Lesotho’s first lady on Tuesday came out of hiding and turned herself in for questioning over the brutal 2017 murder of the prime minister’s previous wife, police said.
Maesaiah Thabane, 42, went missing last month after she was summoned by the police as part of an investigation into the killing of Lipolelo Thabane — Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s estranged wife.
The couple was involved in bitter divorce proceedings when she was gunned down outside her home in Lesotho’s capital Maseru in June 2017, two days before her husband’s inauguration.
New evidence surfaced in early January when a letter from Lesotho’s police chief was made public alleging that communication records from the day of the crime picked up the prime minister’s mobile number.
Thomas Thabane, who is now 80, has since bowed to pressure and offered to resign at a date not yet disclosed. He has also been questioned by the police over the killing.
But his current wife vanished when the police called her in to testify, prompting the issuing of an arrest warrant.
“(Maesaiah Thabane) initiated her coming back,” police spokesman Mpiti Mopeli told AFP, adding that the first lady was “picked from the border” with South Africa, following an arrangement between her lawyer and the police.
“Right now she is still being questioned,” he said. “Talks will determine whether she (will) be detained or not.”
The murder of 58-year-old Lipolelo Thabane sent shock waves through the tiny mountain kingdom, which is entirely surrounded by South Africa and has a long history of political turmoil.
Senior members of the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) party have accused the prime minister of hampering investigations into the killing.
The prime minister last month said he would leave office on the grounds of old age but gave no time frame for his departure.
Hundreds of opposition supporters marched through the streets of Maseru on the day the prime minister was quizzed by police, demanding he step down with immediate effect.