. . . ex-offenders lead rehabilitation efforts


MAFETENG – Manzane Ishmael Mlonyeni, a business owner from Kolo Sekameng in the Mafeteng district, has endured repeated thefts that nearly drove him to close his businesses. However, he ultimately decided to persevere for the sake of his family.

In an interview with Public Eye during a crime prevention and reintegration event held by the Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of Ex-Offenders Association (CRROA) in Kolo Sekameng this week, Mlonyeni shared his experiences.

He revealed that thieves from neighbouring villages and even from his own village had targeted him so persistently that he began to suspect it was more than mere theft as it felt like an attempt to drive him out of business.

“Even reporting these crimes was a problem because the police would take them lightly; I would report some and then leave others. It became a huge concern this time around when one was finally caught by police.

“This individual, who will soon be released after rehabilitation, raided us at home through armed robbery and demanded that my wife give him all the money. I had to find a solution to this escalating threat,” he said.

Mlonyeni described his village as notorious for criminal activities, noting that he had been victimised by thieves for many years.

In response to these issues, CRROA, a non-governmental organisation of ex-prisoners against crime, organised an event to raise awareness among the Kolo Sekameng community about brutal killings, violence against women and girls, and recidivism.

During the event, CRROA Director Mothobi Mothobi explained the organisation’s aim to educate the community about the high crime rates, including violent crimes and thefts affecting local businesses.

He said the perpetrator, who had targeted Mlonyeni’s business, was serving a sentence but was nearing release after undergoing rehabilitation.

“We work hand in hand with the Lesotho Correctional Services (LCS) to ensure that prisoners are thoroughly rehabilitated so they can return to society as reformed individuals. The same prisoner who stole from a local business owner is one of those rehabilitated and is now seeking forgiveness from the community and the person he wronged,” Mothobi said.

Ex-prisoner Khoale Thinyane, who spent 25 years in prison, also spoke at the event. He highlighted the stigma faced by ex-prisoners and how it can lead them back to crime. He described prison as a place where freedom is lost and emphasised that crime hinders personal growth and achievement.

Thinyane urged the youth to avoid crime to prevent such setbacks.

CRROA is dedicated to crime prevention, penal corrections, and judicial reforms. It aims to contribute to a crime-free society through extensive rehabilitation of ex-offenders and their reintegration into the community.