Is there hope for Lesotho in National Decentralisation Policy?

Community Law Centre’s Prof Jaap de Visser participated in the Commonwealth Local Government Forum's 20th Anniversary Conference in Gaborone, Botswana. He presented a paper at the Conference's Research Colloquium. His presentation was entitled "Lesotho's 2014 National Decentralisation Policy in comparative perspective". The paper examines the government of Lesotho's intention to deepen devolution in the Mountain Kingdom.

Lesotho is home to just over 2.1 Million inhabitants and characterised by a predominantly rural economy and rugged, mountainous terrain. It has had two local government elections (in 2005 and 2012) and the government intends to transfer further powers to the country's 86 local authorities. Prof De Visser concluded that the NDP contains great promise for deepening local democracy in Lesotho. The government will have to deal with the twin challenges of overcoming a long history of centralisation and uneven skills for devolution in order to make this a reality.

The CLGF Research Colloquium was attended by local government scholars and practitioners from India, UK, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Uganda and many other commonwealth nations.