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TitleLocal government in post-1993 Lesotho : an analysis of the role of traditional leaders
AuthorMatlanyane, Letlatsa.
SubjectLocal government - Lesotho
SubjectChiefdoms - Lesotho
SubjectCommunity leadership - Lesotho
SubjectState-local relation - Lesotho
SubjectLeadership - Lesotho
SubjectLocal laws
SubjectLesotho - Politics and government
SubjectDissertations, academic - South Africa - Bloemfontein
Format855 959 bytes, 1 file
AbstractThesis ( M. Tech. (Public Management )) - Central University of Technology, Free State, 2013
AbstractTraditional Leaders (Chiefs) historically served as “governors” of their communities with authority over all aspects of life, ranging from social welfare to judicial functions. The Basotho generally hold Chiefs in high esteem, continue to turn to them for assistance when conflict arises, depend on them for services, such as birth and death registration and regard them as integral and relevant role-players in local governance. Although many countries in Africa maintain a system of Traditional Leadership and many have incorporated Traditional Leaders into democratic forms of government, a concern exists in some quarters that Chieftainship in Lesotho may present a challenge to democratic governance and development. Similarly, local government structures created by the current decentralisation processes are perceived by many as deteriorating the authority of Chiefs. According to the Constitution of Lesotho, 1993 (Act 5 of 1993), the co- existence of the Chiefs and local Councils are legitimised. Under the legislation governing this process (the Local Government Act, 1997 (Act 6 of 1997), some of their powers and functions have been transferred to local government structures. The major sources of conflict between Chiefs and Councillors appear to be uncertainty and confusion around roles and functions of the various role-players created by the legislative and institutional framework and the loss of power and status that many Chiefs feel. Some of this confusion may be a deliberate form of resistance to the changes, but it is apparent that legislative clarity is required and that the roles and functions of all role- players need to be clearly defined and understood if development is to take place in a coordinated way. The inclusion of two Chiefs in each Community Council as well as two in District Municipalities would seem a genuine attempt to ensure that Chiefs are not marginalised in this modern system of local governance in Lesotho. The high proportion of Traditional Leaders (Principal Chiefs) in the Senate is a clear indication of the pre-eminence of the institution of Chieftaincy (Traditional Leadership) in Lesotho. On the other hand, the National Assembly is completely elected and consists of 120 members, elected through the so-called Mixed–Member-Proportional representation model. Although Chieftaincy is part of this organ of the state, it has limited powers in the legislative process and general decision-making processes outside Parliament. These powers are instead a jurisdiction of the elected representatives in the National Assembly. A similar set up exists at the local government level where Councillors enjoy decision-making powers with Chieftainship structures, such as the village, area and ward Chiefs role being ambiguously defined. It is very clear that the co-existence of the two institutions is a very crucial and challenging one. This co-existence has raised a number of political, developmental and conceptual problems and problems and challenges that have not been adequately addressed, let alone resolved. One of the problems is the anomalous situation in which people are simultaneously citizens of the state and subjects of the Chiefs. Other challenges include, amongst others, contradicting legislation, revenue constraints, a lack of human resource capacity, poor stakeholder management, the increasing rate of HIV/Aids in Lesotho, and so forth. Possible causes of these challenges had been investigated as well as how they can be managed or minimised in order to enable Chiefs to play an effective role in a modern democracy. With this research study an attempt was made to explore the role of Traditional Leaders in the current system of local government in Lesotho and how to improve Chieftainship as a strategy to complement governance at the grassroots level. The term “Chiefs” is used in this research study as synonymous to Traditional Leaders, because it is the term used in all legislation dealing with Traditional Leaders in Lesotho and it includes Principal Chiefs, Area Chiefs, Chiefs and Headmen, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.
PublisherBloemfontein: Central University of Technology, Free State