Police in Lesotho say the country’s first lady, Maesiah Thabane, has barricaded herself in the prime minister’s official residence in Maseru after refusing to report Friday morning for questioning in connection with the 2017 shooting death of Lipolelo Thabane.
Police commissioner Holomo Molibeli told reporters with the MNN Centre for Investigative Journalism that they have an arrest warrant for Maesiah Thabane. She has been married to Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane since shortly after the 58-year-old Lipolelo, above, with whom he was entangled in a difficult divorce, was gunned down in her driveway in Ha Masana on the eve of his inauguration.
No one has ever been arrested in the case, but investigators this week said they had evidence that the prime minister’s cell phone was used at the murder scene. That detail came to light as Thabane – at odds with his own All Basotho Convention party in the chronically unstable kingdom – tried unsuccessfully to suspend Molibeli from his position as the commissioner pursued the investigation.
“Police say they searched State House but couldn’t find First Lady Maesiah,” said journalist Nthakoana Ngatane of Eyewitness News. “They found PM Thabane alone in his bedroom but he denied knowing her whereabouts. Police say they are now mounting a search for a ‘fugitive from justice.'”
The MNN team said they’ve spoken with Maesiah Thabane, who said she fears for her life especially after Lesotho officials withdrew her security detail earlier in the day.
Lipolelo Thabane married the prime minister in 1987; divorce proceedings were filed in 2012. She was Thabane’s second wife and a founding member of the ABC, and the two raised a daughter together.
The prime minister’s daughter, Nkoya Hlaele, publicly accused Maesiah Thabane in November of ordering her mother’s death.
Image: China TV file