Moshoeshoe II

(1938—1996) king of Lesotho

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Born in Mokhotlong, Lesotho, the eldest son of Paramount Chief Seeiso Griffith, Moshoeshoe II was a direct descendent of Moshoeshoe, the nineteenth-century founder of the Basotho nation. He studied politics, philosophy, economics, and law at Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford. Moshoeshoe II returned home before completing his studies to be throned paramount chief of Basutoland in March 1960. When Basutoland became independent as Lesotho in 1966, he was declared king. After Chief Joseph Leabua Jonathan was elected prime minister in 1965, conflict developed over the extent of the king's power. In 1967 Moshoeshoe agreed to abide by the constitution, which vested executive authority in the prime minister. In the January 1970 general elections, Jonathan recognized his party would be voted out so he nullified the elections and suspended the constitution. Moshoeshoe was arrested and then exiled in March. After agreeing to avoid political activity, Moshoeshoe returned from the Netherlands in December 1970 as a ceremonial head of state, subject to the rule of Jonathan's military government. However, he was exiled a second time in March 1990 when he refused to endorse the orders of Major-General Justin Lekhanya, Jonathan's successor.


From Encyclopedia of Africa in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: African Studies.

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