IN THE HIGH COURT OF LESOTHO In the matter of
'MAJOSEPHINA RAMOABI PLAINTIFF
Delivered by the Hon. Mr. Justice M.L. Lehohla on the
30th day of November, 1992
The plaintiff aged about 62 sues her 67 year old husband
decree of Judicial Separation
Division of the joint estate
Further or alternative relief, and
Costs of suit.
The parties contracted a civil marriage in 1954 and
their children are all majors.
The parties have not been living together since 1982
when the defendant left the matrimonial home and went and lived at
The plaintiff testified that during occasions when the
defendant came to the parties' matrimonial home he became
angry and 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
on the practice of hurling insults at the
The 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.
She alleges that the entire history of her marriage and
the conduct of the defendant towards her are such that she has no
peace and harmonious relations between her and him.
She indicated that the defendant does not want to get
involved in matters of importance in their family. She illustrated
this by pointing
out that the defendant refrained from participating
as a father and parent in regard to the weddings of two of the
She further pointed out that the defendant does not
speak to her and refuses to take food she prepares for him. She
bemoaned the fact
that the defendant threatened to sell the parties'
household 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.
She reiterated under cross-examination that the
defendant while working in Welkom stopped sending her maintenance
which before that
stoppage averaged between M140 and M200 per month.
She denied that she broke the mill which the defendant
had installed at St. Monica. She pointed out that even the knitting
that the defendant had the latter took away.
She pointed out that the defendant falsely accused her
of using contraceptives which in accordance with the teachings of her
she was very averse to and found it particularly hurting if
not inconceivable that she as a devout Roman Catholic could ever be
with use of contraceptives.
In his evidence the defendant pointed out that between
1982 and 1989 relations were not good between him and the plaintiff.
that the source of the disharmony was the plaintiff's
inability to procreate. He stated that the plaintiff wrote him a
she had gone to see a doctor at Mapoteng Hospital but
she didn't explain clearly what for. However the
defendant was driven by suspicion to make inquiries through the
doctor who pointed
out that the plaintiff could not menstruate
because she had been sterilised.
The defendant then told the Court that the plaintiff
stopped talking to him presumably because the defendant had been
alerted by his
son-in-law to the use of contraceptive pills by the
parties' married daughter. He denies using foul language to the
However he stated that he stopped eating the food given
to him by plaintiff because he was positive that the plaintiff had
in his food such that he spent a month discharging some
red stuff from his bowels.
Strangely, he never disclosed this to the plaintiff or
anybody at the time. In fact it is impossible for the plaintiff to
that defendant's food was at all poisoned because the
defendant himself said the food had been given to him by the
The servant was not called to testify. It became
apparent that the defendant merely concluded without any basis that
had tried to kill him through poisoning.
The defendant denied that 'Mathabo who stays in the
house next door to where he stays is his concubine. He denied that
plaintiff doesn't know 'Mathabo. He denies cohabiting
with 'Mathabo. He denied the statement in the Messenger of Court's
he found 'Mathabo in the defendant's room.
Contrary to his counsel's well-framed question that the
plaintiff didn't necessarily administer poison to the defendant's
latter said plaintiff did and explained that the plaintiff
is the one who gave instructions for him to be poisoned. There is
no evidence of such instruction. It appears truly to be in
the defendant's imagination that the plaintiff poisoned him.
he accuses her of that.
Strangely 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
but because of lack of peace in the home.
Nonetheless the defendant testified that he still loves
his wife and would stay with her and eat her food if the plaintiff's
were rejected. He would, he swore, do this even though he fears
that he might die at his wife's hands through poisoning.
Challenged by Counsel for the plaintiff that it is
beyond comprehension that the defendant could stay with someone he
poison him he replied :
"We so bound each other in marriage".
The defendant conceded that it wasn't because of spells
that the plaintiff failed to procreate but because of her age, and
that a wife does not procreate all her life. It seems to me
that an intolerable pattern of behaviour emerged from the defendant
a considerable length of time spanning no less than four years
coupled with false accusations levelled at the plaintiff.
I am satisfied that the plaintiff is entitled to the
remedies she seeks from this Court.
The Court orders that
(i) Judicial Separation be grated to the plaintiff (ii)
there be division of the joint estate, and (iii) costs be awarded
JUDGE 30th November, 1992
For Plaintiff . Mrs. Kotelo For Defendant : Mr.
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