n Lesotho Law Journal - Women & succession to chieftainship in Lesotho : the evolution of customary law and the 1993 Constitution

Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0255-6472



Women in Lesotho have for a long time been, and continue to be, deprived of participation in leadership positions including traditional leadership in chieftainship. This has been the case despite independence from colonial rule and the Kingdom's assertion that it is a democratic country. While the 1993 Constitution of Lesotho very well captures that the principles of equality and non-discrimination are conditio sine qua non for enjoyment of all other human rights in a democratic society, it however still has provisions that perpetuate discrimination against women. Sections 4, 18 and 19 of the Constitution give with one hand, the promise of gender equality and non-discrimination of women. However section 18(4)(c) snatches same from women under the guise of Sesotho Customary Law. This give-and-take of the Constitution is a violation of the very same rights that the Constitution claims to guarantee. However, section 18(4) (e) presents yet another promise that the rights snatched by section 18(4)(c) may be reclaimed depending on whether the incumbent parliament has the political will to do so.

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