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Former Lesotho Prime Minister accused of wife murder, fails to appear in court

Former Lesotho Prime Minister, Thomas Motsoahae Thabane, has been charged with the brutal murder of his estranged wife, Lipolelo, who was shot to death in 2017 while the pair were engaged in a bitter divorce row.

The 82-year-old Thabane who was charged with Lipolelo’s murder on Tuesday, was accused of hiring hitmen to kill her in June 2017, two days before his inauguration.

Reading out the charges, the Lesotho High Court clerk, Tebello Mokhoema, said Thabane “did unlawfully and intentionally cause the death of Lipolelo Thabane” on June 14, 2017.

Five co-defendants in the trial included Thabane’s new wife, Maesaiah, who was controversially granted bail in June.

 The other four are the suspected hitmen allegedly hired by Thabane and Maesaiah to kill Lipolelo Thabane, who was 58 at the time she was killed.

Police have accused Thabane of paying assassins a down payment of $24,000 to kill his wife.

Thabane resigned as Prime Minister in May 2020, giving in to the mounting pressure to step down over the murder charges as he and his current wife whom he married two months after Lipolelo was killed, denied any involvement in the murder.