Lesotho’s Political System
Following the 1993 constitution, Lesotho is a constitutional and parliamentary democracy. It is also a distinct unitary state. The king’s power is inherited, but according to traditional law, the chief council can both choose and cast a king. Legislative power has been added to a national assembly of 120 members elected in general elections for up to five years; several parties participate in the elections. A senate of 33 members, consisting of the traditional chiefs (22) and 11 appointed members, plays a less central role. The government is based on and is responsible to the National Assembly.
The government has been characterized by instability since independence in 1966. 1986-93 put the military in power; when the civil government was reinstated, the new constitution was also ratified, and the king lost all political power.
Administratively, the country is divided into ten administrative districts governed by state officials. Locally, tribal chiefs play a significant role.
The legislation is based on English examples. The judiciary includes a supreme court, which has both original jurisdiction in civil and criminal cases, and ordinary appellate jurisdiction. There is otherwise a Supreme Court of Appeal and in each district a Magistrate’s Court.
Lesotho has volunteer military service. The total force numbers for Lesotho’s armed forces are around 2,000 active personnel, all in the Army (2018, IISS).
The Army supplies include one T-55 type chariot, 30 clearing vehicles. In addition, the army has light artillery. An air component has 110 active personnel, three transport aircraft and four helicopters.