thomas thabane lesotho

Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane. File Photo: GIANLUIGI GUERCIA / AFP

Lesotho PM to resign over alleged links to wife’s brutal murder

Tom Thabane has buckled under pressure and will step out of the political arena ‘soon’.

thomas thabane lesotho

Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane. File Photo: GIANLUIGI GUERCIA / AFP

Lesotho’s prime minister has bowed to pressure to step down over evidence allegedly linking him to the murder of his estranged wife, the ruling party said Thursday.

Senior members of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) party have accused Thomas Thabane of hampering investigations into the killing. 

They called for his resignation last week.

Wife Lipolelo Thabane gunned down

In June 2017, unidentified assailants gunned down his wife, Lipolelo Thabane, 58, on the outskirts of Lesotho’s capital Maseru, two days before her husband’s inauguration.

The brutal murder was brought back into the limelight last week by a letter from Lesotho’s police chief Holomo Molibeli.

Alleged links to murder

It claimed that communication records from the day of the crime picked up Thabane’s cellphone number.

The letter — dated 23 December 2019 — became public in court documents filed by Molibeli after Thabane tried to suspend him over a separate matter.

“Mr Thabane has already made known his decision to resign to the cabinet in its seating on Tuesday,” ABC spokesperson Montoeli Masoetsa said on Thursday.

Thabane will be stepping down ‘soon’

He said the next step for the party was to appoint a replacement, which would then need to be approved by parliament. 

“There is no exact date in place as to when Thabane shall step down but it’s going to be soon,” Masoetsa added.

Lipolelo’s murder sent shock waves through the tiny poverty-stricken nation, which is entirely ringed by South Africa.

Bitter divorce proceedings

At the time his estranged wife was killed, Thabane, now 80 years old, had been embroiled in bitter divorce proceedings with her.

Meanwhile, police have been unable to trace Thabane’s current wife, Maesaiah Thabane, since she failed to appear for questioning on January 10.

A court has issued a warrant for her arrest, which she unsuccessfully appealed.

Warrant out for Maesaiah Thabane’s arrest

Other high-profile figures have since also been summoned to provide information on the case, including the minister of water affairs and the government secretary. 

“Government cannot be above the law,” Communications Minister Thesele Maseribane told reporters in Maseru.

“We would like to see her [Maesaiah Thabane] back home and go to the courts like everybody else.”