Caswell Tlali & Nat Molomo
MASERU – All Basotho Convention (ABC) party leader Tom Thabane’s two sons appeared before the magistrate’s court on Friday to face trial for allegedly assaulting their stepmother during a family squabble last April.
Toka, 47, and Potlako, 45, were not asked to plead when they appeared before magistrate Ts’eliso Bale.
However, the court gave them free bail after their legal representative indicated that the accused had been co-operating with the police and their imprisonment would prejudice their dependants.
The prosecution did not oppose bail.
Thabane’s sons allegedly assaulted their stepmother, ’Mampolokeng Thabane, 51, on April 25 last year during a family quarrel.
The fight allegedly started after ’Mampolokeng reported to Thabane that his cousin, Thaabe Thabane, had attempted to rape her while they were at a relative’s wedding.
’Mampolokeng says Thabane’s indifference to her report angered her and she together with her brother Mokheseng Makhooane broke the windows to Thabane’s house.
She says she was incensed after Thabane refused to open the door to their matrimonial home for her.
She says after she had broken the widows Thabane allegedly called his sons.
“I took paving bricks and smashed the window. I saw him standing near the bathroom making a telephone call,” she said.
Within a short time Toka and Potlako arrived, she claims.
They allegedly proceeded to Thabane who was in the house and held a small meeting.
“When they came out, Potlako ran to his car and came back holding a wheel spanner. I saw him wrestling with my brother until Toka hit my brother with a stone and he fell to the ground.
“I ran to them trying to stop them but they assaulted me too,” she said.
’Mampolokeng said they hit her on the head and she fell.
They stoned and kicked her, she alleged in her police report.
“My husband was watching standing on the verandah as these things were happening to me,” she said.
Her stepsons allegedly dragged her and threw her outside the gate.
“I crawled to the road where some people who were driving in a van saw and identified me as the wife of their leader.
“They stopped and carried me back to my home despite my pleas that they should take me to hospital,” ’Mampolokeng said.
She says the Good Samaritans were told to “remove this Satan from here”.
They took her to the bus stop and left her there. While she was there, a police van came.
“I stood in front of it and it stopped. I leaned on its bonnet but it reversed and I fell to the ground. It bypassed me and I saw it going to my house.”
Other passersby who identified her as Thabane’s wife took her to Queen Elizabeth II Hospital.
The Sunday Express saw a medical report that showed that she sustained a deep wound on the head and on the mouth.
Potlako and Toka will appear in court again on February 25 for a hearing set down.
Thaabe is currently on free bail.
’Mampolokeng says she was not given a chance to oppose Thaabe’s bail.
“I was not called to the court on that day,” she said.
“I could have opposed his bail.”
MASERU – ’Mampolokeng Thabane, the wife of All Basotho Convention (ABC) party leader Tom Thabane, spent half a day behind bars after she refused to apply for bail in a case in which her husband has accused her of malicious damage to property.
’Mampolokeng, Thabane’s wife of 25 years, was on Friday briefly remanded in custody after she told the court that she was not interested in applying for bail.
This was despite advice by the magistrate and the crown counsel that she had a right to petition the court to grant her bail.
’Mampolokeng, 51, was on trial together with her brother Mokheseng Makhooane who immediately applied for bail.
The two are accused of damaging Thabane’s home in Makhoakhoeng on April 25 last year.
This followed the violence that ensued after ’Mampolokeng had told Thabane that his cousin Thaabe Thabane had tried to rape her.
After a heated quarrel, Thabane’s sons – Toka and Potlako – allegedly beat her up.
Thaabe is currently facing charges of attempted rape while Toka and Potlako appeared in court on Friday charged with assault.
Thabane laid charges against ’Mampolokeng and her brother for alleged malicious damage to property.
He alleged that ’Mampolokeng and Makhooane broke windows at his home and destroyed his television set.
He told the police that they threw bricks at him after he allegedly refused to open his door for them.
’Mampolokeng, alleges she broke the windows because Thabane had not been compassionate to her after she told him that his cousin, Thaabe, had attempted to rape her.
She said her husband ignored her cries and she was desperate to enter the house.
On Friday morning ’Mampolokeng appeared in court to answer the charges but when she was told that she could apply for bail she flatly refused.
’Mampolokeng was kept in custody from 12 noon to 1645 hours while Thabane pleaded with officers at the Maseru women’s correctional institution to persuade her to apply for bail. After much persuasion ’Mampolokeng agreed to apply for bail.
She is currently on free bail and her case has been set for February 25.
Asked why she refused to apply for bail on Friday ’Mampolokeng told the Sunday Express that she was so angry with Thabane that she felt she was better off in prison than being a “free unhappy woman”.
“Why would my husband want to do this to me?” ’Mampolokeng said.
“I got angry because my own husband decided to bring me to court for breaking my own house’s window but he failed to take action when I reported to him that his cousin had attempted to rape me,” she said.
“He did not take any action when his sons assaulted me in his full view but he had the courage to report me to the police for breaking the windows of my own house.
“I’m still angry. I am living in a rented house in Ha-Thetsane but I have a house which I built because I have been kicked out of it by my own family which is supposed to protect me and our family’s interests,” she said.
“That’s my marital home and I have every reason to want to live in it but I can’t.”
Asked why she did not seek legal representation, ’Mampolokeng said she understood her case and she could answer all charges without the assistance of a lawyer.
“To me it is a simple matter that does not need lawyers. It is common knowledge that I broke my own windows and it is a matter of telling it straight as it happened,” she said.
She said even if points of law that may be beyond her understanding would arise, the bottom line would still be whether she broke the windows or not.
When the Sunday Express broke the story last year Thabane threatened to kill the reporter who was doing the story.
He also threatened to kill the editor of the paper.
He later apologised saying he was angry that the paper was meddling in his personal affairs.