Prime Minister Tom Thabane of Lesotho resigned on Tuesday, making good on public statements he’s made for weeks that promised he’d step down before summer amid allegations he is implicated in the 2017 murder of his former wife.
Moeketsi Majoro, the country’s finance minister, is expected to be sworn in on Wednesday after he was named by parliament as Thabane’s replacement.
“The time has come,” said Thabane, who has been under pressure from his own All Basotho Convention party to leave office since the investigation into his current wife, Maesiah Thabane, became public knowledge in January.
Lipolelo Thabane, with whom the prime minister was entangled in a difficult and lengthy divorce, 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.
Police commissioner Holomo Molibeli says investigators have evidence that the prime minister’s cell phone was used at the murder scene, and he is considered a suspect alongside Maesiah, who was formally charged months ago.
A January 20 letter from the Lesotho attorney general’s office called on police to honor the prime minister’s executive powers, while simultaneously referencing a Molibeli affidavit that said Tom Thabane was implicated “in no uncertain terms.”
The allegations have deepened the political divides in chronically unstable Lesotho, where Thabane himself was forced to flee in 2015 and lived in exile in neighboring South Africa for two years before returning to lead a new government.
Image: All Basotho Convention file