Lesotho PM misses court date over wife’s death

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The dock sits empty as police investigators await the arrival of Lesotho's Prime Minister Thomas Thabane in court in Maseru, Lesotho

Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane failed to turn up for a court appearance over his wife’s death two hours after the hearing was meant to start on Friday, and police said they were unsure of his whereabouts.

Thabane was due in court at 9 a.m. (0700 GMT) over the death of Lipolelo Thabane, who was shot dead in June 2017 near her home in the capital Maseru two days before he took office.

But by 11 a.m., Thabane was not at the court.

Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane

“I’m still trying to confirm his whereabouts and whether or not he will show up. We don’t know,” Deputy Police Commissioner Paseka Mokete said.

Potlako Thabane, the son of Thomas Thabane said that his father went to South Africa to see a doctor, after the Prime Minister missed a court appearance over his former wife’s death.

“He’s not fled the country, he has gone to South Africa to see a doctor,” Potlako said by telephone.

Thabane’s current wife, Maesaiah Thabane, has already been charged with ordering Lipolelo’s murder but is currently out on bail. Police said on Thursday that the prime minister would also be charged with murder.

The love triangle murder case has stunned the southern African kingdom, a mountainous state of 2 million people encircled by South Africa with a long history of political instability.

The prime minister told local radio on Thursday that he would step down at the end of July, but he did not mention his wife’s death and cited old age instead.

Both Maesaiah and Thomas Thabane, who married two months after Lipolelo’s killing, have denied any involvement in her death.

 

Chidi Nwoke.