Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane to ‘resign because of old age’

May 13, 2020
| Report Focus News
Prime Minister of Lesotho, Thomas Motsoahae Thabane looks on during the closing ceremony of the 37th Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit of Heads of State and Government at The OR Tambo Building in Pretoria on August 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / GULSHAN KHAN (Photo credit should read GULSHAN KHAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Lesotho’s 80-year-old Prime Minister Thomas Thabane has told AFP news agency that he “intends to resign on Wednesday because of old age”.

He is accused of murdering his estranged wife, allegations that caused his coalition government to crumble on Monday, leaving him without enough seats to continue governing.

The parliamentary speaker consequently announced that he had to step down by 22 May.

Mr Thabane and his current wife Maesaiah deny involvement in the murder of Dipolelo Thabane – who was shot several times outside her home in 2017, on the eve of Mr Thabane’s inauguration.

Dipolelo’s murder case is still before the courts.

The prime minister, whose term ends in 2022, is quoted by AFP as saying in a telephone interview on Tuesday that he is keen on ensuring his retirement is “as smooth as possible”.

He said he would inform the king of the tiny mountain kingdom of his decision.

“I will have to go and inform him that I am leaving. Normally he would say ‘fine’,” he was quoted as saying.

Many in Lesotho believe that Mr Thabane has spent the last few months trying to lobby those in power for immunity from prosecution.

His party, the All Basotho Convention (ABC), has previously said he will not be receiving any protection from the law.