By Nat Molomo
MASERU — The Maseru Magistrates’ Court on Monday denied bail to two constables who are facing charges of kidnapping a 14-year-old boy.
Tšepo Mohami and Bataung Thulo are charged with kidnapping Tšepang Bulane, a Lesotho High School student on February 11.
Bulane was on his way to school when he was kidnapped, according to the prosecution.
The case took a bizarre twist two weeks ago after the court heard that Thulo was in a romantic relationship with the boy’s mother, ’Matšepang Bulane.
Denying bail to the duo Maseru senior resident magistrate, ’Makampong Mokhoro, said the court could only grant bail to the accused under conditions “which this court cannot impose”.
“To give (Matšepang), her children and her brother assurance that they will be safe the only condition to impose would be that the children should be given round the clock security at their schools; that they be escorted to and from school and that an escort be posted outside the classroom of each one of them at their respective schools. The court would also have to order that (Matšepang) should be escorted to and from work. The court would finally have to order that 24-hour security be posted at their place of residence.
“Those are conditions which this court cannot impose unless if the court could have been informed that there is a witness protection programme available,” Mokhoro said.
She ruled that the matter be set down during the next remand “to avoid keeping the accused, who may be innocent, in custody for a long period”.
The two were remanded to appear in court on March 28, 2013.
Mokhoro said there were a number of victims who were members of a family.
She said a witness, Retšelisitsoe Mahoele, had told the court that he had been picking Matšepang’s children from school and were no longer moving about freely since the kidnapping incident.
“This goes without saying that they feel they need protection and that their harmonious development is already greatly being hampered,” she said.
“That the accused are in detention gives them some sense of security, though to a limited extent. If the accused were to be released from custody that limited sense of security will completely be taken away from them.”
Mokhoro said Matšepang, as a mother, “fears for her children and she strongly believes, rightly or wrongly, that Tšepang was kidnapped by Thulo with the assistance of Mohami to get back at her”.
“If the accused persons are released she stands to lose some sense of protection and, as opposed to the accused persons, she will lose her job if she goes into hiding and stays away from work . . .
“The most detrimental effect of that loss of security will be that she will decide not to assist the court by offering her son to give evidence and she will not give evidence herself for fear of her life and the life of her children and this will greatly prejudice the interests of justice,” she said.