LITHABANENG legislator and former Social Development minister, ‘Matebatso Doti says she is lucky to be alive after her would-be assassins spared her life during an attack at her home a fortnight ago.
Eight unknown men broke into Ms Doti’s Maseru home in the early hours of 26 July 2019 and stabbed her five times on her left arm before running off with firearms and M4 500 they had withdrawn from one of her accounts at automated teller machine (ATM).
Ms Doti has now been discharged from hospital and is nursing her stab wounds.
When this publication visited Ms Doti at her home this week, she appeared traumatised by the horrific attack, saying that night would have been her last had it not been for the “grace of God”.
“I do not how I am here today alive after starring death right in the eyes,” Ms Doti said.
“I really do not know what happened. My attackers told me that they had been sent by top party officials to kill me.”
Having fallen asleep while watching television, she said she was woken up by a loud sound and before she knew it, blood was oozing profusely from her left arm and her bed was surrounded by armed men.
Ms Doti said the men told her that they were there to kill her by top government officials.
“When I woke up, blood was flowing like an open tap from my arm. I raised my hands and prayed to them not to kill me. I had never prayed to God the way that I prayed to those men,” Ms Doti said.
One of the men suggested to his companions that they should spare her life but he was opposed by another man who was holding a gun.
“The man with the gun said they could let me go scot free. He said they knew that my late husband was a soldier and I should give them his guns. I handed them two guns and some ammunition. I was bleeding all over the place as I moved from one to the other to collect the guns,” she said.
Another man demanded that she should also give them money if they were to spare her life.
Ms Doti said she gave them about M400 that was in her wallet and her ATM cards and their pin numbers so that they could withdraw more money.
“One of them suggested that I should go with them to the ATMs but they decided to leave me behind because I was still bleeding.
“Their plan was that they would take me to show them Masoetsa’s (ABC spokesperson Montoeli Masoetsa) home. I told them that I did know his house but I only knew the name of the village. I lied about that. I knew his house but I decided that if anyone was to die that night, then only one would have to die. I was willing to take one for the team if someone had to be murdered that night. I was already face to face with death anyway.
“At that time, I was covered in blood so they decided to leave me behind. Even though I could have died from so much bleeding, my blood saved me because they all avoided touching me. Who knows what else they could have done to me had it not been for my blood?” she said.
Ms Doti was left under the watch of two men when the rest drove off with her car. One of the two guards was the one who suggested that they should spare her life.
Having witnessed his courtesy when he begged for life, Ms Doti pleaded with the man to insist to his companions not kill her.
“I asked him to convince his companions not to kill me. I asked him to hand me my rosary which was on my headboard and he obliged and I prayed.”
The ‘courteous’ would-be assassin even returned Ms Doti’s mobile they had taken from her.
“He told me to call for help immediately after their departure. He said he had never seen someone bleed so much and that I needed help.”
Ms Doti said an argument ensued among her assailants as to whether or not to kill her.
Then one of them who was standing on the doorway of the bedroom turned around towards her and warned her never to attend party rallies.
“He said, ‘you should never attend rallies’ and I agreed. They then left. A few minutes after their departure, I called for help. One of the people I called was Ntate Letsoela (LDF Commander Lieutenant Gen Mojalefa Letsoela). I told him that there had been an assassination attempt on me. I also called my daughter. They all sent for help and my daughter took me to hospital where a doctor was already on standby. I was rushed to theatre where the wounds were treated. I only realised then that I was stabbed five times.
“I am lucky to be alive. I know the grace of God was with me that night.”
She said that the outpouring of support and visits from concerned people kept her strong.
She also got hospital visits from His Majesty King Letsie III, Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki and coalition partners Thesele Maseribane and Keketso Rantšo, Police Commissioner Molibeli Holomo and Lt Gen Letsoela. Her Majesty Queen ‘Masenate Bereng Seeiso also visited her after her she was discharged from hospital.
“The support that I have received is heartwarming. I am feeling much better and the wounds are healing well. Ntate Molibeli has deployed police officers for my 24-hour security. I am very thankful for that kind gesture,” she said.
Ms Doti said her brush with death has left her more determined to stand for the truth.
She declined to comment on the instability in the ABC and also refused to say who could have ordered the attack. She however, vowed to continue attending the Mahao faction rallies.
In fact, she had planned to attend last weekend’s Mafeteng rally only to cancel because some family members had visited her.
“I am standing for the truth. I will not be moved from what is right. I will definitely attend rallies. When I recover fully, I am going to advocate even more for the protection of the rights of the vulnerable,” Ms Doti said.