The spouse of Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane was shot dead late on Wednesday, hours after her better half’s inauguration, raising fears of another wave of political violence in the southern African mountain kingdom.
Police representative Clifford Molefe said Lipolelo Thabane, 58, was travelling home with a companion when both ladies where shot by an unknown assailant in the town of Masana, simply outside the capital, Maseru.
Mr Molefe said Ms Lipolelo passed on the scene while her companion was taken to a nearby hospital. Mr Molefe said the motive of the shooting was unknown and that investigations were ongoing.
Lesotho, which has been on a political knife edge since an attempted coup in 2014, held elections a week ago, the third in five years, after then-PM Pakalitha Mosisili lost a no-confidence vote in March.
Mr Thabane’s All Basotho Convention won 48 parliamentary seats, compared and 30 won by Mr Mosisili’s Democratic Congress.
Mr Thabane and Ms Lipolelo had been living separately since 2012 after Mr Thabane filed for a divorce which had yet to be granted by the courts.
Mr Thabane’s office was unreachable for comment.