Africa

Lesotho government agrees PM should quit

Thomas Thabane is accused of murdering his estranged wife in 2017

Hassan Isilow   | 21.04.2020
Lesotho government agrees PM should quit Prime Minister of Lesotho, Thomas Motsoahae Thabane ( Minasse Wondimu Hailu - Anadolu Agency )

JOHANNESBURG

The southern African nation of Lesotho’s coalition government has agreed that embattled Prime Minister Thomas Thabane should immediately resign, according to a joint statement released Monday. 

Thabane, 80, has been under pressure to step down after he was accused of being involved in the murder of his estranged wife, 58-year-old Lipolelo Thabane, three years ago.

He also faced mounting criticism last week after deploying soldiers on the streets of Lesotho to reportedly restore order after accusing undisclosed law enforcement officials of seeking to undermine democracy.

A day prior to the deployment, the constitutional court ruled against his decision to suspend parliament.

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa quickly decided to send a delegation to the mountainous kingdom to help resolve the impasse between the prime minister and those opposing him.

“The coalition government of the Kingdom of Lesotho commits to effecting the implementation process or modalities for the dignified, graceful and secure retirement of the Right Honorable Prime Minister,” said a joint statement signed on behalf of the government of Lesotho and South African mediators.

Although the statement did not clarify whether the prime minister would be cleared of the murder allegations, the call by the coalition government to grant him such a retirement seems to suggest so.

Earlier this year, Maesaiah Thabane, 42, the prime minister’s current wife, was formally charged with Lipolelo Thabane’s murder.

Thabane and Lipolelo separated in 2012 and their divorce proceedings were ongoing when she was killed.

She was shot dead near her home in the capital Maseru in June 2017, just two days before Thabane’s inauguration as prime minister.

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