Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane has denied stories that he has fled to South Africa after he failed to seem in court docket to face costs of murdering his estranged spouse in 2017.
He has gone there for a medical examine up as an alternative, his workplace stated.
His present spouse Maesaiah Thabane has already been charged with the homicide.
Mr Thabane can be the primary African chief to be charged with a home homicide whereas in workplace, in a case that has shocked the tiny mountain kingdom.
His workplace says he respects the rule of regulation and that he plans to seem earlier than the court docket when he returns from South Africa.
Police on Thursday stated he can be charged with homicide in court docket on Friday. He was anticipated in court docket at 09:00 native time (07:00 GMT), stories the Reuters information company.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Paseka Mokete instructed reporters he was not conscious of Mr Thabane’s whereabouts, however stated that if he was in a foreign country receiving remedy then they’d wait to renew the case when he returns.
“We can not at this stage say he’s contemptuous [of the court],” he added.
Mr Thabane’s earlier spouse Lipolelo Thabane, 58, was shot lifeless within the capital, Maseru, two days earlier than Mr Thabane turned prime minister in 2017.
He stated on state radio on Thursday that he had served the nation “diligently” and he would retire on the finish of July.
“I’ve labored for a peaceable and secure Lesotho. Right this moment… at my age, I’ve misplaced most of my power,” he was quoted as saying.
He didn’t point out the allegations towards him.
The ruling All Basotho Conference had given him a deadline of Thursday to resign.
Strain on PM Thabane has not relented again at residence, regardless of him being in South Africa to obtain medical remedy.
There’s heavy police presence within the Maseru Magistrates Courtroom – with a handful of his supporters ready to see how the day will unfold.
The police boss Holomo Molibeli instructed the BBC that with Mr Thabane’s well being permitting, they nonetheless intend to have the him delivered to court docket on Friday.
His celebration the All Basotho Conference (ABC), the biggest member in a coalition authorities, is scrambling behind the scenes to agree on his successor. Many inside his authorities need him out – in order that he faces the prison costs as an abnormal citizen.
That is unchartered territory for Lesotho. If he’s formally charged whereas nonetheless in workplace it might create a constitutional disaster, a scenario that would destabilise the nation.
How did the homicide happen?
Lipolelo was gunned down at shut vary on the aspect of a mud highway whereas returning to her residence in a small village on the outskirts of the capital, Maseru.
She was concerned in bitter divorce proceedings with Mr Thabane when she was killed.
On the time, the prime minister was residing with Maesaiah, 42, as if she have been his spouse.
However Lipolelo had already received a separate authorized battle to be recognised as First Woman, moderately than Maesaiah.
Maesaiah accompanied Mr Thabane to his inauguration, following his estranged spouse’s dying.
Two months later she and Mr Thabane received married in a Catholic ceremony held at a packed stadium in Maseru.
Maesaiah was charged together with her rival’s homicide on 5 February, and is out on bail of about $67 (£52).
She has additionally been charged with the tried homicide of a household good friend Thato Sibolla, who was with Lipolelo on the time of the capturing and is predicted to be a key witness within the homicide case.
Maesaiah has not but been requested to enter a plea.