But even these steps were not enough to satisfy Pretoria,
and on January 20, 1986, General Justin Lekhanya - commander
of Lesotho's paramilitary forces - conducted a coup that
brought Leabua Jonathan's government to a standstill. It was
replaced by a Military Committee led by Lekhanya himself. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of LS and its meanings of Lesotho.
In 1988, Lesotho's migrant workers in South Africa sent
back over $ 350 million to Lesotho - equivalent to 5 times
the country's export earnings.
In March, the military dictatorship sent King Moshoeshoe
into exile, accusing him of hindering the country's
democratization. His son, Bereng Mohato Siisa, now ascended
the throne as Letsie III. Following a general strike among
the armed forces due to low wages, a new military coup on
April 30, 1991, brought down Lekhanya's government and a new
government council was installed under the leadership of
Colonel Elias P. Ramaema.
In 1991, the South African government cut transfers from
migrant workers. In May, a demonstration against foreign
interference in the country's economy ended with 34 killed
and 425 detained.
In 1993, a new constitution made the king the head of
state without gaining legislative or executive rights. The
July parliamentary elections gave BCP all the seats in
parliament. With a loan from the IMF, in August
privatization of the semi-state companies began.
Erosion now affected 58% of the country's low-lying
soils. Two-thirds of the land belongs to migrant workers,
but is exploited by landowners with no interest in
protecting it. The water from the country's higher elevation
- its main resource - was to be utilized through a
hydroelectric project that would turn more rivers in the
direction of South Africa in return for electricity. Project
spending would run up to $ 2 billion.
Throughout 1994, low wages were the backdrop of armed
clashes between rival military groups. The government's plan
to integrate the BCP's armed branch into the country's
military led to the abduction and killing of the country's
finance minister - perpetrated by disgruntled soldiers.
In August, the king dissolved the government and
parliament. The protests in front of the palace were turned
down by soldiers and police, and at least 4 were killed.
Internal Republican opposition and international pressure
forced Letsie III to abdicate in favor of his father, King
Moshoeshoe II, who was formally deployed to the throne in
The same year, drilling was completed for the tunnel that
was part of a major project to supply the Baal River's
source in South Africa with Lesotho water from 1997. The
project was funded by the World Bank.
In January 1996, the king perished in a traffic accident.
A month later, Parliament appointed Letsie III a new king.
Four prominent opposition politicians were accused of
treason in March. They should have planned a coup against
the government from September 1995 to February 1996.