Lesotho's embattled PM Thomas Thabane is stepping down

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Lesotho Prime Minister , Thomas Thabane at the 30th African Union Summit at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2018.  (Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Lesotho Prime Minister , Thomas Thabane at the 30th African Union Summit at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2018. (Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Lesotho's embattled Prime Minister Thomas Thabane said on Monday he is stepping down, ending months of political uncertainty gripping the kingdom since he was accused of having a role in his ex-wife's murder.

"I decided to personally come and inform you that I am stepping down as prime minister of Lesotho," he told supporters in his Abia home constituency on the outskirts of the capital Maseru.

The 80-year-old did not state when he will officially quit.

READ | Defiant Thabane shows no sign of resigning

"It is rather difficult to part ways with something that you had been accustomed to and leave people behind, but we all have to leave at some point," he said.

Killing

Lesotho has been plagued by political instability since the start of this year after police accused Thabane of having a hand in the killing of his estranged wife in June 2017.

Thabane and his then wife Lipolelo Thabane, 58, were in the midst of a bitter divorce when she was shot and killed outside her home two days before her husband's 2017 inauguration.

Police have since found Thabane's mobile number in communications records from the crime scene.

Thabane has denied involvement in the murder and had been under mounting pressure to resign.

His coalition disbanded in parliament last week and a new government is expected to be installed on Friday.

Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro has been nominated as his successor.

Thabane, whose term is due to end in 2022, had in January set himself a target of leaving office by 31 July because of his advanced age.

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