HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO
matter of :
by the Hon. Mr. Justice M.L. Lehohla on the 30th day of November,
plaintiff aged about 62 sues her 67 year old husband for
of Judicial Separation
of the joint estate
or alternative relief, and
parties contracted a civil marriage in 1954 and their children are
parties have not been living together since 1982 when the defendant
left the matrimonial home and went and lived at Maputsoe.
plaintiff testified that during occasions when the defendant came to
the parties' matrimonial home he became
abusive to her. The plaintiff sought intervention by the surviving
head of the matrimonial family DW2 to no avail. She
also laid her
complaint with the Community Relations police but matters became
worse and worse between the parties as the defendant
embarked on the
practice of hurling insults at the plaintiff.
plaintiff is a school teacher and is self-supporting. She decided to
abandon all her attempts at asking the family, the Community
Relations police and the Courts to persuade or order the defendant to
support her with maintenance and upkeep of the common household.
alleges that the entire history of her marriage and the conduct of
the defendant towards her are such that she has no hope for
harmonious relations between her and him.
indicated that the defendant does not want to get involved in matters
of importance in their family. She illustrated this by
that the defendant refrained from participating as a father and
parent in regard to the weddings of two of the parties'
further pointed out that the defendant does not speak to her and
refuses to take food she prepares for him. She bemoaned the
the defendant threatened to sell the parties' common
where they had been living together for 25 years. She. protested at
the defendant's intention to sell that house at a
give-away price of
Ml 000 so that, in the defendant's view, he should get M500 and she
the other M500.
reiterated under cross-examination that the defendant while working
in Welkom stopped sending her maintenance which before that
averaged between M140 and M200 per month.
denied that she broke the mill which the defendant had installed at
St. Monica. She pointed out that even the knitting machine
defendant had the latter took away.
pointed out that the defendant falsely accused her of using
contraceptives which in accordance with the teachings of her Church
she was very averse to and found it particularly hurting if not
inconceivable that she as a devout Roman Catholic could ever be
associated with use of contraceptives.
evidence the defendant pointed out that between 1982 and 1989
relations were not good between him and the plaintiff. He said
the source of the disharmony was the plaintiff's inability to
procreate. He stated that the plaintiff wrote him a letter saying
had gone to see a doctor at Mapoteng Hospital but
didn't explain clearly what for. However the defendant was driven by
suspicion to make inquiries through the doctor who pointed
the plaintiff could not menstruate because she had been sterilised.
defendant then told the Court that the plaintiff stopped talking to
him presumably because the defendant had been alerted by
son-in-law to the use of contraceptive pills by the parties' married
daughter. He denies using foul language to the plaintiff.
he stated that he stopped eating the food given to him by plaintiff
because he was positive that the plaintiff had put something
food such that he spent a month discharging some red stuff from his
he never disclosed this to the plaintiff or anybody at the time. In
fact it is impossible for the plaintiff to have known
defendant's food was at all poisoned because the defendant himself
said the food had been given to him by the household servant.
servant was not called to testify. It became apparent that the
defendant merely concluded without any basis that the plaintiff
tried to kill him through poisoning.
defendant denied that 'Mathabo who stays in the house next door to
where he stays is his concubine. He denied that the
doesn't know 'Mathabo. He denies cohabiting with 'Mathabo. He denied
the statement in the Messenger of Court's return
that he found
'Mathabo in the defendant's room.
to his counsel's well-framed question that the plaintiff didn't
necessarily administer poison to the defendant's food the
plaintiff did and explained that the plaintiff is the one who gave
instructions for him to be poisoned. There is however
no evidence of
such instruction. It appears truly to be in the defendant's
imagination that the plaintiff poisoned him. Unfortunately
her of that.
still it appears the defendant continued living in the common home
even after the poison episode because this was his
home. It appears
later that he gives a different reason for leaving the common home.
This time he left not because of having been
poisoned but because of
lack of peace in the home.
the defendant testified that he still loves his wife and would stay
with her and eat her food if the plaintiff's suit
were rejected. He
would, he swore, do this even though he fears that he might die at
his wife's hands through poisoning.
by Counsel for the plaintiff that it is beyond comprehension that the
defendant could stay with someone he feared
poison him he replied :
"We so bound each other in marriage".
defendant conceded that it wasn't because of spells that the
plaintiff failed to procreate but because of her age, and the fact
that a wife does not procreate all her life. It seems to me that an
intolerable pattern of behaviour emerged from the defendant
considerable length of time spanning no less than four years coupled
with false accusations levelled at the plaintiff.
satisfied that the plaintiff is entitled to the remedies she seeks
from this Court.
Separation be grated to the plaintiff
be division of the joint estate, and
be awarded to plaintiff.
Plaintiff . Mrs. Kotelo
Defendant : Mr. Monyako
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