Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, who was expected to be charged on Friday with the murder of his estranged wife, Lilopelo Thabane, who was gunned down two days before his inauguration in 2017, has reportedly skipped the country.
The prime minister has failed to appear in court on alleged medical grounds while preliminary reports claim he’s in Pretoria, with others suggesting he has skipped the country.
— eNCA (@eNCA) February 21, 2020
The news came as Thabane announced he would step down on July 31 following pressure from his party to quit over the scandal.
“It has been agreed with his lawyer that he will appear [in court] and he will be formally charged with… murder,” Deputy Police Commissioner Paseka Mokete told AFP of the case that has also drawn in the prime minister’s current wife.
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.
(Compiled by Gopolang Moloko, background reporting by AFP)