Prime Minister Tom Thabane of Lesotho is expected to address the small southern African kingdom on Monday, following tensions over the weekend that saw Thabane deploy the military in what he claims was a move needed to restore order.
Thabane’s address will follow emergency consultations with Jeff Radebe, an envoy sent by President Cyril Ramaphosa to help navigate the Lesotho crisis. It is the latest episode in a country marked for years by instability and comes as Thabane – under investigation in connection with the 2017 murder of his former wife – faces pressure from his own political party to leave office.
The prime minister has vowed to step aside by the end of July, but has resisted the authority of Lesotho’s deeply divided All Basotho Convention party as well as law enforcement officials pursuing the murder investigation.
Thabane said Saturday that rogue elements within the police force needed to be contained, making it necessary to deploy troops into the streets. Sources in Maseru told Agence France Presse that police commissioner Holomo Molibeli, with whom Thabane has clashed for months, and Molibeli’s deputy were taken into custody.
Molibeli has said investigators have evidence that the prime minister’s cell phone was used at the murder scene, and he is considered a suspect alongside current wife Maesiah Thabane, right, who was charged in the case weeks ago.
Lipolelo Thabane was shot to death outside her home in June 2017, just days before the prime minister’s inauguration. She married Thabane in 1987 but divorce proceedings were filed in 2012.
Image: All Basotho Convention file