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Issue 75 ISSN 1680-8169

The Newspaper of the Transformation Resource Centre

October 2006

In this issue


Comment: 40 years of fragile democracy

Four decades of de facto oneparty rule, military dictatorship, uneasy democracy and untested electoral reform.


Collection: 1966-2006

Where were you when important events happened? Check out our compilation of historic facts and images.

Debate: Between state- and nationhood

Independence should enable the state to shine by the reßection of nationhood

ith W

Pub lic Eye

WORK FOR 2 Transformation Resource Centre Issue 75 -- Lesotho at 40


some of our contemporary nation-states were not so lucky to avoid. We expected our politicians to draw lessons from such skillful statesmanship as they led the nation into modern-day statehood. Instead, they let go of the opportunity and plunged the nation into 40 years of political turmoil and economic decline. It is hoped that the unity that this nation's founding father built it on will be evoked as we chart our future. We make reference to the fact that the democracy which came with independence has never been given a chance to generate for this nation-state the freedom to progress and realize its true potential. While our independence conÞrmed our status against that of many of our pre-colonial peers, the progress achieved by our high-commission peers should leave us with humbling envy. For, even when opportunities came, notably in 1986 and 1993, we still thrust upon ourselves unnecessary divisions where none existed or could thrive. Work for Justice traces a reasonably balanced but by no means exhaustive chronology of events since 1966 to give proof that our 40 years of independence have been more about regression than about development. As each year was researched, it was found that it provided more event entries of a negative political kind than those showing positive socio-economic development. The best judges of this are the youth who lament the state of the country and society that they are born into. A society always playing catch-up with others in the fast developing world but with no-one but itself to blame for not using positively the independence opportunity of 1966. Cruel though it may be seen to the independence liberators of this country, by whose heroism, the country avoided incorporation, the nation's young people today seem to desire exactly that which cost sweat and blood to achieve - incorporation into South Africa. Who can blame them? After all, they live in a world where economic opportunity is the name of the game. Sadly, our 40-year independence history failed to provide enough. The challenge lies with the same youth, though, to face modern day challenges such as HIV-AIDS, poverty and unemployment with fortitude to make the next 40 years better than the last.

Work for JUSTICE

An ecumenical resource centre for justice, peace and participatory development. P. O. Box 1388 1 Oaktree Gardens, Qoaling Road, Old Europa, Maseru 100, Lesotho Tel: +266 2231 4463 Fax: +266 2232 2791 Email: [email protected] Internet:

May the next 40 years be happier than the last

The new generation of youth is challenged to lead the nation into a future of progress and renewal

Just as Christmas is an occasion for the family to celebrate together, independence brings us together as a nation to acknowledge all that binds us in unity over any which may or may have divided us. This new-look Work for Justice, takes us on a journey of evolution as a nation since our birth in 1966 into a modern state. It is a poignant reminder that while the birth was a happy occasion, as all births are, it soon drifted into a series of unprecendented if sustained periods of embarrassing madness. Periods where a nation which should have been united against worse evils of oppression and discrimination, instead visited upon itself untold suffering and violence. During these periods, some members of the nation, by being forcibly ejected out of the land of their birth ended up stateless and not able to enjoy the many happy times which independence celebrations bring. For some people, independence should be celebrated on March 11, the day when we honour the founder of the Basotho nation. Unlike our modern-day politicians, Moshoeshoe enjoys timeless reverence for founding this nation on strong pillars of nationhood. Through masterful statecraft he brought together many disparate groups together into one nation. As a nation, the Basotho were able to cultivate a strong feeling of brotherhood and nationhood. As such we were able to survive testing times of brutal attempts at invasion and incorporation which

Work for Justice Editorial Board

Prof. `Femi Dele Akindele Mr. Stephen Gill

TRC Team Members Matseliso Ntsoelikane `Makananelo Lekaka Tiisetso Madikgetla Seithati Mokhomo Mothusi Seqhee Eric Khophoche Nthatua Mohapi Mpinane Khabo Katleho Pefole Peter Lahann Jacob Lenka Lintle Letsie Mosa `Muso Lira Theko

Our Appreciation to our donors and partners:

Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst Christian Aid Open Society Initiative in Southern Africa Global Greengrants Fund International Rivers Network Institute for Democracy in South Africa Mennonite Central Committee Canadian Fund

Our Board, our members and all who continue to make our work possible.

WfJ Invites Contributions

Articles: A maximum of 4000 words. The editors will also accept longer articles if in their opinion they cover a single subject which may be covered in a single issue. Letters: A maximum of 250 words. Letters are expected to be accompanied ny a full name and contact address of the author. Pictures: Only digitalised pictures in jpeg format will be accepted. Footnote/ Citations: should be avoided unless they are absolutely necessary. Acknowledgement of sources is, however, essential. Copyright: Once material is accepted by WfJ, it becomes the property of the the newspaper. Articles and pictures may be reproduced provided the sources are clearly acknowledged. Submissions: contributions may be sent in hard copy in MS Word to Work for Justice, P.O. Box 1388 Maseru 100 or sent by e-mail to [email protected]

In this issue

40 years of fragile democracy: A summary of Lesotho's political history since 1966 3 A time o great excitement: Retired Diplomat Percy Mangoaela takes us back to independence day in 1966 4 Where were you? A chronology of events since the hoisting of the independence flag on 4th October 1966 5

Some in pyjamas, others under hats. Towards a celebration of real nationhood 12

Another coup another flag after 20 years of independece 10

What the young people say 11



Issue 75 -- Lesotho at 40


Changing Lesotho's history: Prime Minister Leabua Jonathan explains his 1970 coup to the press.

Photo: Drum Magazine, March 1970.

Comment: 40 years of fragile democracy

Four decades of de facto one-party rule, military dictatorship, uneasy democracy and untested electoral reform.

By Khabele Matlosa Despite the four decades of post-independence existence following its political independence on the 4th October 1966, Lesotho today still remains an enfeebled and fragile democracy. In the immediate aftermath of political independence up to the 1970s (1966-1970 period) political development in Lesotho was marked by what can be termed an embryonic democracy with the new government constituted by the Basotho National Party (BNP), following a highly contested election of 1965. Embryonic as it was then, Lesotho's young democracy did not experience any major political turbulence and there were all signs that a democratic culture was surely in the offing. Thus, there was enormous optimism among keen observers of Lesotho's political process that political independence and its immediate aftermath presented a golden opportunity for building Þrm foundations of democratic governance premised upon a Westminster Constitution inherited from the British colonial administration. This optimism was further reinforced by the positive developments of the Þrst Þve years of independence generally marked by legitimate and constitutional rule, political stability, rule of law and political tolerance. However, the positive political development of the Þrst Þve years of political independence were reversed by what can best be termed the era of de facto one-party rule spanning 1970-1986. Lesotho held its Þrst postindependence election in January 1970, which, to all intents and purposes became an embarrassing political Þasco for the country. Fearing an impending political defeat by a fairly strong and well-organised opposition - the Basutoland Congress Party (BCP), the ruling BNP disrupted the election process mid-stream and declared the whole process null and void. Consequently, official results were never publicly announced and published, although anecdotal evidence suggests a landslide victory for the BCP in that election race. But the BCP did not assume state power as the ruling BNP entrenched a one-party rule predicated upon politics of accommodation and repression at the same time. It is certainly to this era of de facto one-party rule that the roots of Lesotho's major political problems can best be traced for this heralded the beginning of various types of violent conßict that became the hallmark of Lesotho's instability. The de facto oneparty rule was followed by the epoch of military dictatorship between 1986 and 1993. Although the political culture of military rule has never been a feature of the political systems of southern Africa, it is interesting that only Lesotho experienced this extreme form of authoritarian governance. The same security establishment upon which the BNP based its one-party iron rule turned against the same party dislodging it from state power and grabbing power on its own behalf. Needless to say, this situation further entrenched authoritarian governance and moved Lesotho further and further away from democratic governance. There is also no gainsaying that the worst forms of human rights abuses in Lesotho were experienced during the one-party and military authoritarian rule between 1970 and 1993. Interestingly too, the era of authoritarian rule of a military variety was indeed the period that witnessed the mushrooming and vibrancy of the civil society organisations in Lesotho, albeit rather weak, fragmented and relatively disorganised to mount any meaningful political lobbying and advocacy for democratic governance and respect for human rights. However, despite their weaknesses civil society organisations played an important role in contributing to Lesotho's historic return to multi-party democracy in 1993 through the overall coordination of the LCN. The military relinquished state power and retired back to the barracks in the early 1990s. This process ushered in the new era of a fragile democracy in Lesotho that has been a feature of the political system between 1993-2002. Fragile because, although the transition to democracy has been achieved, but various forms of conßicts between and among key institutions have generated so much instability to the extent that the very consolidation of democracy itself has been severely threatened. Fragile though it is, this is democratic governance all the same and there are encouraging signs that it is likely to be nurtured and hopefully consolidated in future. The most encouraging signs of Lesotho's democratic governance between 1993 and 2002 has clearly been the regular holding of general elections despite various types of election-related conßicts. Given that much of the election-related conßicts have been associated with the British style Þrst-pastthe-post electoral system (FPTP), the government and the Interim Political Authority (IPA) agreed that the electoral model be changed to a new system known as the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system. This new system was put to the test during the 2002 general election and keen observers of Lesotho's political scene are agreed that it has delivered a desirable outcome for Lesotho's democracy judging for instance by the broadly representative nature of the new parliament Be that as it may, the electoral system alone is not a panacea for Lesotho's multivariate political woes. Much more still needs to be done especially in terms of institutionalisation of democratic governance and the entrenchment of a culture of human rights in the country. Dr. Khabele Matlosa is Senior Lecturer in Political Science at NUL and Research Director at the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa.


Let's go down memory lane to 1966. What was the mood like? The mood was one of great excitement. As events approached independence, there was great expectation that Þnally Basotho would achieve their political independence from the colonial masters. There was a great deal of excitement that independence had come. Among some people independence meant a huge step for us. In the past, governance had been thought of as the preserve of the white people. But here we were about to step into those very shoes and experience the pride of conducting our own affairs. Let's focus on the day itself. Can you describe the people's feelings on October 4, 1966? Certainly there was a big expectation that now that colonial rule was leaving we were going to run our own affairs. That generated a tremendous amount of excitement. People believed that we were going to become masters of our own destiny. But the dominant feeling was not just of removing the British colonial masters as it was of getting some freedom from Apartheid rule. In day to day life, Basotho could not go to the Maseru Club, to the Lancer's Inn. But more importantly we felt that we were going to be a beacon of hope in southern Africa. We felt that we were going to throw away apartheid before even the South Africans did. Indeed, soon after independence you could see the pillars of racial discrimination beginning to crumble. We could see that we were going to free ourselves of the yoke of racial oppression. How did this yoke manifest itself? To be quite honest, I really do not think that the yoke was felt that much. Let me give you an example that illustrates that it was, in fact, the opposite of the yoke. Under the British colonial administration, getting a passport was just a routine matter. You'd go to the office, Þll out a form, get a passport and go. After independence it became more difficult to get a passport. There were all sorts of conditions to satisfy to before you could get a passport. But this administrative efficiency could not compare with the freedom, the pride of having your own government. Would you also say that we were merely ßoating in Harold Macmillan's famous "Winds of change"? You will recall that the

Issue 75 -- Lesotho at 40


be reßective. Really, independence for us should have meant that we see ourselves as one uniÞed nation. We are celebrating the Basotho nation, the Basotho people. I think you're aware that as Basotho we have different clans, we have different chiefs. At independence for the Þrst time, we then started to feel that we are one people. We started to take cognizance of ourselves as a nation with its own culture, language and common aspirations as a nation. One of the victories of independence was the assurance that we felt strong to resist incorporation into South Africa, something that we had hitherto feared the British would easily do and hand us over to the Republic. How is the message of a uniÞed nation received by other nations? I always emphasize that the Basotho are a polyglot nation. We are a combination of different clans and we make only sweeping reference to our differences in a light hearted manner. So our unity as the Basotho nation has never been shaken by anything. Other nations envy us. Are we a) promoting this unity enough and b) how should we promote it? I was on television speaking about the Mora Arts and Culture Festival. We were saying that the Festival started in 1999 after the turmoil of 1998 when it was felt that we needed a vehicle to reinforce our unity as a nation through our arts and our culture, promoting a feeling of oneness, "Kaofela re chabana sa khomo". Apart from Mora, I think we need to promote our language especially in its literary form. I'm also trying to create a theatre association. My dream is to see the impact of theatre or the arts in general using the Sesotho medium having a powerful role in promoting national unity. I'd like to hear Sesotho spoken well and used by many people. As we celebrate state independence, what is the role of the state in promoting unity? To many people the state is a mere construct. So I don't think we should celebrate the ßag, the stamps, the coat of arms, the national anthem and so on. We should instead focus on those things that bring us together as a nation. The state only provides the frame within which we can do these things. So, statehood for me comes second to nationhood.

A time of great excitement

In an exclusive interview with Work for Justice, former journalist and now retired diplomat, Percy Mangoaela takes us back to relive the moments of 1966.

British had a different system of colonialism to the French and the Portuguese and the Belgians. The British were very aloof and they left us alone to do our own things. They just did not actively promote and develop their colonies. This was what was called indirect rule. They ruled through our chiefs and did not themselves have a direct inßuence in our own lives. In matters that affected our daily lives, such as getting a site, getting your child to school, sending someone to hospital, getting public transport, the atmosphere of colonial administration did not really impinge on us. Let's look at the period between independence and 1970. I think that was an interesting period. The Basotho went to the 1970 polls with a lot of enthusiasm and excitement. The aim was to consolidate the economic and political gains made at independence and soon thereafter. So the 1970 elections were very intense. So the stage was set for an exciting power contest between the two main political parties, the BNP and the BCP. So it was interesting to see who would lead Lesotho into its future political destiny. The BNP saw the 1970 election as an opportunity to vindicate itself while on the other hand the BCP looked to prove that in fact they'd been robbed in 1965. How much space did this political contestation Þnd in the national unity supposedly gained from the departure of the whites at independence? There was no unity. The diversity between the BCP and the BNP was so strong in 1970 that it drew clear lines of political following among the nation. You should not forget the tensions that existed between the Prime Minister and the King. This included the King being sent into exile in about 1974 if I'm not mistaken. So, you had monarchists, African nationalists and the conservatives on the political landscape. The BNP was closely aligned with our Apartheid neighbours. This shows that we were never a united nation at the political front. If independence did not yield political unity, wouldn't the view be correct that Africans could not rule themselves, peacefully? This was merely normal political rivalry. I don't think it could be viewed as a manifestation of our inability to rule ourselves. Even those who were opposed to Morena Leabua did not feel that he had been such a terrible ruler in the years that he'd been in power hitherto. He, in fact, became a bad ruler after 1970. You'll be amazed to discover that even amidst that bitter, stiff political contest, parliamentary debates were conducted in a jovial, amicable mood, with jokes and teasing and that sort of thing. There was really no malice among the political parties where political differences were well expressed. What promise did these political parties see political power as holding for them? It was political power for its sake. For the BCP in 1965, it was mainly the lifting of the colonial yoke. For the BNP there had been a belief that the BCP was a front organisation for Communism. So beating the BCP meant beating communism. It became a classical polarization of the political space between the left and the right which you get in many other countries. For the BCP it was a way to usher in African political power on Nkurumah's famous dictum, "Give me Þrst the political kingdom and everything else would follow". But the BNP on the other hand was determined to keep the communists at bay. Other than the well known authoritarian repression that characterized BNP rule since 1970, are there any positives that we can identify in that period? The period between 1970 and 1993 was the darkest in this country. It was characterized by unprecedented brutality. The repression was total. From 1970 to say, 1985, it was continuous downward decline of this nation. Business was going down. The educational system was in tatters. All the euphoria that we had in 1966 was gone. We were too much embroiled in internecine wrangling and recrimination and brutality that there wasn't any room left for us to utilize our energies to moving the country forward. Could 1986 therefore be viewed as a having been a rebirth? How does it compare with 1966 in terms of euphoria? Even though I was not present in 1986, I have been told that the jubilation was greater than 1966. 1966 was a happy occasion but normal. It had happened in other countries and was destined to happen here. 1986 was a relief from certain disaster, inevitable doom. Any nation delivered from brutality would greet that change with unrestrained happiness. For instance I participated in the Mozambican independence celebrations in 1975. You'll recall that Mozambique had been under a brutal colonial regime and the Mozambican people had fought a very bitter war. So the difference between our independence and the Mozambican independence was stark. The Mozambican people had suffered enormously under the Portuguese colonial administration and when they overthrew that it was so emotional. What elements of the nation state, should we, in your view, celebrate at independence? You are now asking me to



Issue 75 -- Lesotho at 40


Independence Day 4 October 1966. King Moshoeshoe II review the guard of honour. Photo: Lucas Smits from Lesotho, Kingdom in the Sky

King Moshoeshoe II with Prime Minister Leabua Jonathan before the coup of 1970. Jonathan first put the King under house arrest and later forced him into exile in Holland. Photo: Drum, March 1970


Royalty: Prince Seeiso, the second son of King Moshoeshoe II is born on April 16. Politics: On 4 October 1966, the former High Commision Territory of Basutoland becomes the Independent democratic Kingdom of Lesotho, ending 98 years of British rule; Lesotho becomes a member of the United Nations Organisation (UNO) and the Organisation of African Unity; Civil Service: A population census is conducted from April 14- 23; Economy: Work on a $4.1m, 100 mile tarred road from Matsieng to Leribe begins. Environment: One of the worst droughts to hit the country since 1933 is experienced at the beginning of the year. Health: A mass immunisation against TB and smallpox is conducted; 8 January, the new Nurses Home and Hospital Extensions are officially opened by Prime Minister Leabua Jonathan; Education: Sir Seretse khama, Prime Minister of Botswana succeeds Sir Hugh Stephenson as Chancellor of UBLS;

Where were you?

A Chronology of events since the hoisting of the Independence flag on 4 October 1966 1967

Education: Lesotho Science Teachers' Association formed; Culture: Maseru Drama society established; News: More Africans in the Civil Service; National Anthem Bill Passed; Central Planning Office established; Religion: Bishop Fortescue Makhetha consecrated Anglican Suffragan Bishop of Lesotho; Archbishop Alphonsus L. Morapeli consecrated; Entertainment: Miss Lesotho Beauty Contest held; Health: SA Medical Mission visits Lesotho; Economy: No less than 1030 digging licences have been issues for Kao; Record number of diamonds (29 787 carats) mined; PM sends condolences to King family on the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; Lesotho becomes a member of IMF and IBRD (later World Bank) Environment: Hailstorm causes severe damage to crops and stock; About 132 houses destroyed by a cyclone at Thupa Kubu Economy: Plans to extend electriÞcation to Mazenod, Roma and Mora announced, to cost R75, 000.00; About 10 000 people welcome the train into Lesotho once more since 1963; Candle factory opened in Kolonyama; Maseru Airport officially opened and named Leabua Jonathan Airport; Entertainment: American Musician "Doc" Watson arrives in Lesotho on African tour. Religion: Anglican Bishop Fortescue Makhetha re-elected President of the Christian Council of Lesotho. Sport: Motsapi Moorosi, holder of multiple athletics titles picked for athletics competitions in Ireland. Independence Constitution and Parliament suspended and rule by Council of Ministers substituted; Jonathan declares state of emergency; Hundreds of BCP supporters are arrested and harassed; Britain suspends aid as a reaction to the coup but resumes it in June; King Þrst placed under house arrest and sent into exile in Holland; Jonathan declares Þve year moratorium on politics; the press is gagged; News: A group of Basotho diamond diggers callBCP leader Ntsu Mokhehle is arrested after the coup. The policeman in the picture is carrying a tear gas pistol. ing themselves Photo: Drum March 1970 Liphokojoe (Jackalas), take over 1971 Malibamats'o valley; Police carry out Þrst air raid in Economy: Customs Union Lesotho to attack diamond Meeting in Maseru; diggers; Sport: Lesotho Sports Council becomes member of International Gymnastic Federation; Kao Mine taken over by Maluti Diamond Corporation;


Royalty:Prince Mohato goes to Iketsetseng Private School. Politics: 7 Jan, Ntsu Mokhehle, leader of the opposition criticises the presence of the Peace Corps in Lesotho at a Pitso in TY; PM gives Þnal warning to King to abide by constitution or face action;


Politics: Voter registration for 1970 elections begins; News: Chief S.S. Matete dies; Thomas Mofolo, son of famous authour, elected President of Senate; Business: Maseru tyre company starts operations; Media: Journalist Joe MoleÞ's court appeal for refugee status is heard;


Politics: A.C Manyeli resigns as Minister of Works and Telecommunication News; SA Opposition leader visits Lesotho; Maseru Post Office extended; Religion: Members of the Baha'i faith visit Lesotho; Sport: Lesotho Youth Service organises cross-country race; Economy: Automatic telephone in Botha-Bothe; Water Supply Project inaugurated; Sport: Motsapi Moorosi fails to qualify for 100m Þnal at Olympics;


Environment: Terrible drought followed by steady rains in Lesotho; Choking dust hits Lesotho; A brown hyena killed by villagers at Sekubu after it has killed 32 sheep and goats in the area; Politics: General Election; BCP win 36 seats, BNP 23 and MFP 1;

The Basotho Hat in 1969.

Photo: 1969 Postcard Calendar

King Moshoeshoe II with his wife and daughter under house arrest. He was later forced into exile in Holland. Photo: Drum, March 1970

WORK FOR 6 Issue 75 -- Lesotho at 40

Sport: Maseru United beat Notwane of Botswana in Africa Cup of Cup Winners at National Stadium; Matlama defeats Desportivo of Maputo 1-0 at National Stadium; Religion: Father Donald Nestor elected Anglican bishop suffragan of Lesotho;



Politics: Lesotho forges closer relations with China; PM congratulates Robert Mugabe on becoming new Zimbabwe PM; Education: NUL awards Nelson Mandela with honorary Doctor of Laws degree; Dr. Anthony Setsabi becomes new NUL vice-chancellor; `Mabathoana High School registers record 20 Junior CertiÞcate passes; Media: Mike Pitso not allowed to enter RSA; Lesotho television feasibility study presented to parliament; News: `Malineo Tau becomes Lesotho's Ambassador to the US; New Radio Lesotho studio opened; Economy: New Lesotho Bank building opens; Fire destroys Mora records at Thabeng; First Kokoptjoe ea Mara bus bought; New Loti currency introduced; Entertainment: Ray Charles performs in Maseru;

Edgar Mahlomola Motuba, editor of Leselinyana was abducted and killed in 1981. Photo: Drum, November1981


Politics: SADF raids Lesotho killing 42, 12 Lesotho nationals and 30 South African refugees; Koenyama Chakela dead; Lithabaneng home of refugee Chris Hani is bombed; Minister Jobo Rampeta killed; News: Barclays Bank employees go on strike; Morena `Mako Moliboea Molapo dies; Businessman Elias. M. Nqoko dies; Economy: Central Cank of Lesotho replaces Lesotho Monetary Authority; Sam Monts'i resigns as Managing Director of LNDC; R11 million Maluti Mountain Brewery opened; Business: LNDC Centre opens; New shopping Centre opened in Maseru; New Lakeside Hotel extension opened; News: Perez de Cuellar becomes New UN Secretary General; New LPF headquarters named after Makoanyane; Basotho Shield gutted by Þre; Sport: Maseru Brothers win "Top 8"; Likila of BothaBothe promoted to A-division;

Botswana's President Seretse Khama visiting Lesotho for the 7th Anniversary of Independence. Photo: Times special edition on 7th Anniversary


Politics: Parliament restored in the form of an Interim National Assembly; G.P. Ramoreboli breaks away from Mokhehle; News: Botswana's President Seretse Khama is visiting Lesotho to celebrate the 7th Anniversary of independence. Environment: A caracal is killed on the plateau above Matsieng and sent to Bloemfontein for taxidermy;



Economy: Water Supply Project inaugurated at Lits'oeneng; Media: Lesotho Weekly starts to publish; Sport: Photographer Ramakatane awards goalkeeper Ronnie Malefetse for outstanding performance; Priscilla Katu wins ladies singles Þnal; Entertainment: Dizzy Gillespie at Holiday Inn

Royalty: King Moshoeshoe II leaves to study at Corpus Christi, Oxford; Politics: 49 alleged BCP supporters charged with treason; Media: Photographer, Mohlouoa Ramakatane awarded UNESCO Award; Journalist Joe MoleÞ's home ransacked; Economy: De Beers signs agreement to invest R23, 000.00 in Lesotho diamond minig; R135, 000 Molimo Nthuse Mountain Hotel opened; China Garden Restaurant opened in Maseru; Construction of Hilton Hotel starts on Mpilo Hill Education: National Teacher Training College starts offerring courses to 75 Þrst group; Entertainment: Ipi Ntombi comes to Holiday Inn; Thandi Klaasen performs at A worker fashions clay at the Kolonyama pottery facthe National Stadium tory. Photo: Natal Mercury, 14 December 1973 Sport: First International Table Tennis Competition held at Airport 1974 Hotel; Royalty: Prince Seeiso reJudiciary: Chief Justice J. T ceives green belt in TaekMapetla dies; wondo 1976 Politics: 32 alleged BCP supRoyalty: Queen Mother `Maporters charged with treason bereng Seeiso dies after short Economy: New Lesotho Bank illness; New Royal Palace Headquarters opened; Oil presented to King well opened in Mahobong, Leribe; First Mosotho pilot, Politics: Chief Sekhonyana Karohano Ntlaloe begins ßy`Maseribane leaves cabinet; Economy: Electricity supply ing Lesotho Airways Corporeaches Botha-Bothe; Mobutu ration Aircraft; First bottling Sese-Seko visits Lesotho; factory opened; Stadium Likhapha Sehlabo appointed Hotel begins operations as Lesotho's Þrst woman amAirport Hotel bassador to Britain; Lesotho Education: King Sobhuza II of forges relations with ComSwaziland becomes Chancelmunist East Germany; lor of UBLS; News: 50 die in tragic bus acSport: PMU, captained by cident near Tsoaing Ernest "Ribo" Ramakau wins Culture: J.P Mohapeloa celthe United Tobacco Comebrates 45 years as a company Cup Final; poser; London Shakespeare Media: Radio Lesotho celGroup performs in Maseru ebrates 10 years; Education: L.B.B.J Machobane Religion: Bishop F. Makhetha becomes Þrst Mosotho Hisattends All African Council tory Lecturer at NUL; of Churches;


Royalty: Queen `Mamohato attends Prince Charles' wedding in London; King's call to churches for day of prayer; Politics: PM calls for elections; Lesotho celebrates 15 years of Independence; Economy: Clothing factory opened at Maputsoe; Education: NUL gets computer; Student Liberation Front and Students Democratic Front contest NUL student leadership in court; Sport: Styles Phumo gets FIFA coaching diploma; Rovers is Top 8 champs; Entertainment: Ipi Ntombi performs at Hilton Hotel; Hugh Masekela releases "Live in Lesotho"; Palesa Kalele crowned Miss Lesotho; Buffalo Rally comes to Lesotho;


Entertainment: 4th International Holiday Inn Dance Festival is held Sport: Lesotho sends continget to All-Africa Games; Lesotho takes on Mauritius in soccer international with Styles Phumo as coach Economy: Stone Crushing plant inaugurated at Ha Foso


Politics: Decision to establish regular army from PMU tabled before National assembly; News: Moabi Mapetla, PS Finance, killed in road accident in the Free State; `Mathabiso Mosala, President of Lesotho Womens Institute appointed to Board of Bedco; Bassie Mahase, notorius hoodlum, killed in gun battle with police in Mapoteng; Parcel bomb explodes at Central Post Office; Maseru Cafe is gutted by Þre; Deadline to switch to new blue Mokorotlo car registration plate, Sept. 30; 1 police officer and two civilians killed at Hendriks' Drift Border Post by suspected BCP/LLA insurgents; Economy: Lesotho Airways makes maiden ßight to Durban; Environment: Record Snowfall hits Lesotho highlands Entertainment: Maseru Singers perform a Henry Purcell's "Dilo and Aenas" at Prep School; Letta Mbulu tours Lesotho with concert at National Stadium

Koenyama Chakela, the BCP General Secretary who returned to Lesotho under the amnesty was gunned by the LLA. Photo: Drum, November 1982

Graphic of bombings in Lesotho (Drum, 1981)




News: Lesotho hosts SADCC conference; German Ambassador dies; Bomb destroys Caltex depot in Maseru; Education: LOIC opened;

Issue 75 -- Lesotho at 40


Lekhanya in court over Ramone's death; Mass cleanout of staff at Moeletsi oa Basotho; 18 soldiers die in tragic air crash; King calls for Þght against AIDS; Religion: Archbishop Morapeli dies; Popular Dean Israel. P. Qwelane leaves Lesotho after 8 years at Anglican cathedral; Economy: Electricity expanded to Semonkong; New Central Bank Building inaugurated; Health: No of conÞrmed AIDS cases rises to 8; Civil Society: Save the Children boss Winifred Coaker dies; Entertainment: Sankomota release album "The Writings on the Wall"


Royalty: Prince Mohato graduates from NUL; News: Four people die and six injured as government tanker overruns them; Bishop Tutu awarded Nobel Peace Prize; Well-known businessman Pitso Makhoza is jailed for 3 years for cutting off one of Mqedlana's testicles for allegedly having a love affair with his wife; Bill Fraser dies after long illness; Politics: Detente not in sight in Lesotho-SA relations; BCP pushes for elections; Lesotho receives Zambian PM Nalumino Mundia; PM receives Dag Hammarskjold Award; Economy: Discussions on proposed Lesotho Highlands Water Project in jeopardy as SA threatens to withdraw its support for the project unless Lesotho signs a Nkomati-type peace accord; Health: New maternity ward at Queen II opened; 1115 die in Lesotho hospitals due to intestinal and infectious diseases; Education: 16, 502 pass std 7. Entertainment: Caiphus Semenya and wife Letta Mbulu receive golden disc awards at Maseru Casino Hotel;v Sankomota records Þrst album, "Sankomota"; Civil Society: Vocational Centre for Lesotho National Council of Women inaugurated;


Royalty: King Moshoeshoe II is banished to London by the Military government on 26 Oct.; Prince Mohato is sworn in as King, 12 Nov.; Religion: Archbishop Bernard Mohlalisi is consecrated Archbishop of Maseru; Sport: Arsenal beats SA Sundowns FC; Politics: Cols. Sekhobe Letsie, Khethang Mosoeunyane, Monyane Mokhants'o arrested; Lekhanya announces move to democratise, gets praise from Ntsu Mokhehle; Order no 14 removes King from Throne; National Consituent Assembly established; Economy: LHDA contracts awarded; News: Nelson Mandela is released from prison; Lengau is sold; Sekhobe appears in court over Lekhalong-laBaroa murders; ANC's Alfred Nzo and Jacob Zuma visit Lesotho; Education: NUL Students boycott classes; Teachers continue strike; NUL confers honorary LLD on Ntsu Mokhehle; Health: Scott Hospital turns 50;

Prime Minister Leabua Jonathan and Major General Metsing Lekhanya. In 1986 the General lead a coup against Jonathan.


Politics: 9 die in another SADF raid on Lesotho; Media: Plans to establish Lesotho television announced; First ever Lesotho daily newspaper, The Nation published but to last only two months Economy: Lesotho receives R161m in customs revenue; Lesotho receives M30m loan to develop Maseru water supply; Entertainment: Singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka warned not to go on with Lesotho show in solidarity with "Black December"


Politics: SA imposes border blockade on Lesotho on New Year's Day; Khaketla, Moseli and Ramoreboli meet SA on strained relations between the two countries but detained upon return; PM's offices surrounded by troops amid rumours of a coup; A confrontation is reported between Jonathan and MajorGeneral Lekhanya, head of Lesotho Pramilitary Force; Talks to diffuse tension between Lesotho and SA are held in Pretoria; Lekhanya leads bloodless coup against Jonathan; New Military Council and cabinet sworn in;

60 ANC supporters deported from Lesotho; All Basotho political prisoners and citizens in exile are granted amnesty; 6 to 6 curfew imposed; Order no. 4 banning political activity imposed; Ministers Sixishe and Makhele murdered with their wives at Lekhalong-la-Baroa on 16 Nov.; News: Brigadier B.M Ramotsekhoane and Colonel Sehlabo die in detention; Steve Kekana's "Fats'e la Bo-Ntata rona is played regularly as prelude to news bulletin, making it an unofficial "anthem". Lt. Col. J.L Dingiswayo acts as Police commissioner; Economy: Lesotho Highlands Water Project negotiations start; LHWP Treaty signed on 24 October; Civil Service: Population Census conducted; Tom Thabane, former PS Interior and chieftainship Affirs, becomes Þrst secretary to the Military Council; Health: Immunisation of all children by 1990 launched Education: NUL Maseru campus opens; WFP school feeding project launched; Religion: Inter-denominational national prayer for peace and reconciliation held; Judiciary: Justice Peter Mofokeng dies;


Environment: Severe snow disaster hits the mountain areas; Religion: President of LEC Church charges that takeover of church by 18 clerics unconstitutional; dissident group of 20 LEC clergymen occupy church headquarters; Politics: New ßag hoisted on Jan. 19; Entertainment: Sankomota records new album "Dreams do come true"; Economy: Boeing 707 "Lengau" bought; News: Jonathan dies on April 5; C.D. Mofeli arrested; Agric Bank is gutted by Þre; Environment: Snow disaster in highlands; Army Day celebrated;


Religion: Pope John Paul II visits Lesotho on 15 Sept.; Royalty: King Moshoeshoe II receives honorary Doctor of Laws degree from University of New Pope John Paul II Brunswick;

Politics: Government meets BCP delegation; King meets PW Botha; Education: Prof. Adamu Baikie becomes new NUL vice-chancellor; News: Lekhanya declares state of emergency against crime; New Moshoeshoe 1 International Airport inaugurated; Government talks with heards of churches suspended; Bus hacked during papal visit; Lengau suspends ßights to Seychelles; Student George Ramone`s fatal shooting suspicious, Lekhanya implicated; Health: Makoanyane Military Hospital opened; Environment: 8 die in snow disaster; Very wet summer Media: Mirror editor Johnny wa ka Maseko arrested; Entertainment: Boswell Wilkie Circus comes to Lesotho;


News: Public uprising in protest against the death of Mrs `Manthabiseng Senatsi, allegedly killed by security guards for stealing from a Chinese owned store. White foreigners targeted by angry public;Sekhobe Letsie found guilty in Lekhotla-la-Bafo Murders; Politics: Maj. Gen. Lekhanya is forced to resign and replaced by Col. Phisoana Ramaema; Economy: New incomplete Agric Bank Building inaugurated; Malibamats'o Bridge inaugurated; News: Khoabane Letsie Theko brießy removed as Chief of Thaba Bosiu and Ratau; Spate of strikes characterise 1991; Sport: Smirnoff sponsors Top 8 for M55,000; Thabiso Moqhali breaks 32km marathon record in "Pro Nutro 20 Miller" Competition; Moalosi Tjela wins silver in 42.2km marathons "All-Africa Games"


Royalty: Prince Mohato becomes chief of Matsieng; Politics: Britain increases aid to Lesotho to M23.5 million; More political exiles return; King congratulates SA President F.W. de Klerk's move to end apartheid; News: 18 soldiers die in plane crash in Qacha's Nek; New M2, M5 M50 legal tender introduced; Guilbeault Hall gutted by Þre at NUL;

WORK FOR 8 Issue 75 -- Lesotho at 40


News: New Maseu Post Office opened; Highlands Water Delivery begins; Veteran businessman and Civil Rights Activist Robert Matji dies; Education: O'level exam results show poor performance in English; Prof. V.M Bam dies; Tlepu Mahanetsa dies; Religion: Bishop John Maund, Þrst Anglican Bishop of Basutoland dies; Civil Society: Highlands Church Action Group petitions World Bank on LHWP; Health: AIDS Þgures rise;

The new UN building was handed to government in 1997. Photo: TRC


Prime Minister Ntsu Mokhehle welcomes Botswana's Prime Minister Ketumile Masire at Moshoeshoe I International Airport. Masire and Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe came to Lesotho in 1994 to help restore political order. Photo: TRC


Royalty: Letsie III officially installed as King; King Moshoeshoe II returns from London exile; Education: `Masechele Khaketla loses ownership of Iketsetseng Private School; Environment: Severe drought; News: Ex-Minister Miletsane Mokoroane dies; Religion: Catholic Bishops' Conference appeas for peaceful elections; Media: Journalist Mike Pitso dies; Sport: Arsenal beats SA's Moroka Swallows Ltd; Arsenal beats Malawi's Silver Stars;

Dr. Senaoana appointed Finance Minister; Demonstration held to demand reinstatement of King Moshoeshoe II to throne; King Letsie leads a Palace Coup; 2-day stayaway in protest against Palace coup; BCP government restored to power;


Royalty: King Moshoshoe II reinstated to the throne; Politics: Mosisili appointed Deputy Prime Minister; Members of the NSS take Major-General Leaooa Seoane hostage; 96 members of BCP including Godfrey Kolisang return to Lesotho; Cabinet reshuffle; News: Lawyer Khauoe brings court action to declare Act. no. 10 of 1994 null and void; Police go on partial strike; Signing of Extradition Treaty results in demonstration by taxi drivers; Nelson Mandela visits Lesotho; Prison officers go on strike; Maseru City Council dissolved; Accountant-General D.P. Matebesi and Assistant AccountantGeneral M.P Mokotoane on trial for embezzlement; Police officers Penane and Ramoeletsi in police strike fracas; Economy: New Maseru Brridge opened; Impoundment of Katse Dam begins Education: Teachers go on strike over pay; Controversial New Education Bill passed; Civil Society: National Dialogue held; Environment: Severe drought broken;


Politics: BCP wins a landslide victory in Þrst democratic elections since 1970; Ntsu Mokhehle becomes Prime Minister;


Royalty: Princess `Maseeiso dies; News: Makoanyane barracks is disturbed by gunÞre, a sign of a mutiny looming; Rival factions of the army face each other on Mpilo hill in a shootout mutiny on 19 Nov.; Major Gen. Metsing replaced by Maj. Gen Mosakeng as commander of LDF; soldiers demand a 100% pay rise; Heads of Churches struggle to diffuse army mutiny; Police go on strike allowing criminals to loot shops; Minister Mpho Malie is abducted but later released unharmed; Police kill LLA member, Peters Motemekoane; Politics: BNP leader, E.R Sekhonyana accuses BCP government of arming Security Lesotho; Foreign Minister Molapo Qhobela visits the army in barracks; Sekhonyana charged with sedition; BoÞhla Nkuebe becomes only opposition member in 65-member parliament; Cabinet reshuffle; Deputy Prime Minister Selometsi Baholo gunned down and 2 days of public mourning observed; Minister Moleleki resigns from cabinet and ßees to Botswana claiming he feared he was next assassination target after Baholo;

Royalty: King Moshoeshoe II dies; Politics: Matsoso Bolofo and Lelingoane Jonathan stage phoney coup; Ruling party divided into "Majelathoko and "Pressure Group"; Ntsu Mokhehle falls ill creating political uncertainty; Lesotho hosts SADC Summit; Information Minister Pakane Khala dies; News: Makotoane and Matebesi convicted of embezzlement; Unrest in rural areas; `Manthabiseng Busstop closed; Commisson of Inquiry into King's death; British Army Training Team leaves Lesotho; Maj. Gen. Bolutu Makoaba becomes new Police Commissioner; Population census held; LHDA strike; Death Sentences for murderes of Bank Manager Kimane; Some LHDA strikers killed by police; BCP-Vlakplaas links reported; Economy: Makase Marumo becomes new L.H.D.A Chief Executive; First cellular phone services in Lesotho with Vodacom (Vital Cellular Link) company opening business; World-Wide-Web reaches Lesotho; Privatisation Unit established; Education: Problems selecting new NUL vice-chancellor; Ntsu Mokhehle awarded honorary LLD from Fort Hare University; Eminent Mosotho Historian, Mosebi Damane dies; Mosotho author, B.M. Khaketla receives honorary DLitt. Environment: Heaviest snowfalls in nine years; Media: New papers, Makatolle and Mohlanka re-appear; Entertainment: Sankomota loses four members in car crash; Sport: Lesotho gives modest performance in Olympic athletics

New UN building handed to governent; Veteral politician Stephen Motlamelle dies; preparations for General Elections begin; LHDA CE Masupha Sole faces fraud suit in High Court; Former Maseru Mayor, Sobhuza Sopeng dies; Media: Matsepe Massa dies; Lesotho Today closes; Attack on MoAfrika Newspaper, Candi Ramainoane; New Weekly, Southern Star is launched; Economy: Lesotho Airways and Loti Brick privatised; Education: Prof. RIM Moletsane becomes new NUL ViceChancellor; LUTARU goes on strike; Health: Maseru Private Hospital opened; Religion: Rev Litsebe Matooane dies; Bishop Andrew Duma succeeds Bp. P.S. Mokuku as Anglican Bishop;

The ruins of the resource centre for the visually impaired after the riots in 1998. Photo: TRC


Politics: BCP leader suspends 6 senior members; Minister `Mamoshebi Kabi dies, SADC forces move out of Lesotho; BCP squabbles result in expensice court case; Finance Minister Ketso resigns after road accident; News: National Convention Centre handed over to government; Speaker J.T. Kolane dies; Ntlhoi Motsamai becomes new speaker; DPP Sipho Mdluli resigns; Economy: New M2 and M5 coins minted; Lesotho banks sheds 679 jobs in transfer to Standard Bank; Ex- LHDA CE Sole charged with massive fraud; Lets'eng Mine reopens; Media: Catholic FM goes on air; MILES gains new premises; MoakÞka Editor Þned M90 000; Sport: Lesotho wins gold at All Africa Games; Roof of Africa Rally returns after a year; Environment: Severe storm causes damage; Culture: Arts and Culture Festival held at Mora Religion: Joseph Tsubella becomes new Anglican Bishop;


Politics: Veteran politician Khauta Khasu dies; 3 main opposition parties discredit the election results; The opposition party alliance stage a vigil at the Palace; SA send mediation mission headed by Deputy President Thabo Mbeki; Clashes take place between LCD and opposition supporters; College of Chiefs meet at Palace to calm the situation; Commission of Inquiry headed by SA Deputy Chief Justice Pius Langa investigates but Þnds no conclusive evidence of electoral fraud; Maseru and major towns torched by angry mob; SADC forces enter Lesotho on Sept.22; Economy: Agric Bank closes;


Royalty: King Letsie III is crowned on 31 Oct.; Politics: Local Government Act published;Ntsu Mokhehle creates Lesotho Congress for Democracy breaking away from BCP; News: Ernst Meissner, owner of Auberge Restaurant is fatally shot; Brown police combat uniform abolished;


Royalty: Royal Wedding, King Letsie marries Miss Karabo Mots'oeneng on 18 Feb; Chieftainess `Mampoi Seeiso dies; News: Year 2000 welcomed with spectacular Þreworks; B.M Khaketla dies; "FatoFato" renamed Fund for Community Development; Dr. K.T. Maphathe dies; First pedestrian overbridges opened; Lawyer G.G Nthethe dies;

The ANC colours black, green and yellow were dominating the streets of Maseru during South African President Nelson Mandela's visit to Lesotho in 1995. Photo: TRC



Businessman Mario "Pino" Florio dies; Economy: LTC sale signed; Health: Disentry outbreak results in fatalities; Education: Free Education in Std 1 begins; Prof. Alan Hutcheon dies; Culture: Basotho Hat reopens Media: BCP newspaper Makatolle reappears; Sport: SA defeats Lesotho in World Cup qualiÞer before capacity crowd;

Issue 75 -- Lesotho at 40



Royalty: King and Queen's memorials unveiled; Politics; Chief Bereng Selala Sekhonyana is gunned down; Lesotho gears for 40 year Independence celebrations; Ministers' luxury Mercs cause controversy; News: Dr. Anton Rupert, Lesotho's industrial Adviser dies; Foreign Minister Moleleki shot in arm; Prof. J.M. Mohapeloa honoured, dies soon after; National Census held; Charles Jenkins becomes new LRA head; Rock star Bono visits Lesotho; Lesotho hosts SADC summit; New State Library inaugurated; Proposals for new ßag designs unveiled; DPS Mophethe dies; Economy: New shopping Centre opens in Hlotse; Education: Lerotholi Politechnic celebrates centenary; Prof. Ogunrinade becomes new NUL vice-chancellor; Media: New Bang! newspaper on Maseru streets; Celebration: Lesotho celebrates 40th Anniversary of Independence on 4 October 2006.


Royalty: Princess Senate is born; Wedding of Prince Seeiso Seeiso; News: Judge W.C.M Maqutu serves on Rwanda Tribunal; Indian Army to train LDF; British Council closes in Maseru; LHDA Chief Makase Marumo dies; Sekhobe Letsie released from gaol; Phoka Chaolana dies; Politics: Leon Commission begins hearings; Vision 2020 launched; Lekhanya conÞrmed as BNP leader; Economy: Lesotho Unit Trust launched; Motlatsi Matekane become Governor of Central Bank; Lesotho Revenue Authority is established; Education: Dr. Tefetso Mothibe becomes new NULvice- chancellor; Prof. Gwen Malahleha dies; NUL students blockade campus gate; Health: Maluti Hospital celebrates 50 years. Sport: Likuena defeats Bafana Bafana;

King Letsie III and South African President Thabo Mbeki inaugurating Mohale Dam on 16 March 2004.

Photo: TRC

Environment: Wettest summer in over 100 years; State of famine proclaimed; Sport: FIFA President visits Lesotho; Econet sponsors New Football league; Media: Southern Star ceases publication; Culture: Wole Soyinka's "King Baabu" performed in Lesotho;

Entertainment: Sankomota leader Frank Leepa dies; Culture: MoAfrika Culture Festival a success; Masitise Cave House is restored; Sport: Lesotho out of 2006 World Cup;


Royalty: British Prince Harry arrives in Lesotho; Princess `Maseeiso is born; News: Justice Ramodibedi becomes President of Appeal Court of the Seychelles; Industrialist Peter Mokheseng gunned down; LLA cofounder Ts'eliso Rapitse dies; Mphanya publishes History of the BCP; JRL Kotsokoane dies; Father A.T. Monyau sentenced to 15 years for high treason; Old age pensions paid to over-70's; Economy: Peete Molapo becomes LNDC Chief; Lets'eng Mine officially reopens; Religion: MissionaryAlbert Brutsch dies; New AME Bishop Dr. Sarah Davies welcomed to Lesotho; Business: Hotel Victoria reopens; CNA closes Maseru branch; FNB opens in Lesotho; Media: New Our Times newspaper brießy exists; Sport: Lesotho at Athens Olympics; German Football coach arrives; LeFA President Thabo Makakole German coach Tony dies; Hey. Photo: TRC Culture: New Þlm on King Moshoeshoe screened; Civil Society: SCF (UK) closes Lesotho office; TRC turns 25;


News: First Woman Police Commissioner, `Malejaka Letooane appointed; Devastating rains hit the country after Kings' appeal for rain prayers; British High Commission closes down; Ex-US President Bill Clinton visits Lesotho; LRA head, Kevin Donovan dies; Tanzanian President Mkapa visits Lesotho;


News: K.G Lieta dies: Directorate of Disputes Prevention and Resolution established; P.M.'s son murdered; First Ombudsman H.M Ntsaba retires; New bus station opens near SeÞka; Father Monyau charged with treason; Masopha Sole found guilty in bribery case; Meteorite explodes in western Lesotho. Politics: No official leader of Opposition in parliament; LCD wins `fresh' general election; Impoundment of Mohale Dam begins; Economy: Econet Ezicell begins operations; New SACU Treaty signed; Education: NUL embarks on transformation; NTTC becomes LCE;

Royalty: Queen Mother `Mamohato Seeiso dies; King Letsie III turns 40; Politics: Ketso heads Public Accounts Committee; BAC splits; News: Cabinet Ministers ride in new luxurious Mercedes Benz Eclass; VAT introduced; The Blue river Liphapang Potloane becomes new LHDA chief; Phakiso Molise escapes from gaol; Chief Khoabane Theko, long a bachelor, marries; Dr. A.D. Lebona dies; Education; NUL closes after riot; Environment: `Blue river briefly dries up. Media: Public Eye editor Bethuel Thai, marries in style; Mosotho Newspaper launched; Journalist Joe MoleÞ dies; Journalist Afrika Molungoa dies;

Dancers at the Morija Arts and Cultural Festival.

Photo: TRC

Health: Health Sector experiences worst crisis; Education: COSC results marred by leaked papers; Economy: Street lights come to Hlotse, Leribe; End of Multi-Fibre-Agreement leeds to closing of textile factories, thousands of workers lose their jobs. Business: Lesotho Post Bank becomes operational; Media: SA Lesedi FM broadcasts on Lesotho soil; Quarterly Motjoli's Review makes debut; Spectator newspaper makes brief appearance: Art: TRC hosts exhibition of 4 Basotho artists; Civil society: TRC publishes "Irony of the while Gold"; Sport: Coach Tony Hey Þred;


The editors would like to thank the following for image and text material used in the chronology: The Ministry of Information, Science and Technology for access to past newspapers: Lesotho Times, Mochochonono, Lentsoe la Basotho and Lesotho Today; The Institute for Southern African Studies for permission to use press clippings; Professor David Ambrose for permission to use his compilation of events; The State Library for archival material on Lesotho; The Mora Museum and Archives for permission to use archival material, The TRC library for access to historical material. Many other people who have reminded us of past events to enhance this compilation also deserve credit. While all efforts have been made to trace copyright holders of some of the material used, we regret that we have not succeeded in all cases. We have however, attempted to acknowledge all material used. We invite all copyright holders to contact us about their material used here. Khotso


Politics: First Local Government elections held; Chief Seeiso becomes new High Commissioner to Britain; Ombudsman's hearings on grievances about the Lesotho Highlands Water Project continue in Mohale;

The Cave House in Masitise was restored in 2003.

Photo: TRC

A textile worker.

Photo: TRC

WORK FOR 10 Issue 75 -- Lesotho at 40

Over the last four decades the relationship between Lesotho and her only neighbour were often tense. In 1970, South African perception of Lesotho is displayed in this cartoon - a volcano ready to explode. During Apartheid times the white regime tried to destabilize the entire region. Several attacks on ANC refugees were carried out. Only after 1994 did the relationship show signs of improvement. However, 1998 witnessed a regression to the tension. Examples of an improvement in diplomatic relations include the signing of the binational commission and the sod turning of the new South African Diplomatic Village in Maseru. Cartoon: The Friend (Lesotho Edition), 1970


South Africa's Lesotho

South Africa has always maintained and guaranteed Lesotho's political and economic existence.

By Katleho Pefole While the temptation would be to place the blame for Lesotho's slow 40 year post-colonial socio-political and economic development on the country's leaders, South Africa should by no means be let off scot free. For, Lesotho as a southern African state is in fact a South African enclave by virtue of its being wholly surrounded by the republic. The entire history of the kingdom is best understood in the mainstream of the region's history from the Lifaqane, to colonialism to post-apartheid. This has always posed serious challenges to Lesotho to survive as a separate state and nation when South Africa had assumed the role of big brother, effectively maintaining and guaranteeing Lesotho's very existence. Indeed most, if not all events that happened in Lesotho since 1966 have been directly or indirectly inßuenced by South Africa. All this while the practical motives for independence were ostensibly to remove the British yet in reality, South African apartheid was the prime evil. It should be recalled that, in fact, while Britain were the colonial masters, by ruling Lesotho through the Cape, they effectively made South Africa the real head office of colonial rule. When more than 100 hundred Basotho miners perished in one of South Africa's numerous mining disasters, it brought home once more the reality of economic dependence. Apart from long queues of migrant workers constantly en route to the Republic, South African cities have always been the prime destination for Basotho holiday makers due to proximity, affordability and the assurance of a world class tourism package. To this day, Bloemfontein, in particular, still remains the prime shopping destination for much of Basotho's middle class, turning border crossing into something of a status symbol. Even South African football teams, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, for example, enjoy tremendous support across the border, a fact endorsed when a match between the two, to a large extent, pulled some Basotho away from queues to the local government polling stations to their television screens to watch the match. The entry of the goods train into Lesotho is accepted as soul of economic survival, evidenced by the overwhelming welcome it received in 1968. Branches or extensions of South African businesses maintain a high degree of dominance of the business space in the kingdom, a phenomenon only recently receiving competitive responses from Chinese-owned industrial and small-scale enterprises. Even these are highly dependent on the South African manufacturing sector and sea-ports for access to foreign markets. The fact that South Africa acts a zone of economic activity for Lesotho and her peers, making the Customs Union revenue the highest source of income for the kingdom, further exposes this dependence. Needless to say, the economic blockade of 1 January 1985 to put a squeeze on the BNP government brought into stark focus Lesotho's desperate dependence on the Republic. This, among other things, reduced Lesotho's bargaining position in the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP), signed a mere nine months after the South African instigated overthrow of the Lesotho government in 1986. The effects of this rape are still felt even today when many of the LHWP dam-affected people are still pushing for better deals from the LHWP authorities. It is hardly surprising that South Africa sees itself as the de facto guardian of Lesotho's democratic and economic survival. This was again brought to the fore when South African forces, under the SADC banner, invaded Lesotho in 1998 to "sort things out". Since then, Lesotho has increasingly had to look to her sole neighbour for answers to her many difÞcult economic questions as international aid to Lesotho declined, some of it ironically shifting to South Africa. However, the fact remains that the two country need each other for, in absence of anything else, mere good neighbourliness. Katleho Pefole is a Researcher at the Transformation Resource Centre.

Maseru regime tumbles

Maseru-The government of Prime Minister chief Leabua Jonathan of Lesotho was toppled by the military in a bloodless coup, official Radio Lesotho Reported

A brief announcement, repeated at regular intervals, said the commander of the country's 1 500-member paramilitary force, Major General Justin Lekhanya had taken power immediately and appealed for calm. The radio reports said General Lekhanya would govern the country under the head of state, King Moshoeshoe II, with the assistance of a military council and principal secretaries of various state departments. General Lekhanya said he had over because of the confusion in Lesotho and because politicians had failed to govern the country. Chief Jonathan was at his home near Maseru today after the take over. A military officer in charge at Radio Lesotho, who refused to disclose his name , said the former Prime Minister was not under house arrest. "In fact, it is as if nothing has happened here," he said. Workers manned the radio station, "but we (the paramilitary force) are in charge", he said. There was general rejoicing in Maseru today. At villages around Maseru, large crowds, constituting mainly women, ululated, danced and screamed "Away with Leabua!" and "Save us Lekhanya!" At the main bus and taxi terminal in Maseru, taxi drivers and other motorists sped around the terminal and blew their hooters and shook clenched Þsts. Members of the Lesotho Army on several army trucks agve the clenched Þst salute in support of people who marched down the main street. Radio Lesotho said the coup was aimed at restoring peace and national reconciliation in the country, which has been subjected to a crippling economic clampdown on its borders by South Africa since January 1. The coup was announced in English and Sesotho by a radio announcer at 5.45 am, followed by a second announcement at 6 am. Radio Lesotho, which earlier today played martial music interspersed with repeats of the announcement every 15 minutes in Sesotho and English of the takeover, later switched to playing music in place of normal prgrammes. The announcement said "the police and foreign companies should carry out their activitiess as if nothing has happened". Lesotho's Moshoeshoe 1 international Airport near Maseru has been closed and all ßights cancelled. Meanwhile, the Lesotho side of the South African border remained open and traffic ßowed normally. Yesterday, Chief Jonathan said he aws still Þrmly in control of the country and Government cources said then that the leader of the attempted coup, colonel Sehlabo of the paramilitary force, had been arrested and would probably be courtmartialled. Today's announcement appeared to signal that Gen. Lekhanya had joined ranks with Col. Sehlabo. Pretoria has imposed a crippling economic blockade against this tiny enclave of 1.5 million people since January 1, saying it was harbouring guerillas dedicated to overthrowing the Government in SA. The South African clampdown has played havoc with the local economy, bringing shortages of such vital commodities as petrol, which had to be rationed. Chief Jonathan yesterday appealed to the West to airlift supplies in, giving a warning that if his call was not heeded he would turn to Eastern bloc allies like Cuba. Ironically, Chief Jonathan yesterday expressed his conÞdence in General Lekhanya. He said the army chief was "a good and mature soldier who prefers to remain in the barracks in preference to the attractions of political power." Chief Jonathan added that Gen' Lekhanya had refused to be subjected to South African demands to take over power because he was "a highly disciplined man". Lesotho's Information Minister, Mr. Desmond Sixishe, refused to discuss the situation today. Speaking by telephone from his office, Mr Sixishe said, "I don't know," when asked about the situation in Maseru. - Sapa



Issue 75 -- Lesotho at 40


The people share their opinions on the sort of future they desire for Lesotho

"A positive vision towards a country rich with possibilities"

Work for Justice carried out an opinion survey to find out what 40 years of independence meant to ordinary people. Diverse views were shared, mostly by younger people who will be expected to grab the baton and lead the country into the future. Many of the views expressed varied from the realistic to the optimistic.

Harteke Hloele, 18, Student. Firstly, it is a great pleasure that Lesotho is celebrating its 40 years of independence. To me this means more problems to our country as there are already for example the arguments about cars sold for M4000.00. Moreover, I see no improvements in our country when one comes to services in our public service. There is still bad management, for instance, one goes to Queen II Hospital only to Þnd that the queues are long and the services are slow. The transport fares have risen and the government does not want to meet the people half-way by at-least increasing their salaries. At police stations thieves are caught and released, one person is caught red handed killing but the next day s/he will be sharing a road with me. That is why Lesotho's 40 years of independence means nothing but more problems to me as a good citizen. Amadasul Donald, 35, Instructor. It is a day to commemorate and celebrate freedom from colonial masters. Freedom of democracy by the people, to the people. A day to celebrate the price paid by her heroes/heroines in a struggle for freedom for the Basotho nation. A day to appreciate leaders of high repute, encourage citizens to be law-abiding, good citizens, day to appreciate one another , promote friendliness, peace and joy. A day to plan ahead to make an impact in our society, communities encourage people to make an impact on themselves and others around them. Sebina Tlali, 35 Civil Servant: It means a lot. It means a country which at this 40th independence should have a more advanced technology, e.g. people should be able to use computers not at work alone but even in their homes. It also means that people should be healthy and educated. Peace and stability should be the motto in this country. Gender issues should be considered. Clinics, schools (both technical and non-technical) should cover the entire country. More industries should be developed so that majority of the people will get jobs. Agriculture as the backbone of every country should be practised in the rural and urban areas in order to avoid this terrible poverty. People should be paid satisfying salaries in order to cope with the cost of living.

`Makatjo Khakhane, 37, student. It means that now Lesotho has grown up, therefore we are expecting to beneÞt a lot from it in terms of development, political stability and equality among us in regard to gender and local issues.

Sebolelo Masoleng, 19, student. Lesotho's 40-year independence means a great honour to this country because it is now not under the wing of another country. It means that our country must now make improvements to do things on its own. 40-year independence brings joy and achievements to the country.

Moliehi, 30, student. Lesotho's 40-year independence means nothing to me because Lesotho is still poor and is one of the underdeveloped countries. There is a high level of unemployment and shortages of tertiary schools and our leaders are only looking at themselves only. They are not interested in the economic growth of our country. They use the Þnancial aid for the beneÞt of themselves not to serve the purpose they were supposed to. Our leaders don't love our country.

Tiisetso Lechaka, 50, technical officer. Lesotho's 40th Independence means a very crucial moment for review on what has been going on since attaining our independence. A lot of time has passed unproÞtably used and we are lagging behind on matters of development. Basotho forgot to push their country forward and engaged much in political conßicts for hunger of power and became divided on their political affiliations. Lesotho was able to feed its people before independence but now we are the most starving nation in the world. Basotho were not conscientized about the mines that will sometimes be closed in South Africa as to prepare for their future now they have been retrenched in appalling numbers. Statistical data were not used that more schools and colleges up to universities will be needed. We are not self-sufficient with almost everything that our independence has not helped us much. In Lesotho, now it's survival of the Þttest.

`Mareitumetse Maretlane, 22, student. It means that the new government came to commit to transforming the national economy and society to socialism and as more immediate task to redress the inherited social and spatial inequalities.

Teboho Lelaka, 19, student: Lesotho's 40-year independence is a symbol of a free society where each and every Mosotho is free to share and take part in the development of the community. A country where there is liberty, equal opportunity to each and every Mosotho. It is an opportunity which calls for an advancement of the country. Furthermore it implies that Basotho are now free to exercise their will. Not only does it confer freedom, it also shows that Basotho as a nation are capable of achieving tremendous and considerable success since independence has granted Joalane them this beautiful nation. A P. Mokoena, 28, country where we create student. Lesotho's our own laws suitable to 40-year independence meet the needs of means a great achievethis society. ment in the country's political governance. It means that indeed, the Basotho society have Ntimana managed and will still manage to Konyana, 17, student. A positive handle their own political issues vision towards a country alive with possibilities. toward self-rule, ever since the A discovery of quality academia back-up, professionalism 1966 when Lesotho regained its input into practice. Time to look back and learn from our mistakes dependence. However, more has to with the aim of making agreat good changes, giving allowance of be done in order to inßuence the justice and honesty, thus living an authentically obvious democracy. political culture and socialization Time to get up from our sleepy hours of unjust and oppression to of the society since the attitudes the ignorant. A great achievement of many successes which and values of the people have made our country a prefect place to display our towards independence and talents as young people. other political activities seem to be deteriorating.

WORK FOR 12 Issue 75 -- Lesotho at 40


the last African state from the clutches of such an experiment in Namibia only in 1990, this idea can scarcely be popular even with the most oppressed of post-colonial African peoples. Yet, as long as the state is not allowed to serve the democratic interests of the country's inhabitants, it will be prone to abuse by state elites. Here, the nation state, at least in southern Africa, is not seen as a mass of homogeneous population, but a social organisation articulated through a class stratiÞcation driven by the ownership of the means of production. Unfortunately, this understanding places state power as well as the people's interests in the hands of privileged or wealthy elites. Until recourse to elections is exercised against the elites, Independence should enable the state to hardly any intervention shine by the reflection of nationhood can be expected from more powerful states or group of Just as those upset with and the nation in frenzied states who themselves may the American state express state contestation. Some state be politically coy or legally their unhappiness by burnprotagonists manipulated hamstrung to take action. ing the stars and stripes or the state to stay in power. Short of little else to do, the twin towers, we came to Their opponents exaggerate inhabitants shun state citizenour senses that something their adversaries' excesses to ship in search of alternatives was really wrong when the justify their entry and stay in in the markets. Even though Basotho Hat building went power as messianic saviours, market rules are still set by up in ßames in 1998. only to sink down to similar state players, ex- state players The Czar's St. Petersburg moral decadence just as the or friends of the state, ordiPalace, the Bastille Prison and proverbial pigs did in Jones' nary market participants are the Berlin Wall all symbolbed, sheets and pyjamas. sure that their contribution is ized everything that the state To the modern citizen, the meant to serve them and not came to represent. All, in pride and honour of indesome politician. common, are at the centre of pendence becomes hollow if The playing Þelds, playmajor revolutions by peoples it does translate into real bening times and playing styles fed up with an attack on their eÞts. Who wants to eat the are therefore freely open. nationhood. They effectively ßag, anthem, coat of arms, separated nationhood from stamps or other forms of state This, ironically, is the accepted norm of state-market statehood when state masters heraldry? It may be one thing interaction if not the prehad had the impression that for the state to omit to fulÞl condition. Public Holidays, the state was in its democratic responsibiliespecially extended fact the soul of the ties to the nation. It is quite ones such as indenation. In contrast pendence will soon afAs long as the state is with the given Euroford us, will also serve not allowed to serve the pean examples, the as opportunities for democratic interests of the Basotho Hat mirrors market players to play much of who we are, country's inhabitants, it will their game to the full. If a nation uniÞed in one be prone to abuse by state shops will be closed on small container. elites. October 4th, in Lesotho, It is hardly surprisin nearby South African ing that the image of another to directly starve the cities and adjoining towns, the hat is evoked each time nation of the resources and they will certainly be ready to independence reminds us the right to exercise proÞtable welcome throngs of Basotho that we are a nation separate nationhood. queueing up to do business. from others. It is even more We yearn to work toThey are driven in this action preposterous when the hat gether, sing together, play less by whatever political of nationhood is absurdly together, eat together in a gripes they may hold against superimposed on the ßag of national spirit. That spirit the state and more by the statehood. is sadly drowned by state imperative to improve their The state's inability to avarice when the protagolivelihoods. unite is exposed by the politinists will be conveyed to the The lesson to the state is cal parties' clumsy tug at the independence celebrations in simple and obvious: make hat's colour while simply solid metal leaving the rest of the national, nation and wearing the hat is enough to us by the sidelines to soak in nationhood the referent of present the nationality in its tears of political betrayal. state action and behaviour. fullness. Under the hat, the It must have been Mazrui The latter should shine by the Mosotho speaks one lanwho said that the trouble reßection of the former and guage, shares the same cuswith small (and weak) states not the other way round. toms, draws from a common is that their sovereign status The good that is seen of historical experience and compels them to see themthe state should originate shines through one culture as selves as equal sovereigns from the nation to give he doffs the hat in a friendly, like other states yet sans meaning to the dictum that warm "Khotso" greeting to a the resources to sustain that "a leader is a leader because fellow national. status. He proposes that they of the people". The nature, Forty years and three ßags instead be recolonised by focus and pace of state action later, the state still believes supranationals such as the should be determined and it can thrust state unity onto United Nations. dictated by the people. That a nationhood already Þrmly This has the possibilway, independence may not solidiÞed ages ago. It cannot. ity of neutralizing the local appear to be a celebration of Not when divisive state tenstate protagonists' power. statehood but an opportunity dencies have instead divided With independence freeing to honour nationhood. families, villages, chiefdoms


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