The Trajectory of Contemporary Governance in Lesotho: A Transition towards Coalition Government

Nomazulu Ngozwana


This paper examines the success story of the formation of coalition government in Lesotho. Lesotho has since 1970 experienced a chequered history of authoritarian and military rules until 1993 when the country went democratic. Interestingly, within two decades of the country’s multi-party democratic experience, it has experimented with multiple governmental systems viz; in 1993-1998, it adopted First-Past the Post or winner-takes-all model, and then in 2001, it adopted Mixed Member Proportion model, which brought some stability within the unitary parliamentary governance. In 2012 the latter model gave impetus to a new model of coalition government. Unfortunately, however, the three- party coalition government was interrupted in 2014 by a military adventurism which gave rise to the 2015 snap elections that led to another seven-party coalition government. Interestingly, another faction occurred from the seven-party coalition and a vote of no-confidence was passed by the opposition against the ruling coalition, which led to the early 2017 elections. The third coalition governance of four parties was established after the elections and took its term of five years before the elections of October 2022 that established a “trinity” of three parties coalition under the leadership of a prominent businessman. This paper posits that although coalition model has been accepted by the Lesotho people, however, it has come with increasing cost on executive expenditure, as it puts great burden on taxpayers. This paper recommends the inclusion in the democratic discourse (conversation), a blend of the western democratic culture with traditional African culture in administering the affairs of the state since the two are not mutually exclusive.

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