Newly elected Lesotho prime minister Thomas Thabane seen with a phalanx of private security guards. Photo: Justice Kalebe
Johannesburg – Lesotho security forces are on high alert as the country prepares for the inauguration of incoming Prime Minister Tom Thabane following the death of his wife Thursday morning after she was shot overnight.

Just hours before her estranged husband was due to step into his new role as Prime Minister of Lesotho, Lipolelo Thabane died in hospital Thursday morning following what appears to be a random shooting Wednesday night.

However, there is speculation that the shooting which killed Lipolelo and another woman could have been politically motivated despite details surrounding the incident remaining unclear.

Furthermore, these dramatic developments have spiked fears of increasing instability in the land-locked mountain kingdom which has gone through a series of crises leading up to the inauguration.

In 2014 Thabane, who won the country’s elections earlier this month, fled to South Africa fearing for his life following an attempted coup.

The premier-elect only returned to Mbabane earlier this year, together with two other opposition leaders, after vowing to regain power after previously ruling the country from 2012 to 2015.

On Sunday International Relations and Co-operation Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, warned that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) would not tolerate any military coup “in any of its corner”.

“This was made very, very clear to everyone in Lesotho two weeks ago. They have just had an election a year and a half ago and they have also undertaken to go back to the reforms on the role of the police and the military, which have been supporting leaders from opposing parties which they themselves say has bedevilled focus on governance,” she was quoted as saying.

In March Lesotho’s parliament passed a vote of no confidence in outgoing Prime Minister Pakalithi Mosili, paving the way for the June 3 election which Thabane won after securing 48 out of 120 parliamentary seats.

Although Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC) emerged as the winner in the election with the 48 parliamentary seats, it failed to garner the requisite 61 seats needed to form a government.

This prompted Thabane to say that ABC would form a ruling coalition together with the Alliance Democrats, Basotho National Party and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho.

Thabane’s win reverses Lesotho’s former deputy prime minister Mothetjoa Metsing teaming up with Mosisili and other smaller parties to oust Thabane two years ago.

Lesotho, a nation of two million people, has been wracked by several coups since gaining independence from Britain in 1966.