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Monday, April 6, 2020

Lesotho PM leaves country as murder charges loom

Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane has failed to appear in court to face charges of murdering his estranged wife, Lipolelo Thabane in 2017.

An aide and Mr Thabane’s son say the 80-year-old leader is receiving treatment in neighbouring South Africa.

His current wife Maesaiah Thabane has already been charged with the murder.

Mr Thabane would be the first African leader to be charged with a domestic murder while in office, in a case that has shocked the tiny mountain kingdom.

He has not commented on the allegations.

He was expected in court at 09:00 local time (07:00 GMT) to face murder charges, reports the Reuters news agency.

“He is not attending court, he has gone for a medical check up in South Africa,” his personal secretary Thabo Thakalekoala told news agency AFP, adding that it was a “routine” medical check.

Mr Thabane’s previous wife Lipolelo Thabane, 58, was shot dead in the capital, Maseru, two days before Mr Thabane became prime minister in 2017.

Mr Thabane said on state radio on Thursday that he had served the nation “diligently” and he would retire at the end of July.

“I’ve worked for a peaceful and stable Lesotho. Today… at my age, I have lost most of my energy,” he was quoted as saying.

He did not mention the allegations against him.

The ruling All Basotho Convention had given him a deadline of Thursday to resign.

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