By ’Mantoetse Maama
MASERU — Lesotho police’s foiled mission to ban the use of firecrackers for New Year’s Eve celebrations calls for concensus between police and other government departments, says police.
According to police spokesperson Lebona Mohloboli, in future they will have to engage other government departments to warn the public about the dangers of firecrackers.
This is after the public snubbed police’s announcement that the sale and use of firecrackers was banned in the country during New Year’s Eve celebrations over security and health concerns. “In future we will have to team up with other government departments as well as business people so that the firecrackers
will be banned before entering the country,” Mohloboli said.
Addressing a media briefing a day before New Year’s Eve celebrations, Mohloboli had said the ban extended to the sale as well as usage of firecrackers, adding that wherever police would find the firecrackers, they would be confiscated accordingly and subsequent legal action taken against
“We have conducted public awareness campaigns to discourage the use of fireworks as well as for business people not to sell them.
“Wherever we find them, be it in a shop or from members of public we will confiscate them and legal actions will be taken against people in possession of them,” he had said then.
“We had said the firecrackers were banned because of the high rate at which criminal activities occurred during celebrations on New Year’s Eve. “Criminals were taking advantage of the banging sound produced by firecrackers thereby shooting unsuspecting people,” Mohloboli said.
He said that in the past, most murder reports said to have occurred during the New Year’s Eve celebrations were suspected to have taken place when firecrackers were exploding.
“Criminals take advantage as they fire guns to shoot at people during that time and it takes time for people to realise that one had been shot as they do it at the time when firecrackers explode while others break into people’s homes to steal,” he added.
Mohloboli said the other reason for the ban was the health hazards posed to people both young and old by the use of the firecrackers. He specifically alluded to the two incidents of firecrackers’ usage injury, one being where local jazz artiste Fatere had his finger badly injured while trying to offer parental guidance
on the usage of firecrackers.
Another incident cited was one in which a boy had lost his eyesight from a blast of firecrackers.
“To avoid unnecessary accidents we decided to ban the sale and usage of firecrackers, as there are many people who have been injured while trying to use them,” he said.
Mohloboli said, however, that the ban was not based on any law whatsoever, but that the decision to ban firecrackers was solely based on security.