oa Africa Insight - Lesotho: 20 years of iron-fisted rule comes to an end

Volume 16, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-2804



They call it the ""Switzerland of Africa"", this tiny, land-locked kingdom in which the poverty of its people contrasts so starkly with the magnificence of its mountain scenery. But the mountains is all that Lesotho has in common with its democratic, stable, rich, neutral and well-ordered European counterpart. Twenty years of iron-fisted rule by Chief Leabua Jonathan have subverted traditional Basotho democracy, alienated South Africa, linked Lesotho with the radical East and produced precious little in the way of development and jobs - and paved the way for southern Africa's first full-blown military coup. Despite the Jonathan government's tirades against South Africa, its accommodating attitude to the African National Congress, its successful begging trips to the West and its links with the Communist bloc, Lesotho remains utterly dependent on South Africa.

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