Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane announced on Monday 18 May his resignation, the long-awaited epilogue to several months of a political crisis caused by his presumed involvement in the assassination of his former wife in 2017. Thomas Thabane and his wife had been in the process of divorce for several years. “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’s mouth,” the 80-year-old head of government told the press from his residence. But the man, whose term of office was due to end in 2022, did not say whether his withdrawal was immediate.
In power for nearly three years, Thomas Thabane, the fifth prime minister of this small kingdom since 2014, has been suspected since the beginning of the year of having participated in the assassination of his ex-wife, Lipolelo Thabane, a few days before taking office.
He has so far resisted all calls for his resignation from his own party, the Convention of All Basoto (ABC), and his government coalition. In a hurry to retire as soon as possible, he had only pledged to leave office “by the end of July”, due to his age.
Last month, Thomas Thabane did not hesitate to take the army down to the streets of the capital Maseru to, he justified, “restore order” in the face of his political enemies, who he described as factious. Under South African mediation, the coalition government then undertook to allow a “dignified” exit for the Prime Minister. However, the Prime Minister then repeatedly refused to set a date for his departure.