Lesotho. According to Countryaah, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane was involved in a serious conflict with a leading judge during the year. Michael Ramodibedi, head of the country’s appellate court, was accused of crippling the judicial system after a dispute with colleagues. Ramodibedi accused the prime minister of trying to force him to step down in violation of the Constitution. The case was referred after several legal trips to the Supreme Court. Ramodibedi also has high judicial posts in Botswana and Swaziland.
In November, the Prime Minister dismissed the Minister of Water and Energy accused of fraud. The alleged crimes, which Timothy Thahane denies, were committed when he was finance minister in a previous government.
Lesotho’s good reputation on the equality front was a thorn. The country has for several years e.g. ranked high on a list of gender equality compiled by the World Economic Forum. In May, the Constitutional Court ruled that a woman cannot inherit a chieftaincy title. The Court referred to customary law. The case involved Princess Senate Masupha, Lesotho’s acting ambassador to Rome.
According to customary law, the widow can, after a chieftain, act as acting chieftain until a younger male heir can take over. Masupha considered himself discriminated against. As the chieftain’s first-born child, she wanted to take over the title since her mother, who had been a deputy for over ten years, died. Younger brothers opposed and supported the court. Legal judges believed that there was a trend in the region where customary law otherwise had to stand back.
Widespread dissatisfaction and popular protests following the 1998 elections led to the establishment of a widely-represented commission, the Interim Political Authority (IPA), with the task of defining new electoral rules. The IPA proposal (December 1999) became the subject of a prolonged discussion, and only in May 2002 the final text was approved by the Parliament, which provided for an enlarged National Assembly to 120 members, of which 80 elected in single-member constituencies and 40 on a proportional basis according to a compensation logic. The elections of May 2002, monitored by the Southern African development community, saw the large affirmation of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) which, with 54.9 % of the votes, secured 77 of the 78 single-member seats and therefore did not participate in the distribution of the seats assigned by the method proportional; 21 proportional seats went to the Basotho National Party (BNP), with 22.4 % of the vote, while the remaining seats were assigned to smaller parties. B. Pakalitha Mosisili of the LCD, reconfirmed as prime minister, immediately formed a new government. The electoral outcome was accepted by the opposition, which joined, in October 2004, A Committee then-to the 30 members responsible for formulating an institutional reform program.
- According to AbbreviationFinder.org, Maseru is the capital city of Lesotho. See acronyms and abbreviations related to this capital and other major cities within this country.
The reforms also constituted the response to a civil society that had become increasingly sensitive and attentive, which had managed, for example, to attract the attention of international organizations when it had denounced the system of corruption that developed around the construction of an imposing system of dams., financed by the World Bank among others. In September 2003, a Canadian construction multinational was found guilty of the crime of corruption by a local court. In November 2005, as part of the campaign against the spread of AIDS, Lesotho, the first among African countries, offered the HIV test free of charge to the entire population.