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Lesotho PM Thomas Thabane agrees to step down immediately

Lesotho PM Thomas Thabane agrees to step down immediately
Kingdom of Lesotho's Prime Minister Thomas Thabane reached a deal with the government agreeing to immediately step down as he faces accusations that he was involved in the 2017 killing of his former wife. File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI  | License Photo

April 20 (UPI) -- Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane reached a deal with the country's government to step down immediately as he faces allegations he was involved in the killing of his ex-wife.

South African mediators brokered a deal with the country's coalition government ensuring Thabane will be allowed a "dignified and secure" exit from office.

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"The coalition government of the Kingdom of Lesotho commits to effecting the implementation process or modalities for the dignified, graceful and secure retirement of the right honorable prime minister," South African mediator Jeff Radebe and Lesotho Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki said in a joint statement.

Radebe said the deal indicated that Thabane's departure would be "immediate" although he had originally planned to step down in July.

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"There are one or two issues that need to be traversed in order to ensure that all political parties are of the same mind in terms of speeding up that parliamentary process," Radebe said.

On Saturday, Thabane deployed the army to the streets saying people and institutions were undermining his government and the rule of law and that democracy had been undermined with abuse of the courts, freedom of speech and human rights.

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Killed by gunmen

Thabane's former wife, Lipolelo Thabane was shot and killed by gunmen while she sat in her car outside of her home in the country's capital of Maseru in 2017, two days before Thabane was set to be inaugurated.

Thomas Thabane remarried shortly after the murder.

Thabane and his new wife have denied the accusations, describing them as a plot to remove him as prime minister. His lawyers sought immunity from the charges in February when a magistrate ruled he would not be charged with murder until a constitutional issue was settled as he was a sitting prime minister.

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