Police in Lesotho fear the prime minister’s current wife could flee to South Africa while on bail after she was charged this week of murdering the premier’s estranged wife.
Maesaiah Thabane, 42, was detained and charged this week for the murder of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s estranged wife Lipolelo, who was shot dead near her home in the capital, Maseru, on June 14, 2017, at the age of 58.
Her lawyer claims Maesaiah needs to travel to South Africa for medical reasons.
The deputy police commissioner (DCP) said he is concerned the 42-year-old could escape justice if allowed to travel.
Her lawyer Rethabile Setlojoane said she would not comment on the allegations as she has yet to enter a plea.
Maesaiah was remanded in custody on Tuesday along with eight others in Lesotho and South Africa for the 2017 murder, police confirmed.
Deputy police commissioner Paseka Mokete said that there was a ‘strong case’ against the first lady and that investigations had been ‘satisfactorily completed’.
Thabane absconded after being summoned as part of an investigation into the killing.
Thabane and his first wife were involved in bitter divorce proceedings when the 58-year-old was gunned down outside her home in Lesotho’s capital, two days before her husband’s inauguration.
New evidence surfaced in early January, when a letter from Lesotho’s police chief was made public alleging that communication records from the day of the crime picked up the prime minister’s mobile number.
Thomas Thabane, who is now 80, has since bowed to pressure and offered to resign at a date not yet disclosed.
He has also been questioned by the police over the killing.
But his current wife vanished when the police called her in to testify last month, prompting the issuing of an arrest warrant.
The murder of Lipolelo Thabane sent shock waves through the tiny mountain kingdom, which is ringed by South Africa and has a long history of political turmoil.
Senior members of the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) party have accused the prime minister of hampering investigations into the killing.
Thabane last month said he would leave office on the grounds of old age but gave no time frame for his departure.
Hundreds of opposition supporters marched through the streets of Maseru on the day the prime minister was quizzed by police, demanding he step down with immediate effect.
Maesaiah Thabane was picked up on the border with South Africa following an arrangement between her lawyer and the police.