“May I ask for forgiveness from all my loved ones as I face my God” – Maine
Last Friday, former Ombudsman and prominent lawyer Lethebe Maine shocked the country when he killed himself. Contrary to media reports and rumours of a troubled marriage, Maine’s last words suggest an overwhelmed but loved husband who begged his dear wife, children, family and the nation to forgive him for his decision to commit suicide.
He ended it all by hanging himself at his farmhouse at Nkaitsoka Mosadimogolo in the Kgatleng district.
A DEDICATED family man, his last messages were of love and compassion, as he begged for forgiveness from his family and the nation for killing himself. Botswana’s fi rst Ombudsman, Lethebe Amos Maine’, 62, pleaded with his family to look after his wife, Magdalene Motshwane- Maine (Maggie or Mag as her late husband called her) and their children in one message. He also left a message for his wife.
The aggrieved family were baffled as to why he took his life. Like other business people, he was faced with financial challenges but on the other hand his Motswedi Horticultural project at Nkaitsoka Mosadimogolo in the Kgatleng district was in full production and was meeting its target market.
While reeling in shock at the death of their loved one, the family was disappointed by some media reports which they charged were intended to tarnish the departed Ombudsman’s image by publishing false statements. In their respect for Maine, the family did not wish to publish his last message.
Speaking from Maine’s Phakalane home, the family’s spokesperson, Dr Ezekiel Dono Maine said they were puzzled by their brother’s death and confirmed that he left a suicide note.
“We are still coming to terms with our brother’s death and wanted to keep the contents of his last messages private. He wrote them for us and not for public consumption,” he revealed.
“Lethebe was a public figure who was committed to the country but he also had a private life.
“It was our wish to be given a chance to grief. This is still raw and his mother, wife, children, brothers and sisters are all in a state of shock,” the well known medical doctor said.
His wife, Maggie said people were entitled to their opinion and speculation.
“At the moment our priority is to lay my husband to rest,” she said. “We respect him and forgive him for taking his own life. No matter what happened, we love him and will always will. He was a doting and loving father, husband, son, grandfather and sibling.” a distraught Maggie commented.
Refuting allegations that she may have driven her husband to commit suicide due to her high standard of living, Maggie said this was part of a smear campaign to tarnish their names. She rubbished reports that she verbally fought with her husband.
“We were a normal family with our ups and downs, faced with stress and like any other couple we had our arguments. Lethebe loved us and his family as he was a very pleasant and loving man,” the softspoken widow shared.
“He was passionate about the Motswedi project which produced tomatoes, green pepper, broccoli and other products. “We spent a lot of money on the state of the art equipment to provide a conducive environment and lower the risk of losing our products to hot and extremely cold temperatures. It was a costly business and the return on the investment was not as quick as we had expected,” she continued.
“However, we were starting to break even and we expected things to get better. My husband has taken his life… I have forgiven him and I beg God to forgive him too.” Maine after serving two terms as Ombudsman ran his law firm, Maine and Company and the Motswedi Horticultural project.
Officer Commanding No 12 District Senior Superintendent Seabe Maboka confirmed that indeed the former Ombudsman was dead. He, however, could not confirm whether he committed suicide or if there was any suspected foul play as the matter was still being investigated.
Lethebe is survived by his wife, five children, Lekgotla, Roxy, Tshepo, Thato and Dineo; a son in law Mike and two grandchildren, Jordan and Aj and his mother and seven siblings (four brothers and three sisters).
LETHEBE AMOS Kopano Maine was born on the 23rd January 1949 in Mafikeng, South Africa. He was the eldest son of Mr David Esau Mosioua Maine and Mrs Pakoentle Lydia Maine. Mr David Esau Maine was the son of Mr Mojubuki Esau Maine and Mrs Sebeo Lenah Maine. Mrs Pakoentle Maine being the daughter of Mr Phuthego Dichaba and Mrs Keabotsa Dichaba.
The Maine are Bafokeng (of the Mahsanaa-bo tlalane clan) and originate from Lesotho and South Africa. He did his primary education at Stadt and Memorial Primary School in Mafikeng, then his secondary education in Moeding College, Molefi Secondary School and Gaborone Secondary School.
He then went on to further his education and obtaining a Bachelor’s degree with the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland.
MAINE, a lawyer and former Acting Judge of the High Court, was appointed the Botswana’s first Ombudsman in 1997. He served two terms and left his position in November 2005 when his second term of office expired. As the country’s fi rst Ombudsman, Maine was faced with a mammoth task of establishing the office with no precedent.
Maine has contributed significantly to the development of the Ombudsman institution in Africa and abroad. He first served in the Board of Trustees of the African Ombudsman Center and then as President of the predecessor Interim and subsequent Executive Committee of the African Ombudsman Association from 2001 to
In September 2004 at the VIII International Conference of the International Ombudsman Institute. Lethebe. A. Maine was elected Vice President, of the world body for Ombudsman institutions with a membership of over 150 countries.
Back home Mr Maine has also served the local community as Patron of Motswedi Community Based Rehabilitation Centre in his home village Mochudi. He was in 2010 also appointed as a non-executive director to the Board of Directors of Imara Holdings a company listed with the Botswana Stock Exchange.