It is finally official, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane resigned Monday, May 18, 2020. And yet he had refused many times to leave power pushing the deadline for his resignation to July 2020. But pressure from all sides was right about him. “I have decided to announce to you personally that I am stepping down as Prime Minister of Lesotho. I wanted you to hear it from the horse,” said the controversial politician. His term was to end in 2022.
The story seems to be an unprecedented and incredible soap opera, an epilogue of several months of political crisis, a political crisis provoked by his questioning in the assassination of his former wife in 2017. Lipolelo Thabane, 58, was murdered on 14 June 2017 as she was driving home in her car in Maseru, the capital. She had been separated from Thomas Thabane for several years.
Press the “Back” button in the story of the Thabane couple: Despite the separation, Thomas and Lopelelo Thabane were not divorced yet, but they were in full divorce proceedings. However, her husband had already begun an idyllic story with another woman named Maesaiah who would later officially become his second wife. Two days before her assassination, her 80-year-old husband Thomas Thabane was appointed Prime Minister. With his arrival at the head of the government, the two women engaged in a legal battle to establish which of the two women would obtain first lady status with the Prime Minister.
However, since 2017, almost three years to the day, the truth about this murder has hardly been solved. But, suddenly, in February 2020 Maesaiah will be arrested and charged with murder. She will finally be released on bail.
At the country’s research division, the investigation continues to find the culprit of this macabre action. Through wiretapping, according to investigators, a call made from Thomas Thabane’s phone was located at the scene of the crime.
Everything is rushing during the year 2020, which has not been easy for the Prime Minister. The noose is now tightening on Thomas Thabane. He is released by his party the ABC (All Basotho Convention) which had asked him to resign before 20 February 2020, which he did not respect. It is around his political opponents to force him to resign. However, he still wants to resign by the end of July 2020.
Seeing that things were not moving in his favour, on April 18, 2020, Thomas Thabane deployed the army in the streets of the capital to “restore peace and order”. After a short time, the army finally returned to its barracks the day after its exit, on Sunday 19 April.
The kingdom is thus going through an unprecedented political crisis with this story, where Prime Minister Thomas Thabane is accused of having orchestrated the assassination of his ex-wife. However, the head of government deliberately clings to his position despite pressure from both sides.
As a coup de force, his opponents gathered around a political coalition to be able to replace him quickly. The Prime Minister’s response: he orders the suspension of Parliament in April 2020 for three months as part of the fight against covid-19 in the country. The Constitutional Court, for its part, immediately quashed this suspension order on Thursday, April 16, 2020. The pressure on his party’s leaders and the opposition’s continues to mount. The latter suspects him of wanting to save time in order to organize his judicial impunity.
Today, his resignation sounds like a victory or even a relief for what he wanted. The landlocked Lesotho in the middle of South Africa has gained its independence since 1966. The country has been experiencing political instability for more than forty years, punctuated by military coups.