First lady of Lesotho to be charged with murder of Prime Minister's ex-wife

Lesotho's first lady is set to be charged with murder in connection with the 2017 killing of the Prime Minister's former wife, police have said.

Maesaiah Thabane, who fled the country on January 10 to escape arrest, returned to the small southern African kingdom on Tuesday afternoon and handed herself in to police in the capital Maseru.

Police said she had been hiding in neighbouring South Africa, which totally surrounds landlocked Lesotho.

Deputy commissioner of police Mokete Paseka said Thabane would spend the night in custody and only be taken to court once the director of public prosecutions has prepared the charge sheet.

PM Thomas Thabane's current wife is accused of murdering his ex-wife. Credit: AP

An arrest warrant for the first lady was issued the day she fled the country after she refused to report to police for questioning in connection with the death of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane's former wife Lipolelo.

The killing occurred two days before the Prime Minister's inauguration for a second term, and two years after a court ruled that Lipolelo was the lawful first lady and entitled to benefits.

Mr Thabane married his current wife some two months after Lipolelo's death.

Two weeks ago, police interrogated the Prime Minister over the alleged use of his mobile phone to communicate with whoever was at the scene of the killing.

The 80-year-old Prime Minister last month announced he planned to step down as his ruling party called him no longer fit to lead.

The premier did not specify when he would resign, saying only it would occur "when all is in order".

Lesotho is a landlocked country, entirely surrounded by South Africa. Credit: AP