Lesotho: Claims Thabane Is Now On His Death-Bed Refuted

CLAIMS that former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane is terminally ill and requires constant spousal care have been rebuffed.

The claims have been made by Mr Thabane's wife, Maesaiah, in her bid for bail after she was sent to remand prison last week for her alleged role in the killing of the ex-premier 's wife Lipolelo.

But Mr Thabane's grandson, Thomas Thabane Jr, and Lipolelo's friend, Thato Sibolla, have rubbished the claims by 'Maesaiah.

Apart from Lipolelo's murder, the ex-first lady is also charged with the attempted murder of Ms Sibolla, who was critically injured in the 14 June 2017 shooting which claimed Lipolelo's life.

'Maesaiah claims in her bid for bail that Mr Thabane is suffering from prostate cancer, Alzheimer's disease and incontinence among other illnesses.

She begs the courts to release her to look after him, claiming that no one else could provide the intimate care that he requires than a spouse. However, Mr Thabane Jr and Ms Sibolla have rubbished the claims in their court papers this week asking the High Court to allow them to oppose 'Maesaiah's bail application.

They said the allegations were false and they would successfully prove that if given a chance to oppose 'Maesaiah's bail.

"If given the opportunity, we shall present evidence that would show that the petitioner ('Maesaiah) is a flight risk, she is a risk to the society and all witnesses," Ms Sibolla and Mr Thabane state in their court papers.

"All allegations about the former prime minister's health are false beyond doubt," they further state.

Their application to be allowed to oppose 'Maesaiah's bail was granted yesterday by High Court Judge Thamsanqa Nomngcongo. They must now file their papers before the bail application is heard on 16 June 2020.

The Deputy Police Commissioner (DCP) Paseka Mokete also disputed 'Maesaiah's claims that Mr Thabane is terminally ill and needs his wife to take care of him.

"The petitioner ('Maesaiah) is neither a qualified medical practitioner nor a qualified nurse. The petitioner also left the second suspect (Mr Thabane) for a period of three weeks from 10 January 2020 to 5 February 2020 when she fled to South Africa.

"At no stage does she claim to have returned to attend to the second suspect's (Thabane) alleged ailing medical conditions. As a former prime minister, the second suspect is even entitled to such free medical treatment which is provided by the government in accordance with the provisions of Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister (Retirement and Spouse's Benefits) Regulations of 2016," DCP Mokete states in his opposing affidavit.

Ms Sibolla and Mr Thabane Jr also said they did not trust the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Advocate Hlalefang Motinyane, to protect their interests in the case against 'Maesaiah.

'Maesaiah was initially granted bail by Acting Chief Justice 'Maseforo Mahase on 5 February 2020 but she was sent to Maseru Central Prison on 3 June 2020 after the Court of Appeal revoked the bail. This was after an appeal by Ms Sibolla, Mr Thabane Jr and two of Mr Thabane's nephews.

In its 29 May 2020 judgement setting aside 'Maesaiah's bail, the apex court blasted DPP Motinyane for her failure to lodge a comprehensive application opposing 'Maesaiah's bail. She was criticised for merely concentrating on the issue of 'Maesaiah not being a flight risk while ignoring more critical issues including the submissions by DCP Mokete and the police's legal department that 'Maesaiah could even kill Ms Sibolla and interfere with witnesses.

Such omissions were "fatal" as they had resulted in a flawed judgement by Justice Mahase, the apex court said.

In their latest court papers, Ms Sibolla and Mr Thabane Jr insist that they still do not trust DPP Motinyane to fully protect their interests hence their application to be allowed to oppose 'Maesaiah's fresh bail application.

'Maesaiah had only cited DPP Motinyane as the only respondent in her latest application in what appeared to be a strategic move by the ex-first lady to wiggle her way out of jail, assuming the DPP had maintained her stance not to oppose bail. She had left out Ms Sibolla and Mr Thabane Jr despite that they are the ones who had successfully petitioned the Court of Appeal for an order revoking her bail. The two nonetheless successfully applied to be joined in the application yesterday.

"I wish to state that I harbour no confidence in the prosecuting authority (DPP Motinyane) securing my interests in these proceedings and for that reason find it imperative that I secure my interests in my own right represented by my own legal representative," Ms Sibolla said in her founding affidavit supported by Mr Thabane Jr.

As an eyewitness and victim, Ms Sibolla, said she had expected DPP Motinyane to consult her when 'Maesaiah filed a fresh bail application but "to my utter dismay, this was unfortunately not done".

Ms Sibolla said this was not the first time DPP Motinyane had disregarded her interests in the matter. She said she had expected DPP Motinyane to challenge 'Maesaiah's initial 5 February 2020 bail application granted by Justice Mahase.

"That she (DPP Motinyane) did not do and to date we have not received any explanation for that. Things being that way, me and the relatives of my deceased friend, Lipolelo Thabane, and ironically those of the former Prime Minister who were raised and mentored by the deceased were left with no option but to personally join the battle and challenge the decision to grant bail in the Court of Appeal.

"By God's grace the apex court ruled in our favour and the initial order granting the petitioner bail was set aside," Ms Sibolla said.

She said the apex court found that she and Mr Thabane Jr had a right to oppose 'Maesaiah's bail application because the latter is accused of directly or indirectly committing crimes against them.

She said that she was injured by 'Maesaiah who had attempted to kill her while Mr Thabane Jr had lost his grandmother, Lipolelo, who was allegedly murdered by 'Maesaiah.

She said despite this DPP Motinyane did not consult them to get their views to oppose 'Maesaiah's latest bail application.

She said she had written an email to the DPP making it clear that she wanted 'Maesaiah's bail application opposed but had not received a response from her.

"She (DPP Motinyane) has not responded to this request and remains silent if not indifferent like she did in the previous petition.

"We do not trust that she will represent our interests well hence our intervention in this matter," Ms Sibolla states in her affidavit.

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