The High Court in Lesotho will rule whether Prime Minister Thomas Thabane can be charged with the murder of his estranged wife in 2017.

This was the decision of a magistrate after Mr Thabane’s lawyers objected to him being charged while in office.

His lawyers said they wanted to approach the Constitutional Court, but the magistrate referred the case to the High Court, which is a lower court.

Mr Thabane previously said he would step down as prime minister in July, resisting pressure from his own party to leave office immediately.

Lesotho PM pushes for immunity from prosecution

A magistrate has temporarily adjourned the court case of Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane to decide whether he can be charged with murdering his estranged wife while in office, reports the BBC’s Pumza Fihlani from neighbouring South Africa.

His lawyer wants the case to be postponed so that he can approach the Constitutional Court for a ruling on whether a sitting prime minister can stand trial.

The 80-year-old is the first sitting African leader whom prosecutors want to put on trial for a domestic murder.

He appeared in court in the capital, Maseru, after returning from South Africa where his aides said he had gone for medical treatment.

Mr Thabane is accused of murdering Lipolelo Thabane two days before he became prime minister in 2017. At the time, he described the killing as “senseless”.

The couple were involved in bitter divorce proceedings when Lipolelo was shot dead on the outskirts of Maseru.

The prime minister later married his current wife Maesaiah Thabane, who has been charged with Lipolelo’s murder.

She accompanied her husband to court.

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