Lesotho: Coalition Government Calls for Prime Minister's Immediate Resignation

Prime Minister Tom Thabane (file photo).

The southern African country of Lesotho’s coalition government is calling for the immediate resignation of scandal-plagued Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.

The 80-year-old leader has been under pressure to leave office after being linked to the murder of his estranged wife, 58-year-old Lipolelo Thabane, three years ago.

The prime minister's current wife, Maesaiah Thabane, is charged with shooting to death  Lipolelo, two days before Thabane’s inauguration in 2017.

Both the government of Lesotho and South African mediators released a joint statement Monday, saying Thabane's departure should be graceful and that he gets what is described as a secure retirement.

Its unclear if that means Thabane would no longer face legal consequences for his alleged ties to his estranged wife's murder.

Thabane has also been criticized for calling up troops over the weekend to restore order in Lesotho, following his claim some leaders in law enforcement were seeking to undermine democracy in the small country surrounded by South Africa.

Observers believe the troop deployment to the capital, Maserua, was a last ditch effort by Thabane to remain in power.  A day before he called up the troops, his authority took another hit when the constitutional court ruled against his decision to suspend parliament.

Although Thabane has previously promised to leave office at the end of July,  South African mediator Jeff Radebe told reporters his departure should be imminent.

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