Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, who was to be charged with the murder of his estranged wife, did not appear in court.
Thabane, 80 years old, who Thursday he left the mountainous kingdom of Lesotho, he had a pre-arranged medical appointment in the capital of South Africa, Pretoria, said his private secretary on Fridays.
“He’s not going to court, he’s done a medical checkup in South Africa,” Thabo Thakalekoala told the AFP news agency, adding that it’s a “routine” medical checkup.
Thabane was scheduled to face a murder charge on Friday in connection with the killing of Lipolelo Thabane, shot dead in June 2017. His appearance in court will now be rescheduled.
“We will wait until he is available and make sure he comes here, appears before the court and is formally charged,” Deputy Police Commissioner Paseka Mokete told Al Jazeera.
The longtime prime minister announced Thursday that he would be leaving office by the end of July due to old age.
Thabane is accused of acting “on purpose” in the June 2017 murder by unknown assailants of Lilopelo, 58, later his wife.
His current wife, 42-year-old Maesaiah Thabane, whom he married two months after Lipolelo’s death, has already been accused of ordering the murder of Lipolelo, but is currently on bail.
Al Jazeera’s Fahmida Miller, referring from outside the courthouse in the capital, Maseru, said the complex case has become more complicated now that the prime minister is in South Africa.
“Previously there were rumors that he had fled the country, but his private secretary says it is not so, that the prime minister is willing and ready to stand in court, just not today,” he said.
Even his son rejected the rumors.
“He did not flee the country, he went to South Africa to visit a doctor,” Potlako Thabane told Reuters news agency.
In 2017, Lipolelo and Thomas were going through a bitter divorce. An unknown assailant killed her in his car.
Her friend, Thato Sibolla, who was traveling with her in the vehicle, escaped with gunshot wounds and has since fled to neighboring South Africa, fearing for her life.
Death rocked the landlocked kingdom of Lesotho, which is entirely surrounded by South Africa.
“We have a very strong case against the prime minister … which we will present before the court which actually implies the prime minister for crime” Mokete said.
Al Jazeera and news agencies