History, Recent Events
Pakalitha Mosisili, King Letsie, Moshoeshoe, legislative elections, Opposition groups
Lesotho’s military government allowed free legislative elections in 1993. The BCP won every seat and elected Mokhehle prime minister. However, in August 1994 King Letsie, claiming to be responding to popular dissatisfaction with the Mokhehle administration, dissolved the cabinet. After other African leaders, including South African president Nelson Mandela, Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, and Botswanan president Quett Ketumile Joni Masire, criticized Letsie, he restored power to Mokhehle in September. In 1995 Letsie abdicated and restored the crown to his father, Moshoeshoe II, who pledged to uphold the constitution. On January 15, 1996, Moshoeshoe II was killed in an automobile accident on his way back to Maseru from inspecting his cattle herds. Letsie succeeded him, taking the throne once again as Letsie III.
In 1997, in the midst of a power struggle within the BCP, Mokhehle resigned from the party and formed the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) while retaining the office of prime minister. Mokhehle retired from politics prior to May 1998 legislative elections and was succeeded as LCD leader by Pakalitha Mosisili. The LCD won all but two seats in the elections, and Mosisili was elected prime minister. Opposition groups protested the election results, and political tension intensified in August, when members of the army joined the protestors. South African troops intervened in September to prevent a coup but met with fierce resistance from rebels and from ordinary citizens, many of whom viewed the intervention as an invasion. Rioting and looting swept Maseru, destroying much of the city. LCD leaders and opposition parties worked out an agreement in October for new elections to be held within 18 months.
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