Prime Minister Thomas Thabane is exhausting all of his legal options to skirt prosecution from the much-publicist murder of his estranged wife, Lipolelo Thabane
By Staff Writers
Maseru, Feb 24 (The Night’s Watch) – Prime Minister Thomas Thabane on Monday narrowly overcame a bid by the police and prosecutors to have him charged with the murder of his estranged wife Lipolelo Thabane.
Thabane had initially been scheduled to hear the charges on Friday, but left to South Africa for what his Senior Private Secretary Thabo Thakalekoala said was a medical appointment.
He is suspected of involvement in the murder of Lipolelo, who was shot dead in June 2017, two days before he took office as a prime minister — and two months before he married his current wife ‘Maesaiah Thabane.
‘Maesaiah has also been charged with the murder, and police suspect her of ordering assassins to do the job. Both deny any involvement.
When Thabane appeared before the Maseru Magistrate Court on Monday, his lawyer, Qhalehang Letsika, argued that the matter should be referred to the Constitutional Court to determine and give guidance on whether it is proper for the crown to charge a sitting Prime Minister.
Letsika said the murder charge against a sitting prime minister raised a significant constitutional issue that needed to be resolved before charges could be read against his client.
The magistrate Phethisi Motanyane agreed to refer the case to the Constitutional Court.
Thabane, 80, announced last Thursday that he would step down at the end of July. He cited old age as the reason for leaving office.
“Not only does the job of Prime Minister require sensory perception, but rapid reaction and physical strength are also a necessity for the incumbent in that office,” he said on the state radio.
“In this connection, I wish to, with all humility, announce that I effectively retire as Prime with effect from the end of July this year, or at an earlier date if all the requisite preparations for my retirement are completed before then,” he added.
He indicated that he hoped the remaining months that he would spend in office “will afford parliament and my party enough time to work on the transitional arrangements”. NW