Khetheng’s widow demands body

Khetheng’s widow demands body

MASERU – THE estranged widow of the late police constable Mokalekale Khetheng is up in arms against her in-laws for arranging to bury her husband without involving her. ’Mathato Khetheng, who was no longer living with her husband after a family feud, filed an urgent application in the High Court on Tuesday seeking to interdict her in-laws.

The first respondent is her father-in-law Thabo Khetheng. Other respondents are Metropolitan Lesotho, Lesotho Funeral Service, the Commissioner of Police, the Master of the High Court and the Attorney General. She wants the court to interdict Thabo Khetheng from burying her husband pending the finalisation of the case.

She also petitions the court to instruct Metropolitan Insurance not to pay Thabo Khetheng or the Khetheng family any funeral funds pending the finalisation of the case.

She also wants the Commissioner of Police barred from releasing any funeral allowances to her in-laws.

In her affidavit, ’Mathato argues her in-laws made decisions on the burial of the deceased without involving her as his wife.

She also says their minor daughter, Thato Khetheng, had also not been involved in the preparations for the burial.

’Mathato further informed the court that she had been customarily married to the deceased.

The couple had a house at Sebothoane.

She also argues that she was Khetheng’s only wife.

’Mathato argues that Khetheng would be given a decent burial if he is to be buried at his home in Sebothoane where his family would be given an ample opportunity to witness his burial in line with Basotho laws and customs.

She also told the court that Khetheng’s daughter should be allowed “to witness the burial of her father” in Leribe.

She added that she too has a right to witness the burial of her husband.

“The deceased is my husband and nothing more and nothing less,” she told the court.

The Khetheng family has however denied that ’Mathato was married to their son.

The family maintains in court papers seen by thepost that Khetheng was not married to ’Mathato.

The family says they only had a child out of wedlock.

’Mathato’s lawyer Advocate Makase told thepost last night that there is evidence that Thabo Khetheng welcomed ’Mathato as his daughter-in-law and that Sesotho traditions were followed.

Makase also said even after Khetheng and ’Mathato were blessed with their daughter, Thato, there is evidence that the girl was traditionally named in line with the Sesotho customs.

“As a new mother all relevant Sesotho customs were performed on her and her child when they went to the family,” Makase said.

“We have at least six photos where her in-laws together with Ntate Thabo Khetheng celebrated with her when she was welcomed into the family,” he said.

“Ntate Thabo Khetheng, who is now denying that this is his daughter-in-law, is there in the photos,” he said.

Makase said even the late Khetheng had referred to ’Mathato as his wife in some court papers where he complained that she had denied him access to their child.

The court papers cite ’Mathato and Thato by their names, Makase said.

In another case in which Khetheng was suing his father-in-law, he referred to him as the father of his wife.

Makase said ’Mathato and Khetheng have a house in Sebothoane which was registered in their names as husband and wife.

Asked why ’Mathato had kept quiet since Khetheng’s disappearance, Makase said the family had isolated her.

“Even when she went there after his disappearance they refused to have anything to do with her,” the lawyer said.

’Mathato insists that she has the right to bury her husband.

She said although she had tried to engage the family over her husband, she was always informed that she was not married to the deceased.

“It was even made difficult for the daughter to the deceased to be proffered identification documents because the first respondent always distances himself from me and makes decisions for my family as he wishes,” she said.

Meanwhile, the applicant told the court that her application is highly urgent because the family was proceeding with burial arrangements.

The Khetheng family said they want to bury the deceased on August 26 in Mokhotlong.

The case continues tomorrow.

Khetheng was reported missing in March last year. His body was exhumed at Lepereng cemetery a fortnight ago.

Majara Molupe

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