Lesotho’s former first lady faces re-arrest

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Tumisang Serame

Lesotho’s murder accused former first lady Maesiah Thabane has today lost her fight to await trial on bail after the country’s Appeal Court nullified her bail.

Maesiah Thabane nėė Liabiloe Ramoholi was charged for June 2017 murder of her sister wife, Lipolelo Thabane, who she allegedly gunned down on the eve of former prime minister Thomas Thabane’s inauguration for a second stint as Lesotho’s prime minister.

Maesiah was formally charged on the February 4 2020 and later released on what was a controversial bail by acting Chief Justice ‘Maseforo Mahase two days later.

Mahase is a known ally of Thabane who has in the past year seen playing antics in court that suggested she was strongminded on making decision that favoured Thabane in his party protracted leadership battle.

The bail was challenged by Lipolelo’s friend Thato Sibolla, who survived the gruesome killing of her friend and Thabane grandson, namesake for his grandfather, Motsoahae Thomas Thabane Jr.

Handing down the decision of the Court of Appeal by Justice Van Der Westhuisen, presided over by other two Justices Petrus Damaseb and Moses Chinhengo, the president of the court of appeal, Advocate Kananelo Mosito said the High Court failed in the past 3 months to provide beyond reasonable doubts why the bail was granted further pressing that the high court did not follow the right procedure when granting bail.

“The decision of the court of appeal is that the bail granted is set aside and the application for bail must be referred back to the High Court for review,” Mosito said.

He further outlined that the applicants must file opposing papers of the bail in 3 days and should the petitioner wish to reply, she must do so 3 days later as well.

Commenting on the development, Attorney Kuili Ndebele said the applicants have succeeded in opposing the bail granted and the law must now take its course so the accused should apply for bail and she cannot do that roaming freely.

“This means that she (Maesiah) is now a detained person…so the law enforcement agencies have to do their work and take her back to where she is supposed to be which is the custody of correctional services,” Ndebele said.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Paseka Mokete has also noted that the Court of Appeal decision gives his office, the Criminal Investigations Department in the Lesotho Mounted Police Service a right to arrest the former first lady but will wait for a written judgement to be availed to his office.