Independent Countries in South Africa – Lesotho

Kingdom of Lesotho – History

The first people to inhabit the area now called Lesotho were the Khoisan hunter gatherer people. Later on they were replaced by the Bantu people as they migrated and fled from the Zulu warriors of Natal.

In 1822, the country was united for the first time under one leader, Chief Moshoeshoe. It became one of the High Commission Territories in 1968 after being recognized by the UK in 1843. It was only on the 30 April 1965 that is finally became an autonomous country. This resulted in the ruling Basotho National Party (BNP) losing the first independent elections to the Basotho Congress Party (BCP). The BNP leader would not cede power and instead held the leaders of the BCP prisoner and declared himself the Prime Minister.

The BCP started a revolution and received training in Libya with styles in guerilla warfare. They only had old weapons and there first few attacks were futile. Eventually in 1986 the BNP was overthrown by a military coup and they gave King Moshoeshoe the Second entire power, as he had only been a ceremonial monarch until then.

After falling out with the army, the King went into exile and his son, the current King Letsie the Third was inaugurated.

Over the past few years King Letsie has tried to declare his father the “head of state” once again and after several failed attempts and one coup later, he succeeded and abdicated only to have his father die in a car crash in 1996. With the new elections in 1998, a new party that was formed came into power. These elections were dismissed by the oppositions party’s as not being “free and fair”, but after sporadic fighting between South African, Botswana and Lesotho troops over the disputes, it resulted in a new policy being established and the first free and fair, peaceful elections were held in 2002, with the LCD gaining 51 % of the votes.

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