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‘My brother’s life could have been saved’

Caswell TlaliKalinyane Lekhooa

NAZARETH — Kalinyane Lekhooa lay in a pool of blood.
He writhed in pain and gasped for what were to be the last breaths of his life.
Rain was pouring.
Nkopane, who had watched in horror his elder brother being stabbed with a knife, was desperate.
The two brothers had gone to a local café to buy cellular phone airtime when Kalinyane’s alleged killer, Thabo Khetla from the nearby village of Ha-Nqheku, attacked him last Saturday night.
Even when he was writhing in pain his assailant proceeded to beat him with a stick, Nkopane told the Sunday Express.
But he did not want to watch his brother die.
He was desperate to get him to hospital before he lost too much blood.
A stranger who had a car offered to take Kalinyane to Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Maseru, about 35 kilometres from their Ha-Phaloane village in Nazareth.
But they had not gone far when their journey stalled.
The car’s window wipers stopped working and they could not proceed further in the rain.
In desperation, they drove back to the village.
Nkopane was hoping to get another car.
“We had no option but to go back and fetch another car,” Nkopane said.
His first stop was at Roman Catholic Church.
He banged on the priest’s door but no one answered.
Then he remembered that a senior police officer (name supplied) who comes from the village had earlier visited and was still around.
Nkopane rushed to the police officer’s homestead to ask if he could take his brother to the hospital.
The answer he got shocked him.
“He (the officer) said he never drove a car during the night,” Nkopane said.
“I pleaded with him to carry my brother to the hospital but he was firm in his refusal to drive at night.”
Nkopane rushed to a nearby village where he finally got a car.
They sped to Maseru but upon arrival a doctor said Kalinyane had “died maybe about 30 minutes ago”.
Although the incident happened last Saturday the Lekhooa family is yet to recover from the shock.
What particularly shocked them was the alleged attitude of the senior police officer, a man they claimed to have known for years to be a good neighbour. 
If only he could have helped, Kalinyane might have survived, the family said.
“I am of the strong feeling that my brother could not have died if we had found a car quickly,” Nkopane said.
“My brother’s life could have been saved.”
“The doctor said he was dead and…” he added but could not finish the sentence.
He suddenly stared at the wall, as if in a trance.
Then his body suddenly became limp.
Relatives and friends gathered in the room panicked and scrambled to resuscitate him.
His mother, ’Makali, wept.
“What will happen of me?” ’Makali asked rhetorically.
“Why is this happening to me?”
Lying on a mattress as is the custom for bereaved women in Lesotho, ’Makali’s sighs of sorrow could be heard throughout the room.
“My child’s life was just beginning,” she moaned.
Kalinyane had graduated from the National University of Lesotho last year where he studied counselling and pastoral care.
The deceased’s maternal uncle, Thabo Matooane, also explained what happened.
Matooane said Nkopane left Queen Elizabeth II Hospital and went to Maseru Central Police Station to report the matter after being told that his brother had died.
The police allegedly instructed him to report the case at Matela police post because the crime happened in an area it covered.
“It was during the same night when Nkopane went to the Matela police post to report the murder case but they did not get any assistance because there were no police officers at the post,” Matooane said.
“He said the television set was on at the reception but there was no police officer.”
Nkopane and the Good Samaritan who had rushed them to hospital ran to the police’s residential quarters where they found an officer who allegedly refused to help them, Matooane said.
“The officer told them that he was not on duty and therefore he would not go to the office to help them,” Matooane said.
“He said it was not his problem that there were no police officers in the office.”
Matela police spokesperson, who refused to give his first name, told this paper that the suspect, Khetla, surrendered himself to the following day.
“The police are investigating a murder case,” the officer said.
“A man surrendered himself to the police in Maseru on Sunday.
“I am not aware that there were no police officers here on that night,” he said.
“They should have reported their complaint to the police authorities not to you.”

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