THE resignation of Thomas Thabane as the prime minister of Lesotho should not give him immunity for his alleged involvement in the murder of his late wife, Lipolelo Thabane, Amnesty International said.
Thabane resigned on Monday and handed over power to Moeketsi Majoro, the former finance minister, on Wednesday.
‘Despite having resigned from his position as prime minister, Mr Thabane remains a powerful figure in Lesotho’s political scene. The wheels of justice have not turned fast enough in this scandalous case while Thabane was in power. They must do so now,’ said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s director for east and southern Africa.
‘His resignation should not give him any immunity for the murder charges he is facing of his late wife and the charges for the attempted murder of her acquaintance Thato Sebolla.’
Muchena said there were concerns about the safety of witnesses in Lipolelo’s murder case.
‘One of the individuals considered a key witness has died in mysterious circumstances and others have fled the country after receiving death threats. The authorities have failed to provide adequate protection to them, despite police having information on the threats they face and risks to their lives,’ he said.
Muchena called for an inquiry into the murder but added that all suspects should receive a fair trial.
Thabane and his current wife, Maesaiah Thabane, are facing charges related to the 2017 murder of his late wife, Lipolelo, and the attempted murder of her acquaintance Thato Sibolla, a charge they have denied.
Thabane was sworn in as prime minister two days after Lipolelo was gunned down. He took office following a vote of no confidence in former prime minister Pakalitha Mosisili on March 1, 2017.
Lipolelo was gunned down on June 14, 2017, in Ha Masana outside Maseru. At the time of the attack, she was driving with her acquaintance Sibolla, who was also shot and sustained injuries.
The former prime minister had been separated from Lipolelo since 2012 and the couple were going through a prolonged divorce. He married Maesaiah two months after Lipolelo was killed.
According to media reports, Thabane is linked to Lipolelo’s murder through cellphone records. His cellphone was allegedly traced to the murder scene.