Tag Archives: Thabane

Lesotho PM Thabane resigns

Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane resigned on May 19, three months after police named him and his current wife as major suspects in the murder of his former wife in a case that has shocked the southern African nation.
Thabane had formally handed in his resignation to King Letsie III, the top traditional leader of the mountainous kingdom.

Thabane’s disgraceful resignation marks the end of one of Lesotho’s longest political careers, one marked by exile, intrigue, tensions and a political crisis that deepened when police named him as a murder of his wife suspect in February.

“The time to retire from the great theatre of action, take leave from public life and office has finally arrived,” the 80-year-old Thabane announced in a speech on Lesotho TV.

All Basotho Convention (ABC) party, opposition figures and South African mediators who had arrived to find a way out of the crisis caused by the murder of Thabane’s wife had all been pressing the Prime-minister to resign over the police investigation, which casted shadow on his reputation incompatible with holding the office.

Gunmen shot dead his previous wife, Lipolelo, on June 14, 2017, two days before he took office. Thabane had filed for divorce from Lipolelo Thabane, when she was shot dead near her Maseru home. The attack occurred just two days before Thabane was sworn in for his second stint as Prime minister.

Prime minister wife, and incumbent First Lady, Maesaiah has been formally charged with the murder. Though named as a suspect, Thabane has not been charged. They both deny any involvement. At present Maesaiah, has already been charged and is out on bail. Thabane asked the Constitutional Court to stop the courts from trying him for the crime while he remained in office. His retirement means he could now stand trial.

Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro, 58, is expected to replace him. Among his immediate tasks as Prime minister will be to pass the budget and revive the economy. Despite confirming only one coronavirus case, Lesotho has taken a big economic hit due to the global slowdown brought about by the pandemic.

Lesotho PM «dignified retirement» 

Government of the Kigndom of Lesotho has agreed that Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, who is accused of murdering his estranged wife, will resign without any further delay.

The deal brokered with the help of South African mediators is said to promise the Prime minister a “dignified and secure” exit from office.

Thabane has been under pressure to resign over persistent suspicions he was involved in the assassination in 2017, and his new wife has been charged. Both deny any involvement in the brutal murder. Gunmen shot and killed Mr Thabane’s then-wife Lipolelo Thabane on 14 June 2017. Officials charged Mr Thabane’s current wife Maesaiah with the murder this year, and also named Mr Thabane as a suspect – although he has not yet been formally charged.

It is not yet clear if he will agree to stand down immediately, as the deal indicates.

COVID19: SA faces Lesotho unrest

South Africa will engage in talks to restore calm in Lesotho on April 20 after Prime Minister Thomas Thabane sent soldiers and armoured vehicles onto the streets of Maresu on April 18 to restore order against “rogue national elements”.

The latest upheaval follows Thabane’s decision to suspend parliament without consultation over the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month’s move was challenged in the constitutional court by coalition partners and couple of dozens of rivals within his own party.

The judges ruled against Thabane’s decision on April 17, calling it “irrational”, paving the way for a vote of no-confidence against Thabane once parliament reconvenes.

A parliamentary caucus meeting scheduled on April 19 by the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) was postponed because of the visit by South African envoys, a senior Member of the Parliament said.

Internal divisions persist between Thabane loyalists and opponents. While no date has been set, Lesotho’s assembly is expected to meet as soon as this week.

“ABC is divided and we can no longer pretend,” said Lepota Sekola, adding that some members refused to honour Thabane’s call for the meeting as a show of dissatisfaction.

Lesotho supplies residents and farmers in South Africa’s Gauteng region with vital water supplies and Africa’s most developed country has helped broker peace talks in its smaller neighbour during previous bouts of political instability.

The South African envoys, who were urgently dispatched to help defuse weeks of political tension in the mountain kingdom of 2 million people, would continue talks for a second day on April 20, Thabane’s spokesman said.

Thabane, who is fighting for his political survival as he faces calls to quit and a possible criminal trial, said he had deployed the army in the capital to deal with forces he said wanted to destabilise Lesotho.

The Kingdom of Lesotho has lived thourgh a several coups since gaining independence from Britain in 1966. In 1998 more than 50 people and eight South African soldiers died and parts of Maseru were damaged during a political stand-off and following fighting.

Thabane, 80, had been scheduled to address the people of Lesotho at 1530 GMT on April 19 Sunday, but this was postponed until Monday, his spokesman Relebohile Moyeye said.

“We are not sure when the statement will be tomorrow because the PM is meeting the (South African) envoy again tomorrow at 8am,” Moyeye added.