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Global 21 fourth quarter 2015

Spotlight Lesotho annexation by the Boers. In 1868, the nation, then called Basutoland, was granted British protection and its borders, virtually unchanged today, were drawn up the following year. In 1871 Basutoland was annexed to the Cape Colony, but removed from Cape control 13 years later to come under direct British rule. Lesotho became independent on 4 October 1966, with Chief Leabua Jonathan as Prime Minister and Moshoeshoe II as King. The nation’s most recent troubles began after the general election in May 2012, which initially resulted in a peaceful transfer of power when Democratic Congress (DC) Prime Minister Bethuel Pakalitha Mosisili was succeeded by All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader Tom Thabane, the first change of prime minister since 1998. Thabane had come to prominence as a minister in the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) government, which was headed by Mosisili at the time. In October 2006, Thabane left LCD to form the ABC, along with 16 other LCD MPs. In the meantime, Mosisili and 44 other members had also left the ruling LCD to set up DC. Thabane became Prime Minister in 2012, despite the ABC not polling the most votes. Mosisili’s DC had won the most seats (48) in the 2012 election, but did not have a working majority, so the three opposition parties (ABC, LCD and the Basotho National Party) formed a coalition, with parliament electing Thabane as Prime Minister. By June 2014, divisions had appeared in the ruling coalition, culminating in a motion of no confidence against Thabane. Two months later, Thabane fled to South Africa, alleging that the army had attempted a coup and saying that he feared for his life. The South African government provided a security escort so that Thabane was able to return to Lesotho in early September of that year. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) initiated The nation’s most recent troubles began after the general election in May 2012, which initially resulted in a peaceful transfer of power – the first change of prime minister since 1998 a process of mediation between the political stakeholders, which was facilitated by South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. This resulted in the signing of the Maseru Facilitation Declaration on 2 October 2014, which committed all political parties to the reconvening of Parliament on 17 October 2014. The declaration limited the business of that next Parliament to discussion about the budget and matters relating to the holding of elections; and to the holding of elections in February 2015. In National Assembly elections in February 2015, Mosisili’s DC won 47 seats, Thabane’s ABC 46, the LCD 12 and the BNP seven. Neither DC nor ABC won a majority of the 120 seats in Parliament so, after negotiations with the smaller parties, the DC announced in March that it would form a coalition government with the LCD and five other smaller parties. Mosisili was, once again, Prime Minister. The reinstatement of Mosisili as leader seems to have done little to promote peace and stability, however. In June it was reported that all opposition leaders, including Thabane, had fled abroad. Thabane, now leader of the opposition, claimed to have been the target of an assassination plot. Former Lesotho army commander Maaparankoe Mahao was One in three children in Lesotho fail to complete primary school, but school enrolment rates have gradually improved since free primary education was introduced in 2000 four 20 l www.global -br ief ing.org th quar ter 2015 global © Reinhold Leitner / Shutterstock.com


Global 21 fourth quarter 2015
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