WE welcome news that Lesotho’s two biggest famo groups, Terene and Seakhi, have buried the hatchet following fruitful talks in Mafeteng at the weekend.
The leadership of the two groups has since pledged to lay down their weapons and work together to usher in a new era of peace in an industry that had become synonymous with mind-boggling violence more than musical excellence.
Over a hundred artistes and producers have died since 2009. Others have been left maimed for life.
Previous attempts to stop the killings had all failed leaving thousands of Basotho increasingly exasperated.
The failure to deal with the crisis could be attributed to a lack of political will on the part of the government, which is sad.
We had always known that bitter political wrangles were behind the famo clashes.
The groups were ostensibly linked to the All Basotho Convention (ABC) and the former ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party.
But with the advent of a coalition government made up of the ABC and the LCD and the BNP, chances that the warring parties could be brought to the same table for talks were high.
It was critical then that the government should exploit this great window of opportunity to hammer a deal in Mafeteng.
While we welcome the peace deal we wish to state clearly that we do not agree with a blanket amnesty for those implicated in the killings.
An amnesty without some form of reparations for the aggrieved will not provide a lasting solution to the crisis in the famo music sector.
As a matter of principle we believe those who were responsible for the killings should be brought to book.
Extending a blanket amnesty to all murder suspects would set a very bad precedence.
The Mafeteng deal should not be used to halt police investigations to unearth what really happened during the past three years of carnage.
The government might have fallen to the big temptation to simply want to close this sad chapter and move on.
However, such a stance sends the wrong message to perpetrators. It could trigger fresh revenge killings on the part of the aggrieved.
We therefore urge the government to ensure justice for aggrieved families.
We believe those who lost their loved ones are expecting justice. They can only have a sense of closure when they know what really happened and why.
We also believe the peace deal should not be used to mask the serious problem we have highlighted before — that of too many unlicensed guns in the wrong hands.
Unless Lesotho clamps down on the presence of unlicensed guns we risk seeing a repeat of the same senseless killings on a much bigger scale in future.
To stop the use of unlicensed guns the police must step up inspections at our borders.
The courts must impose stiffer sentences for those caught with illegal firearms.
But the best solution to end violence lies in education.
As Basotho we must be taught, from infancy, that we cannot resolve all our problems through violence.
This will require a complete ideological shift.
We must move away from the belief that we can only resolve our problems through violence.
Our initiation schools seem to indoctrinate all young men to view violence as an expression of masculinity.
This must change.
The famo beat is a unique musical style that clearly identifies us as Basotho.
Remove the insulting lyrics the musical genre can hold its own alongside other musical styles. We believe more can be done to exploit this genre as a positive force for change.
The ceasefire between the famo groups should therefore allow these talented musicians to devote more time to develop their music.
With proper marketing we believe some of these musicians can stamp their mark on the continent.
The music industry can generate thousands of jobs for unemployed Basotho. What is required is harnessing talent, nurturing it and pumping enough resources to the arts sector.