Citizen reporter
3 minute read
21 Feb 2020
5:07 pm

Lesotho PM Thabane denies fleeing the country

Citizen reporter

A Lesotho-based publication called Metro is reporting that the Chief Magistrate has issued a warrant of arrest for Thabane on Friday.

Thomas Thabane, Prime Minister of Lesotho.

Following his failure to appear in court to face charges for the murder of his estranged wife Lilopelo Thabane, the office of Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane has issued a statement denying reports that he fled Lesotho.

The statement claimed he had not fled to South Africa and that he travelled for a medical check-up instead.

They added that Thabane respects the rule of law and that he plans to appear before the court when he returns from South Africa.

IOL reports that his private secretary Thabo Thakalekoala said the prime minister would be back in Lesotho sometime this weekend.

Deputy Police Commissioner Paseka Mokete confirmed Thabane’s plans to appear before the court in an interview with AFP.

“It has been agreed with his lawyer that he will appear [in court] and he will be formally charged with murder.”

A Lesotho-based publication called Metro is reporting, however, that the Chief Magistrate has issued a warrant of arrest for Thabane on Friday afternoon following his failure to appear before the Maseru Magistrates court on Friday.

They further allege that Deputy Police Commissioner Paseka Mokete confirmed this during a media briefing held at police headquarters quarters after said warrant was allegedly issued.

“He said this was after the Prime Minister failed to appear before the magistrate court where he was to face three charges of murder of his former wife the late Lipolelo Thabane, attempted murder of Thabane’s friend, Thato Sibolla as well as the malicious damage to property of the vehicle in which the duo was using on that fateful day,” wrote Metro.

Magistrate issues warrant of arrest for Prime Minister ThabaneThe Chief Magistrate has issued a warrant of arrest for…

Posted by Metro News on Friday, 21 February 2020

Police will now reportedly seek to establish whether or not Thabane’s lawyer Qhalehang Letsika intentionally misled them when he confirmed to them on Thursday that Thabane would appear in court on Friday.

He could face charges of defeating the ends of justice if police determine that he knew Thabane would be out of town and therefore not able to attend the court case.

Lilopelo Thabane, 58, was killed in June 2017 by unknown assailants on the outskirts of the capital Maseru, two days before the premier, now aged 80, took office.

The couple had been embroiled in bitter divorce proceedings when Lipolelo was murdered in front of her home in the capital.

Her death shook the tiny mountainous kingdom of Lesotho, which is entirely surrounded by South Africa.

Police investigations found that communications records from the day of the murder included his cell phone number.

“It has to be understood that it does not necessarily mean he was there but that he was acting in common purpose,” Mokete said.

On Tuesday, Thabane’s current wife Maesaiah Thabane, 42, appeared in court charged with the same murder of her rival.

READ NEXT: Lesotho Prime Minister nowhere to be found in court

(Compiled by Kaunda Selisho, background reporting by AFP, Gopolang Moloko)

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