MASERU – Teleko Ramotšoari, the principal secretary in the Ministry of Trade, is fighting a messy divorce case at the High Court.
Ramotšoari’s wife, Lipuo, who accuses her husband of adultery, describes their marriage as “intolerable and dangerous”. She now wants the High Court to grant a divorce.
Her affidavit reveals a troubled marriage full of drama that includes bitter quarrels, violence and a street car chase all linked to Ramotšoari’s alleged affair with one ‘Neria Hlothoane, a widowed carpenter who works at Lerotholi Polytechnic.
Lipuo alleges her husband has been having an adulterous affair with ‘Neria for the past 12 years.
But Ramotšoari is opposing the divorce, insisting he still loves his wife of nearly three decades.
In a responding affidavit, the senior public servant trashes the allegations of infidelity and accuses his wife of trying “to obtain the desired divorce through deceit”.
Instead, he accuses Lipuo of being violent and “persistently” denying him conjugal rights.
Ramotšoari claims “when such rights are offered” Lipuo would insist on the use of a condom.
The case is continuing before Justice Semapo Peete.
In her statement to court, Lipuo said the marriage was stable until 1999 when her husband introduced ‘Neria as a carpenter contracted to construct wardrobes and other items for the couple’s family home.
Thereafter, she claims, the marriage hit the rocks as Ramotšoari allegedly began taking the female carpenter on dates locally and to South Africa.
He also lavished praises on how “charming” ‘Neria’s body was, while complaining about his wife’s weight, according to Lipuo’s affidavit.
Neria is employed by Lerotholi Polytechnic’s Business Development Unit.
“Often times he would tell me that ‘Neria led a healthy lifestyle and had a charming figure because she was engaged in regular physical exercise.
“He then confessed to me that they are both members of Lesotho Sun Gymnasium,” she said.
Lipuo said her husband developed “a habit of becoming aggressive and rowdy when he got home either late in the evening or early in the morning.
He would demand food and wake her up ruthlessly.
“This behaviour annoyed me and I suspected that (he) might be having an affair with ‘Neria, whose husband is deceased,” Lipuo states in her affidavit.
Attempts to resolve the conflict, including via a holiday in Namibia had failed, according to Lipuo.
“Sometime towards the end of 2006 we went on holiday in Namibia. The trip was useless because it got me frustrated since he exchanged calls and short messages with ‘Neria.
“When I called ‘Neria and confronted her about this she told me that it was my husband who was calling her,” said Lipuo.
She claims more agony followed in early 2007 when she saw her husband and ‘Neria at Maseru Border Post travelling in the direction of Ladybrand, South Africa.
“I was frustrated and embarrassed because I was travelling with our first daughter. This was the second time I had seen him travelling with Neria in the direction of Ladybrand,” she said.
At one time, Lipuo and ‘Neria exchanged blows when she found the alleged mistress at her husband’s offices, forcing Mabote Police to intervene by ordering ‘Neria “to leave my husband alone but she did not listen”.
“Sometime in June 2009 ‘Neria told me she was sick and she also said my husband was sick but she did not disclose the nature of their sickness.”
“He has committed adultery with ‘Neria and refuses to terminate the relationship,” she said of her husband.
Ramotšoari says their 29-year-old marriage soured because his wife “has always acted irresponsibly at all material times” since she started complaining about the affair.
“Plaintiff (Lipuo) has always acted irresponsibly at all material time herein, e.g she bashed my vehicle and scratched my face, whereby she was out of control, without first ascertaining reasons why ‘Neria was in my car.
“Plaintiff does things as and when she likes without any consultation with me as her husband,” he says.
He also denies having an affair with ‘Neria. “Furthermore other than knowing Neria professionally I have been a member of Lesotho Sun Gymnasium and I saw Neria attending the gym as well.”
Ramotšoari cites his major concerns as:
Plaintiff denies me conjugal rights (sex)
Plaintiff has changed our church denomination without my approval
Plaintiff bought her own car without consulting me as a family head
Plaintiff has audacity to take journeys inside and outside the country as and when she feels like without consulting me
The PS said he was against a divorce because he felt the two could still resolve their differences as the marriage had not irretrievably broken down.
Lipuo, on the other hand, wants a decree of divorce and forfeiture of the marital benefits on the basis of adultery. On allegations that he would come home in the small hours of the morning Ramotšoari claims that ever since he was appointed PS he has had to work “unusual hours” but he has always reported to his wife when this happens.