|Prime Minister of Lesotho
29 May 1998 – 8 June 2012
|Preceded by||Ntsu Mokhehle|
|Succeeded by||Tom Thabane|
|Member of Parliament
for Qacha's Nek
14 March 1945 |
Qacha's Nek, Basutoland
|Political party||Democratic Congress (2012–)
|Alma mater||UBLS (BA)
University of Wisconsin (MA)
UNISA (BA (Hons))
Simon Fraser University (MEd)
Bethuel Pakalitha Mosisili (born 14 March 1945) is a Basotho politician who is currently Prime Minister-elect of Lesotho. He previously served as Prime Minister from May 1998 to June 2012. He led the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), to a near-total victory in the 1998 election, and under his leadership the party also won majorities in the 2002 and 2007 elections. While serving as Prime Minister, Mosisili was also Minister of Defense.
His party failed to achieve a majority in the 2012 election, and was thus succeeded by Tom Thabane as prime minister. Following the snap election in February 2015, he managed to form and lead a coalition government.
Early life and career
Mosisili was born near Qacha's Nek. He was educated at the Eagle's Peak High School, where he attained his Cambridge Overseas School Certificate in 1965. He then pursued his higher education at the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland and graduated with a BA in education. Upon graduation in July 1970, he was imprisoned because of his political activism and was released the next year in November. He was a member of the Basotho Congress Party.
In 1976, he attained his MA from the University of Wisconsin in the United States and then completed a BA honours program via distance education from the University of South Africa. In 1982, he graduated from Simon Fraser University in Canada with a Master of Education degree.
In 1993, Mosisili was elected to parliament from the Qacha's Nek Constituency and became Minister of Education. On April 14, 1994, he was briefly kidnapped along with three other ministers by soldiers; a fifth minister, Deputy Prime Minister Selometsi Baholo, was killed in this incident. Mosisili was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in late January 1995, while remaining Minister of Education; on July 20, 1995, he was named Minister of Home Affairs and Local Government instead, while remaining Deputy Prime Minister. A new ruling party, the LCD, was formed in 1997 under the leadership of Prime Minister Ntsu Mokhehle as a split from the Basutoland Congress Party. On February 21, 1998, Mosisili was elected leader of the LCD after Mokhehle chose to step down due to poor health.
After his party's victory in 1998 there were accusations of vote rigging and mass protests from the opposition parties, which culminated with their occupation of the grounds to the palace. In the ensuing debacle which saw the army, police and king complicit in an attempt to unseat his government, Mosisili had to resort to asking the regional grouping, Southern African Development Community (SADC), for an intervention to stem the imminent coup. New elections were eventually held in May 2002, which his party won, this after a major split led by his former deputy, Kelebone Maope, and Shakhane Mokhehle, the brother of the late founder of his party. On this occasion, Mosisili himself was elected to a seat from the Tsoelike constituency, receiving 79.2% of the vote; in his previous constituency, Qacha's Nek, Pontso Sekatle was the LCD candidate.
In October 2006, Tom Thabane left the LCD and formed a new party, and 17 other members of parliament joined him; this left the LCD with a narrow majority of 61 out of 120 seats. On Mosisili's advice, King Letsie III dissolved parliament on November 24, 2006, and a new election was scheduled for February 17, 2007; they had previously been expected in April or May.  The LCD won this election, taking 61 seats; the National Independent Party, allied with the LCD, won an additional 21 seats.
Whilst attending a funeral in his home district of Qacha's Nek in late 2006, Mosisili gave a speech which quoted a Basotho idiom, "Se sa feleng sea hlola", meaning "anything that does not finish/end is not good". Some believed that he was referring to his term in office and his embattled political party.
Armed men attacked Mosisili's residence on April 22, 2009, apparently intending to kill him; three of the attackers, one of whom was reportedly a soldier, were killed by police, and Mosisili was unharmed. Six people appeared before a South African court in July 2009 on charges of helping in the attempt. The Lesotho Communications Minister described the attack as a plot by South African and Mozambican mercenaries to stage a coup in Lesotho.
Following the snap election held on 28 February 2015, he managed to form and lead a coalition government.
He is married to Mathato Mosisili.
- Profile at government website.
- Scott Rosenberg; Richard F. Weisfelder (13 June 2013). Historical Dictionary of Lesotho. Scarecrow Press. pp. 381–. ISBN 978-0-8108-7982-9.
- Roger East; Richard J. Thomas (3 June 2014). Profiles of People in Power: The World's Government Leaders. Routledge. pp. 305–. ISBN 978-1-317-63940-4.
- "Deputy Prime Minister Murdered by Army Faction", Summary of Events in Lesotho, 2nd quarter 1994, trc.org.ls.
- "Mosisili Appointed Deputy Prime Minister", Summary of Events in Lesotho, Volume 2, Number 1, First Quarter 1995, trc.org.ls.
- "Cabinet Reshuffle", Summary of Events in Lesotho, Volume 2, Number 3, Third Quarter 1995, trc.org.ls.
- "Lesotho Congress for Democracy Vacillates Before Electing New Leader", Summary of Events in Lesotho, Volume 5, Number 1, First Quarter 1998, trc.org.ls.
- "Individual Constituency Results Range from Clear Victories to Minority Votes", Summary of Events in Lesotho, Volume 9, Number 2, Second Quarter 2002, trc.org.ls.
- "Lesotho dissolves Parliament ahead of elections", AFP (Mail & Guardian Online), November 25, 2006.
- Bethuel Thai, "Lesotho will go to the polls in February 2007", Reuters (IOL), December 1, 2006.
- "Win was not fair - opposition", AFP (IOL), February 21, 2007.
- "Lesotho PM survives assassination bid: media", AFP, April 22, 2009.
- Six in dock for attempt on Mosisili's life - IOL
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