The role of the military in the political conflict in Lesotho : with special reference tot he 1998 failed coup d'etat.
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The central argument in the thesis is that lack of professionalism within the military establishment was the leading factor for coups in the politics of Lesotho. Other sources of military involvement in the politics of Lesotho include the following: Firstly, the rivalries for power within the military establishment and between the military and the ruling government. Secondly, the desire of the military to transform the country from political and economic decay by the civilian government and the leadership of the military. Thirdly, the involvement of foreign states and organizations such as the Republic of South Africa (R. S. A), Zimbabwe, Botswana, countries of the Eastern bloc, Nigeria, India, China, the United States of America (U. S. A) the Southern African Development Community (S. A D. C.), the United Nations Development Programme (U. N. D. P.) and the Commonwealth in the internal affairs of the country thus preventing or motivating coups in Lesotho. Finally, the failure of the civilian governments to demobilize the civil society at large and the military which were war-oriented during the Basotho National Party (B. N. P.) and military dictatorships respectively (1970-1986 and 1986-1993). Although the struggle for power among the political elites in Lesotho dates as far back as the country's independence in 1966, the military was never affected by these politics until its indoctrination into politics by the BNP government after the 1970 general elections. Because of the politicization of the military, recruitment and promotions within the military were determined/influenced by politicians. Another criterion for entry of the military officers into the armed forces and their upward mobility was nepotism. This motivated the officers who were sidelined during the process to rebel against the ruling government and the leadership of the military. As a result, the political and economic institutions of Lesotho were weakened and unstable as the resources of the country were spent on military weaponry, setting up militias and rewarding the soldiers who were loyal to authoritarian rule in Lesotho. Simultaneously, the country experienced low levels of economic productivity as national resources were misappropriated, embezzled and used for personal enrichment by both the BNP and the military junta. Similarly, when the civilian government came to power in 1993, it was interested in power consolidation. This motivated similar demands by the military due to the political influence by opposition parties that were hungry for power. With the transition of the country to democratic rule in 1993, the civilian government was faced with the problem not of its own making. It had to deal with the military which was heavily armed and deeply divided along political lines. As a result, it was impossible for the civilian regime to control and transform the institution to adjust to the principle of neutrality of the soldier in a democratic dispensation. Consequently, the Basotho people in general and their democratic governments, namely the Basotho Congress Party (B. C. P.) and the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (L. C. D.) had never enjoyed the fruits of civilian rule. Since 1993, the military had the capacity Ipower to intervene against a civilian regime. Therefore, it became a major source of instability in Lesotho. For example, the junior military officers were actively involved in the 1998 political crisis.