Lesotho court to decide whether PM can face murder charge

MASERU, LESOTHO (AP) — Lesotho’s Prime Minister appeared in court on Monday but the murder case against him failed to proceed as the magistrate referred the matter to the Constitutional Court to decide whether a sitting Prime Minister can be charged with any crime.

Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s legal team argued against him being charged.

The 80-year-old leader is accused of murder in the 2017 killing of his estranged wife, Lipolelo. His current wife, Maesaiah, already has been charged after briefly fleeing to neighbouring South Africa. Last week the Prime Minister himself left for South Africa for what his lawyer called medical reasons, missing a court appearance.

Monday was Thabane’s first public appearance since then, and it came as a surprise to many in the southern African kingdom.

His legal team argued that the defence team’s application for referral to the Constitutional Court was premature because Thabane has not yet been charged.

The defence said the prime minister’s mere appearance in court was enough of a reason.

Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and his wife Maesaiah in a court, in Maseru. PHOTO: AP