Politics of Lesotho

Politics of Lesotho takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic constitutional monarchy, whereby the Prime Minister of Lesotho is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of Parliament, the Senate and the National Assembly. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Executive branch

Main office-holders
Office Name Party Since
King Letsie III 7 February 1996
Prime Minister Sam Matekane Revolution for Prosperity 28 October 2022

The Lesotho Government is a constitutional monarchy. The Prime Minister, Sam Matekane, is head of government and has executive authority. The King serves a largely ceremonial function; he no longer possesses any executive authority and is proscribed from actively participating in political initiatives. According to the constitution, the leader of the majority party in the assembly automatically becomes prime minister; the monarch is hereditary, but, under the terms of the constitution which came into effect after the March 1993 election, the monarch is a "living symbol of national unity" with no executive or legislative powers; under traditional law the college of chiefs has the power to determine who is next in the line of succession, who shall serve as regent in the event that the successor is not of mature age, and may even depose the monarch.

Legislative branch

Parliament has two chambers. The National Assembly has 120 members, elected for a five-year term, 80 in single-seat constituencies and 40 by proportional representation. The Senate has 33 nominated members.

Political parties and elections

General elections

The elections were postponed in the Stadium Area constituency following the death of the Basotholand Total Liberation Congress candidate.

The ruling All Basotho Convention lost all its constituency seats, including that of party leader Nkaku Kabi. Although the Democratic Congress party ran its campaign opposing the ABC, the party's recent support for the coalition government allowed the new Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) party to seem more credible as a new start.

Revolution for Prosperity201,47838.8957057New
Democratic Congress128,51724.81181129–1
All Basotho Convention37,8097.30088–40
Basotho Action Party29,2855.65066New
Alliance of Democrats20,8434.02235–4
Movement for Economic Change17,2813.34134–2
Lesotho Congress for Democracy12,3262.38033–8
Socialist Revolutionaries10,7382.07112New
Basotho National Party7,3671.42011–4
Popular Front for Democracy4,6550.90011–2
Mpulule Political Summit4,4850.87011New
Basotho Convenant Movement4,1170.79011New
HOPE – Mphatlalatsane3,7170.72011New
National Independent Party3,7040.711010
Basotho Patriotic Party3,2010.62000New
United for Change2,9400.57000New
Lesotho People's Congress2,0750.400000
Alliance for Free Movement2,0020.39000New
Basutoland Congress Party1,9110.37000–1
Reformed Congress of Lesotho1,8090.35000–1
Marematlou Freedom Party1,7670.34000–1
Basotho Liberation Movement1,5300.30000New
Basotho Democratic Congress1,1670.23000New
Basotho Democratic National Party1,1650.220000
Lesotho Economic Freedom1,1530.22000New
Basotho Economic Enrichment1,0760.21000New
Basotho Total Liberation Congress8880.17000New
Khothalang Basotho8280.16000New
African Unity Movement7500.140000
Your Opportunity and Network Alliance7190.14000New
Lekhotla la Mekhoa le Meetlo5790.110000
Basotho Social Party5570.11000New
Metsi and Natural Resources Party5330.10000New
Basotho Poverty Solution Party4720.09000New
Bahlabani ba Tokoloho Movement4680.09000New
Development Party for All4690.09000New
Basutholand African National Congress4460.090000
Revolutionary Alliance of Democracy4320.08000New
Tsepo Ea Basotho4230.08000New
African Ark3440.07000New
Basotho Council for Economic Freedom3020.06000New
Basotho Redevelopment Party2880.06000New
Empowerment Movement for Basotho2820.05000New
Mookoli Theological Front2640.05000New
Yearn for Economic Sustainability2310.04000New
People's Convention2250.04000New
Allies for Patriotic Change1950.04000New
Prayer Shawl and Light1180.02000New
Valid votes518,05498.74
Invalid/blank votes6,5941.26
Total votes524,648100.00
Registered voters/turnout1,388,11737.80
Source: IEC

Judicial branch

The constitution provides for an independent hierarchical judicial system. The judiciary is made up of the High Court of Lesotho, the Court of Appeal, magistrate's courts, and traditional (customary) courts which exist predominantly in rural areas. There is no trial by jury; rather, judges make rulings alone, or, in the case of criminal trials, with two other judges as observers. The constitution also protects basic civil liberties, including freedom of speech, association, and the press; freedom of peaceful assembly; and freedom of religion.

The Court of Appeal is located in Maseru and consists of a President and 6 justices of Appeal.

The High Court has unlimited original jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters, as well as appellate jurisdiction from the lower courts and comprises a Chief Justice and other puisne judges. Parallel to the High Court is the Labour Court, which is a specialist court dealing exclusively with industrial and labour matters.

Magistrates Courts are presided over by judicial officers (magistrates) employed as civil servants. They are not courts of record and as such their decisions are not binding on future cases.

The Chief Justice and Justices of the Court of Appeal are appointed by the King on the advice of the Prime Minister. Puisne judges of the High Court are appointed by the King on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission. High Court judges may retire any time after attaining the age of 75 but may be removed from office by the King for malfeasance or infirmity.

Chief Justices
  • c. 1968–>1970 Hendrik Rudolf Jacobs (South African)
  • 1974–1975 Joas Tseliso Mapetla
  • 1976–?1986 Taufik Suliman Cotran (afterwards Chief Justice of Belize, 1986)
  • 1987–1991 Brendan Peter Cullinan
  • <1994–2002 Joseph Lebona Kheola
  • 2002–2004 Mahapela Lehohla
    • 2004 Baptista Molai (acting)
    • 2013 Tseliso Monaphathi (acting)
  • 2014-date Nthomeng Majara

Administrative divisions

For administrative purposes, Lesotho is divided into 10 districts, each headed by a district secretary and a district military officer appointed by the central government and the RLDF, respectively. The districts are: Berea, Butha-Buthe, Leribe, Mafeteng, Maseru, Mohales Hoek, Mokhotlong, Qacha's Nek, Quthing, Thaba-Tseka

International organization participation

Lesotho is member of ACP, AfDB, C, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OPCW, SACU, SADC, United Nations, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, UNWTO and WTO. It was also member of the WCL and OAU before they disbanded.

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Why ABC lost the elections – The Post". www.thepost.co.ls. 2022-10-13. Retrieved 2022-10-15.
  2. ^ "Why the DC misfired – The Post". www.thepost.co.ls. 2022-10-13. Retrieved 2022-10-15.
  3. ^ "The Law and Legal Research in Lesotho". Hauser Global Law School Program. Retrieved 5 March 2016.


This page was last updated at 2023-12-12 22:18 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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