Minister accused of assaulting maid

litsoaneBy Bongiwe Zihlangu

MASERU — Agriculture Minister Litšoane Litšoane allegedly physically assaulted his domestic worker ‘Maneo Moifo for rejecting his sexual advances on September 6.

Litšoane also allegedly accused Moifo of stealing M600 which was in an envelope in the bedroom the minister shares with his wife in their homestead in Bela-Bela, after ‘the failed attempt’ to have sex with her.

Litšoane allegedly kicked Moifo’s hand several times as she held her phone with it to her ear while reporting to her husband who lives a short distance from the Litšoane household, about the accusation regarding the stolen money.

Litšoane, a prominent farmer in his own right, is agric minister of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s coalition government under the banner of the premier’s All Basotho Convention (ABC).

Speaking to the Lesotho Times in Maseru on Tuesday in the company of her husband Paseka, Moifo alleged that, that morning just after 5 a.m., she went to Litšoane’s bedroom to give him his morning tea “as is the norm”.

Asked where Litšoane’s wife was on the day, Moifo said she was not at home, having left the previous week to organise Litšoane’s father’s funeral.

According to Moifo, the wife was away from home wrapping up details of the funeral of her father-in-law who had been buried on Sunday September 1.

“She had been gone for some time. The funeral was on Sunday September 1 and Ntate Litšoane came back home soon thereafter while his wife stayed behind to wrap up post-burial issues,” Moifo said.

Moifo is a maid hired by the ministry of labour for Litšoane as part of his ministerial benefits.

She however told this paper that although she signed a contract with the labour ministry, she was personally recruited by Litšoane on political grounds, in appreciation of the key role she played along with other ABC supporters, spearheading his campaign to win the Bela-Bela constituency.

Moifo said when she entered the bedroom, she found the agric minister sitting on the bed and that she walked past him to put the tea on the bedside.

As she prepared to leave the room, Moifo alleged, Litšoane pounced on her, touched her breasts, groped her private parts and grabbed her buttocks.

“He tried to pull me onto the bed but I resisted and without saying a word I looked at him with a serious face before leaving the room. I left the room very angry and got out of the house,” Moifo said.

“Then I went to the barn where his wife had instructed me to clean some dry maize for her. The barn is in the same compound as the house but a couple of metres away.”

It was while she was in the barn, Moifo added, that she received a call from Litšoane“summoning me to the house”.

It was when she got into the house that the minister, sitting in the sitting-room, asked her if she had entered the master bedroom on her own as there was money missing.

“He said he had put some money in a brown envelope in his bedroom and that there was about M600 missing from the total amount which I didn’t know,” Moifo said.

“I told him that I did not know anything about the missing money or the brown envelopes as there are many of them in the bedroom.”

Angered by the accusation, Moifo said she confronted Litšoane there and then, telling him that he was claiming his money had been stolen as her punishment “for rejecting his sexual advances towards me”.

“I stood up to him and told him that his plan wouldn’t succeed because it was clearly influenced by my rejection of and refusal to give him my . . . . . (explicit) and have sex with him,” Moifo said.

Thereafter, Moifo alleged, Litšoane then called out to his daughter who was also in the house asked if she had taken the money.

“The daughter denied any knowledge of the money and told her father that nobody in the house could have stolen it. I then left the kitchen to call my husband to inform about the accusation,” Moifo said.

Moifo added that although there was a mutual understanding since working for Lits’oane in July 2012 that she did not have to clean the master bedroom, in his wife’s absence the minister had earlier that week “instructed me to clean his and his wife’s bedroom”.

“I told him that I did not want to clean it and reminded him that I had never cleaned it since I started working for him. But I went ahead and cleaned it anyway,” Moifo said.

“The implication in the accusation was that I must have stolen the money because I cleaned that room earlier in the week.”

Moifo added that when she reached the kitchen, she called her husband Paseka Moifo and began narrating to him the events of that morning.

“As I was telling my husband everything, the minister came from behind me in the kitchen and kicked my hand with his foot so much that the phone fell to the floor,” Moifo alleged.

“I quickly retrieved it. My husband heard the commotion and asked what was going on. I told him that Ntate Litšoane was kicking me.”

He once again kicked my hand with his foot and the phone fell to the floor again and smashed into pieces. All the pieces of the phone including the sim-card flew in different directions.”

As he was kicking her, Moifo added, a female neighbour who frequents the Litšoane homestead walked in and witnessed the alleged assault.

“I told her that at least she would be able to testify on my behalf when need arose because she had witnessed first-hand as I was being assaulted,” Moifo said.

Moifo also showed this paper a worn out Nokia phone tied with rubber bands which she said she had borrowed from friends after Litšoane smashed hers.

Moifo allegedly suffered bruises to her left hand and right leg and this paper can testify to a faded dark purple bruise on her right leg.

After the assault, Moifo said, Litšoane the homestead with his daughter and driver while she (Moifo) ran to the chief’s place to report the assault.

Chief Matong Tlali, Moifo alleged, then advised her to report the matter to the police saying it was “beyond him because it involved Ntate Litšoane”.

“The chief advised me to report the assault to the police and my husband and I decided to do just that,” Moifo said.

But, Moifo who had now returned to her home, alleged just as she and her husband were getting ready to go to the police, Litšoane’s driver only known to this paper as Stanger, arrived in one of the minister’s ministerial cars and talked them out of going to the police.

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