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Basutoland was renamed the Kingdom of Lesotho upon independence from the UK in 1966. The Basuto National Party ruled for the first two decades. King MOSHOESHOE was exiled in 1990, but returned to Lesotho in 1992 and was reinstated in 1995 and subsequently succeeded by his son, King LETSIE III, in 1996. Constitutional government was restored in 1993 after seven years of military rule. In 1998, violent protests and a military mutiny following a contentious election prompted a brief but bloody intervention by South African and Botswana military forces under the aegis of the Southern African Development Community. Subsequent constitutional reforms restored relative political stability. Peaceful parliamentary elections were held in 2002, but the National Assembly elections of February 2007 were hotly contested and aggrieved parties continue to dispute how the electoral law was applied to award proportional seats in the Assembly.


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Military

Military branches
Lesotho Defense Force (LDF): Army (includes Air Wing) (2010)

Military service age and obligation
18-24 years of age for voluntary military service; no conscription; women serve as commissioned officers (2009)

Manpower available for military service
Males age 16-49 472,456
Females age 16-49 508,953 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service
Males age 16-49 270,184
Females age 16-49 275,734 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually
Male 19,110
Female 20,037 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures World Ranking: 58
2.6% of GDP (2006)

Military - note
Lesotho's declared policy is maintenance of its independent sovereignty and preservation of internal security; in practice, external security is guaranteed by South Africa; restructuring of the Lesotho Defense Force (LDF) and Ministry of Defense and Public Service over the past five years has focused on subordinating the defense apparatus to civilian control and restoring the LDF's cohesion; the restructuring has considerably improved capabilities and professionalism, but the LDF is disproportionately large for a small, poor country; the government has outlined a reduction to a planned 1,500-man strength, but these plans have met with vociferous resistance from the political opposition and from inside the LDF (2008)


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  Lesotho (Maseru):


  GPS points from Lesotho (Maseru)

Blokung Lesotho (general)

Mokopo Lesotho (general)

Morife Lesotho (general)

Kolbere Lesotho (general)

Thuatha Lesotho (general)

Motsekuoa Lesotho (general)

Bitsolebi Lesotho (general)

Moniahania Lesotho (general)




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