Sustained Interventions in Lesotho

In Lesotho, historical tensions between local government and traditional leaders have been caused by a failure on the part of both groups to understand properly their respective roles, mandates, and responsibilities.

CCR has worked in Lesotho since 1998 with government and civil society actors to promote political stability, where the Centre has helped to build the capacity and confidence of government officials, local councillors, and traditional leaders to engage with civil society actors.

CCR's training interventions and dialogue skills-building efforts have promoted collaboration between stakeholders to resolve conflicts in local communities and have helped to clarify the roles, mandates, and responsibilities of local government and traditional leaders respectively.

Key outcomes of the Centre's interventions in Lesotho include:

  • A culture of tolerance, trust, and collaboration has been developed among traditional leaders and representatives from local government and communities. The disputes between councillors and chiefs have become less severe, and range management conflicts over grazing land for livestock in remote areas of Lesotho have been reduced;
  • Dialogue sessions at district level have enabled key local government actors to use non-violent options to resolve role-conflicts between traditional chiefs and elected councillors. The dialogue sessions in Maseru, Berea, and Mohale's Hoek districts are increasingly accepted by district administration officials, traditional chiefs, and councillors, as the most appropriate political spaces to discuss issues of public service delivery and collective responsibilities;
  • Conflict transformation and dialogue skills among key players — particularly civil society actors — have significantly improved. CCR-trained members of civil society have facilitated sessions during workshops, with CCR trainers providing technical support as necessary; and
  • CCR trainees formed a technical team which supported heads of churches in mediating a conflict between the government and opposition parties over the allocation of electoral seats in March 2011.

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