Lesotho PM's wife to be charged in murder of his previous spouse

Maesaiah Thabane, the spouse of Lesotho's prime minister, is set to be charged with murder in connection with the 2017 killing of his former wife, police said Tuesday.

Lipolelo Thabane was gunned down just a few days before her estranged husband's inauguration in 2017

Thomas Thabane, second from left, is shown at his 2017 inauguration in Maseru, Lesotho with his current wife, Maesaiah. The inauguration occurred just days after his previous wife was shot dead. (Samson Motikoe/AFP via Getty Images)

Maesaiah Thabane, the spouse of Lesotho's prime minister, is set to be charged with murder in connection with the 2017 killing of the politician's former wife, police said Tuesday.

Thabane, who fled the country on Jan. 10 to escape arrest, returned to the small southern African kingdom Tuesday afternoon and turned herself in to police in the capital, Maseru. Police said she had been hiding in neighbouring South Africa.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Mokete Paseka said Thabane would spend the night in custody and only be taken to court once the director of public prosecutions has prepared the charge sheet.

An arrest warrant for Thabane was issued the day she fled the country after she refused to report to police for questioning in connection with the murder of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane's former wife, Lipolelo.

The killing occurred two days before the prime minister's inauguration for a second term, and two years after a court ruled that Lipolelo Thabane was his lawful spouse and therefore entitled to benefits.

Thomas Thabane married his current wife some two months after Lipolelo's death.

Two weeks ago, police interrogated the prime minister over the alleged use of his mobile phone to communicate with whoever was at the scene of the killing.

The 80-year-old prime minister last month announced he planned to step down as his ruling party called him no longer fit to lead. He didn't specify when he would resign, saying only it would occur "when all is in order."


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