Lesotho’s new Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro sworn in

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Mr Moeketsi Majoro is sworn in as Lesotho's new Prime Minister at the Royal Palace in Maseru on May 20, 2020. PHOTO | MOLISE MOLISE | AFP

Moeketsi Majoro was sworn in as Lesotho’s new prime minister on Wednesday, a day after his predecessor resigned under pressure over a scandal involving the killing of his wife.

Majoro, who was previously finance minister, took the oath at the king’s palace in front of dignitaries. He did not give a speech.

Veteran politician Thomas Thabane, 80, bowed to calls to resign on Tuesday three months after police named him and his current wife Maesaiah as suspects in the murder of his former spouse Lipolelo in a case that has plunged the mountain kingdom into a political crisis.

Lipolelo Thabane was shot dead in her car in June 2017 two days before her husband’s inauguration. She had reportedly refused him a divorce. He married Maesaiah two months later.

Maesaiah, who is aged 43, has been charged with murder, while Thomas Thabane argued in court in February that he has immunity due to his office. Both deny any wrongdoing.

Thabane’s own All Basotho Convention (ABC) party, opposition figures and South African mediators had been leaning on him to quit, but he had resisted, supported by an inner circle of loyalists who wanted him to remain.

Majoro, a former senior IMF official, now faces the task of uniting a fractious political elite in a country that has suffered several coups since independence from Britain in 1966.