Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane on Monday announced he will step down from office following months of pressure after he was accused of being involved in the murder of his wife, 58-year-old Lipolelo Thabane, three years ago, reported the BBC.
The couple was in the midst of a bitter divorce when she was shot and killed outside her home two days before her husband’s 2017 inauguration.
“I decided to personally come and inform you that I am stepping down as prime minister of Lesotho,” he told supporters on Monday in his Abia home constituency on the outskirts of the capital, Maseru.
While Thabane did not announce when he would leave office, his party said a new prime minister would be sworn in on Wednesday. He went on to clarify that he would remain leader of his governing All Basotho Convention (ABC) party for the time being.
“It is rather difficult to part ways with something that you had been accustomed to and leave people behind, but we all have to leave at some point,” Thabane said.
Last week, Lesotho’s coalition government collapsed after alliance partners pulled their support. Thabane was put under pressure by his own party to quit. Nepotism and high levels of corruption were listed as the main reasons.
The 80-year-old’s current wife, with whom he was living at the time of the murder, has also been charged in connection with Lipolelo’s killing in February 2017. Police said they believed that Thabane may have had a hand in the murder of his former wife as investigations uncovered that his phone was used on the day that Lipolelo was gunned down.
Thabane was made to appear in court earlier this year but he hasn’t been formally charged yet. The premier insists that the accusations against him are politically motivated.