Lesotho's PM Ordered Wife's Killing: Cops

A no-show in court, Thomas Thabane cites health crisis
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2020 7:09 AM CST
Lesotho's PM Ordered Wife's Killing: Cops
In this Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, file photo Lesotho's Prime Minister Thomas Motsoahae Thabane addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Lesotho's prime minister will join his current wife in facing murder charges in the 2017 shooting death of his estranged wife—whenever he shows up to court. Thomas Thabane failed to appear in court on Friday, with his press secretary saying he'd been taken to doctors in neighboring South Africa after feeling unwell Thursday night. "He is willing to … hear the charges against him" once he's released, perhaps as soon as this weekend, the rep said, per the New York Times, adding the 80-year-old will step down in July. Wife Maesaiah Thabane is already charged with killing 58-year-old Lipolelo Thabane, who was shot dead in her car outside the capital of Maseru on June 14, 2017, two days before Thabane began his second term.

Deputy Police Commissioner Paseka Mokete said Thursday that phone records indicate Thabane "was in contact with one of the assailants on the night of Ms. Thabane's death." Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli added Thabane had demanded he be fired for pursuing the investigation, which is heating up as "people are coming in droves to give us intelligence," per Al Jazeera. But Thabane's daughter thinks this is all a misunderstanding. "He is not the kind of guy to plot a killing," Mabatsoeneng Hlaethe tells Al Jazeera of her father. "But I have different convictions as far as his new wife is concerned." Investigators believe Maesaiah Thabane hired the killers; the women had both claimed the title of first lady, and a court ultimate sided with Lipolelo Thabane. (More on the case here.)

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