The widow of a man allegedly killed by police at a pitso held at Ha Sepake Ntlo-Kholo, Thaba-Bosiu on April 23, 2011 is claiming M620 000 damages from the police minister.
’Makeabetsoe Selete, 41, is suing the minister, claiming that while her husband was at the pitso held at the chief’s place to discuss the issue of stolen animals in the village, police shot at her husband and he fell to the ground.
Besides the minister, the plaintiff makes a claim for damages against commissioner of police, district commissioner, police rural and attorney general.
She claims M600 000 for loss of support from her husband and M20 000 for specific damages (funeral expenses).
In her testimony in the High Court of Lesotho, Selete said on the day in question her husband Lekhetho left home to the chief’s place where the pitso was held.
She said it was a rainy day and at around 3 or 4pm, she heard the sound of a gunshot from the venue of the pitso and went to see what was happening.
On arrival, she told the court that she saw the body of her husband lying on the ground.
“When I saw my husband lying on the ground, I could not go near him as I became weak,” she told the court sitting in the witness box.
According to Selete, she was then taken home by some villagers while her husband was driven to hospital by other members of the community. She said she only learned about her husband’s death in the morning from some of her relatives who had accompanied her husband to hospital.
Selete further told the court that during the preparations for his burial, the family sent one of its members to Mazenod Police Station to ask if the police could contribute something to assist.
She said the police commander of that station at the time refused to assist, telling them they were free to go to court if they wanted to.
In his cross-examination, Advocate Letsie Moshoeshoe for the defendants put it to Selete that there was no pitso called on the day but the villagers caught someone and took him to the chief’s place. Selete said she was not aware of this. He further put it to her that among the villagers, there was a group of people which said the suspect should be killed while the other group protected him.
“I don’t know as I have no proof of that,” answered the Selete.
Advocate Moshoeshoe also asked the widow if her husband was one of the members of the village crime prevention committee and she said yes. Moshoeshoe told the plaintiff that members of the committee were some of those who were against the killing of the suspect and the plaintiff said she didn’t know.
He said people who were advocating for the killing of the suspect were already gathering wood for the fire which led the chief and some members of community to call the police, to which the widow also said she does not know.
When police arrived, Advocate Moshoeshoe said, the villagers became violent as they did not want police taking the suspect to the police station.
“I have no proof because I was not there,” said the Selete.
The case continues before Justice Tṧeliso Monaphathi and Selete is represented by Advocate Thabang Letsie.