had been arrested because I owed money, but I knew all along that it was politically motivated, but I had a right to choose the party that I liked. They finally released me and when we had just been dropped off by the taxi we decided that I should rest a bit because I was still in pain. On our way somebody told me that we should not use that route because there were people who were after me and they said they were going to finish me. I was very afraid, my wife was crying and we did not know whether we should go home or not, but we had to go there. We finally decided to go home. I spent six months without sitting; I was not able to do anything.

This story is part of the “I” Stories series produced by the Gender Links News Service encouraging the view that speaking out can set you free.


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