Lesotho's First Lady Will Be Charged With Murder

She's accused of killing her husband's previous wife
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2020 1:40 PM CST
Prime Minister's Wife Accused of Killing Other Wife
In this Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, file photo Lesotho's Prime Minister Thomas Motsoahae Thabane addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

The first lady of the small southern African country of Lesotho is due to be charged with murder on Wednesday, with the BBC reporting Maesaiah Thabane is accused of killing her husband's previous wife. Two days before Thomas Thabane began his second term as prime minister, the wife he was in the process of divorcing was shot dead. He referenced Lipolelo Thabane's "senseless" death at his inauguration, which now-current-wife Maesaiah Thabane attended with him. They married two months later. The Independent notes that two years prior to Lipolelo Thabane's murder, a court ruled that she was indeed the first lady despite being estranged from her husband—meaning she had access to the chauffeured car and security that came with the position.

The AP reports Maesaiah Thabane, 42, fled the country on Jan. 10 and reportedly entered neighboring South Africa; an arrest warrant was issued for her that same day. A police rep says her lawyers worked with law enforcement, and she turned herself in on Tuesday. The BBC reports 8 others are said to be facing the same charge. Thomas Thabane was himself questioned by police in January "over the alleged use of his mobile phone to communicate with whoever was at the scene of the killing," per the AP. He has said he will step down but has not provided a date for doing so. (Read more Lesotho stories.)

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