Publications Notes de l'Ifri
Katse Dam in Lesotho
Thibaud KURTZ

A Kingdom in Troubled Waters: Lesotho's Forgotten Political and Security Crises Notes de l'Ifri, April 2021

Lesotho is a landlocked mountain kingdom encased in South Africa for which it is a reservoir of water and labor. This kingdom of tormented creation is in a structural political and security crisis. Since 1993 and the return to multiparty politics, all elections, except that of 2002, needed regional mediation. 

Couverture Lesotho


Since the first government coalition in the country's history in 2002, Lesotho knew three elections, four changes of prime minister, two suspensions of parliament, the assassination of two army chiefs of staff and continued mediation by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) since 2014.

A new political crisis broke out in April 2021, a year after the previous one leading to the departure of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, accused of being involved in the assassination of his wife in 2017. SADC intervened to negotiate his departure. T. Thabane was then replaced by his Minister of Finance, Moeketsi Majoro, at the head of a fragile political coalition suspected to hardly be maintained until 2022, date of next elections. This umpteenth crisis comes against a backdrop of loss of confidence between the political elite and a majority of residents who no longer believe in electoral democracy.

This note examines the structural and cyclical factors of instability in Lesotho as well as the approaches of crisis resolution currently being explored.


This content is available in French : "Un royaume en eaux troubles : les crises politico-sécuritaires oubliées du Lesotho" 

Constitutional monarchy of Lesotho Political security crisis in Lesotho Political violences Thomas Thabane Lesotho Southern Africa