#Top5atFive: Here’s what’s happening in Lesotho and around the globe

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From new mobile courts to Seetane’s new role as Kick4Life’s director of football, here’s a wrap of a few local and global headlines ahead of the weekend.

1. Local headlines

The Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL) provided an overview of the economy amidst the global Covid-19 pandemic. CBL governor Dr. Retṧelisitsoe Matlanyane said according to the International Monetary Fund’s June 2020 World Economic Outlook (WEO), global economic growth is expected to contract by 4.9 percent in 2020, compared to an earlier projection of three percent in April 2020. She said this anticipated decline in global growth will be much worse than the downturn experienced during the 2008-09 financial crisis.

She indicated that similarly, growth in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to decline by 3.2 percent in 2020. While Lesotho was the last country to register confirmed cases on the continent, the number of infections are rising exponentially and threatening to put pressure on the healthcare system. The full 5-page Statement of the Monetary Policy Committee has been released by the CBL and is available to the public online

[CBL outlines economic impact of Covid-19, The Reporter]

2. Local headlines

Since its launch earlier this month, the mobile traffic court has been able to prosecute approximately 1000 drivers countrywide. The M1.1 million mobile traffic court was donated to the Judiciary by the Road Fund. 

Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) Spokesperson Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli says the mobile traffic court is intended to prosecute drivers who do not comply with roads laws and so far they have been working very well together with the mobile traffic court.  He says the presence of the mobile court has brought changes as road cases are now being solved urgently.

Mopeli further said another change is that traffic cops are no longer able to demand bribes from drivers whose cars are not roadworthy because they now work with other institutions that form the mobile court team.

Magistrate ‘Makopano Rantšo said there are challenges which she believes are yet to be overcome, one of them being the lack of understanding by Basotho that the mobile traffic court operates in the same way as the court house. “ It’s like they were expecting to pay less fees for spot fines,” she said.

“This was just the pilot study we plan to go back to the drawing board to review and strategize how we can overcome the challenges,” she said. The pilot study is scheduled to end on July 31st.

[Lesotho’s Mobile Court during coronavirus, Informative News]

3. Global headlines

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Wednesday ratified a law banning active and former military personnel from running for the presidency or parliament without the army’s approval.

The legislative changes come after Egyptians voted overwhelmingly last year in favour of constitutional amendments that will potentially allow Sisi, a former army chief, to stay on until 2030.

The new law is expected to make it almost impossible for military personnel to run in any election, in effect preventing anyone from squaring off against Sisi.

“Officers who serve or those whose service has ended in the armed forces aren’t allowed to run for the Presidency or Parliamentary or local councils elections without the approval of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces,” the official Egyptian gazette said.

Sisi led the army’s overthrow of elected president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 following mass protests against the Islamist leader’s rule. Sisi won his first term as president in 2014 and was re-elected in March 2018 with more than 97 percent of the vote, after standing virtually unopposed.

[Egypt’s Sisi ratifies law hampering soldiers from seeking office, News24]

4. In lifestyle

Former Kick4Life midfielder, Lepe Seetane, has been appointed the team’s new director of football, a few weeks after his predecessor Chris Bullock left the post for an advisor role.

The Northwestern University College Soccer Training Centre and Political Science graduate takes the new role back home after a long spell in the United States of America (USA) where he pursued his high school and varsity education.

“Lepekola (Seetane) has been appointed Kick4Life director of football, but I currently do not have his contract details as he is just meeting Kick4Life management today (Thursday) to discuss his full contract,” Kick4Life media relations officer Reitumetse Tlopo said.

Tlopo said when Seetane returned to Lesotho in 2017, he joined Kick4Life as an operation intern and was appointed country director of the Academy in 2018. He also played for the senior Kick4Life team from 2018 until the 2019/2020 football season ended.

[Seetane new Kick4Life’s director of football, Maseru Metro]

5. What we’re reading

Netflix docuseries Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons has returned to the platform with its fourth season, which sees host and falsely convicted ex-prisoner Raphael Rowe explore four more dangerous detention centres. The fourth season of the show is much closer to home, and articulately exposes the horror caused by Lesotho’s rampant sexual violence against women and the scourge of HIV/AIDS. We recommend this short read recapping this specific section. 

[Lesotho: Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons, The Reporter]

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Matlhabeli Molaoli
Matlhabeli is a reader, an Afro-feminist and a firm believer in the power of human-centered design to create lasting social-economic impact. She is a rising junior at Smith College where she majors in both Biochemistry and Anthropology and also dabbles in venture consulting for the local start-up ecosystem. Matlhabeli also enjoys dialogue so she has spent much of her time attending, speaking at and organising TEDx conferences in both Lesotho and South Africa during her time as a student at the African Leadership Academy.