Ultimate magazine theme for WordPress.

Woman stabbed to death over witchcraft

Nat Molomo

MASERU — A Mohale’s Hoek man is on trial in the High Court after he allegedly stabbed a 79-year-old woman he accused of bewitching his family. Rethabile Moeketsi of Holy Cross in Mohale’s Hoek pleaded not guilty to the charge on Thursday when he appeared before the High Court judge, Justice Semapo Peete. The court heard that on April 9, 2004 Moeketsi stabbed ’Malira Motjamela with a spear at her home in Ha-Tsela in Mohale’s Hoek. Crown witness, Area Chief Mohlanka Lerotholi, told Justice Peete and two assessors that Moeketsi came to him after he committed the murder.

Chief Lerotholi said Moeketsi told him that he had killed Motjamela. He had also handed over to the chief the spear that he said he had used to kill Motjamela. “When I looked at him he plugged the spear into the ground and when I got frightened he told me that he was not doing any harm. I told him to pull out the spear and put it down,” Lerotholi told the court. “When I got frightened the accused said: “Chief I have come to report to you that I have stabbed ’Me`’Malira Motjamela with this spear.”

Chief Lerotholi said Moeketsi told him that he would not resist if the chief wanted to handcuff him.

He said when he asked Moeketsi why he had stabbed Motjamela, he replied that “she persecutes and bewitches my family”. The chief then told him that he wanted to confirm that he had indeed murdered Motjamela. He then advised the accused to go and report himself to the police because there might be trouble if he kept him at his home. Having heard Moeketsi’s confession the chief said he went to Motjamela’s house. He however said he could not see the wounds for himself because by the time he got there Motjamela’s relatives were preparing to take her to hospital.

“I wanted to see wounds and speak to her but could not because I was told she had been undressed,” he said.

Motjamela was taken to hospital where she died. Under cross-examination by defence lawyer Advocate Shale Shale, Chief Lerotholi said he had not suspected anything when he saw the accused pass near his home around 7 am. He added that the stabbing could have taken a very short time because the accused returned quickly from the Motjamela’s homestead. The chief said prior to this incident he had known Moeketsi as a peaceful man. When asked whether there were any reports of witchcraft in his village, the chief said they “were not many”.

One of the witnesses, an elderly woman, ’Mats’okolo Phinda told the court that the incident could have happened at sunrise. She said when she got to Motjamela after she was stabbed, she could still speak but not properly. Motjamela was complaining that Moeketsi had stabbed her with a spear after accusing her of witchcraft. The deceased had three stab wounds, including on the neck and behind the arm, Phinda said. The case has been postponed to August 21.

Comments are closed.