Lesotho: Former First Lady Maesaiah Thabane Granted Bail In Lipolelo Murder Case

Lesotho’s former first lady, Maesaiah Thabane, who has been charged for the murder of former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s estranged wife, was granted bail on Monday after spending three weeks in prison, reported Reuters.

Maesaiah was charged in February after police questioned her in connection to the 2017 slaying of Thabane’s wife Lipolelo two days before his inauguration. Lipolelo was shot dead near her home in Lesotho’s capital, Maseru, in June, 2017. The couple was in the middle of a divorce when she was shot outside her home. Thomas married his current wife after the death of his wife.

 Police have also charged her for the attempted murder of Lipolelo’s friend Thato Sibolla, who was wounded during the attack.

The Lesotho police also questioned Thabane over the murder and accused him paying a down payment of $24,000 to assassins to kill his wife. The former prime minister, who has not been charged, came under increasing pressure to step down over the murder. He stepped down in May after months of calls for his resignation over the case.

Both Thabane and Maesaiah have denied any involvement in the murder. When police tried to question the former first lady earlier this year, she left Lesotho for neighboring South Africa.

“The petitioner has fled before and is likely to do so again. She is also very dangerous and has resources she can use to hire hitmen to interfere and eliminate the witnesses,” Lesotho’s Deputy Police Commissioner Paseka Mokete said in his objection to the High court’s decision.

Maesaiah will be allowed to go home on Tuesday as she could not post her bail money on Monday. The office of the clerk of court had already closed by the time judgment was handed down. The judge cautioned her against interfering with witnesses and instructed her to report to her local police station fortnightly.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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