Moeketsi Majoro was sworn in as Lesotho’s new Prime Minister on Wednesday, a day after his predecessor resigned under pressure over a scandal involving the killing of his wife.
Majoro, who was previously Finance Minister, took the oath at the King’s palace in front of dignitaries. He did not give a speech.
Veteran politician Thomas Thabane, 80, bowed to calls to resign on Tuesday three months after police named him and his current wife Maesaiah as suspects in the murder of his former spouse Lipolelo in a case that has plunged the mountain kingdom into a political crisis.
Lipolelo Thabane was shot dead in her car in June 2017 two days before her husband’s inauguration.
She had reportedly refused him a divorce. He married Maesaiah two months after her death.
Maesaiah, who is aged 43, has been charged with murder, while Thabane argued in court in February that he has immunity due to his office. Both deny any wrongdoing.
In the video below, SABC Foreign Editor Sophie Mokoena has more detail on Thomas Thabane’s interview with Lesotho police:
Thabane’s own All Basotho Convention (ABC) party, opposition figures and South African mediators had been leaning on him to quit, but he had resisted, supported by an inner circle of loyalists who wanted him to remain.
Majoro, a former senior IMF official, now faces the task of uniting a fractious political elite in a country that has suffered several coups since independence from Britain in 1966.
In the video below, SABC’s Sophie Mokoena says Thabane will continue to lead the ABC party:
Mediation delegation commended
Meanwhile, the Southern African Development Community ( SADC) delegation that was sent to Lesotho to mediate the situation between Thabane and opposition parties has been commended for brokering a peaceful exit agreement.
The delegation was led by former South African Cabinet Minister, Jeff Radebe.
“The delegation that comprised some officials and ministers from the Republic of South Africa came into Lesotho just to broker a deal so that the Prime Minister could have a dignified exit. They have done a great job because the transition that we are going through now has been a very peaceful one.”
“This is the first time in the history of this country that a sitting Prime Minister volunteers to retire. The deal was put before parliament and finally, the deal was unanimously passed by both houses of parliament and it was given royal assent by his majesty,” says Thabane’s Senior Private Secretary, Thabo Thakalekwala.