’Maesaiah ‘victim’ speaks out

’Maesaiah ‘victim’ speaks out

MASERU – FRESH details have emerged of how First Lady ’Maesaiah Thabane flew into a fit of rage last Saturday, with the hospital management denying that she was provoked.
The hospital said the First Lady seemed to have been already in an aggressive mood even before the fist fight.
Mrs Thabane had rushed to Maseru Private Hospital to see a woman who had been hit by one of her cars.

Prime Minister Thomas Thabane was with her and allegedly witnessed the nasty altercation that left one woman with a headache after the First Lady allegedly pulled her hair in a rage.
Hospital manager Mokutu Makara told thepost in an exclusive interview that Mrs Thabane was angry because she was under the impression that the victim was not being treated.
“There were no open wounds on the patient hence she had to wait for an X-ray in a resuscitation room,” Makara said.
“The X-ray specialist was not on duty and had to be called to attend the patient.”

Makara said while the patient was awaiting the X-ray, staff on duty heard that the Prime Minister and the First Lady were on their way to the hospital.
“It was reported to me that the staff prepared to give the Prime Minister a warm welcome due to his status.”
He said on their arrival, the First Lady demanded to see the doctor on duty and asked why that patient was still waiting to be attended to. She was told that the patient was awaiting a doctor specializing in X-rays.

Makara said Mrs Thabane was quarrelling with the doctor when the X-ray specialist arrived.
“The First Lady’s argument was based on the poor service delivery from the on duty doctor. The person who was accompanying the patient tried to calm the First Lady saying that they had been helped but she did not listen.”

“She was accusing the foreign doctors saying they were Makoerekoere who didn’t want to attend to Basotho patients,” Makara said.
Makoerekoere is a deeply derogatory term for black Africans from north of the Limpopo.
Makara said the fight started when the patient’s relative, ’Manthati Mabothile, told the First Lady to calm down because the patient had been attended to.
Mabothile said the First Lady pulled her by the hair and started punching her on the head.

“I fell down on her feet and I was kneeling down as she continued hitting me,” Mabothile said. “I called and asked everybody to stop this woman because she was pulling my hair and it was hurting.”
A nurse and a porter came to her rescue but their clothes were torn in the fracas.
Mabothile said a nurse managed to extricate her from the First Lady’s grasp and hid her under a table in another room.
“When I tried to get out, the nurse stopped me and she asked me if I knew the woman who was assaulting me,” Mabothile said. “I said I did not know her and she told me that she is the Prime Minister’s wife.”

Makara said the Prime Minister’s attempt to restrain the First Lady came to naught and he walked back to the car.
The bodyguards later pulled her away.
“She was insulting and saying words that we cannot repeat,” Makara said.
“They were embarrassing obscenities, phrases so vulgar that they are not worthy of repeating for any ear.”
The doctor, a foreigner, hurriedly left the scene and locked himself in a consultation room.
A security guard tried to intervene but the First Lady crudely told him to stop, saying “I am going to put this hospital back into working order”.
The First Lady’s spokesman, Silas Monyatsi, told a local radio station that Mabothile was drunk. Monyatsi said it was Mabothile who provoked Mrs Thabane.
But when asked about the doctor’s statements that Mabothile was polite when she told the First Lady to calm down, Monyatsi said he could not talk much about the issue because the matter has been resolved.

He however insisted that Mabothile was the one who attacked the First Lady.
Mabothile said her hands were in her pockets when Mrs Thabane pulled her by the hair and started hitting her on the head until she fell.
“That my hands were in my pockets shows that I was not fighting,” she said.

“I just told her that our patient was being attended to but she did not even wait for me to finish answering,” she added.
Mabothile however admitted that she was drunk.
“It is true that I was drunk but I maintain that I did not attack the Prime Minister’s wife. Even the people in the room saw that my hands were in the pockets.”

Mabothile also said after the incident she had a severe headache which did not stop until the following day, “and I had to buy some pills”.
“She aimed at my head as she was punching it while pulling my hair,” she added.

Water Affairs Minister Samonyane Ntsekele, who is also the All Basotho Convention (ABC) secretary general, later went to the hospital on that day to apologise.
Makara said the hospital is not considering suing the First Lady after Ntsekele’s apology.

He however said the hospital will beef up security and install CCTV cameras.
Bodyguards came a moment later to remove the First Lady from the room.

The Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) spokesman, Brigadier Ntlele Ntoi, declined to discuss the issue.
He however said “we have to take it to the appropriate office so that we find out what exactly happened so that we can also evaluate if the matter is worth discussing with the public”.
Brigadier Ntoi said in VIP protection secrecy is mandatory.

“An element of secrecy is very important so we will seek advice if we are at liberty to discuss issues pertaining to secrecy on VIP protection,” he said.
“We do not want to put anyone’s life in danger.”

Nkheli Liphoto and Senate Sekotlo

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