Maesiah Thabane, First Lady of the Kingdom of Lesotho, Accused of Murdering Former First Lady

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Newly appointed Lesotho prime Minister Thomas Thabane (L), leader of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) political party, his wife Maesaiah Thabane and Zambian President Edgar Lungu (R) attend Thabane's inauguration on June 16, 2017 in Maseru. - Lesotho's new prime minister took office at the head of a coalition government, three years after he was targeted by a putsch and two days after the murder of his estranged wife. (Photo by SAMSON MOTIKOE / AFP) (Photo by SAMSON MOTIKOE/AFP via Getty Images)

After numerous weeks of hiding in South Africa trying to avoid officials, Maesiah Thabane was found crossing back into Lesothan territory in early February, where she was quickly found and turned over to the police.

The prime minister’s ex-wife was shot and killed outside of her home by unknown assailants just two days before the prime minister’s inauguration back in 2017. The separated couple, having been lived separately since 2012, were just settling their divorce when Lipoleo Thabane, who was 58 years old at the time of her death was shot and killed at close range on the side of her home. Maesiah Thabane and the prime minister were in a relationship in the few years leading up to the murder and it was not long after the death of Lipolelo that the two were happily married with a “Catholic ceremony at Setsoto Stadium in Maseru”, according to CNN.

Originally, the blame was placed on the unidentified armed men, but that was quickly revoked after court papers from the police commissioner, Holomeo Molibeli, came to light. These papers raised questions, according to bbc.com: “She is accused of masterminding the assassination of the prime minister’s estranged wife, Lipolelo Thabane, and the attempted murder of a family friend Thato Sibolla”.

The first lady has not submitted a plea to the charges she currently has against her, and was granted a bail of 1,000 Loti or $67 US dollars. She nor the rest of the Thabane family answered any questions from the media. However, the prime minister was taken in by the police for questioning, due to the suspicion with his involvement with the murder, but he was never charged of anything. Even so, there is an immense amount of pressure by both his own ruling party and the kingdom’s population to step down out of office but he still has yet to do so despite the controversy and mystery.

All in all, when the case does go to trial it will stand the test of judicial independence. As CNN reported with words from Lipolelo’s daughter, “If the allegations are true and she is convicted, then justice will be done. It will never bring back our mother that was murdered, but justice will be done.”