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|The Lesotho Government is a modified form of constitutional monarchy. The Prime Minister, Pakalitha Mosisili, is head of government and has executive authority. The King serves a largely ceremonial function; he no longer possesses any executive authority and is proscribed from actively participating in political initiatives.|
|Prime Minister||Pakalitha Bethuel MOSISILI|
|Dep. Prime Min.||Archibald Lesao LEHOHLA|
|Min. of Agriculture & Food Security||Rakoro PHORORO|
|Min. of Communications, Science,|
|Min. of Defense & National Security||Pakalitha Bethuel MOSISILI|
|Min. of Education & Training||Mohlabi Kenneth TSEKOA|
|Min. of Employment & Labor||Mpeo MAHASE-MOILOA|
|Min. of Finance & Development Planning||Timothy THAHANE|
|Min. of Foreign Affairs||Monyane MOLELEKI|
|Min. of Forestry & Land Reclamation||Ralechate MOKOSE|
|Min. of Gender, Youth, Sports, & Recreation||Mathabiso LEPONO|
|Min. of Health & Social Welfare||Motloheloa PHOOKO|
|Min. of Home Affairs & Public Safety||Archibald Lesao LEHOHLA|
|Min. of Justice, Human Rights|
& Rehabilitation, Law & Constitutional Affairs
|Min. of Local Government||Pontso SEKATLE|
|Min. of Natural Resources||Mamphono KHAKETLA|
|Min. in the Prime Minister's Office||Rammotsi LEHATA|
|Min. of Public Service||Pakalitha Bethuel MOSISILI|
|Min. of Public Works & Transportation||Popane LEBESA|
|Min. of Tourism, Environment, & Culture||Lebohang NTSINYI|
|Min. of Trade & Industry, Cooperatives|
|Mpho MALI MALIE|
|Governor, Central Bank||Motlatsi MATEKANE|
|Ambassador to the US||Molelekeng Ernestina RAPOLAKI|
|Permanent Representative to the UN,|
|Lebohang Fine MAEMA|
History of elections in Lesotho
LESOTHO will hold its third National Assembly elections in five years on 3 June 2017 after Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s seven-party coalition government lost a parliamentary no-confidence vote sponsored by four opposition parties on 1 March 2017.
Apart from Dr Mosisili’s Democratic Congress (DC) the outgoing governing coalition consists of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP), Basotho Congress Party (BCP), National Independent Party (NIP), Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC) and Popular Front for Democracy (PFD).
The parties cobbled Lesotho’s second coalition government on 4 March 2015 after the 28 February 2015 general election had resulted in a hung parliament. Since none of the 23 contesting parties won the minimum 61 seats needed to form government on its own, the “Congress movement” parties banded together and formed government. The DC had won 47 of the 120 parliamentary seats on offer, followed by the All Basotho Convention (ABC) which clinched 46.
This was after the first tripartite coalition consisting of the ABC, Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and Basotho National Party (BNP) had unravelled in 2014 after assuming power on 8 June 2012.
Then premier and ABC leader, Thomas Thabane, had fallen out with his then coalition partner, LCD leader, Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, for allegedly not consulting him when making key decisions on governance.
Infighting was also the root cause of the Dr Mosisili-led government’s demise, and particularly was pronounced in the DC. A faction led by then DC deputy leader, Monyane Moleleki, split from the party to form the Alliance of Democrats (AD) last December which undercut the government’s numerical supremacy in the National Assembly.
Prior to leaving the DC, Mr Moleleki and members of his faction inked an agreement with the ABC, BNP and Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) to oust the government through a parliamentary no-confidence vote.
And with the split of the DC in December 2016, the opposition parties smelt blood and agitated for a no-confidence motion in parliament. The opposition’s bid to unseat the government was also bolstered by the split in the LCD which saw its erstwhile secretary-general Selibe Mochoboroane jump ship to form the Movement for Economic Change (MEC).
On 1 March 2017, opposition lawmakers booted out the Dr Mosisili-led government with a rapturous yea which drowned out the opposition’s nay, with then National Assembly Speaker Ntlhoi Motsamai not needing to count the legislators for or against the no-confidence motion.
Dr Mosisili resorted to a constitutional provision that empowers a sitting prime minister to advise the King to dissolve parliament and call for elections.
King Letsie III acquiesced to the premier’s advice and duly dissolved parliament on 6 March 2017. His Majesty eventually proclaimed 3 June 2017 as election-day.
BNP narrowly wins first elections
Lesotho’s first democratic elections held in 1965 ahead of Independence in 1966.
The elections were contested by the Basotho National Party (BNP) led by Leabua Jonathan, Dr Ntsu Mokhehle’s Basutoland African Congress (BAC) in 1952 — later renamed Basutoland Congress Party (BCP) in 1959 – and the Marema-Tlou Party (MTP).
The MTP went on to merge with another newly-founded party, the Freedom Party led by Makalo Khaketla to form what remains of the Marema-Tlou Freedom Party (MFP). Both the BNP and the MFP came about as a result of squabbles over the ideological inclinations of Dr Mokhehle’s BCP.
Dr Mokhehle was seen as advancing the interests of the commoners at the expense of the chiefs.
However, the BNP narrowly defeated the BCP in the elections, winning 31 seats to the BCP’s 25 and the MTP’s four. The BNP led Lesotho to Independence on 4 October 1966 with Chief Jonathan as prime minister.
The election’s outcome delivered a minority government, since the BNP had only won only 42 percent of the total valid vote. The BCP, MFP and some independent candidates, who collectively secured a total of 58 percent of the vote, felt cheated by the electoral system.
The opposition parties contested the election outcome alleging that the BNP had rigged the process with tacit collaboration of the British colonial administration. This was followed by violet conflicts with many lives lost.
BCP wins 1970 polls
However, the subsequent 1970 elections were won by Dr Mokhehle’s BCP with 36 seats to BNP’s 23 while MFP only secured one seat in the then 60-member legislature.
The BCP never got to enjoy the victory, as the elections were nullified after the country’s multi-party democracy was suspended. Chief Jonathan seized power and declared a state of emergency. This resulted in the arrest of some of the BCP leaders and King Moshoeshoe II.
After 20 years in office, Chief Jonathan’s reign ended following a January 1986 border blockade imposed on the country by South Africa’s apartheid regime. The blockade was due to the increased presence of African National Congress members in the country and many other bilateral disagreements. Chief Jonathan was removed from office through a military coup after years of using the army to crush any dissenting voices against his one-party rule.
The 1986 coup marked the beginning of army rule, with Major-General Metsing Lekhanya taking over the reins. To tighten its grip on power, the military imposed laws that outlawed political activities such as the infamous Order No. 4. The move decimated all BNP grassroots structures. However, the military regime also underwent a number of administrations with the late Major-General Phisoane Ramaema also ascending to the leadership of the military council at a time when the country was looking forward to returning to a government elected through universal suffrage.
Due to the changed tide in the world order following the collapse of the Soviet Union and resultant end of the cold war, there was international pressure on developing countries to democratise.
Maj-Gen Ramaema also had to commit to structural adjustment programmes and a return of political activity in the country in preparation for a fresh election. A constitutional reform process was undertaken to bring to life the country’s current constitution and election in March 1993.
Return of democratic rule
With the 1966 Constitution revised, a vigorous election campaign was held, and the long- awaited general elections were held on 27 March 1993. The BCP won a landslide victory, capturing all 65 constituencies with over 70 percent of the vote. The election was declared to have been free and fair by a wide range of internal and external monitors.
Towards the 1998 general elections, the BCP split into two warring factions. The factions seemed to be the beginning of a history of fragmentation of the mighty BCP that had gained people’s support and sympathy in the 1993 elections and secured a landslide victory. In 1997, at the height of the infighting over leadership roles, Dr Mokhehle formed the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) with a majority of the BCP rank and file defecting to the LCD.
During the 1998 elections, the LCD secured a commanding, if not an overwhelming, victory by winning 78 of the country’s 80 seats in the National Assembly. However those who stayed in the BCP ended being relegated to the opposition alongside the BNP in an election that exposed the country’s first past-the-post electoral model’s flaws. Due to ill-health, Dr Mokhehle was succeeded by Pakalitha Mosisili who took over power as the country’s prime minister.
After the elections, there was much protest from the BNP and BCP on the elections results. The BNP-BCP pact was also joined by the MFP and other parties that argued that the LCD had manipulated the elections results in its favour.
This escalated into civil unrest which lasted for nearly two months and resulted in Maseru going up in flames together with a number of buildings in the Mafeteng and Berea districts.
As the army had always dabbled in politics since its formation, the political unrest was exacerbated by a split in the Lesotho Defence Force when several officers refused to obey orders to use force to disperse protesters against Dr Mosisili’s administration which had then staged a sit-in at the gates of King Letsie III’s Palace gates. This resulted in chaos in the army that ended with Dr Mosisili seeking military intervention from SADC to help maintain order following the 11 September 1998 mutinous actions of some junior officers in the army.
MMP electoral model
The unrest was quelled when the LCD met with the opposition to negotiate fresh elections that were later carried out under a new electoral model. The new electoral model, a hybrid of the first-past-the-post and the proportional representation, mixed-member proportional (MMP) representation, adopted from New Zealand was later adopted after much deliberation under the Interim Political Authority (IPA) which came about as a compromise to facilitate the establishment of an enabling environment for the holding of a fresh election.
Before the 2002 elections were held, the LCD was beset with yet more internal strife with factions once again gunning for the ouster of then deputy prime minister and party deputy leader Kelebone Maope.
Mr Maope ended up bowing to pressure following disagreements in the party and formed a splinter party, the Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC) together with Dr Mokhehle’s younger brother, Shakhane Mokhehle.
They defected from the LCD to LPC together with 25 other members of parliament in 2001 ahead of the 2002 polls. However, when the 2002 elections were held under the MMP electoral model, the LCD secured yet another victory of 77 out of the 120 newly-increased parliamentary seats under the MMP.
The BNP was able to gain 21 compensatory seats in the National Assembly. The LPC only secured five seats in parliament.
The National Independent Party (NIP) under the leadership of Anthony Manyeli scooped five seats in the house, while the BCP and the Basutoland African Congress each garnered three seats and the Lesotho Workers Party, the Popular Front for Democracy, MFP and the National Progressive Party each garnered one seat.
Party coalitions era begins
In the 2007 elections, Dr Mosisili’s LCD had to forge an alliance with the National Independent Party (NIP) led by Dominic Motikoe to ensure its continued dominance as the ABC proved to be a popular party attracting the urban masses in high numbers. The ABC also contested the 2007 elections in an alliance with the Lesotho Workers Party (LWP) led by the late trade unionist-cum-politician, Macaefa Billy.
The LCD managed to garner 62 seats in the 2007 elections with ally NIP guaranteeing the party substantial support with its 21 seats. For its part, the ABC secured 17 seats and ally LWP scooped 10 seats. The BNP had three seats while the BCP only got two seats. The rest MFP, PFD, Basotho Democratic National Party and the Basotho Batho Democratic Party each secured a single seat.
The fragmentation of political parties over time due to squabbles over leadership increased the number of political parties occupying the political space.
First hung parliament
The 2012 elections resulted in a hung parliament and no party was an outright majority winner resulting in Dr Mosisili losing power to a coalition government cobbled together by Dr Thabane’s ABC with 30 seats, Mr Metsing’s LCD with 26 seats and BNP with five seats.
The DC garnered 48 seats but was relegated to the opposition as no other party wanted to form a coalition to govern with it. The PFD had three seats and NIP two while the LWP, MFP, BDNP, BBDP, LPC and the BCP each had a single seat.
This led to the first and historic peaceful transfer of power by Dr Mosisili to Dr Thabane on 8 June 2012.
However, the Dr Thabane-led tripartite coalition government did not last its five-year term as it collapsed in 2014 due to strained relations between Dr Thabane and Mr Metsing.
The eventual 28 February 2015 elections also failed to produce an outright majority winner and saw another coalition government emerge led by Dr Mosisili.
Following intense criticism from political opponents and rivals within his own party, Thabane had promised to retire due to old age – but had been dragging his feet on when to do so.
In March, he suspended Parliament for three months shortly after the lower house passed a bill barring him from calling fresh elections if he lost a looming no-confidence vote. However, the country’s constitutional court on April 17 overturned his decision, bringing closer the possibility of the no-confidence vote.
The next day, Thabane sent troops onto the streets of the capital Maseru to “restore order”, accusing unnamed law enforcement agencies of undermining democracy.
The army withdrew the following day, but tension and uncertainty remained in a country with a long history of coups and military involvement in its often fragile politics.
South Africa, which entirely surrounds Lesotho, then dispatched a delegation to the tiny mountain kingdom for high-level talks aimed at calming the situation. In a joint statement, mediators said the coalition government and other stakeholders had agreed to guarantee a “dignified, graceful and secure” exit for Thabane.
The prime minister, however, hit back, saying he would not be told when to leave office.
King Letsie III last week assented to legislation that prevented Thabane from dissolving Parliament and calling an election in the event of a vote of no confidence against him.
Thabane first served as prime minister between 2012 and February 2015 when a split within the coalition government led to an early general election.
The succeeding government, led by Pakalitha Mosisili of the Democratic Congress party, was also rocked by divisions.
Mosilili lost a vote of no-confidence, and Thabane returned to power after a February 2017 vote as the head of the ABC-led coalition which was endorsed by three smaller political parties.
Tag Archive for: Development Projects in Lesotho
Lesotho is a small landlocked country surrounded by South Africa, with a population of nearly two million people. Natural resources in Lesotho are scarce and fragmented, a result of the highland’s arid environment and the lowland’s limited agricultural space. The lack of natural resources and the country’s high poverty and unemployment rates have made the Lesotho population economically dependent on South Africa.
There are several development projects in Lesotho dedicated to increasing agricultural production, constructing income-generating activities and improving development effectiveness. Below are five development projects in Lesotho.
- Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP)
The LHWP is a binational infrastructure project between South Africa and Lesotho intended to provide water to an arid region of South Africa and to generate hydroelectricity and income for Lesotho. Phase I of the project was completed in 2003 work on Phase II of the LHWP began in 2013. Phase II involves water transfer and hydropower components that are meant to increase both water transmission to South Africa and the amount of electricity generated in Lesotho by 2020.
- Cultural Heritage Plan
The Cultural Heritage Plan was developed and implemented in response to Phase II of the LHWP. Its objective is to preserve and manage Lesotho’s history by protecting cultural heritage and burial sites, rock art and Stone Age occupation sites.
- Lesotho Smallholder Agricultural Development Project (SADP)
Work began on the SADP in early 2012, as part of the Lesotho government’s National Strategic Development Plan, but the project’s design was restructured in 2016. The project’s development objectives are to increase and improve the marketed portion of agriculture output among project beneficiaries and to generate practical responses to an Eligible Crisis or Emergency.
- Sustainable Energy for All Project
In 2016, the Lesotho government implemented the Sustainable Energy for All project. Developed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the project’s goal is to improve access to clean energy services in the rural areas of Lesotho by 2021.
- Lesotho Data for Sustainable Development Project
The Lesotho Data for Sustainable Development Project was implemented by the Lesotho government in 2016 and is expected to reach its developmental goals by January 2018. The project’s objectives include the collection, analysis and distribution of development data the construction of institutional and technical capacities for the management and evaluation of development projects and to improve national and sectoral capacities to generate data and facilitate accountability for resources.
The rate of poverty in Lesotho has declined steadily over the last decade, an achievement credited to economic growth. With these development projects in Lesotho, the nation should continue to improve its capacity to address development challenges and constraints, to sustain growth and to prioritize human welfare progression.
Demilitarising Lesotho’s politics
The best hope lies with decisive action by Southern African Development Community, for whom the troubled situation in Lesotho is a running sore. (South Africa’s deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, the regional body’s points man for Lesotho, must have a room permanently booked for him at the Maseru Sun).
But does the Southern African Development Community have the guts and the unity to do anything about it? Will they be prepared to impugn Lesotho’s “sovereignty”?
Anyway, quite how would they do it?
Demilitarising Lesotho’s politics won’t be easy. But if it doesn’t happen, there will be a constant replay of military intervention and changing political coalitions. There would be no shortage of donor assistance, perhaps to retrain foot soldiers as police. But the officer corps needs to be pensioned off. In toto. Full stop.
HF Development IN Action: The Experience OF Singapore
Nation building and citizenship development are two issues considered critical in the formation of the Republic of Singapore. Hill and Kwen Fee (1995) cited by Adjibolosoo (2000) regarded citizenship as:
Lee Kuan Yew felt that the Singaporean education system had to produce good citizens who are “robust, well-educated, skilled, and well-adjusted.” In a sense, in Singapore, emphasis is on education for life and good citizenship. In order to enhance positive developments in terms of nation building, there was a deliberate focus on subjects such as civic education, history, geography, and one’s mother tongue and traditional Asian values. The Singaporean curriculum of education emphasised the “development of the virtue of hard work, commitment, integrity, trustworthiness, responsibility, dedication, loyalty, and self-respect” (Adjibolosoo 2000).
Adjibolosoo (2000) quoted Lee Kuan Yew’s observations on the Goh Report of 1979 on the critical role of education to the citizenship development and nation-building program in Singapore. Lee made the following observations:
Lee’s observations take note of the fact that a good education programme must of necessity place strong emphasis on the development of the individual’s HF content. If, as Adjibolosoo (2000) noted indeed, the true answer to the questions raised in Lee’s observations is a resounding “yes,” then a nation’s education program is HF-based. The post independence authorities in Singapore were convinced of the centrality of a well-developed HF citizenry as a pre-condition to a nation’s development programme.
Obviously, Singapore’s achievements in nation building, economic growth, and development were not necessarily due to the pursuit of “sound economic policies” and the existence of democratic institutions. Instead, the great accomplishments of the first generation of Singaporean leaders were results of leadership focus on the development of the appropriate HF traits. Thus, from the HF perspective, therefore, this is the route developing countries must take if they desire to overcome their problems of underdevelopment. The success story of Singapore has implications as far as the development of education in Lesotho and many other developing countries.
U.S. Relations With Lesotho
The United States established diplomatic relations with Lesotho in 1966, immediately following its independence from the United Kingdom. Post-independence, the country has seen a mix of rule by decree, coup, military government, and democratically elected government. Lesotho is a constitutional monarchy that faces challenges including poverty, income inequality, and one of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the world. It is currently governed by a five-party coalition. Since independence, Lesotho and the United States have had productive bilateral relations. U.S. foreign policy priorities in Lesotho focus on achieving the development of a stable, prosperous, and healthy country.
U.S. Assistance to Lesotho
U.S. assistance to Lesotho focuses on reversing the devastating HIV/AIDS epidemic and promoting economic development. Since 2006, the U.S. government, through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), has committed more than $460 million to the bilateral HIV response in Lesotho. PEPFAR remains committed to supporting health system strengthening and governance– particularly in laboratory services, strategic information, human resources, and supply chain management. In 2020, the U.S. government leveraged the strong bilateral health partnership to bolster Lesotho’s COVID-19 response efforts.
The Government of Lesotho has demonstrated substantial political will to fight HIV/AIDS and has undertaken many efforts to address the epidemic. In April 2016, Lesotho became the first country in Africa to launch “Test and Treat,” ensuring that all those who test HIV positive are immediately eligible to begin treatment. Lesotho has made great strides under PEPFAR and achieved UNAIDS’ “90-90-90” definition of epidemic control by 2020. Under this goal, 90% of people are tested and know their status, 90% of those who know their HIV status are on medication, and 90% of those on medication are virally suppressed.
The $362.5 million Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact– concluded in September 2013– developed Lesotho’s health care, water, and sanitation infrastructure. The compact also promoted private sector development. In December 2017, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) selected Lesotho to begin the process of developing a second MCC Compact. The second compact will focus on improving processes through which the government delivers public goods and services and growing the private sector. U.S. assistance also promotes trade facilitation, renewable energy development, good governance, and disaster risk reduction through sustainable agricultural practices.
Through the Peace Corps program, started in 1967, more than 2,500 Americans have lived and worked in Basotho communities as volunteers.
More than 500 Basotho have gone to the United States on U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs including the International Visitors Leadership Program, the Fulbright and Humphrey educational exchange programs, and the Young African Leaders Initiative.
Bilateral Economic Relations
The Government of Lesotho encourages greater U.S. participation in the commercial sector and welcomes interest from potential U.S. investors and suppliers. Lesotho is eligible for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Lesotho is the second largest exporter of textiles and garments to the U.S. under AGOA. The top U.S. export categories to Lesotho are machinery, medical equipment, , and aircraft. The country belongs to the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), which has signed a trade, investment, and development cooperative agreement (TIDCA) with the United States. The TIDCA establishes a forum for consultative discussions, cooperative work, and possible agreements on a wide range of trade issues, with a special focus on customs and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and trade and investment promotion.
Lesotho’s Membership in International Organizations
Lesotho and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Lesotho is a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Southern African Customs Union (SACU), and the African Union (AU).
The U.S. Ambassador to Lesotho is Rebecca E. Gonzales. Other principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.
Lesotho maintains an embassy in the United States at 2511 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008, (tel: 202-797-5533).
More information about Lesotho is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:
Flags, Symbols, & Currencies of Lesotho
Lesotho adopted its current national flag on October 4, 2006, on its 40th anniversary celebration as an independent nation. The introduction of the flag came after Lesotho’s parliament voted for the bill that provided for the changing of the flag in September 2006. The current flag replaced the earlier flag, which had been used in the country for nearly two decades since 1987. The design of the flag is a reflection of peace and stability, and its colors and symbols represent these virtues. The peaceful design contrasts the previous design which had traditional war emblems including a spear and a shield.
The flag of Lesotho has a rectangular design whose width to length proportions is 2:3. The design features a horizontal triband made up of three colors blue (Pantone reflex blue), white, and green (Pantone green) arranged from top to bottom. The bands are of different widths. The blue and green bands are of equal widths but are slightly narrower than the middle white band. The official proportions of the widths of the three bands are 3:4:3. The middle white stripe features the black image of the mokorotlo, a traditional hat and national symbol of Lesotho.
The design of the Flag of Lesotho revolves around the theme of peace and stability both within and with its neighbor. The top blue band represents rain or the clear blue skies. The middle white band stands for peace and indicates the country’s internal peace and its peaceful relationship with its sole international neighbor, South Africa. The traditional Basotho hat, the mokorotlo is said to represent the Basotho cultural heritage. The bottom green stripe symbolizes prosperity or the fertile land that is Lesotho.
Centered on the flag of Lesotho is the mokorotlo which is also the flag’s distinctive feature. The mokorotlo is a traditional Basotho hat which is made out of straws. The straw hat is also recognized as one of Lesotho’s national symbols and also features on license plates in the country. The Sotho people traditionally wore the hat during important ceremonies. People in Lesotho wear the mokorotlo as a reflection of their national identity. The original design of the flag featured a brown mokorotlo image, but this was later changed to the current black mokorotlo image.
History of the Flag
Lesotho adopted its first flag on October 4th, 1966 on the day the country gained independence. The design of the independence flag featured a vertical triband of green, red, and blue stripes with a white mokorotlo charged on the blue stripe. This flag was replaced with a new flag in January 1987 after a military coup deposed the Basotho National Party. Designed by Sergeant Matete, the new flag’s design was made up of three diagonal bands of white, blue, and green, and also featured traditional military emblems of a lance, a club, and a shield. The flag was Lesotho’s national flag between 1987 and 2006 when it was replaced by the current national flag.
Lesotha Government - History
The long-running infighting within the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) finally reached its zenith this week with deputy leader, Professor Nqosa Mahao, breaking away to form a new party called the New Dawn.
Prof Mahao yesterday confirmed the formation of the new party in an interview with the Lesotho Times. He said the new party had been tentatively named New Dawn.
He said he and other unnamed ABC legislators had on Tuesday decided to form a new party because they were "tired of the incessant infighting in the ABC".
"For now, I will not give you the exact number of MPs who have defected as this is an ongoing, unfolding history," Prof Mahao told this publication.
He however, inadvertently let the cat out of the bag at a later stage when he said that, "if you lose almost half of your MPs, that's a very dramatic thing which requires a lot of counseling and therapy".
If his claims of the numbers who have defected prove to be true, this could spell the death-knell for the current Moeketsi Majoro-led governing coalition anchored by the ABC and Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu's Democratic Congress (DC) party.
DC secretary general T&scaronitso Cheba yesterday conceded that the ABC split could have "serious implications for the stability" of his party's governing coalition with the ABC.
Prof Mahao said they had abandoned ship upon realising that ABC secretary general Lebohang Hlaele had "delivered the ABC back to Makhoakhoeng". Makhoakhoeng is the home of ABC leader and former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.
There is no love lost between Mr Thabane and Prof Mahao after the former premier fiercely fought to prevent the former National University of Lesotho (NUL) vice chancellor from becoming deputy leader after the party's 2019 elective conference.
Mr Hlaele routinely disparaged Mr Thabane, his father-in-law, while he was still a loyal ally of Prof Mahao after their election as secretary-general and deputy leader respectively at the 2019 leadership conference.
They both toured the country to mobilise against Mr Thabane who they eventually forced out of power in May 2020. They were instrumental in negotiating a deal with the DC to form the current coalition which ushered in the ABC's Thetsane legislator, Dr Major, as premier in place of Mr Thabane.
But they have since fallen out and Mr Hlaele is now back with his father-in-law. The two are united in their determination to thwart Prof Mahao.
Prof Mahao also accused Prime Minister Majoro of undoing previous efforts to "save" the current government from Mr Thabane and his allies by "taking it back to Makhoakhoeng".
Prof Mahao alleged that Dr Majoro had connived with the Thabane faction to plot his expulsion from the ABC. The plot was allegedly hatched at a meeting at Mr Thabane's Makhoakhoeng home a fortnight ago, as correctly reported by the Lesotho Times last week.
The Lesotho Times first reported that an insidious plot was hatched to suspend and expel Prof Mahao from the ABC at the Makhoakhoeng meeting.
Dr Majoro, Messrs Thabane and Hlaele were all present at the meeting which is said to have been disguised as a traditional feast to avoid falling foul of public health regulations which bar political gatherings. But authoritative ABC sources said it was a precursor to a spirited effort to sabotage Prof Mahao's leadership ambitions.
Also present at the meeting were national executive committee (NEC) members Nkaku Kabi (deputy secretary general), Montoeli Masoetsa (spokesperson), Chalane Phori (deputy chairperson), members of parliament and other Thabane loyalists.
Prof Mahao and his allies who include chairperson Samuel Rapapa and Mokhotlong legislator Tefo Mapesela were absent from the event.
Mr Mapesela, who publicly professed his support for Prof Mahao to take over as ABC leader, was last week dismissed from his post as Agriculture, Marketing and Food Security minister.
Although no reasons were given for his dismissal, government and ABC sources said the outspoken Mr Mapesela's dismissal was the result of his freshly strained relationship with Dr Majoro after he declared that the premier had no chance of ever leading the ABC.
Mr Mapesela had also launched a blistering attack on Dr Majoro and other senior ABC officials who attended the Makhoakhoeng feast, accusing them of taking the governance reins back to Mr Thabane and his once powerful wife, 'Maesaiah Thabane, whom Mr Mapesela derisively describes as 'Malinkoana.
This is the first publicly known event, at which Dr Majoro, who was also despised by Mr Thabane and has been blasted on several occasions by his predecessor, had visited the former premier's home since succeeding him in May 2020.
Like Mr Hlaele, Dr Majoro is said to harbour ambitions of eventually taking over the ABC leadership to buttress his position as prime minister.
It now appears Christmas has come a whole lot earlier for Messrs Thabane, Hlaele and Dr Majoro after Prof Mahao decided to jump ship to form his own party.
Explaining the reasons for forming the new party to this publication, Prof Mahao yesterday said, "we are tired of the infighting in the ABC, there is no letting go of the fights".
"That is point number one. Point number two is that we tried to save the government from Makhoakhoeng domination and all that Makhoakhoeng represents.
"But Ntate Majoro has since delivered the government back to Makhoakhoeng. You know that we spent two years fighting against the turning of this party into a family arrangement and we had succeeded in rescuing the party from that. Then Hlaele took it (ABC) back to his family.
"We had thought the government was safe, then Ntate Majoro took it back to Makhoakhoeng. So, we had to walk out and start the new phase of the struggle," Prof Mahao said.
He said a decision was taken at Mr Thabane's Makhoakhoeng home to expel him from the party. He added that he found it strange that Dr Majoro had allegedly connived with the Thabane faction to plot his ouster shortly after he had saved him from being recalled from his post by that same faction.
"A decision was taken at Makhoakhoeng to expel me from the ABC and apparently the Prime Minister's faction connived in that yet I saved him by supporting him when the very same people wanted to topple him.
"The main support and mainstay of his (Majoro) government was actually the MPs who were associated with the so-called Likatana (the Mahao loyalists) but then he (Majoro) went and made a deal with those people that I must be sorted out.
"In other words, when they failed to remove him (Majoro), they then decided to remove the one who was protecting him. Very strange thing, isn't it? And it says that politicians have no honour at all. You cannot turn the sword against the people who are protecting you by conniving with your previous enemies," Prof Mahao said.
He said the decision to form a new party was taken at a Tuesday meeting of disgruntled ABC MPs.
"We have a number of tentative names. Although it has not been approved by the collective, we are thinking of calling the party, New Dawn.
"We initially tested the waters with the video clips that Mapesela made to see how the public was going to respond. Yesterday (Tuesday) we formally met and took a formal decision that we better strike while the iron is still hot. So, the formal decision (to form the party) was made yesterday (Tuesday)".
He said they were working on the logistics and they were likely to call a press conference next week to speak about the new party.
"We are sorting out the logistics. The constitution will probably take another week (to write). We have formed task teams that are working on various aspects. We are in the process of registering the party but we are already recruiting members.
"There is a committee that is now deploying people to all of the country's 11 urban centres. From there, they will go into the constituencies. We are also looking at different (party logo) designs and they will be debated and decided on," Prof Mahao said.
Asked whether he was going to resign from government, Prof Mahao said he was not going anywhere just yet.
"I am still in office working hard. I have just come from parliament where one of the key bills, the Witness Protection Bill of 2021, was being tabled by the portfolio committee (on Law and Public Safety).
"The appointment to a ministerial post has nothing to do with one's political affiliation. A person is appointed by His Majesty (King Letsie III). His Majesty has not relieved me of my duties.
"In the same vein, I don't need to resign from the ABC. That is their problem. I am waiting for them. I was just telling Rapapa that I am going to call all of the people who have ABC regalia to bring it here. We are not going to burn the regalia like Mapesela is doing, we will donate it as a consolation to the ABC.
"We will donate it to them to the ABC because their souls are burdened with this loss. If you lose almost half of your MPs, that's a very dramatic thing and it requires a lot of counseling and therapy.
"You can't underestimate the rebellion of the mass of our people and the disappointment with the existing establishment parties and the urge to look for a new home with a vision. We are already being overwhelmed by the responses from the grassroots, both here and in South Africa before we have even publicly announced ourselves," Prof Mahao said.
He said the formation of the new party was likely to have far-reaching implications on the present government as there were going to be "movements like in a game of chess".
"The present (government) would necessarily have to be reconfigured to take into account the existing reality and the new balance of forces," he said enigmatically.
DC secretary general Cheba said the ABC split had potentially far-reaching implications for the stability of the current coalition on the eve of its first anniversary.
"Our standpoint is that we formed government with the ABC by negotiating with its national executive committee (NEC) until an agreement was reached. We consider what is happening now (the ABC split) a family affair which we will not involve ourselves in. But it definitely shakes the foundation of our government.
"At the time we signed a coalition agreement and formed government, 52 ABC MPs signed for the formation of the coalition government. The foundation of this government was based on the number of seats - 52 for the ABC and 27 for the DC. There are indications that there are ABC MPs who are thinking of forming a new party due to their internal fights.
"This means that the ABC numbers will go down," Mr Cheba said, adding time would soon tell how this would affect the government.
Prof Mahao's announcement of the new party confirmed the rumours that had been doing the rounds this week after the outspoken Mr Mapesela was filmed burning ABC regalia emblazoned with Mr Thabane's images.
Mr Mapesela said due to "reservations" he has with the way some stories were reported in this publication, he would only speak to the Lesotho Times when he was ready.
He however, told one of the local radio stations that he had ditched the ABC because "it is destroying the Lesotho nation.
"It (ABC) never ceases fighting. There is never a time when it will cease fighting".
He said he was not influenced by bitterness at his dismissal from cabinet as he had always spoken his mind even when he was still in office.
This is a branch of the old Bahlakoana tribe. They
say they come from Bopedi, in what is now called the Transvaal,
where they were living in the seventeenth century
under their chief Mosito. Concerning him and his immediate
successors little is known. He was succeeded by his son iT apo. Napo had two sons, Tsulo and Tsuloane.
Tsulo had a son Tsotelo, and Tsuloane a son Monaheng,
and it is from Monaheng that the Bamonaheng derive
Under the leadership of Tsotelo and Monaheng the tribe moved south. They came to Tsuanatsatsi, near the Elaands
River, where they found a tribe of Bafokeng under the
chief Mango! e, and lived amicably with them for a time,
during which Mr.ngole became the paramour of the mother
of Tsotelo, the widow of Tsulo. Shortly afterwards he
died, and the witch finders declared that he had been be- witched by this woman. The relations between the two
tribes thereupon became strained, and the Bakoena left with
their property. They came and settled at Futane, a mountain
between the Caledon River and the spot where the
10 BASUTO TRADITIONS.
town of Pouriesburg now stands, where they found Bafokeng
under Komane, who joined them. They remained
there in peace for many years, and increased and multiplied.
They fought the Makhoakhoa without much result. On
their side, however, Motloang, the grandson of Monaheng,
was killed, as well as his uncle Ratladi. Monaheng's eldest son was called Sekake. He had three
sons, Mpiti, Motloang, who was killed as above mentioned,
and Mokotedi. Motloang had no sons, and his widow contracted
a friendship with a Zulu wanderer called Mualle,
the result of which was a son called Peete, the grandfather
of the Basuto chief Moshesh.
The sons of Tsotelo were Modibedi and Sillo, and the
clan called the Bamodebedi came from them.
Another section called the Bamokotedi are really a sec- tion of the Bamonaheng. They come from Mokotedi, the
brother of Motloang, and include the descendants of Motloang's
Other sons of Monaheng are Ntsane, Mokheseng, and
Modebedi settled at Kafir Kop, west of Reteifs Nek,
together with his brother Sillo. Ntsane settled at Dihloareng, a mountain south of what
is now called GeneraPs Nek.
Mokotedi settled in Leribe Poort, on the Basutoland side
of the Caledon.
Mokheseng near what is now called Slabberts Nek, and
Monyane on Reteifs Nek.
It will be seen, therefore, that this tribe were in occupation
of the tract of country now known as the Brandwater
basin, and the part of Basutoland adjacent to it, and with
the exception of Monyane, these chiefs lived out their lives there and died natural deaths. Monyane was killed by
Diyane, of the Bafokeng tribe, and some Bataung under
Ramokhele, who had joined him in his youth in a quarrel
about the division of some cattle they had looted from the
These are the descendants of the Bakoena chiefs. The son of Modibedi was Selebalo. He was born at Kafir
Kop and lived and died there, as did his son Ntodi. His
Kueneng from the west, Balokoa ruins in foreground.
THE BAKOENA. 11 son Bantsoti moved to Wonder Kop, and from there to Basutoland in 1865 in consequence of the Boer war. His
son Nkhata is still living in Leribe district. Ntodi was the
last of these to exercise any chieftainship.
The son of Sillo was Desene. He was born at Kafir Kop,
and was the first to leave the Brandwater Valley. He went
westwards and settled at Beit Vlei, in what is now called the
district of Ficksburg, where he died. His son Bantsane was
harried by the Zulus and died at Wonder Kop, Another
son Batsosane fled to Moshesh. He was the first of these people
to join Moshesh. Ntsane, son of Bantsane, also died near Wonder Kop, and his son Morolong, in consequence of the
Boer war, came and settled in Leribe district at Morolong's
Kop, where his children now live. Ntsane died at Dihloareng. His son Khoeyane succeeded,
but had moved to the Basutoland side of the Caledon in his
father's lifetime, and settled after sundry moves near the
Phutiatsana Biver. His authority extended from the Cale- don up to the Phutiatsana as far as Koeneng, which place taRes its name from his tribe, and south as far as Thaba
Bosigo. He was attacked and defeated by Pakadita, and
fled to Thaba Bosigo, leaving some people at Koeneng
under Khoapa, son of Bapule. These were attacked and
defeated by the Batlokoa under Sekonyela, and Khoapa was
killed. The survivors fled to Thaba Bosigo, where they
found the rest of the tribe under None, son of Khoeyane.
They made a fortress there in the isolated peak called Qiloane, and that is where Moshesh found them when he
moved to Thaba Bosigo about 1823 or 1824.
He heard they had some grain, and he offered to buy it, but while the negotiations were going on, his brother Makhabane
went by night and stole the grain. Fighting of course ensued, in which Nonets people were beaten, but
Moshesh instead of pursuing them, invited them to join
him, offering to re-open negotiations for the purchase of the grain.
None refused, and went to a spot where the Boma Mission now stands, but his uncle Mochesane accepted Moshesh/s
offer, and joined him with the greater part of the people.
Soon after this None was attacked and defeated by the
2 BASUTO TRADITIONS.
Bahlakoana, who had been driven from Mabolela by Pakadita
in 1823. He escaped himself, however, and with a few
survivors came and joined Moshesh.
Mokotedi settled as stated in Leribe Poort, He was ac- companied by the widow of his elder brother Motloang, with
her son Peete, the result of her intimacy with the Zulu
Mualle. It is not certain whether Peete was born before or
after the move from Futane to .Leribe. He grew up there
however, and remained with his uncle Mokotedi.
The tribe moved first to Molokong where Mokotedi died,
and then under his son Thamae to Setlabane (Pitzies Nek),
where he died. Finally they settled at Mate under
Hlatane, son of Thamae.
While the tribe were at Setlabane, Peete married a Motaung girl, by whom he had two sons, Dibe and Mokhachane,
born at Mate, where they grew up. Dibe was the
father of Eamakha and Mofoka, and died on December 4th,
Mokhachane married a Mofokeng girl, by whom he had
three sons, Moshesh, born in 1786, Makhabane and Pushudi,
the eldest of whom became the founder of the Basuto nation
Monyane, son of Monaheng, settled n-ar what is now
Eeteifs Nek. He had with him Diyane, son of Kalane the
Mofokeng, and his people. From there he moved to Makuatlane (Aprikos Kop), and there he was killed by a poisoned arrow in a dispute which had arisen between him
on the one side, and Diyane and Eamokhele the Motaung
• on the other, concerning the division of certain cattle which
Diyane and Eamokhele had looted from the Lihoya.
Monyane had three sons by his first wife: Nkotsane,
Mohlomi and Bamaktsa, and one by his second wife, called Makheta.
NTFotsane lived at Mahasane (near Winburg). There is little to relate about him, except that with the Lihoya he
pursued Diyane and Eamokhele and fought them at Kooaneng, and that after Diyane's death he advanced
against Eamokhele at Mekuatleng and extracted a peace
offering from him. He died at Mahasane.
THE BAKOENA. 13
His son was Rahlaodi. Nothing is told of him, except
that he lived at Korannaberg, and probably died there. Mohlomi, Monyane's second son, was a man of note, and
perhaps the most famous doctor of his time. He hated war, and cared not a straw for chieftainship. It is said that he
could cure madness, fits and even small-pox but where he
especially excelled was in the art of making rain, He never
stayed long in one place, but wandered about in search of knowledge. So great was his reputation for wisdom, that
all the chiefs of his time sought him out to get his advice
about their matters but Moshesh seems to be the only one
that took it seriously to heart. He hated cruelty of any
sort, and had a special contempt for " Witchfinding," the
practice of which he did much to abolish. Moshesh, in his youth, sought him out, and freely acknowledged that he
owed his success to Mohlomi's teaching.
It was he who convinced Moshesh of the absurdity of " Smelling out," and who advised him to conciliate his ene- mies and rule his people kindly, assuring him that by these means alone could he hope to become great.
He travelled everywhere without fear, and was known
personally to every chief between the Kalahare and Zululand,
and between the Orange and the Limpopo no light
thing in those days, when anyone wandering far from his
village carried his life in his hand. Ever in search of knowledge
and remedies, doctoring and studying in the people's
interest the political systems under which they lived, and
always exhorting the chiefs and people to peace, goodwill
and humanity. The date of his birth is unknown, but it would probably be not far from that of Peete, Moshesh's
grandfather, whose first cousin he was. He died of sickness
in the hut of his favourite but junior wife, Maliepollo, at Sekameng (Korannaberg), six years before Defakane, which
would make the date about 1816. There is no name, not even that of Moshesh, which is held in greater reverence among natives to-day than that of Mohlomi, son of Monyane,
the philanthropist and sage. In writing about this remarkable man, and after making
all allowance for native exaggeration, one cannot avoid the
feeling that it was something more than mere coincidence
14 BASUTO TRADITIONS.
which evolved out of the most arrant savagery a leader like Moshesh to collect and preserve the people, and a teacher
like Mohlomi to instruct him how to do it. He did not leave any chieftainship he cared nothing for
it, and there is little to tell about his descendants.
His son Khoeyane died before he did, and Khoeyane's
grandson Makhena joined Moshesh at Thaba Bosigo.
MohlomPs widow, Maliepollo, wandered about till she came to Grahamstown. There in her old age she was con- verted to Christianity, and from there she sent a messenger
to Moshesh to advise him to send for missionaries. The third son of Monyane was Eamakatsa. He lived at Makeleketla (Winburg), where he was killed by Pakadita in the Difakane.
Makhetha, the son of Monyane by his second wife, lived
at Korokoro (Doornkop). He was driven before Pakadita
in the Difakane, and fled to where Chief Theko now lives in Basutoland. From there he went to Tloutle, where he
offended Moshesh by capturing Khoabane's cattle. Moshesh
drove him out, and later on he was killed by Poshodi near where Smithfield now stands.
. r f'
: " 7"m W§ w-^%. :
". -.,-. :^,
If| '! >""
-'^i.^^ ''--'". %^&.:
: i: :
-#:> '''. I^f",':'.. '/-.
Mosbesh's Grave on Thaba Bosigo.
THE MOSHESH. 15
Moshesh, as has been shown, was not born of high rank.
It is said that his father was headman of only one small vil- lage, and it is possible that Moshesh might have lived and
died in the same position except for the confusion resulting
from the wars of Difakane which broke out in 1822.
At any rate that is when we begin to hear of him, and
from that time he began to rise more by diplomacy than by
war, attaching his own people to him by the justice and
mildness of his rule—and by the same means attracting,
first malcontents from other chiefs, and later the whole
tribes, until from small beginnings he built up the Basuto
nation as it stands to-day.
For a successful ruler his character seems to have been
mild and gentle. He urged his people to forgive injuries,
and set the example in many ways, and on one memorable
occasion even refused, when he could have easily done it, to take vengeance on the cannibal Kakotsane, who had killed and eaten his grandfather, remarking that the poor man
had been driven to cannibalism by starvation, and adding,
with a dry humour which characterises many of his re- ported sayings, that it was not becoming to disturb the
raves of one's ancestors. He disapproved of the then universal practice of " Smelling
out " persons accused of witchcraft, and it is related of him that on one occasion he hid his shield and called on the
witchfmclers to say who had stolen it. When several per- sons had been " smelt out," Moshesh declared that he
16 BASUTO TRADITIONS.
himself had hidden the shield, and held the witchfinders up
to general ridicule. This probably had as good an effect as
a severer measure, and the fact remains that since his time
the practice of " smelling out " has been practically abandoned.
It is, I think, the tendency of all natives to glorify the
departed, especially departed chiefs, and to compare them
with their present day successors, greatly, and perhaps
unfairly, to the detriment of the latter. It is certain, too,
that in his later years, when in contact with white people,
Moshesh treated stock stealing with a culpable indifference which caused a sanguinary war, and the loss to him of a large tract of country at the hands of the Orange Free
State Boers. But when all allowance is made for this, he
stands out among his contemporaries as a very considerable
personality indeed, and a constructive politician of a high
order. His rule was mild and benignant when compared with
that of other chiefs of his time, and herein perhaps lies the
secret of his success. It was something quite novel to the
people of that time to find a chief who treated them as people,
and not as animals, and who ruled them with sympathy
and justice instead of cruelty and oppression. It is little wonder that they flocked to him, and that their descendants
revere his memory to-day.
The wars of Difakane are being constantly mentioned in these records, and were such an important factor in cementing
together the agglomeration of tribes now called the
Basuto, under Moshesh, that a few words concerning them
may not be out of place here. They began by troubles in Zululand, the details of which are outside the purview of this paper. The effect of them, however, was the invasion of
the central plateau where the tribes had hitherto lived in comparative peace by three separate Zulu hordes the first under Pakadita, the second under Matuane, and the third,
rather later, under Moselekatse.
At the time of this invasion, which is given as 1822, the
tribes with which we are dealing, were living, as has
been stated, in a state of comparative peace, tilling the ground and herding their flocks. Now and then no doubt
THE MOSHESH. 17
there were the usual quarrels followed by inter-tribal fights,
but these were generally local, and did not seriously affect the general peace. Each little tribe was practically independent, so that there was absolutely no cohesion among them. It is not
astonishing, therefore, that the advent of these Zulu armies
trained under Chaka's military system, murdering, plundering
and devastating wherever they went, struck terror into the hearts of the peaceful herdsman of the central plateau,
and all the tribes from east to west began to move those
to the east in their terror-stricken flight falling /upon those
to trie west of them, and so on to the end. Pakadita attacked the Batlokoa first in 1822, and they
in turn attacked and plundered those weaker than themselves,
and so it went on until all the inhabitants of the
central plateau, who had hitherto been more or less peaceful
herdsmen and agriculturists, were turned by sheer force of circumstances into w
randering bands of starving robbers,
and in some cases cannibals each tribe plundering, or being
plunderered, according to its strength or weakness.
This was the state of affairs when Moshesh, at the age of about thirty-six, living at Butha Buthe, at the head of a very small following, may be said to have begun his career. From the first he held his own, resisting with varying
success when attacked, and never, in his early days, taking
the offensive if he could help it. Gradually, and peacefully
when possible, he acquired power, until he became practically
paramount north of the Drakensburg and south of the
When Moshesh grew up, he asked a place to live in from
his mother's tribe, the Bafokeng, probably because his father's holding was so small. They gave him a place at Butha Buthe, and that is where the Difakane wars found
him. The first tribe to attack him were Matlotlokoane
Zulus under Mothetho, a relation of Matuane. He retreated
to Mate with the loss of some cattle, and made a defensive
alliance with the Bafokeng. These Zulus are the same who at a later date killed the Makhoakhoa chief Lethole. After the raid on Moshesh they retired to Witzies Hoek.
and Moshesh and the Bafokeng returned to their kraals.
18 BASUTO TRADITIONS.
Moshesh then opened negotiations with the Makhoakhoa
chief Lethole, with a view to an alliance, but before they were complete, he was involved in another fight with the
Basia tribe. These had been plundered and driven from
their lands, and attacked some Bakuena of Mpitis clan, who
were living at Mamafobedu. The Basia defeated them,
killed their chief and captured their cattle. The Bakuena called Moshesh to help them. He came
with the Bafokeng and his father's people, and killed many
of the Basia. He recaptured all the cattle, and three women of the Basia. Their names are Masebidi, Mankhomothe,
and Mamosebetsi. Masebidi he gave to his young
brother Mohale, and the other two he took to himself.
Mamosebetsi became the mother of Sofonia and Tsekelo.
Mankhomothe had no son. Moshesh restored their cattle to the Bakuena, but kept
what he had captured from the Basia for himself. When he returned to Butha Buthe he completed the negotiations
for an alliance with Lethole.
The survivors of the Basia in their flight met the Batlokoa
under Mantatise, who was of their tribe, and told her
of the disaster they had suffered at the hands of a certain man called Moshesh, who they erroneously stated lived at Mate. This brought the Botlokoa on Mokhachane, Moshesh/s
father, who was still living there. Hearing the alarm,
Moshesh and Lethole came to help, but the Batlokoa got the
best of the fight, though the victory was a barren one, as the cattle had been hidden. The Batlokoa retired towards
Bethlehem, and Moshesh and Lethole returned to their homes, the latter without having taken part in the fight.
Soon after this, the Basia under Letlala, brother of Mantatise,
with the assistance of the Batlokoa, attacked Lethole
at Sekameng. Moshesh sent Fubukuane with some people
to help Lethole, but the fight went against them, and
Fubukuane was killed and Lethole captured,
The Makhoakhoa fled to QolaEoe and ransomed Lethole
with cattle. Lethole's return raid is recorded in the story
of the Makhoakhoa.
Mania fubeclu Cave.
Mamafubedu Cave (another view)
THE MOSHESH. 19
Soon after Lethole's death, Moshesh was himself at- tacked by the Batlokoa of Mantatise, the young chief Sekonyela being just then come out of the circumcision
lodge. They camped at night under the Butha Buthe
mountain, and early in the morning, before dawn, Mosheshfell
on them and surprised them. They began to fly, when one of their women seized a man of Moshesh, and re- proached her people with cowardice. Fired by her example
and reproaches, they turned and drove Moshesh back on the
mountain and besieged him there. The siege does not appear to have been very effective, for one night Moshesh
left with all his property and most of his people, leaving a few behind to deceive the Batlokoa by showing themselves
and lighting fires. Next night these left, and the Batlokoa
in the morning, finding the birds flown, went down to the
Oaledon and drove some Marabes from Yoalaboholo, where
they settled. This was called the war of the pots, as in Moshesh^s first attack, all the utensils of the Batlokoa were
broken, and fragments of them are still to be seen at the
foot of the Butha Buthe mountain.
Moshesh meanwhile trekked to Thaba Besigo, where he
found the Bamantsame tribe of the Bakoena^s under None,
son of Khoeyane. It was in this trek that Moshesh^s grandfather,
Peete, was left behind at Dipetung, and eaten by
Bakhatla cannibals under Bakotsane. How Moshesh ab- sorbed None is written in the story of the Bamantsane.
20 BASUTO TRADITIONS.
The first chief of this tribe was Tlopo. He had two
sons, Mare and Mallane. Mare had three sons, Komane,
Ntsikoe, and Mangole. It is from these three men that the
three main branches of the tribe spring.
Komane^s son was Modipa.
Modipa's son was Khadimane.
Khadimane's son was Masilo.
Masilo's son was Salae. Salae's son was Sekhomotane.
Sckhomotane's son is Moheranc, w
T ho is still alive. Ntsikoe's sons were Kalane, Khopelo and Sefiri. Kalane's son was Diyane.
Diyane's son was Maleleka.
Maleleka's son was Mahlelehlele.
Mahlelehlele^s son was Sedikane.
Scdikane's son was Podnmo.
Podnmo's son is Thokoane, who is still alive. Eegarding Mangole and his descendants there is no infor- mation forthcoming, beyond the fact that there are Bafokeng
who claim descent from him, but are not able to trace
it. From Khapelo, the second son of Ntsikoe, descend from
fafTier to son, Monare, Nkoanyane, Mopi, Makare,
Mahlohleli, and Bekola, who died recently.
From the third son of Ntsikoe, Sefiri, the descendants
are Marikhwi and Kata.
Types of Bafokeng.
THE BAFOKEKG. 21
Kata had two sons and one daughter from a first wife,
Ntsukunyane, Matube, and Khodu. Khodu married
Mokhaehane, and became the mother of Moshesh.
Ntsukunyane had one ion, Makakane. Makakane had a son, Tsiu, who died recently.
About Matube's sons there is no record. Kata had one son, Modise, by the second wife. Modise had two sons, Masekoane and Ntahle. Masekoane
had three sons, Ealefikifane, Bampinane, Letseka, and two
daughters, Masekhonyane and Mantsane, Moshesh/s wives. Ealefikifane had two sons, Phutsoane by his first wife,
and Tladi by the seceond. Both died at Matatiele with
Sekhonyane Moshesh. Letseka had three sons and one
daughter, Nehie, Jane, Hlokoe, and Mamakibanyone, Moshesh5
s wife. Nthale had a son, Seepepe.
Seepepe had three sons, Mahao, Eankhetoa, and Matete,
and one daughter, Mamohato, Moshesh's great wife and by
his second wife two sons, Eamapepe and Nkhase.
These people, with the exception of Diyane, son of Kalane,
have no tradition other than that of the Bakoena. They
know nothing about any country but the Caledon Valley,
where Monaheng is said to have found them at Futane under
Komane/when the Bakoena arrived from the north of the
Vaal. From that time they and the Bakoena seemed to have lived together, sharing good and evil fortune in common. The story of Diyane is as follows. He lived with Monyane,
son of Monaheng, and moved .with him when he left Eeteif's Nek, and went to Makoatlane (Aprikos Kop).
When they w
r ere there, Monyane made a plan to capture
the cattle of a neighbouring chief called Mahoete, of the
Lihoya tribe, but at the last moment he backed out, and
Diyane and some Bataung, under Eamokhele, captured the
cattle. They offered the fat ones to Monyane, but he said he wanted them all, so they quarrelled and fought, and in the fight Monyane was hit in the knee by a poisoned arrow from the bow of a bushman and died. His son made friends
with Mahoete, saying his father was killed in attempting
to punish Diyane and Eamokhele for the raid. Together they
22 BAStTTO TRADITIONS.
attacked them, and the fight was heavy on Diyane and Kamokhele.
They fled to Kooaneng, an almost inaccessible mountain, standing next to the rock now called Sautkop, near Ficksburg, and in anticipation of a siege, they cut
steps in the face of the rock where it is inaccessible to serve
as a line of retreat in case of need. These steps are still to be seen. They were not required, however, for the purpose
for which they were made, as the attack was repulsed, and
Monyane's son went home.
From there they moved to Male (Willow Grange), and
from there to Mekuatleng, where Diyane died. His son, Maleleka, succeeded, but was killed in early manhood by a
lion. He left a son called Mahlelehlele, and under him they
moved to Makudukameng (Plaatberg), from whence they were driven by the Zulu Pakadita. At the same time Pakadita
drove the Bahlakoane, under Tsele, from Mabolela, and
they joined them in their flight, and crossed the Caledon,
and came to Korokoro (Maseru District). There they
found Bakoena, under None, son of Khoejane, and smote
them, driving None to join Moshesh. This was about the
Then they passed south, to what is now called Eouxville
District, where they lived on game, and Mahlelehlele died. His son Sedikane succeeded. They wandered about starving
for a time until they joined Moshesh about two years later. Moshesh placed Sedikane at Plaatberg, where he died. His
son Pudomo died in Leribe, and his son Thokoane is still alive.
Kooaneivr, showing steps cut by Diyane.
THE MAKHOAKHOA. 23
These people were originally Bahlakoana. It was at much
later date that they got the name of Makhoakhoa, owing
to their habit of obscuring matters from the old word Lekhoakhoa,
a screen. These are the chiefs of Makhoakhoa from the earliest times up to date from father to son :
All these lived at Bopeli in the Transvaal. Kherehlo,
son of Masheane, left his father's place and went to Hakokoena,
also in the Transvaal, where the town of Heidelbiirg now stands, where he died. He had two sons, Sefako arifi Mahlatsi.
These left Habokoena and came to Ntsuanatsatsi,-$fhere
the Elands Eiver joins the Vaal. They quarrelled and
fought there, and it was there that they got the name of Makhoakhoa, owing to the manner in which they hid the
jx>int in issue in this quarrel.
Mahlatsi, the younger, defeated the elder, and Sefako
moved to Telelong (Bloemhof-Bethlehem district). Mahlatsi
resided at Thaba Kholo (Spitz-Kop-Bethlehem district).
Both died at these places.
Sefako's son Moselane succeeded him, but died very
young from the effects of some medicine he took.
24 BASUTO TRADITIONS.
His son Diyo succeeded. He was related by marriage with
Eathladi, a Mokoena chief, and Eathladi used to visit him.
During these visits he became enamoured of Diyo's wife,
and desiring to possess her invited his Bakoena relations to
assist him in attacking Diyo and carrying her off They
consented, and this was the way of the fight.
They attacked the Makhoakhoa and drove them
before" them, killing Diyo, as far as the kraals
of the Basia (near Harrismith). The Basia turned
out and helped the Makhoakhoa, and in turn drove back the enemy till they reached Diyo's
village, where Eathladi was found, -flagrante delicto, in the
hut with Diyo^s wife. He was at once killed. It was in this fight that Motloang, whose widow afterwards gave birth to Peete, was killed. Diyo was succeeded by his son Tumane. Tumane was
driven from Telelong to Makalane (east of Naauwpoort Nek)
by Mphamo, son of Mahlatsi, who it will be remembered had
quarrelled with his grandsire Sefako at Tsuanatsatsi, and
died at Makalane.
His son Mosito succeeded. There is not much to relate about him except that he kept up the quarrel with the des- cendants of Mahlatsi. He, too, died at Makalane.
His son Lechesa succeeded, and fought the Bakoena, under
Monyane, who were living near what is now called Betiefs Nek, and captured their cattle. On his way home
during the night he left the camp, and on his return was
mistaken by his own sentries for an enemy and killed. He
was succeeded by his son Lethole.
It was in the time of Lethole that the tribe came into communication with Moshesh, who was then at Butha
Buthe. and it was in his time, too, that the Difakane broke
Moshesh opened the pour-parlers by sending a man called Batchukuchea with a complimentary message to Lethole,
who returned the compliment, Moshesh sent him again,
and invited Lethole to meet him. Lethole consented, but some Zulu? who were with him urged him to make use of the meeting to kill Moshesh. Lethole pretended to consent
to this, but sent secretly to Moshesh to advise him not tQ
THE MAKHOAKHGA. 25
attend the meeting personally, but to send a messenger.
Moshesb took this advice and sent Makoanyane and Matala,
saying he was sick. The meeting took place at Futane. Moshesh's message to the meeting was, " You, Lethole, are a Mosuto, I am a Mosuto
,enemies are coming, let us draw together." Lethole
consented, and as a pledge of his fidelity sent Ranekate and
Mohapa to Moshesh.
On their return he moved from Makalane (Naauwpoort
Nek) to Sekameng, a mountain in the Orange River Colony, on the Caledon, near De Villier's Drift, about four miles
from Moshesh's Kraal at Butha Buthe.
When he got there another meeting was held at Khapong,
where Butha Buthe Camp now stands, to enable the chiefs
to greet one another. After the usual greetings, when it became apparent that Lethole's following greatly out- numbered that of Moshesh, Moshesh stood up and said he
wished Lethole to be the Chief. Lethole refused, saying he
had come to Moshesh, not Moshesh to him, and he could not be chief on Moshesh's ground whereupon all the people
shouted, " Moshesh is Chief."
It is said that at this meeting or afterwards it was agreed
that Moshesh should exercise rights west, and Lethole east
of Qalo stream, and Lethole moved to the Basutoland side of the Caledon, and settled at Qolakoe.
Soon after the Batlokoa of the chieftainess Mantatise,
Sekonyela being still young, attacked and defeated them,
Lethole was captured, and Fubukoane, one of Moshesh'
chief men, was killed. Lethole was ransomed by payment
of cattle. He had only been home ten days when, without consulting
Moshesh, he invited some Zulus to help him to attack Letlala,
Mantatise's brother. They beat Letlala and captured
his cattle. After the fight the Zulus demanded their share of the
loot, which Lethole, yielding to the persuasion of his uncles,
refused to give, and this cost him his life. The Zulus waited their chance for revenge, and it soon
came. One day when Lethole's people were roving about
in search of food, there being a famine that year, the Zulus
26 BASUTO TRADITIONS.
attacked the village and found Lethole almost alone with
his three young boys, Matela, Hlatsuane and Lekopa. They
fled. The Zulus caught and killed Lekopa, and then caught
Lethole alive and sentenced him to death. His people
offered cattle for him, but the offer was refused. H> asked
permission to stand up and chant his praises before being
killed. This being accorded, he made use of his comparative
freedom to make a dash for his life. He was stabbed in the
back, but struggled on as far as the river, where he died. His sons Matela and Hlatsoane escaped. Matela was
afterwards fetched by Moshesh to Thaba Bosigo, where
he was brought up by him, and when he grew up, Moshesh
sent him to collect his father's people, and located him at Qolakoe, where he remained till his death. His son Letsika,
the present chief, succeeded him, and is now living there.
THE BATLOKOA. 27
The first chief known of this tribe is Nohana, and these
are the names of his successors. Sebile, son of ISTohana,
Makoro, son of Sebile, Motonosi, son of Makoro, Montoedi,
son of Motonosi, Mokotyo, son of Montoedi, Sekonyela, son
of Mokotyo, Maketekete, son of Sekonyela, Ledingoana,
son of Maketekete, still living and residing with his people
In the time of Nohana, Sebidi and Makoro, the tribe were
at Bopedi, in what is now called the Transvaal. Part of the
tribe under Motonosi, who is said to have been a quarrel- some person, left and came to Mosokoane, also in the Transvaal,
near the Vaal Eiver. Motonosi's son Montoedi was
killed by a thief he was pursuing. His son Mokotyo
moved to Sefate, in the north-east corner of what is now
called the Orange Eiver Colony.
While there in 1819, one of his headmen, who was of Zulu blood, called Mochodi, brother-in-law to the Zulu chief
Pakadita, rebelled against him. He captured and killed Mochodi, whose relations fled towards Zululand. Shortly
after this Mokotyo died, leaving his people under the re- gency of his widow Mantatise,, his eldest son Sekonyela
being still a little boy.
Prom Mochodi's people Pakadita heard of the manner of the death of his brother-in-law, and being forced to fly from
Zululand in consequence of other complications there, he
fell on the Batlokoa, who retired fighting towards Bethlehem
in 1822. During their retreat they encountered
scattered tribes of Bakuena and Makhoakhoa, and killed
28 BASUTO TRADITIONS.
and plundered them. Meanwhile Mantatise sent her boy
Sekonyela secretly to her brother, Letlala, chief of the Basia, near Harrismith, to be circumcised, she and the tribe re- treating in another direction in order to draw Pakadita after them.