Ex-female soldier sues LDF for M2 million

MASERU — A former female soldier is suing the commander of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) and the Minister of Defence for M2 million after she was subjected to verbal abuse and sexual harassment.
Leah Sehlare, who was dismissed from the army last year after serving seven years, has cited LDF commander Lieutenant General Thuso Motanyane as the first defendant and Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, in his capacity as the Minister of Defence and National Security, as second defendant.
She also cites the Attorney General in his official capacity as the legal representative of the government of Lesotho in the court papers that were filed in the High Court this week.
Sehlare says she was assaulted by fellow trainees on several occasions while she was still a recruit in 2003 and as a result suffered a broken and/or dislocated spinal cord bones and endured extensive medical operations for which she holds the defendants liable.
She says she was hospitalised at Makoanyane Military Hospital before being transferred to Queen Elizabeth II and later Universitas Hospital in Bloemfontein because “I was very critical and required highly specialised medical expertise”.
Sehlare adds that while she was recuperating, she went back to work where she was refused medical leave by her superiors and this worsened her ill-health.
The ex-private says the army authorities’ refusal to allow her to go on medical leave was motivated by revenge after she spurned romantic manoeuvres from one of her superiors identified in court papers as Major Lehloka.
“The refusal of plaintiff’s medical leaves (sic) was motivated by revenge for plaintiff had refused love and sexual proposals of her superior, Major Lehloka, who at all material times was a member of the LDF,” Sehlare says.
She also claims she was further ill-treated by her superiors at LDF for no just cause.
“I was sent to patrol in Oxbow in the highlands of Mokhotlong which is a very cold part of Lesotho throughout the year where women of my division were never sent to, until I was dismissed.”
The plaintiff also claims that she was caused to undress in front of male soldiers by one Lt Mochesane.
She adds that she was subjected to numerous forms of ill-treatment imaginable by her superiors which include being insulted in front of other soldiers by Lt Mochesane, who called her “Letekatse” or prostitute who was there for the enjoyment of male colleagues.
“All this was under the orders of LDF superiors.”
Sehlare also claims that she was arrested and handcuffed on both hands and feet and ordered to get into the back of a military van despite her ailing backbone.
These acts by officers under the command of Lt-General Motanyane were wrong, unlawful, intentional and reckless, she argues.
They were intended to injure, embarrass, humiliate and torture her physically and emotionally.
“I was seriously degraded, humiliated and ignominiously insulted, and had my dignity impaired as a result of the conduct of the officers under the army commander,” she says.
She says the acts of harassment and ill-treatment occurred “continuously from 2003 until 2010 when plaintiff was purportedly dismissed”.
Sehlare says she suffered general damages  for ill-treatment, refusal of medical leave, discrimination, different forms of harassment, insult and injuria in the sum of M2 million with interest at the rate of 18.5 percent per annum.

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