Lesotho's first lady to be charged with murdering prime minister's ex-wife

4 February 2020, 19:21

Prime Minister Thabane with his current wife Maesaiah (left) and the murdered Lipolelo (right)
Prime Minister Thabane with his current wife Maesaiah (left) and the murdered Lipolelo (right). Picture: Facebook / China TV
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The wife of Lesotho's Prime Minister is set to be charged with the murder of his ex-wife.

First Lady Maesaiah Thabane handed herself in for police questioning earlier on Tuesday in the southern African kingdom.

She is currently being held in connection with the 2017 killing of the prime minister's former wife, Lipolelo, and will be formally charged on Wednesday.

Deputy commissioner of police Mokete Paseka explained that Thabane would be spending the night in custody while the director of public prosecutions prepared her charge sheet.

Thabane reportedly fled to neighbouring South Africa on 10 January to escape arrest, but returned to Lesotho's capital, Maseru, on Tuesday afternoon to speak with officers.

First Lady Maesaiah Thabane fled Lesotho in January
First Lady Maesaiah Thabane fled Lesotho in January. Picture: Facebook

An arrest warrant was issued on the day Thabane left Lesotho, after she had refused to meet with police for questioning in connection with the death of Lipolelo.

Lipolelo, 58, was killed by an unknown assailant two days prior to the prime minister's inaugration for a second term.

It was also two years after a court ruled that she was the lawful first lady who was entitled to all benefits of the position.

Lipolelo Thabane was killed in 2017
Lipolelo Thabane was killed in 2017. Picture: China TV

Mr Thabane married his current wife, Maesaiah Thabane, roughly two months after Lipolelo's death.

The 80-year-old prime minister was interrogated by police two weeks ago over the alleged use of his mobile phone to communicate with whoever was at the scene of the killing.

Last month, he announced would be stepping down after his ruling party declared he was no longer fit to lead.

The premier did not specify when he would resign, saying only it would occur "when all is in order."