Lesotho PM Thabane to resign by 22 May

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Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane will resign by 22 May, his spokesman said, adding he knew nothing of a report that the prime minister would hand his resignation to the king today.

Thabane’s departure would resolve a political crisis and end a career marked by exile, political feuding, intrigue and strain with the military.

The prime minister was under pressure to resign over a case in which he and his current wife are suspected of conspiring to murder his former wife three years ago. Both deny any involvement.

AFP news quoted Thabane in an interview as saying he would send a resignation letter to King Letsie III on Wednesday. He is required to step down by the end of next week to make way for a new government, after his coalition collapsed on Monday, but did not signal when he intends to exit.

Thabane’s spokesman, Thabo Thakalekoala, said the prime minister would leave by the 22nd, but had no further information.

Police named Thabane and his current wife, Maesaiah, in the murder case last year, heightening political tension as he came under pressure to step down.

All parties provisionally agree Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro will replace Thabane.

Maesaiah was charged in the murder case with Thabane named as a suspect though he has not been formally charged. Lawmakers said he was not offered immunity when he signed the deal to dissolve government.

Members of the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) and opposition parties put pressure on Thabane to step aside, as had Lesotho’s neighbour, South Africa.