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Lesotho First Lady set to be arrested after failing to turn up for questioning for husband’s first wife’s murder

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Lipolelo Thabane

Lesotho First Lady set to be arrested after failing to turn up for questioning for husband’s first wife’s murder. The announcement came just days after senior officials in the ruling party called for Prime Minister Thomas Thabane to resign, accusing him of obstructing the investigation into the killing. Lipolelo Thabane was gunned down by unknown assailants on the outskirts of the capital Maseru in June 2017, two days before her husband’s inauguration.

A court has issued an arrest warrant for the Lesotho prime minister’s wife after she failed to turn up for questioning over the 2017 murder of his previous wife, police said Saturday.

In a letter that only became public in court documents this week, Lesotho’s police chief Holomo Molibeli asked the prime minister to answer questions regarding his estranged wife’s killing. Thabane subsequently tried to suspend him but went back on his decision this week after Molibeli challenged it in court.

Thabane’s current wife Maesaiah Thabane was summoned for questioning on Friday to “shed some light into the ongoing investigations”, deputy police commissioner Paseka Mokete told AFP. “We got at the State House at around 12 midday (on Friday) but were denied access by the guards at the gate,” Mokete told AFP on Saturday.

“When we were allowed entry… she was nowhere to be found.” A court subsequently issued a warrant for her arrest, he added. Attorney general Haae Phoofolo later told police that Maesaiah Thabane would be handed over on Monday. The prime minister’s spokesman Relebohile Moyeye did not respond to calls.

Mokete added that other “prominent people” would be summoned for questioning over the affair. This is just the latest development in a story that has gripped the tiny poverty-stricken country, which is ringed by South Africa.

At the time his first wife was killed, Thomas Thabane, now 80 years old, had been embroiled in bitter divorce proceedings with her. Molibeli’s allegations only became public this week in legal documents the police commissioner filed challenging the move to suspend him.

The file contains a letter from Molibeli to the prime minister saying that communication records from the day of Lipolelo’s murder picked up Thabane’s mobile phone number. In the letter — dated December 23, 2019 — Molibeli asks Thabane to disclose who he spoke to.

“The investigations reveal that there was a telephonic communication at the scene of the crime in question… with another cell phone,” said the letter. “The cell phone number belongs to you.” Thabane has accused Molibeli of overseeing a wave of police brutality against civilians and last week launched attempts to remove the police chief.

In an explosive affidavit, Molibeli claims Thabane sought to suspend him because investigations show the prime minister was “implicated” in his wife’s murder. The prime minister’s spokesman Relebohile Moyeye said Thabane had not received the letter.

“We are very much surprised to have seen such letter trending on social media. It is therefore not easy to comment on anything as we can’t verify the authenticity of such letter,” he said. In his inaugural speech, Thabane described his wife’s murder as a “senseless killing”. Lesotho’s ruling party has urged Thabane to resign over the allegations, calling him a “threat to the nation”.

Source – ZimLive

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