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DC weighs in on PM’s wife shooting


Tefo Tefo

THE Democratic Congress (DC) has added its voice to opposition claims that the brutal killing of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s wife, Lipolelo was an inside job to prevent her from becoming first lady.

Ms Thabane was shot and killed by an unknown assailant at her Ha-‘Masane home, in the outskirts of Maseru on 14 June 2017 – with only a day before her husband’s inauguration.

For its part, the All Basotho Convention (ABC) has dismissed the allegations as baseless and urged the parties to divulge what they know to the police “if they are sincere”.

This past week, the youth leagues of some opposition parties waded into the murder investigation, saying they were ready to assist the police “since it was crystal clear” who was behind it.

The youth leagues further claimed it was a “striking coincidence” that the killing happened “with just a day to go before Dr Thabane’s inauguration”, adding that Ms Thabane would have been entitled to the perks of a first lady.

And on Friday, the DC added its voice to the claims.

“On 14 June 2017, only two days before the inauguration of Prime Minister Thabane, his wife, Ms Lipolelo Thabane was savagely gunned down by unknown assailants in the vicinity of her residence at Ha-‘Masana, south of the Capital, Maseru,” the DC said in a press statement.

“The Democratic Congress is appalled by the silence around this heinous act of brutality.

“Mrs Thabane was destined to take office as Lesotho’s First Lady on 16 June when her husband was to be inaugurated as Prime Minister.

“Her murder was clearly calculated to forestall her entering into the office of First Lady,” reads part of the statement.

The DC went to say it would “not be drawn into any speculation in terms of who is responsible for this despicable act”.

“The point that we want to raise in the strongest of terms is the pitiful and rather callous attention which this epoch-making murder has attracted from key players and stakeholders in our country.”

Dr Thabane filed divorce papers against Ms Thabane – who was his second wife — on 27 July 2012, on grounds of malicious desertion, among other things.

The matter was still pending in the courts at the time of her death. However, the High Court had ruled, on 13 January 2015, that Lipolelo Ms Thabane was the country’s official First Lady “and should be immediately afforded all the benefits she is entitled to, including a chauffeur-driven government vehicle and bodyguard” pending finalisation of the divorce case.

The ABC leader is also married to ‘MaIsaiah Thabane.

However, ABC spokesperson Tefo Mapesela yesterday dismissed the DC allegations, adding, it was surprising that the DC could speculate into the cause of Ms Thabane’s death.

“We are all shocked about her death and it is unfortunate that she was killed during their regime and they did nothing.

“This First Lady issue was resolved by the courts of law in 2014 and she was not killed at that time.

“It is therefore, uncalled for now to attribute her death to the issue of occupying the office of the First Lady.

“We are however, pleading with them to provide with relevant information surrounding her death to the police,” Mr Mapesela said.

In addition, the DC blamed ABC for last week’s alleged invasion of Mo-Afrika radio station.

“This invasion was well-orchestrated and organised by a leading member of the ABC.

“He had appeared on one radio station publicly inciting supporters to raid that radio station, confront the Chief Editor (Ratabane Ramainoane) and ask him about the piffle that he had been spreading on his radio station.

“It is dreadful to imagine what would have happened if these militant raiders had found the Chief Editor at the studio. This invasion is their well-known strategy.

“Their political victory represents not only political supremacy but also some physical superiority and a right to use such superiority to violate the rights of those who are not with them.”

However, Mr Mapesela dismissed the allegations, saying, “We are not aware that there were people who invaded a radio station”.

“It is also surprising that these (DC) people do not mention the ‘well-known’ person they claim was leading the attack.”

The DC further criticised Dr Thabane after he did not use the vehicle provided by the army to salute the crowd at his inauguration at Setsoto Stadium.

They said the premier’s action was a symbolic repudiation of the army.

But Mr Mapesela countered this by saying there was no law which stated that the prime minister’s security lay solely with the army.

They should stop sniffing their noses around the Prime Minister’s security issues because they failed to provide him with security when they were still in office.”

“They should focus on rebuilding their party.

“But, if the government goes astray they would be within their rights to perform their duty as opposition to genuinely criticise the government as the watchdog,” Mr Mapesela said.


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