Lesotho Premier to Resign as Police Probe Wife’s Murder

Mathabiso Ralengau

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Lesotho’s prime minister said he intends to step down, following increased calls for his resignation over the murder of his second wife, which police have linked to the woman he married a little over two months later.

Thomas Thabane, 80, was inaugurated as prime minister of the tiny African mountain kingdom two days after his second wife was shot in June 2017. He previously held the post from 2012 to 2015, but fled to South Africa in 2014 after an alleged coup attempt.

“I have decided to retire from my position as the prime minister of Lesotho, and the time of my retirement will be officially announced when that time comes,” Thabane said in the capital, Maseru, on Friday. His decision to resign had already been announced the previous day by Communications Minister Thesele Maseribane.

Earlier this month, court documents showed that the country’s police chief asked Thabane to clarify why his mobile phone number was linked to the crime scene, naming Thabane’s current wife, Maesiah Thabane, as a suspect in the killing. Thabane had issued a notice to replace the police chief but withdrew it after the Lesotho High Court intervened.

Maesiah has been on the run since the police issued an arrest warrant last week. Neither she nor her husband have commented on the murder case.

The opposition on Wednesday said it would organize protests if Thabane doesn’t resign within seven days, while a faction within his All Basotho Convention also urged him to step down.

Lesotho, which is surrounded by South Africa, has one of the highest murder rates on the continent.

(Updates with Thabane’s statement in third paragraph)

To contact the reporter on this story: Mathabiso Ralengau in Johannesburg at mralengau@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net, Pauline Bax, Antony Sguazzin

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