Prime Minister Thomas Thabane of Lesotho has agreed to resign his post amid an assassination scandal involving his current wife. The resignation is the latest development arising from mediation by neighbouring South Africa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa sent a delegation headed by former energy minister Jeff Radebe to mediate in the crisis next door. The PM is said to have confirmed that he will be stepping down under the current circumstances.
Emissary Radebe reported being optimistic because his team had met with all coalition partners and that they had agreed on how the next few days was to unfold.
Police in the tiny southern African country said earlier this week that they were searching for the country’s first lady for questioning in the 2017 killing of the prime minister’s former wife. The police commissioner said at the time that the “noose” was tightening around the prime minister and those close to him as an investigation continues.
The killing of Lipolelo Thabane occurred two days before Thabane’s inauguration for a second term, and two years after a court ruled that Lipolelo was the lawful first lady and entitled to benefits.
Thomas Thabane married his current wife some two months after Lipolelo was killed. The acceptance to step aside is the first move of the PM on allegations of his involvement in the murder.
Police last Friday obtained an arrest warrant for the first lady after she didn’t report to them. Police Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli on Tuesday said officers had no idea where she might be.
A High Court hearing her application seeking the cancellation of the arrest warrant adjourned to next week.
The ruling party had weeks back advised that the PM resigns due to on goings, a position that the opposition also reiterated.
The police chief had also accused the prime minister of wanting him out in a bid to stop the murder investigation and recommend a new commissioner “to immunise himself from criminal investigations and prosecution, thus thwarting the rule of law.”
The police commissioner in recent weeks successfully challenged efforts by the prime minister to send him into suspension and forced leave.