Lesotho police call in ministers for questioning about Thomas Thabane's first wife's murder

22 January 2020 - 13:32 By Marafaele Mohloboli
Lesotho prime minister Thomas Thabane with his wife, Maesaiah Thabane, at the funeral of his first wife, Lipolelo Thabane.
Lesotho prime minister Thomas Thabane with his wife, Maesaiah Thabane, at the funeral of his first wife, Lipolelo Thabane.

Lesotho police say they have received tip-offs about the whereabouts of the country's first lady, who is wanted in connection with murder.

Maesaiah Thabane, 43, the wife of prime minister Tom Thabane, has been on the run for two weeks. She is believed to have skipped Lesotho into SA.

The first lady was initially summoned by police to answer questions about the death of Thabane’s estranged wife, Lipolelo, who was killed in 2017.

“To date we have received tips of where she could be, but all those that we have followed so far have not yielded any positive results. We are still working on other processes to engage Interpol, but for now we have issued only a notice of wanted person locally,” said police spokesperson Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli on Tuesday.

“We have called in a few people already in connection with her going missing, but I am not in a position to disclose their names because we need to give them witness protection.”

Maesaiah, 43, also known as Liabiloe Ramoholi, is suspected of being behind Lipolelo's killing two days before Thabane's inauguration on June 3 2017.

On December 23, police commissioner Holomo Molibeli wrote a letter to Thabane informing him that his mobile number had been used to call one of the alleged assailants.

The letter asked Thabane, 80, to furnish police with information that could help them with the name and whereabouts of that person and what their conversation was about.

However, the prime minister then attempted to remove Molibeli from office. The police commissioner took the matter to court and was granted relief to stay in office until its finalisation next month.

Last week, in another twist in the dramatic case, police called in high-ranking officials for questioning. They included minister of water affairs Samonyane Ntsekele, who is former secretary-general of Thabane’s All Basotho Convention party, the government's secretary, Moahloli Mphaka, and the leader of the Basotho National Party, Chief Thesele Maseribane.

Maseribane is in a coalition partnership with Thabane's party.

Coalition leader and deputy prime minister Monyane Moleleki is due to appear before the police on Friday.

Thabane is expected to appear before them on Wednesday.

The prime minister, who has come under severe political pressure, has said he will step down, but has not committed to a time frame.