50. Lesotho (1966-present)

 

Pre-Crisis Phase (October 4, 1966-December 26, 1966): Lesotho formally achieved its independence from Britain and became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations (CON) on October 4, 1966. King Moshoeshoe II and Prime Minister Leabua Jonathan competed for control of the government.

Crisis Phase (December 27, 1966- January 5, 1967): Supporters of King Moshoeshoe II clashed with government police in Thaba Busiu on December 27, 1966, resulting in the deaths of nine individuals. Prime Minister Leabua Jonathan placed King Moshoeshoe II in “protective custody” in Maseru on December 28, 1966. Supporters of King Moshoeshoe II attacked a police station in Leribe on January 3, 1967, resulting in the death of one individual. King Moshoeshoe II agreed to abide by the constitution on January 5, 1967.  Ten individuals were killed during the crisis.

Post-Crisis Phase (January 6, 1967-January 29, 1970): Parliamentary elections were held on January 27, 1970, and the Basotho Congress Party (BCP) won 36 out of 60 seats in the National Assembly.  The Basotho National Party (BNP) won 23 seats in the National Assembly.

Crisis Phase (January 30, 1970-July 24, 1973): Prime Minister Leabua Jonathan, leader of the Basotho National Party (BNP), nullified the results of the parliamentary elections and declared a state-of-emergency on January 30, 1970.  Prime Minister Leabua Jonathan dissolved the parliament, suspended the constitution, and stripped King Moshoeshoe II of political authority on January 30, 1970.  The British government imposed diplomatic sanctions (diplomatic non-recognition) against the government, and imposed economic sanctions (suspension of economic assistance) against the government on February 3, 1970. Clement Leepa, leader of the opposition to Prime Minister Leabua Jonathan, was killed by government police on March 3, 1970. Two government policemen and seven armed individuals were killed during clashes in the Quithing district on March 9-10, 1970. Four government policemen and ten civilians were killed during clashes in the Mafeteng district on March 27-28, 1970. King Moshoeshoe II went into exile on March 31, 1970. Some 30 individuals were killed in civil violence between January 30 and March 31, 1970. Some 20 individuals were killed during clashes with police in the Eastern Mokhotlong district on April 4, 1970. Some 150 individuals were killed in civil violence near Maseru on April 7-8, 1970.  The British government lifted diplomatic sanctions against the government on June 11, 1970, and lifted economic sanctions against the government on July 20, 1970.  King Moshoeshoe II returned from exile on December 4, 1971, and he was sworn in as head-of-state on December 6, 1971.  Prime Minister Leabua Jonathan lifted the state-of-emergency on July 24, 1973. Some 250 individuals were killed during the crisis.

Post-Crisis Phase (July 25, 1973-January 5, 1974):

Crisis Phase (January 6, 1974-April 2, 1993): Government police arrested 20 members of the Basotho Congress Party (BCP) on January 6, 1974. Supporters of the BCP attacked three police stations on January 7, 1974, resulting in the death of one BCP supporter.  Members of the Basotho National Party (BNP) killed 25 supporters of the BCP on January 8-9, 1974.  The Lesotho Liberation Army (LLA), the armed wing of the BCP, was established in 1974.  The Libyan government provided military assistance (training) to the LLA.  LLA militants launched an insurgency against the government of Lesotho beginning in 1978, but were mostly defeated by government troops in northern Lesotho in 1979.  The government declared a state of emergency in June 1979.  Some 770 individuals fled as refugees to South Africa in November and December 1979.  The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) provided humanitarian assistance to Lesotho refugees in South Africa.  The South African government provided military assistance (training) to the LLA beginning in 1979.  Government police and LLA militants clashed in northern Lesotho on June 3-4, 1980, resulting in the deaths of eight militants.  LLA militants and government police clashed in the Butha Buthe district on September 2, 1982, resulting in the deaths of two militants.  South African military personnel raided the homes of alleged African National Congress (ANC) members in Maseru on December 9, 1982, resulting in the deaths of 30 South African refugees and 12 Lesotho nationals.  LLA militants attacked a government armory in the Butha Buthe district on December 14, 1982, resulting in the deaths of four individuals.  LLA militants and government policemen clashed near Kolonyama on June 30, 1983, resulting in the deaths of ten militants and two policemen.  Prime Minister Leabua Jonathan survived a car bombing in Maseru on August 4, 1983.  LLA militants, along with about 500 South African military personnel, clashed with government policemen near Maryland Roman Catholic Mission near the border with South Africa on September 11, 1983.  LLA militants killed five government police on November 14, 1983.  LLA militants killed four civilians in the Butha Buthe district on December 30, 1984.  King Moshoeshoe II dissolved the interim National Assembly on January 1, 1985. Parliamentary elections were held in August-September 1985, and the Basotho National Party (BNP) won 60 out of 60 seats in the National Assembly. Opposition political parties boycotted the parliamentary elections.  LLA militants, along with South African military personnel, attacked and killed nine individuals in Maseru on December 20, 1985.  On December 30, 1985, the UN Security Council condemned the South African government for participating in the raid in Lesotho.  Government troops suppressed a rebellion by a faction of the Lesotho Paramilitary Force (LPF) on January 17-18, 1986, resulting in the deaths of two government police and two rebels.  Prime Minister Leabua Jonathan was deposed in a military coup led by Major General Justin Lekhanya on January 20, 1986, and a six-member Military Council chaired by Major General Lekhanya took control of the government on January 24, 1986.  King Moshoeshoe II banned political party activity on March 27, 1986.  The military government declared a state-of-emergency on February 25, 1988.  South African military personnel freed some 60 Roman Catholic pilgrims that were being held hostage in Maseru on September 14, 1988, resulting in the deaths of three hijackers.  King Moshoeshoe II was overthrown by the military government on November 6, 1990, and his son (Letsie David Seeiso) was crowned King Letsie III.  General Lekhanya was deposed in a military coup led by Colonel Elias Phisoana Ramaeme on April 30, 1991, and Colonel Phisoane Ramaeme was appointed as chairman of the Military Council on May 1, 1991.  Colonel Ramaeme lifted the ban on political parties on May 13, 1991.  Parliamentary elections were held on March 27, 1993, and the Basotho Congress Party (BCP) won 65 out of 65 seats in the National Assembly.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CON) sent observers to monitor the parliamentary elections.  The Organization of African Union (OAU) sent observers to monitor the parliamentary elections.  The OAS reported that the parliamentary elections were free and fair on March 29, 1993.  The United Nations (UN) sent 130 observers from 29 countries to monitor the parliamentary elections. Ntsu Mokhehle of the BCP was appointed as prime minister on April 2, 1993.

Post-Crisis Phase (April 3, 1993-January 13, 1994):

Crisis Phase (January 14, 1994-September 14, 1994):  Rival factions of the Royal Lesotho Defense Force (RLDF) clashed in Maseru beginning on January 14, 1994. The government of Lesotho requested South African mediation on January 14, 1994, and Foreign Minister Pik Botha of South Africa attempted to mediate negotiations between the parties beginning on January 15, 1994.  UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali sent Aldo Ajello of Italy to mediate negotiations between the parties on January 19, 1994.  The Organization of African Unity (OAU) sent a delegation to mediate negotiations between the parties on January 22, 1994.  Moses Anafu of Ghana and Max Gaylard of Australia, representing the Commonwealth of Nations (CON), attempted to mediate negotiations between the parties beginning on January 25, 1994.  The rival factions of the RLDF agreed to stop fighting on January 25, 1994, after the deaths of five government soldiers.  The Russian government appealed for peaceful negotiations on January 27, 1994.  The governments of Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, representing the Southern African Development Community (SADC), sent a 17-member fact-finding mission on January 28, 1994.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CON) mediators negotiated an agreement between the military factions on February 1, 1994, which provided for the return of soldiers to their respective barracks.  Government soldiers mutinied and killed Deputy Prime Minister Selometsi Baholo on April 14, 1994.  King Letsie III dissolved parliament, and dismissed the government of Prime Minister Ntsu Mokhehle on August 17, 1994.  Prime Minister Ntsu Mokhehle declared the dismissal of the government as unconstitutional.  Government police and supporters of Prime Minister Mokhehle clashed in Maseru on August 17, 1994, resulting in the deaths of five individuals. King Letsie III appointed a 16-member Council of Ministers headed by Hae Phoofolo on August 19, 1994.  President Nelson Mandela of South Africa, President Ketumile Masire of Botswana, and President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe jointly condemned the dismissal of Prime Minister Mikhehle on August 23, 1994.  The governments of Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, representing the SADC, established a conciliation commission to mediate negotiations between the parties.  The SADC conciliation commission mediated an agreement between King Letsie III and Prime Minister Mokhehle on September 14, 1994, which resulted in the reinstatement of the prime minister and the abdication of the king.

Post-Crisis Phase (September 15, 1994-August 12, 1998): King Moshoeshoe II was reinstated as monarch on January 25, 1995 after his son, King Letsie III, abdicated. King Moshoeshoe II was killed in an automobile accident on January 15, 1996, and he was succeeded by his son, Letsie III, on February 7, 1996. Some 400 police officers mutinied in February 1997, but the mutiny was suppressed by Lesotho troops several days later. Prime Minister Mokhehle and 37 Basotho Congress Party (BCP) members of the parliament formed the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) on June 7, 1997. King Letsie III dissolved the parliament on February 27, 1998.  Parliamentary elections were held on May 23, 1998, and the LCD won 78 out of 80 seats in the National Assembly. The Basotho National Party (BNP) won one seat in the National Assembly.  Opposition political parties claimed election fraud. The SADC monitored the elections and reported that, despite some irregularities, the election was conducted in a free and fair manner. The Commonwealth of Nations (CoN) sent fifteen observers from nine countries headed by Sir Linden Pindling of the Bahamas to monitor the parliamentary elections from May 15 to May 24, 1998.  Pakalitha Mosisili of the LCD was sworn in as prime minister on May 29, 1998.  Opposition parties began demonstrations against the government beginning on August 4, 1998.  One individual was killed in anti-government demonstrations in Maseru on August 10, 1998.  The South African government attempted to mediate negotiations between the government and opposition leaders beginning on August 10, 1998.

Crisis Phase (August 13, 1998-May 15, 1999):  The parties signed an agreement on August 13, 1998, which provided for the establishment of a Southern African Development Community (SADC) commission of inquiry to investigate the May 1998 elections.  Government troops and demonstrators clashed in Maseru on August 13-17, 1998, resulting in the deaths of four individuals.  Several units of the Lesotho Defense Force (LDF) mutinied on September 11, 1998, and Prime Minister Mosisili requested SADC military intervention to suppress the mutiny. On September 17, 1998, the SADC commission of inquiry (“Langa Commission”), which was composed of election experts from Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe headed by Judge Pius Langa of South Africa, issued a report on its investigation of the May 1998 elections. The Langa Commission report acknowledged some “irregularities and discrepancies”, but did not recommend that the results of the election be annulled. South Africa ended its efforts to mediate negotiations between the parties on September 21, 1998. Some 3,500 SADC peacekeeping troops from Botswana and South Africa commanded by Colonel Robbie Hartslief of South Africa were deployed in Lesotho to restore law and order (Operation Boleas and Operation Charon) beginning on September 22, 1998. Some 75 individuals were killed in political violence on September 22-24, 1998, including eight SADC peacekeeping soldiers, 18 LDF soldiers, and 50 civilians. Some 4,000 individuals fled as refugees to South Africa. Three individuals were killed in political violence on Maseru on October 11-12, 1998. A SADC commission (Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe) mediated negotiations among the political factions in Maseru beginning on October 2, 1998. On October 14, 1998, the parties agreed to hold elections within 18 months. The 24-member Interim Political Authority (IPA) assumed control of the government on December 9, 1998.  SADC peacekeeping troops completed their withdrawal from Lesotho on May 15, 1999.  Twelve SADC peacekeeping soldiers were killed during the mission.

Post-Crisis Phase (May 16, 1999-present):  Parliamentary elections were held on May 25, 2002, and the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) won 77 out of 120 seats in the National Assembly. The Basotho National Party (BNP) won 21 seats in the National Assembly. The Commonwealth of Nations (CON) sent six observers and five staff personnel led by Sir James Mitchell of St. Vincent & Grenadines to monitor the parliamentary elections from May 8 to May 30, 2002. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum sent 25 observers led by Leornado Santos Simao of Mozambique to monitor the parliamentary elections from May 15 to May 26, 2002. The Organization of African Unity (OAU) sent observers to monitor the parliamentary elections.  Pakalitha Mosisili of the LCD was sworn in for a second five-year term as prime minister on June 4, 2002.  Local elections were held on April 30, 2005. The Commonwealth of Nations (CoN) sent four observers to monitor the elections from April 23 to May 5, 2005.  Tom Motsoahae Thabane, Minister of Communications, Science, and Technology, resigned from the government on October 9, 2006.  On October 13, 2006, the All Basotho Convention (ABC) was established by Tom Motsoahae Thabane and 16 other former LCD members of the National Assembly.  King Letsia III dissolved the National Assembly on November 24, 2006.  The Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA), a non-governmental organization headquartered in South Africa, sent a pre-election assessment mission to Lesotho on January 9-12, 2007.  The National Democratic Institute (NDI) sent a pre-election delegation to assess the political environment in Lesotho on January 22-25, 2007.  Parliamentary elections were held on February 17, 2007, and the LCD won 62 out of 120 seats in the National Assembly.  The National Independent Party (NIP) won 21 seats in the National Assembly.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CON) sent three observers from three countries and two staff members to monitor the parliamentary elections from February 8 to February 23, 2007.  The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum sent observers to monitor the parliamentary elections.   The Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) sent 17observers from seven countries led by former President Ketumile Masire of Botswana to monitor the parliamentary elections from February 8 to February 27, 2007.  On July 19, 2007, members of the Lesotho Defense Forces (LDF) and the Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) launched a joint operation near Maseru to recover weapons stolen from the government a month earlier.  One individual was killed and one individual was arrested during the joint operation.  Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili survived an assassination attempt in Maseru on April 22, 2009, and three of the assailants were killed by security forces.  Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili resigned from the LCD and established the Democratic Congress (DC) on February 29, 2012.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CON) sent a pre-election assessment mission to Lesotho on April 2-5, 2012.  Parliamentary elections were held on May 26, 2012, and the DC won 48 out of 120 seats in the National Assembly.  The All Basotho Convention (ABC) led by Tom Motsoahae Thabane won 30 seats in the National Assembly, and the LCD won 26 seats in the National Assembly.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CoN) sent seven observers and four staff members led by former President Bakili Muluzi of Malawi to monitor the parliamentary elections from May 19 to June 1, 2012.  The African Union (AU) sent 20 observers from 13 countries led by former President Yakubu Gowon of Nigeria to monitor the parliamentary elections from May 20 to May 31, 2012.  The Southern African Development Community (SADC) established the 65-observer SADC Electoral Observer Mission (SEOM) led by the Hon. Ebrahim Ismael Ebrahim of South Africa to monitor the parliamentary elections on May 12, 2012.  The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum sent 22 observers, including five staff members from the SADC Parliamentary Forum, from eight countries to monitor the parliamentary elections from May 15 to May 29, 2012.  The Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) sent 18 observers from eleven countries led by former President Rupiah Banda of Zambia to monitor the parliamentary elections from May 16 to May 28, 2012.  Tom Thabane of the ABC was sworn in as prime minister of a coalition government on June 8, 2012.  On June 19, 2014, Prime Minister Tom Thabane suspended the parliament to avoid of vote of no-confidence.  On August 30, 2014, Prime Minister Tom Thabane fled to South Africa following an alleged military coup.  Government troops clashed with government police in Maseru, resulting in the death of one government policeman.  The Lesotho military denied that there had been a military coup.  The government of South Africa condemned the “unconstitutional change of government” in Lesotho on August 30, 2014.  On August 30, 2014, the Commonwealth of Nations (CON) condemned the “unconstitutional overthrow of an elected government” in Lesotho.  On September 1, 2014, Prime Minister Tom Thabane requested Southern African Development Community (SADC) military intervention to restore order in Lesotho, but the SADC rejected the request for military intervention.  On September 3, 2014, Prime Minister Tom Thabane returned to Lesotho from South Africa.  Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa mediated negotiations beginning on September 18, 2014.  The parliament reconvened on October 17, 2014.

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