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EXCLUSIVE: Lesotho's wool, mohair farmers are killing themselves - Prince Seeiso

Prince Seeiso said some of the 40,000 farmers who were forced by government to sell their products to a Chinese-run broker but remained unpaid suffered from depression, and others have killed themselves.

FILE: Sentebale founding patron Prince Seeiso of Lesotho delivers a speech during the 'Sentebale Summer Party' in London on 7 May 2014. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Lesotho Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso said on Monday government should stop politicising the wool and mohair crisis in the mountain kingdom because people were dying.

The king doesn’t have executive powers to act, but his brother the Prince spoke exclusively to Eyewitness News for the first time since the government introduced wool and mohair regulations that farmers described as "oppressive" 18 months ago.

Prince Seeiso said some of the 40,000 farmers, who were forced by the government to sell their products to a Chinese-run broker but remain unpaid, were committing suicide while others suffer from depression.

“A lot of people are impoverished, and some have committed suicide. Some have fallen sick with depression,” he said.

Lesotho wool and mohair farmers planned to march in the capital, Maseru, on Friday to protest against regulations that prevent them from exporting their own products.

Prince Seeiso is the co-patron of world-known charity Sentebale with the United Kingdom’s Prince Harry and the principal chief of the royal village of Matsieng.

When he spoke out in the past, he was accused of meddling by the minister of trade and industry at the time. But, he said, he won’t be quiet anymore.

“Whatever arguments you put through, you are labelled as taking a political position, but sometimes you have to take a political position because you are talking about the lives of people.”

Prince Seeiso said he would use all avenues at his disposal to speak out.

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