Article written

  • on 31.05.2015
  • at 08:30 AM
  • by Kevin Hind

Political Violence: The cloud looming over Lesotho 0

Last week in Lesotho, opposition leaders Tom Thabane and Thesele ‘Maseribane fled to Botswana and South Africa, again seeking protection from (Editor’s Note : the) SADC against what they said were assassination attempts by the Lesotho Defense Force. As Lesotho under Prime Minister Mosisili continues its pattern of political crisis, it begs the question just where political violence is rooted in a country often described ashomogenous.

First, it should be noted, that despite all the high-political machinations and high-profile assassinations over the past 9 months, everyday life in Lesotho has not been greatly affected. These are the squabbles of the political elite. Where everyday Basotho are affected is in the absence: The absence of strong government policy on HIV/AIDS; The absence of fresh proposals to bolster popular programs like the old-age pension scheme; The absence of a plan to get security forces to stop shooting ateach other.

Why are politicians and top security leaders seemingly always at each other’s throats? Surely it has to do with the poverty of the country and the outsized influence that comes with controlling appointments to the civil service — one of the largest employers in the country.

On another level, however, perhaps it is better to look to South Africa and the machinations of the ANC as a model for what is happening in Lesotho. Periodically over the last decade or more, the ANC has gone through a round of internal purges, often somewhat opaque to outsiders, but certainly a distraction from governing. The ever-present splintering of political parties in Lesotho and the internal machinations in the Lesotho Defense Force resemble nothing so much as the inner circle of the ANC: A small ruling elite maneuvering for control of the levers of power seemingly not answerable to the populace. 

Continue reading on Africa Is a Country

by John Aerni-Flessner

Photo Credit: John Aerni-Flessner (Photo of Tsoelike Auplas)

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