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Wife accuses Thabane cousin of sex attack

Caswell Tlali

 MASERU — All Basotho Convention leader Tom Thabane’s estranged wife alleges her husband’s cousin sexually abused her.

She says her stepsons later assaulted her while Thabane, 71, watched.

’Mampolokeng Thabane, 50, reported the matter to the Lithoteng police who opened a case against the opposition leader’s cousin, Thaabe Thabane.

Thaabe, who is said to be in his 50s, appeared before the Maseru Magistrate’s Court on August 16 charged with contravening the Sexual Offences Act.

The crown’s case is that on or about April 25, in Ha-’Nelese, Thaabe allegedly engaged in a sexual act with ’Mampolokeng “by touching her private parts”.

The charge sheet also says Thaabe told ’Mampolokeng “that he would like to have sexual intercourse” with her because he was well-endowed.

The case number is CR1478/10.

Thaabe is currently on free bail and the case has been set for hearing on November 17 and 18.

Normally this paper protects the identity of victims of sexual abuse but in this case ’Mampolokeng gave the Sunday Express permission to publish her name.

On Friday ’Mampolokeng, who has been married to Thabane for 25 years, also gave this paper an interview detailing the incident.

’Mampolokeng said they were at the wedding of one of Thabane’s nephews, Dr Teboho Thabane, on April 25 this year in Ha-’Nelese when Thaabe asked to speak to her in private.

It was around dusk, she recalled.

“We went to a quiet place between a hedge fence and the house,” ’Mampolokeng said.

“He told me that he was used to drinking pitsa and that his manhood had been enlarged because of that.”

Pitsa is a concoction of herbs which some locals believe can boost libido as well as enlarge manhood, among other things.

“He said he wanted to sleep with me because I seemed to want men with big ‘members’,” ’Mampolokeng said.

The mother of two said she was shocked by Thaabe’s actions.

“As I was standing there he grabbed the top of the dress I was wearing and pulled me towards him,” she said.

’Mampolokeng said she pulled back and ran away.

The top she was wearing, she said, had its zip ripped as she tried to break free.

“My back was left bare,” ’Mampolokeng said.

She said she ran screaming to a relative’s house nearby.

She said the relative later accompanied her to her own house.

“I sat on the couch and wept,” Thabane’s wife narrated.

“I could not tell the maid what was wrong because she is still too young and I felt embarrassed.”

After a little while, ’Mampolokeng continued, Thabane came out of their bedroom wearing pyjamas.

“He asked me what was wrong and when I explained to him what had happened he asked me if I was seriously making such noise about that rubbish,” she said.

’Mampolokeng said as Thabane was storming back to their bedroom her brother arrived and the two men met outside the house.

She said Thabane told her brother to take her with him.

“I stood up to follow him to the bedroom but he had locked the door,” ’Mampolokeng said.

She said she knocked but Thabane refused to open the door.

In anger, she said, she picked a pumpkin that was near the house and used it to bang the bedroom door but Thabane would still not open.

“I took paving bricks and smashed the window,” she said.

“I saw him standing near the bathroom making a telephone call.”

’Mampolokeng said within a short time, Thabane’s sons from a previous marriage, Toka and Potlako, arrived.

She said after a brief meeting with Thabane the sons came out furious.

“Potlako went to his car and came back holding a wheel spanner,” ’Mampolokeng said.

“I saw him wrestling with my brother until Toka hit my brother with a stone which fell him to the ground.

“I ran to them trying to stop them but they assaulted me too.”

’Mampolokeng said they hit her on the head and she fell to the ground.

“They stoned and kicked me,” she claimed.

“My husband was standing on the verandah watching as these things happened to me.”

They were joined by one of their cousins, Masheane Thabane, who also took part in assaulting her, she alleges.

Her stepsons allegedly dragged her and threw her outside the gate.

“I crawled to the road where some people who were in a van identified me as the wife of their leader,” ’Mampolokeng said.

“They stopped and carried me back to my home despite my pleas that they should take me to hospital.”

’Mampolokeng claimed she heard one of Thabane’s sons telling the Good Samaritans “to take this Satan from here”.

They then took her to a nearby bus stop and left her there, she said.

’Mampolokeng said while there, a police van came.

“I stood in front of it and it stopped,” she said.

“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 has seen a medical report showing that she had a deep wound on the head and on the mouth.

’Mampolokeng said she reported the incident at Maseru Central Police Station the following day.

The case is number CR108/04/2010.

The courts are yet to set a date for that case.

On Friday police spokesperson Masupha Masupha said he was not aware of the sexual abuse case.

He said he did not know of the assault case either.

“The only case I am aware of is that of Ntate Thabane claiming that his wife and her brother broke his windows,” Masupha said.

“The police have opened a case of damage to property against them.”

Thaabe declined to comment saying he had to consult his legal advisers first.

“I can’t comment before talking to my legal advisers. I have no comment,” Thaabe said.

Potlako also declined to comment saying he did not know anything about what the Sunday Express was saying.

“Go ask her (’Mampolokeng) what she is saying. I know nothing about what you are saying and therefore I have no comment,” Potlako said before dropping the phone.

When contacted for comment, Thabane lost his cool.

He threatened to kill the reporter and his editor.

“This is a serious issue that I will even shoot you,” Thabane said.

“I am telling you openly. I am going to tell the police commissioner that I will shoot you.

“This family is mine and my family affairs are a private matter.”

He said the Sunday Express editor would go “back to his country without turning back” if he decided to publish this story.

“There is no public interest in this story.”

’Mampolokeng said she had not returned to her matrimonial home since the alleged incident occurred.

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