Police have confirmed Wednesday’s killing of Mrs. Lipolelo Thabane, 58, the wife of incoming Lesotho’s Prime Minister, Tom, two days before her husband’s inauguration.
The incident has raised the fears of another wave of political violence in the southern African mountain kingdom.
Police spokesperson Clifford Molefe said Lipolelo was traveling home with a friend when both women where shot by an unknown assailant in the town of Masana, just outside the capital, Maseru.
Molefe said Lipolelo died on the scene while her friend was taken to a nearby hospital. Molefe said the motive of the shooting was unknown and that investigations were ongoing.
Lesotho, which has been on a political knife-edge since an attempted coup in 2014, held elections last week, the third in five years, after then-prime minister Pakalitha Mosisili lost a no-confidence vote in March.
Thabane’s All Basotho Convention won 48 parliamentary seats, compared with 30 won by Mosisili’s Democratic Congress.
Thabane and Lipolelo had been living separately since 2012 after Thabane filed for a divorce which had yet to be granted by the courts.
Thabane’s office was unreachable for comment.
However there are indication that the Lipolelo is an estranged wife of the Prime Minister, who was either trying to stage a come back or make claims on her husband.
There had been no love lost between her and her husband’s current wife.
These facts were reflected on social media reports which have gone viral in less than 24 hours after her death.
Mpatsi reports that that news had it that Mme Lipolelo Thabane was a threat to first-lady benefits hence her killing. heart breaking.
Public Eye said the Lesotho Estranged wife of PM Thabane, Lipolelo Thabane, sought legal remedy to stop his traditional wife from accessing money.
Public Eye Lesotho also in a tweet quoted the woman as saying: “ I love my husband & yearn our mutual restoration of conjugal rights, consortium, marital rights & privileges.”
Mathe V.K. Ntsekhe said: ”Let’s be clear on one thing: Mme Lipolelo Thabane had her reasons & right to want to claim benefits of being a first lady!”
Chriselda Lewis tweeted that Lipolelo Thabane’s killing comes on the eve of her estranged husband Tom Tabane’s inauguration.
Suntosh Pillay Tragic and shameful! Lipolelo Thabane has been shot dead on the eve of her husband Tom’s inauguration as Prime Minister of
olwetu @xzoif May she rest in peace ?? “@IOL: @xzoif Her name is Lipolelo Alice Thabane”
(Reuters/with NAN report)