By Nyokabi Ng’ang’a
Photo courtesy: artmajeur.com
The Kingdom of Lesotho is an enclave within South Africa. It could be an independent country, but South Africa has played much importance in its political scene and stability where military coups are not a matter of shock.
Lesotho could be a monarchy led by a King namely, King Letsie III, but its administration is one that takes a different turn due to the authority the Constitution has in all modes of governance. The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho is the one in charge of the government operations, leaving the monarchical base being one that is ceremonial. The King in all his majesty is not allowed to take charge of governmental operations or intervene in any public affairs or settle any disputes whether between political factions or sections of the population as stated by King Letsie III in his interview by Al Jazeera.
The Prime Minister, the Right Hon. Dr. Motsoahae Thomas Thabane is the one who heads all governmental operations; and also selects his Cabinet to fit into the executive arm of the government. He first became Prime Minister in 2012, but took to South Africa for asylum, with the claims that a coup was in progress to usurp his powers. This later on led to South Africa giving him a military envoy, facilitating his return to Lesotho to continue with his rulership.
Aside from the governance stance of Lesotho, important to note is that Lesotho houses over two million people, with an estimate of the populace being 2, 125, 268 as recorded by the UN. The Major ethnic sect of Lesotho is the Basoto with its sub-groups ranging from Batluong, Bakuena, Baphuti, Matebele, Batokeng, and Batso-enang, (trading economics Website). With all the sub-groups present in the Kingdom, Sesotho and English are used as official languages that unite all persons within Lesotho.
English: One of the official languages of Lesotho, came into play when King Moshoeshoe I, wrote to “the newly appointed governor of the cape, Sir Philip Wodehouse, suggesting that an Alliance be formed between the two territories (Basutho and Britain),” as recorded by South African History Online Website. This was done by King Moshoeshoe I when the Dutch, Voortrekkers, took advantage of the King’s hospitality by annexing a sect of the gifted land and calling it their own. Moshoeshoe then turned to the British government and his request was granted, leading to Basutoland being a British protectorate and colony in the years 1868 and 1959 respectively. Later on, Basutoland gained her independence in the year 1966 with her first Prime Minister being Jonathan Leabua, who was later deposed in the year 1986 by a military coup.
Lesotho could be a small kingdom, but its majestic view, its resources and the love its citizens have for their indigenous culture, is a holding factor for all posterity. As reported by the South African History Online Website, Lesotho is the main supplier of water to South Africa with South Africa responding to the transaction with the supply of electricity. A small country it could be, but with an indigenous basis root, extensive land, weighty resources and beautiful culture with beautiful prints impressed on their clothing and their authentic housing structures.
Next time you meet a Mosotho/ Basotho, don’t mind saying hi to an individual or a group with the words, Lumela and Dumelang respectively!