The question inevitably reverberates in everyoneâ€™s mind after the country woke up to shocking news of two men who were set ablaze at Ha Matala in Maseru District by the community yesterday morning.
The news made waves through different social media platforms and spine-chilling videos of the two men engulfed by the wrath of flames helplessly screaming, were seen while the angry community was watching the scene without any sense of remorse until the two succumbed to the inferno.
Later as the day got older, terrifying news emerged through the same podia that the duo blazed alive were actually innocent off the charges leveled against them by the community who had got the wrong end of the stick, confusing the fellows with the actual suspects who had allegedly looted five empty gas cylinders.
Explanations told a different version that the two were taxi drivers who also ply their trades with cab taxis. It was said they received a call from the alleged real felons who burgled gas cylinders which they honoured as they were on duty, got caught while the thieves ran for their lives.
Alas, the two found themselves embroiled in the unfortunate situation, as the white man would put it â€œthey were in a wrong place at the wrong timeâ€.
A beckoning question then becomes: how just is the act displayed by the community?
Lesotho is a country known to follow and respect the rule of law, that every crime ought to be tried in a legitimate court of law which then makes a determination whether one is guilty or innocent and then metes sentenced to any sentence befitting.
Lately, that is no longer practical, people take the law into their own hands masquerading behind the pretext that the courts are porous and have lost total trust to the courts of law.
It is undeniable that offenders are given a bail amount so little that it barely discourages criminal activity. Yes it is a fact that criminals walk scot free after committing first degree crimes. Some are sentenced for a short period of three years or less and go back to the same community they wronged.
Some are acquitted for lack of propelling evidence, which stirs intense animosity amidst the public. This is where lack of trust in the courts is birthed, hence the introduction of reforms which were implemented to restructure the laws that govern the country.
However, the courts are governed by the law to issue such petty sentences until the reforms come to solution.
But in the present matter, was it worth it for the community of Ha Matala to burn the fellow men without acquiring convincing explanation or having them tried at the court of law?
How is mob justice solving anything or curbing criminal activities when innocent people are being burned alive without investigations or prove that the suspect has committed the crime beyond reasonable doubt.
It is high time that the communities stop taking the law into their own hands but adhere to the law that governs the country. Mob justice provides no justice but exacerbates the accruing hatred to the public.