Kingdom of Lesotho: Conflict Insight
The Kingdom of Lesotho is a landlocked country surrounded entirely by South Africa. It has a population of about 2.2 million and a total land area of 30.4 square kilometers. Since gaining independence from British rule in 1966, Lesotho has faced various challenges that have prevented the country from achieving political stability and sustained economic growth. The post-colonial history of Lesotho has revolved around contestations for power during and after elections, unresolved issues of political impunity, and periodic military intervention in the country’s political processes. There have been two successful military coup d’états resulting in a change of government as well as two attempted coups. These crises have cost the country missed economic opportunities, loss of lives, a damaged international image, and intensified political tensions with harmful effects on the country’s social fabric. A coup d’état was attempted on 30 August 2014 against the then Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, forcing him to flee and seek refuge in South Africa. Following this incident, Lesotho became a prominent agenda item at the summits and extraordinary summits of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). However, despite intensive efforts by SADC and the holding of two snap elections in 2015 and 2017, the full restoration of peace and normalcy in Lesotho has yet to be achieved. The purpose of this report is to provide analysis and recommendations to assist the African Union (AU), Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Member States and Development Partners in decision making and in the implementation of peace and security-related instruments.