The Constitutional Rules of Succession to the Institution of Monarch in Lesotho

Keywords: Lesotho, Constitution of Lesotho, succession, customary law, King


The rules that govern succession to the office of King in Lesotho are largely customary. The Constitution of Lesotho, 1993 provides that succession to the office of King shall be regulated in terms of customary law; the Constitution itself does not provide for the substantive and procedural rules governing succession. The zenith of customary rules is that succession to kingship in Lesotho is based on the principle of primogeniture. The primogeniture rule has always presented problems of application in Lesotho; more so in the era of equality and democracy. This paper critiques the rules of succession to the office of King. It contends that by leaving the regulation of succession exclusively to customary law without clear articulation in the Constitution, the Constitution is unduly yielding to a system of law (customary law) which is not only subservient to the Constitution but also based on a different set of values. The paper recommends that the rules of succession must be codified in the Constitution and must be realigned with contemporary notions of constitutionalism and equality.


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