1 March 2017

Lesotho: The Bureaucratisation of Politicians in Lesotho

analysis

Politically tense times, and the gunshots that accompany them, are growing more routine in Lesotho as it faces snap elections that are likely to lead its second coalition government - like its first - to an early demise. By CHARLES FOGELMAN.

Just two years after snap elections brought Lesotho's first-ever coalition government to an early demise, the country is on the cusp of snap elections that will do the same to its second-ever coalition government. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a new election seems unlikely to solve any of the kingdom's deeper political problems.

Those deeper problems relate to the policymaking process in Lesotho. While there is a vociferous and vibrant culture of political opposition in Lesotho, that opposition is rarely about specific policies. Policy in Lesotho is often dictated by forces from outside the country - among them foreign governments, development agencies, and regional co-operation bodies - leaving even Lesotho's top politicians relatively powerless. Analysts often reduce political opposition to "the power of personality" in Lesotho, but there is a logic to this personality-driven opposition. When much of the country's policy is effectively determined in embassies or overseas, politicians are left with few ways to distinguish themselves outside of personality. The outsized...

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