HEADS much wiser than our own have wondered at the propensity of human beings to fear so many things including goblins and supernatural creatures whose existence has never been proven.
We fear such while embracing more realistic things that we ought to fear like drugs, unprotected sex and debt.
Other wiser heads spoke of how fools rush headlong into situations where even angels fear to tread.
Debt is one of those things we should fear to get into, no matter how appealing the prospect of spending money which does not really belong to us may seem.
There are so many reports concerning the negative consequences of the debt trap. Apart from the obvious impoverishment that it breeds, there are serious emotional and health issues. Some people have suffered mental health challenges. Debt has been known to push people’s emotional and mental health limits to a point where some have tragically taken their own lives.
And if one only thought of jail as a confined physical space for criminals, they ought to think again because debt can be just as debilitating and restrictive of a person’s freedom.
You are in a prison which is all the worse if you cannot find a way to pay yourself out. You are always beholden to your creditor, you can even be forced to give up the title deeds to your house or other valuable property as collateral until you pay up. So many people have lost their property which came with inconveniences to their families and even resulted in the break-up of marriages and suffering for the children.
Are these terrible consequences not known by our people? We believe that Basotho are well aware of the consequences and yet the culture of indebtedness remains, sadly, a feature of the lives of many people.
Elsewhere in this edition, we report on revelations that our law enforcement agents in the police force are hostages of loan sharks to the extent that they owed a staggering M4 million for the month of April alone.
And if that is not scary enough, almost a quarter (1000) of the country’s 4600 police officers are in this vicious debt cycle, owing varying amounts to loan sharks and commercial banks.
These are grim statistics that are causing headaches in the top echelons of the LMPS.
No less an authority than Acting Commissioner of Police Holomo Molibeli has spoken out against the debt trap, urging police officers to choose the time-honoured way of saving instead of the easy way out of trooping off to the nearest loan shark or commercial bank.
“The time has come for us to address this problem and ensure that we instill a saving culture amongst ourselves. I think we need to revisit the programme where each police recruit was forced to save money at the end of every month,” Commissioner Molibeli said while addressing Maseru Rural police officers last week in Mazenod.
This message is one which all Basotho and not just police officers would do well to heed.
We wish to add our voice and appeal to Basotho to do all they can to live within their means and only borrow only when there are compelling situations.
Let us not be fooled by glamorous advertisements or smooth-talking agents who use their honeyed tongues to lure us into borrowing money for things we probably do not even need.
There is a saying that ‘If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is’. This means that all those promises of the good life through unbridled consumerism that seem too good true are in fact not true at all- worse still if they are an inducement to indebtedness.
If we cannot save, then we should at least do all we can to live within our means.