Africa

Lesotho First Lady Maesaiah Thabane charged with murdering rival

The wife of the prime minister of Lesotho has been formally charged in court with murdering his previous wife.

First Lady Maesaiah Thabane has not yet been asked to plead. She surrendered to police on Tuesday for questioning.

Prime Minister Thomas Thabane has also been questioned. His estranged wife, Lipolelo Thabane, was shot dead outside her home in the capital Maseru two days before his inauguration in 2017.

The couple were involved in bitter divorce proceedings at the time.

Maesaiah Thabane has also been charged with the attempted murder of Thato Sibolla – a family friend who had been travelling with the deceased at the time.

The case was postponed to 28 February and Mrs Thabane has been granted bail of about $67 (£52).

What is the background of the case?

The attack was originally blamed on unknown armed men, but recent court papers filed by the country’s police commissioner, Holomo Molibeli, raised further questions.

An arrest warrant was issued for 42-year-old Maesaiah Thabane on 10 January after she disappeared.

She was “picked from the border” with South Africa on Tuesday after an arrangement between her lawyers and police, police spokesman Mpiti Mopeli told AFP news agency.

First Lady Maesaiah Thabane pictured with Prime Minister Thomas Thabane at his inauguration

Lipolelo Thabane, 58, had been living apart from her husband since 2012. One evening in June 2017 while returning home, she was ambushed, shot several times at close range and died on the side of a road.

The murder shocked the nation. Mr Thabane described it as a “senseless killing” in his inauguration speech.

 

Source:bbc

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