Constitution of Lesotho 1993, as amended to 2004


Affirmative Action (Broadly)

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4) and (5) no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.
...
(3) In this section, the expression “discriminatory” means affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.
(4) Subsection (1) shall not apply to any law to the extent that that law makes provision—

(e) whereby persons of any such description as is mentioned in subsection (3) may be made subject to any disability or restriction or may be accorded any privilege or advantage which, having regard to its nature and to special circumstances pertaining to those persons or to persons of any other such description, is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.
Nothing in this subsection shall prevent the making of laws in pursuance of the principle of State Policy of promoting a society based on equality and justice for all the citizens of Lesotho and thereby removing any discriminatory law.
... (Sec. 18)

Affirmative Action (Broadly)

(1) Lesotho shall adopt policies aimed at promoting a society based on equality and justice for all its citizens regardless of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
(2) In particular, the State shall take appropriate measures in order to promote equality of opportunity for the disadvantaged groups in the society to enable them to participate fully in all spheres of public life. (Sec. 26)

Citizenship and Nationality

Every person who immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution is a citizen of Lesotho under the Lesotho Citizenship Order 1971 shall, on the coming into operation of this Constitution and subject to any provision made in or under this Chapter, continue to be a citizen of Lesotho. (Sec. 37)

Citizenship and Nationality

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (2) and (3), every person born in Lesotho after the coming into operation of this Constitution shall become a citizen of Lesotho.
(2) Save as provided in subsection (3), a person shall not become a citizen of Lesotho by virtue of this section if at the time of his birth neither of his parents is a citizen of Lesotho, and—
(a) one or both of his parents possesses such immunity from suit and legal process as is accorded to the envoy of a foreign sovereign power accredited to Lesotho; or
(b) one or both of his parents is an enemy alien and the birth occurs in a place then under occupation by the enemy.
(3) A person born in Lesotho on or after the coming into operation of this Constitution who is disqualified to become a citizen of Lesotho by virtue of subsection (2) of this section shall become a citizen of Lesotho if he would otherwise become stateless. (Sec. 38)

Citizenship and Nationality

A person born outside Lesotho after the coming into operation of this Constitution shall become a citizen of Lesotho at the date of his birth, if at that date either of his parents is a citizen of Lesotho otherwise than by descent. (Sec. 39)

Citizenship and Nationality

(1) Any woman who, immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution, is or has been married to a person—
(a) who continues to be a citizen of Lesotho by virtue of section 37 of this Constitution; or
(b) who, having died before the coming into operation of this Constitution would, but for his death, have continued to be a citizen of Lesotho by virtue of that section, shall be entitled, upon making application and upon taking the oath of allegiance, to be registered as a citizen of Lesotho.
(2) Any woman who, after the coming into operation of this Constitution, marries a citizen of Lesotho shall be entitled, upon making application and upon taking the oath of allegiance, to be registered as a citizen of Lesotho. (Sec. 40)

Citizenship and Nationality

(1) Any person who, upon the attainment of the age of twenty-one years, is a citizen of Lesotho and also a citizen of some country other than Lesotho shall cease to be a citizen of Lesotho upon the specified date unless he has renounced his citizenship of that other country, taken the oath of allegiance and, in the case of a person who is a citizen of Lesotho by descent, made and registered such declaration of his intentions concerning residence as may be prescribed by Parliament.
(2) A citizen of Lesotho shall cease to be such a citizen if—
(a) having attained the age of twenty-one years, he acquires the citizenship of some country other than Lesotho by voluntary act (other than marriage); or
(b) having attained the age of twenty-one years, he otherwise acquires the citizenship of some country other than Lesotho and has not, by the specified date, renounced his citizenship of that other country, taken the oath of allegiance and made and registered such declaration of his intentions concerning residence as may be prescribed.
(3) A woman who—
(a) becomes a citizen of Lesotho by registration under the provisions of section 40 of this Constitution; and
(b) is immediately after the day upon which she becomes a citizen of Lesotho also a citizen of some other country, shall cease to be a citizen of Lesotho upon the specified date unless she has renounced the citizenship of that other country, taken the oath of allegiance, and made and registered such declaration of her intentions concerning residence as may be prescribed.
… (Sec. 41)

Citizenship and Nationality

(1) Parliament may make provision for the acquisition of citizenship of Lesotho by persons who are not eligible or who are no longer eligible to become citizens of Lesotho under the provisions of this Chapter.
(2) Parliament may make provision for depriving of his citizenship of Lesotho any person other than a person who became or becomes—
(a) a citizen of Lesotho by virtue of having been born in Lesotho; or
(b) a citizen of Lesotho by descent,
unless he would thereby become stateless.
(3) Parliament may make provision for the renunciation by any person of his citizenship of Lesotho. (Sec. 42)

Jurisdiction and Access

(1) Where any question as to the interpretation of this Constitution arises in any proceedings in any subordinate court or tribunal and the court or tribunal is of the opinion that the question involves a substantial question of law, the court or tribunal may, and shall, if any party to the proceedings so requests, refer the question to the High Court.
… (Sec. 128)

Jurisdiction and Access

(1) In addition to the right of appeal accorded by section 47 of this Constitution, an appeal shall lie as of right to the Court of Appeal from decisions of the High Court in the following cases, that is to say:
(a) subject to section 69 of this Constitution, final decisions in any civil or criminal proceedings on questions as to the interpretation of this Constitution, including any such decision made on a reference to the High Court under section 128;
(b) final decisions of the High Court in the determination of any question in respect of which a right of access to the High Court is guaranteed by section 17 of this Constitution and final decisions of the High Court under section 22 of this Constitution.
… (Sec. 129)

Education

Lesotho shall endeavour to make education available to all and shall adopt policies aimed at securing that—
(a) education is directed to the full development of the human personality and sense of dignity and strengthening the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms;
(b) primary education is compulsory and available to all;
(c) secondary education, including technical and vocational education, is made generally available and accessible to all by every appropriate means, and in particular, by the progressive introduction of free education;
(d) higher education is made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular, by the progressive introduction of free education; and
(e) fundamental education is encouraged or intensified as far as possible for those persons who have not received or completed their primary education. (Sec. 28)

Employment Rights and Protection

(1) Lesotho shall endeavour to ensure that every person has the opportunity to gain his living by work which he freely chooses or accepts.
(2) Lesotho shall adopt policies aimed at—
(a) achieving and maintaining as high and stable a level of employment as possible;
(b) providing technical and vocational guidance and training programmes; and
(c) achieving steady economic, social and cultural development and full and productive employment under conditions safeguarding fundamental political and economic freedoms to the individual. (Sec. 29)

Employment Rights and Protection

Lesotho shall adopt policies aimed at securing just and favourable conditions of work and in particular policies directed to achieving—
(a) remuneration which provides all workers, as a minimum with—
(i) fair wages and equal remuneration for work of equal value without distinction of any kind, and in particular, women being guaranteed conditions of work, including pension or retirement benefits, not inferior to those enjoyed by men, with equal pay for equal work; and
(ii) a decent living for themselves and their families;
(b) safe and healthy working conditions;
(c) equal opportunity for men and women to be promoted in their employment to an appropriate higher level, subject to no considerations other than those of seniority and competence;
(d) the protection of women who are in employment during a reasonable period before and after childbirth; and
(e) rest, leisure and reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay, as well as remuneration for public holidays. (Sec. 30)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

(1) Whereas every person in Lesotho is entitled, whatever his race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status to fundamental human rights and freedoms, that is to say, to each and all of the following—

(n) freedom from discrimination;
(o) the right to equality before the law and the equal protection of the law;
… (Sec. 4)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4) and (5) no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.
(2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (6), no person shall be treated in a discriminatory manner by any person acting by virtue of any written law or in the performance of the functions of any public office or any public authority.
(3) In this section, the expression “discriminatory” means affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.
(4) Subsection (1) shall not apply to any law to the extent that that law makes provision—

(b) for the application, in the case of persons of any such description as is mentioned in subsection (3) (or of persons connected with such persons), of the law with respect to adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, devolution of property on death or other like matters which is the personal law of persons of that description; or
(c) for the application of the customary law of Lesotho with respect to any matter in the case of persons who, under that law, are subject to that law; or

(e) whereby persons of any such description as is mentioned in subsection (3) may be made subject to any disability or restriction or may be accorded any privilege or advantage which, having regard to its nature and to special circumstances pertaining to those persons or to persons of any other such description, is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.
Nothing in this subsection shall prevent the making of laws in pursuance of the principle of State Policy of promoting a society based on equality and justice for all the citizens of Lesotho and thereby removing any discriminatory law.
(5) Nothing contained in any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of subsection (1) to the extent that it makes provision with respect to standards of qualifications (not being standards of qualifications specifically relating to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status) to be required of any person who is appointed to any office in the public service, any office in a disciplined force, any office in the service of a local government authority or any office in a body corporate established by law for public purposes.
(6) Subsection (2) shall not apply to anything which is expressly or by necessary implication authorised to be done by any such provision of law as is referred to in subsection (4) or (5).
(7) No person shall be treated in a discriminatory manner in respect of access to shops, hotels, lodging houses, public restaurants, eating houses, beer halls or places of public entertainment or in respect of access to places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of public funds or dedicated to the use of the general public.
(8) The provisions of this section shall be without prejudice to the generality of section 19 of this Constitution. (Sec. 18)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

Every person shall be entitled to equality before the law and to the equal protection of the law. (Sec. 19)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

(1) Lesotho shall adopt policies aimed at promoting a society based on equality and justice for all its citizens regardless of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
(2) In particular, the State shall take appropriate measures in order to promote equality of opportunity for the disadvantaged groups in the society to enable them to participate fully in all spheres of public life. (Sec. 26)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

(5) In this Constitution unless the context otherwise requires,
(a) words and expressions importing the masculine gender include the feminine;
… (Sec. 154)

Obligations of the State

(1) Whereas every person in Lesotho is entitled, whatever his race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status to fundamental human rights and freedoms, that is to say, to each and all of the following— …
the provisions of this Chapter2 shall have effect for the purpose of affording protection to those rights and freedoms, subject to such limitations of that protection as are contained in those provisions, being limitations designed to ensure that the enjoyment of the said rights and freedoms by any person does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of others or the public interest.
(2) For the avoidance of doubt and without prejudice to any other provision of this Constitution it is hereby declared that the provisions of this Chapter shall, except where the context otherwise requires, apply as well in relation to things done or omitted to be done by persons acting in a private capacity (whether by virtue of any written law or otherwise) as in relation to things done or omitted to be done by or on behalf of the Government of Lesotho or by any person acting in the performance of the functions of any public office or any public authority. (Sec. 4)

Obligations of Private Parties

(1) Whereas every person in Lesotho is entitled, whatever his race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status to fundamental human rights and freedoms, that is to say, to each and all of the following— …

the provisions of this Chapter3 shall have effect for the purpose of affording protection to those rights and freedoms, subject to such limitations of that protection as are contained in those provisions, being limitations designed to ensure that the enjoyment of the said rights and freedoms by any person does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of others or the public interest.
(2) For the avoidance of doubt and without prejudice to any other provision of this Constitution it is hereby declared that the provisions of this Chapter shall, except where the context otherwise requires, apply as well in relation to things done or omitted to be done by persons acting in a private capacity (whether by virtue of any written law or otherwise) as in relation to things done or omitted to be done by or on behalf of the Government of Lesotho or by any person acting in the performance of the functions of any public office or any public authority. (Sec. 4)

Judicial Protection

(1) If any person alleges that any of the provisions of sections 4 to 21 (inclusive)4 of this Constitution has been, is being or is likely to be contravened in relation to him (or, in the case of a person who is detained, if any other person alleges such a contravention in relation to the detained person), then, without prejudice to any other action with respect to the same matter which is lawfully available, that person (or that other person) may apply to the High Court for redress.
(2) The High Court shall have original jurisdiction—
(a) to hear and determine any application made by any person in pursuance of subsection (1); and
(b) to determine any question arising in the case of any person which is referred to it in pursuance of subsection (3), and may make such orders, issue such process and give such directions as it may consider appropriate for the purpose of enforcing or securing the enforcement of any of the provisions of sections 4 to 21 (inclusive) of this Constitution:
Provided that the High Court may decline to exercise its powers under this subsection if it is satisfied that adequate means of redress for the contravention alleged are or have been available to the person concerned under any other law.
(3) If in any proceedings in any subordinate court any question arises as to the contravention of any of the provisions of sections 4 to 21 (inclusive) of this Constitution, the person presiding in that court may, and shall if any party to the proceedings so requests, refer the question to the High Court unless, in his opinion, the raising of the question is merely frivolous or vexatious.
… (Sec. 22)

Judicial Protection

(1) In addition to the right of appeal accorded by section 47 of this Constitution, an appeal shall lie as of right to the Court of Appeal from decisions of the High Court in the following cases, that is to say:
...
(b) final decisions of the High Court in the determination of any question in respect of which a right of access to the High Court is guaranteed by section 17 of this Constitution and final decisions of the High Court under section 22 of this Constitution.
… (Sec. 129)

National Human Rights Bodies

(1) The Ombudsman may—
(a) investigate action taken by any officer or authority referred to in subsection (2) in the exercise of the administrative functions of that officer or authority in cases where it is alleged that a person has suffered injustice in consequence of that action; and
(b) perform such other duties and exercise such other powers as may be conferred on him by an Act of Parliament.
(2) Subject to such exceptions and conditions as may be prescribed by Parliament, the provisions of subsection (1)(a) shall apply in respect of any action taken by the following officers and authorities:
(a) any department of government or any member of such a department;
(b) any local government authority and the members and officers of a local government authority;
(c) any statutory corporation and the members and persons in the service of a statutory corporation.
… (Sec. 135)

Limitations and/or Derogations

(1) Whereas every person in Lesotho is entitled, whatever his race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status to fundamental human rights and freedoms, that is to say, to each and all of the following— …
the provisions of this Chapter5 shall have effect for the purpose of affording protection to those rights and freedoms, subject to such limitations of that protection as are contained in those provisions, being limitations designed to ensure that the enjoyment of the said rights and freedoms by any person does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of others or the public interest.
… (Sec. 4)

Limitations and/or Derogations

(1) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of an Act of Parliament shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of section 6, section 18 or section 19 of this Constitution to the extent that the Act authorises the taking during any period when Lesotho is at war or when a declaration of emergency under section 23 of this Constitution is in force of measures that are necessary in a practical sense in a democratic society for dealing with the situation that exists in Lesotho during that period.
… (Sec. 21)

Marriage and Family Life

(1) Whereas every person in Lesotho is entitled, whatever his race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status to fundamental human rights and freedoms, that is to say, to each and all of the following—…
(g) the right to respect for private and family life;
… (Sec. 4)

Marriage and Family Life

(1) Every person shall be entitled to respect for his private and family life and his home.
… (Sec. 11)

Marriage and Family Life

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4) and (5) no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.

(3) In this section, the expression “discriminatory” means affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.
(4) Subsection (1) shall not apply to any law to the extent that that law makes provision—

(b) for the application, in the case of persons of any such description as is mentioned in subsection (3) (or of persons connected with such persons), of the law with respect to adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, devolution of property on death or other like matters which is the personal law of persons of that description;
… (Sec. 18)

Marriage and Family Life

(1) Lesotho shall adopt policies aimed at ensuring the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health for its citizens, including policies designed to—
(a) provide for the reduction of stillbirth rate and of infant mortality and for the healthy development of the child;
… (Sec. 27)

Marriage and Family Life

Lesotho shall adopt policies aimed at securing just and favourable conditions of work and in particular policies directed to achieving—
(a) remuneration which provides all workers, as a minimum with—

(ii) a decent living for themselves and their families;

(d) the protection of women who are in employment during a reasonable period before and after childbirth; and
… (Sec. 30)

Marriage and Family Life

Lesotho shall adopt policies designed to provide that—
(a) protection and assistance is given to all children and young persons without any discrimination for reasons of parentage or other conditions;
… (Sec. 32)

Participation in Public Life and Institutions

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4) and (5) no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.

(3) In this section, the expression “discriminatory” means affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.

(5) Nothing contained in any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of subsection (1) to the extent that it makes provision with respect to standards of qualifications (not being standards of qualifications specifically relating to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status) to be required of any person who is appointed to any office in the public service, any office in a disciplined force, any office in the service of a local government authority or any office in a body corporate established by law for public purposes.
… (Sec. 18)

Participation in Public Life and Institutions

(1) Every citizen of Lesotho shall enjoy the right—
(a) to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives;

(c) to have access, on general terms of equality, to the public service.
… (Sec. 20)

Participation in Public Life and Institutions

(1) Lesotho shall adopt policies aimed at promoting a society based on equality and justice for all its citizens regardless of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
(2) In particular, the State shall take appropriate measures in order to promote equality of opportunity for the disadvantaged groups in the society to enable them to participate fully in all spheres of public life. (Sec. 26)

Political Rights and Association

(1) Whereas every person in Lesotho is entitled, whatever his race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status to fundamental human rights and freedoms, that is to say, to each and all of the following—

(l) freedom of association;

(p) the right to participate in government, … (Sec. 4)

Political Rights and Association

(1) Every person shall be entitled to, and (except with his own consent) shall not be hindered in his enjoyment of freedom to associate freely with other persons for ideological, religious, political, economic, labour, social, cultural, recreational and similar purposes. … (Sec. 16)

Political Rights and Association

(1) Every citizen of Lesotho shall enjoy the right—
(a) to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives;
(b) to vote or to stand for election at periodic elections under this Constitution under a system of universal and equal suffrage and secret ballot;
… (Sec. 20)

Political Rights and Association

(2) Subject to the provisions of subsections (3) and (4), every person who—
(a) is a citizen of Lesotho; and
(b) has attained the age of twenty-one years; and
(c) possesses such qualifications as to residence as may be prescribed by Parliament, shall be qualified to be registered as an elector in elections to the National Assembly under a law in that behalf; and no other person may be so registered.
… (Sec. 57)

Electoral Bodies

(1) There shall be a Chief Electoral Officer whose office shall be an office in the public service.
(2) The functions of the Chief Electoral Officer shall be—
(a) to register as electors the citizens of Lesotho who qualify to be registered as such;
(b) to compile a general register of electors and constituency registers of electors for the several constituencies and to maintain such register or registers up to date;
(c) to conduct elections of members of the National Assembly; and
(d) to perform such other functions as may be conferred on him by or under any other law.
… (Sec. 68)

Head of State

(1) There shall be a King of Lesotho who shall be a constitutional monarch and Head of State.
… (Sec. 44)

Head of State

(1) The College of Chiefs may at any time designate, in accordance with the customary law of Lesotho, the person (or the persons, in order of prior right) who are entitled to succeed to the office of King upon the death of the holder of, or the occurrence of any vacancy in, that office and if on such death or vacancy, there is a person who has previously been designated in pursuance of this section and who is capable under the customary law of Lesotho of succeeding to that office, that person (or, if there is more than one such person, that one of them who has been designated as having the first right to succeed to the office) shall become King.
(2) If, on the death of the holder of, or the occurrence of any vacancy in, the office of King, there is no person who becomes King under subsection (1), the College of Chiefs shall, with all practical speed and in accordance with the customary law of Lesotho, proceed to designate a person to succeed to the office of King and the person so designated shall thereupon become King.
… (Sec. 45)

Government

The executive authority of Lesotho is vested in the King and, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, shall be exercised by him through officers or authorities of the Government of Lesotho. (Sec. 86)

Government

(1) There shall be a Prime Minister who shall be appointed by the King acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State.
(2) The King shall appoint as Prime Minister the member of the National Assembly who appears to the Council of State to be the leader of the political party or coalition of political parties that will command the support of a majority of the members of the National Assembly: …
(3) There shall be, in addition to the office of Prime Minister, such other offices of Minister of the Government of Lesotho (not being less than seven in number and one of which shall be the office of Deputy Prime Minister) as may be established by Parliament or, subject to any provision made by Parliament, by the King, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister.
(4) The King shall, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, appoint the other Ministers from among the members of the National Assembly or from among the Senators who are nominated as Senators by the King under section 55 of this Constitution: … (Sec. 87)

Legislature

There shall be a Parliament which shall consist of the King, a Senate and a National Assembly. (Sec. 54)

Legislature

The Senate shall consist of the twenty-two Principal Chiefs and eleven other Senators nominated in that behalf by the King acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State: … (Sec. 55)

Legislature

The National Assembly shall consist of eighty members elected in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution. (Sec. 56)

Legislature

(1) Subject to the provisions of section 59 of this Constitution, a person shall be qualified to be nominated as a Senator by the King acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State or designated by a Principal Chief as a Senator in his place if, and shall not be so qualified unless, at the date of his nomination or designation, he—
(a) is a citizen of Lesotho; and
(b) is able to speak and, unless incapacitated by blindness or other physical cause, to read and write either the Sesotho or English languages well enough to take an active part in the proceedings of the Senate.
(2) Subject to the provisions of section 59 of this Constitution, a person shall be qualified to be elected as a member of the National Assembly if, and shall not be so qualified unless, at the date of his nomination for election, he—
(a) is a citizen of Lesotho; and
(b) is registered in some constituency as an elector in elections to the National Assembly and is not disqualified from voting in such elections; and
(c) is able to speak and, unless incapacitated by blindness or other physical cause, to read and write either the Sesotho or English language well enough to take an active part in the proceedings of the National Assembly. (Sec. 58)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4) and (5) no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.

(3) In this section, the expression “discriminatory” means affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.
(4) Subsection (1) shall not apply to any law to the extent that that law makes provision—

(b) for the application, in the case of persons of any such description as is mentioned in subsection (3) (or of persons connected with such persons), of the law with respect to adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, devolution of property on death or other like matters which is the personal law of persons of that description;
… (Sec. 18)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

(2) Nothing contained in any of the provisions of section 7, section 17 or section 18 of this Constitution shall be construed as affecting any law for the time being in force relating to the allocation of land or the grant of any interest or right in or over land or as entitling any person to any greater such interest or right than he would otherwise have.
… (Sec. 24)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

Lesotho shall adopt policies which encourage its citizens to acquire property including land, houses, tools and equipment; and shall take such other economic measures as the State shall consider affordable. (Sec. 34)

Protection from Violence

(1) Whereas every person in Lesotho is entitled, whatever his race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status to fundamental human rights and freedoms, that is to say, to each and all of the following—

(d) freedom from inhuman treatment;
(e) freedom from slavery and forced labour;
… (Sec. 4)

Protection from Violence

(1) No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading punishment or other treatment.
… (Sec. 8)

Protection from Violence

(1) No person shall be held in slavery or servitude.
(2) No person shall be required to perform forced labour.
… (Sec. 9)

Protection from Violence

Lesotho shall adopt policies designed to provide that—
(a) protection and assistance is given to all children and young persons without any discrimination for reasons of parentage or other conditions;
(b) children and young persons are protected from economic and social exploitation;
(c) the employment of children and young persons in work harmful to their morals or health or dangerous to life or likely to hamper their normal development is punishable by law; and
(d) there are age limits below which the paid employment of children and young persons is prohibited and punishable by law. (Sec. 32)

Public Institutions and Services

(1) The law to be applied with respect to any pensions benefits that were granted to any person before the coming into operation of this Constitution shall be the law that was in force at the date on which those benefits were granted or any law in force at a later date that is not less favourable to that person.

(5) In this section “pensions benefits” means any pensions, compensation, gratuities or other like allowances for persons in respect of their service as public officers or for the widows, children, dependants or personal representatives of such persons in respect of such service.
… (Sec. 150)

Public Institutions and Services

(1) Where under any law any person or authority has a discretion—
(a) to decide whether or not any pensions benefits shall be granted; or
(b) to withhold, reduce in amount or suspend any such benefits that have been granted,
those benefits shall be granted and may not be withheld, reduced in amount or suspended unless the Public Service Commission concurs in the refusal to grant the benefits or, as the case may be, in the decision to withhold them, reduce them in amount or suspend them.

(5) In this section “pensions benefits” means any pensions, compensation, gratuities or other like allowances for persons in respect of their service as public officers or for the widows, children, dependants or personal representatives of such persons in respect of such service. (Sec. 151)

Status of the Constitution

This Constitution is the supreme law of Lesotho and if any other law is inconsistent with this Constitution, that other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void. (Sec. 2)

Customary Law

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4) and (5) no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.

(3) In this section, the expression “discriminatory” means affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.
(4) Subsection (1) shall not apply to any law to the extent that that law makes provision—

(c) for the application of the customary law of Lesotho with respect to any matter in the case of persons who, under that law, are subject to that law;
… (Sec. 18)

Customary Law

The Senate shall consist of the twenty-two Principal Chiefs and eleven other Senators nominated in that behalf by the King acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State: … (Sec. 55)

Customary Law

(1) The twenty-two offices of Principal Chief set out in Schedule 2 to this Constitution and the other offices of Chief recognised under the law in force immediately before the commencement of this Constitution shall continue to exist.
(2) Parliament may make provision for the regulation of offices of chief.
(3) Each Chief shall have such functions as are conferred on him by this Constitution or by or under any other law. (Sec. 103)

Customary Law

(1) In this Constitution, unless the context otherwise requires: “Chief” does not include the King but includes Principal Chief, and Headman and any other chief whose office is recognised by section 103(1) of this Constitution, and references to a Chief are references to the person who, under the law for the time being in force in that behalf, is recognised as entitled to exercise the functions of the office of that Chief;

“customary law” means the customary law of Lesotho for the time being in force subject to any modification or other provision made in respect thereof by any Act of Parliament;

“law“ includes—
(ii) the customary law of Lesotho and any other unwritten rule of law,

“Principal Chief” means a chief whose office is among those set out in Schedule 2 to this Constitution;
… (Sec. 154)

Affirmative Action (Broadly)

English

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4) and (5) no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.
...
(3) In this section, the expression “discriminatory” means affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.
(4) Subsection (1) shall not apply to any law to the extent that that law makes provision—

(e) whereby persons of any such description as is mentioned in subsection (3) may be made subject to any disability or restriction or may be accorded any privilege or advantage which, having regard to its nature and to special circumstances pertaining to those persons or to persons of any other such description, is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.
Nothing in this subsection shall prevent the making of laws in pursuance of the principle of State Policy of promoting a society based on equality and justice for all the citizens of Lesotho and thereby removing any discriminatory law.
... (Sec. 18)

Affirmative Action (Broadly)

English

(1) Lesotho shall adopt policies aimed at promoting a society based on equality and justice for all its citizens regardless of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
(2) In particular, the State shall take appropriate measures in order to promote equality of opportunity for the disadvantaged groups in the society to enable them to participate fully in all spheres of public life. (Sec. 26)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

Every person who immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution is a citizen of Lesotho under the Lesotho Citizenship Order 1971 shall, on the coming into operation of this Constitution and subject to any provision made in or under this Chapter, continue to be a citizen of Lesotho. (Sec. 37)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (2) and (3), every person born in Lesotho after the coming into operation of this Constitution shall become a citizen of Lesotho.
(2) Save as provided in subsection (3), a person shall not become a citizen of Lesotho by virtue of this section if at the time of his birth neither of his parents is a citizen of Lesotho, and—
(a) one or both of his parents possesses such immunity from suit and legal process as is accorded to the envoy of a foreign sovereign power accredited to Lesotho; or
(b) one or both of his parents is an enemy alien and the birth occurs in a place then under occupation by the enemy.
(3) A person born in Lesotho on or after the coming into operation of this Constitution who is disqualified to become a citizen of Lesotho by virtue of subsection (2) of this section shall become a citizen of Lesotho if he would otherwise become stateless. (Sec. 38)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

A person born outside Lesotho after the coming into operation of this Constitution shall become a citizen of Lesotho at the date of his birth, if at that date either of his parents is a citizen of Lesotho otherwise than by descent. (Sec. 39)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

(1) Any woman who, immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution, is or has been married to a person—
(a) who continues to be a citizen of Lesotho by virtue of section 37 of this Constitution; or
(b) who, having died before the coming into operation of this Constitution would, but for his death, have continued to be a citizen of Lesotho by virtue of that section, shall be entitled, upon making application and upon taking the oath of allegiance, to be registered as a citizen of Lesotho.
(2) Any woman who, after the coming into operation of this Constitution, marries a citizen of Lesotho shall be entitled, upon making application and upon taking the oath of allegiance, to be registered as a citizen of Lesotho. (Sec. 40)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

(1) Any person who, upon the attainment of the age of twenty-one years, is a citizen of Lesotho and also a citizen of some country other than Lesotho shall cease to be a citizen of Lesotho upon the specified date unless he has renounced his citizenship of that other country, taken the oath of allegiance and, in the case of a person who is a citizen of Lesotho by descent, made and registered such declaration of his intentions concerning residence as may be prescribed by Parliament.
(2) A citizen of Lesotho shall cease to be such a citizen if—
(a) having attained the age of twenty-one years, he acquires the citizenship of some country other than Lesotho by voluntary act (other than marriage); or
(b) having attained the age of twenty-one years, he otherwise acquires the citizenship of some country other than Lesotho and has not, by the specified date, renounced his citizenship of that other country, taken the oath of allegiance and made and registered such declaration of his intentions concerning residence as may be prescribed.
(3) A woman who—
(a) becomes a citizen of Lesotho by registration under the provisions of section 40 of this Constitution; and
(b) is immediately after the day upon which she becomes a citizen of Lesotho also a citizen of some other country, shall cease to be a citizen of Lesotho upon the specified date unless she has renounced the citizenship of that other country, taken the oath of allegiance, and made and registered such declaration of her intentions concerning residence as may be prescribed.
… (Sec. 41)

Citizenship and Nationality

English

(1) Parliament may make provision for the acquisition of citizenship of Lesotho by persons who are not eligible or who are no longer eligible to become citizens of Lesotho under the provisions of this Chapter.
(2) Parliament may make provision for depriving of his citizenship of Lesotho any person other than a person who became or becomes—
(a) a citizen of Lesotho by virtue of having been born in Lesotho; or
(b) a citizen of Lesotho by descent,
unless he would thereby become stateless.
(3) Parliament may make provision for the renunciation by any person of his citizenship of Lesotho. (Sec. 42)

Jurisdiction and Access

English

(1) Where any question as to the interpretation of this Constitution arises in any proceedings in any subordinate court or tribunal and the court or tribunal is of the opinion that the question involves a substantial question of law, the court or tribunal may, and shall, if any party to the proceedings so requests, refer the question to the High Court.
… (Sec. 128)

Jurisdiction and Access

English

(1) In addition to the right of appeal accorded by section 47 of this Constitution, an appeal shall lie as of right to the Court of Appeal from decisions of the High Court in the following cases, that is to say:
(a) subject to section 69 of this Constitution, final decisions in any civil or criminal proceedings on questions as to the interpretation of this Constitution, including any such decision made on a reference to the High Court under section 128;
(b) final decisions of the High Court in the determination of any question in respect of which a right of access to the High Court is guaranteed by section 17 of this Constitution and final decisions of the High Court under section 22 of this Constitution.
… (Sec. 129)

Education

English

Lesotho shall endeavour to make education available to all and shall adopt policies aimed at securing that—
(a) education is directed to the full development of the human personality and sense of dignity and strengthening the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms;
(b) primary education is compulsory and available to all;
(c) secondary education, including technical and vocational education, is made generally available and accessible to all by every appropriate means, and in particular, by the progressive introduction of free education;
(d) higher education is made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular, by the progressive introduction of free education; and
(e) fundamental education is encouraged or intensified as far as possible for those persons who have not received or completed their primary education. (Sec. 28)

Employment Rights and Protection

English

(1) Lesotho shall endeavour to ensure that every person has the opportunity to gain his living by work which he freely chooses or accepts.
(2) Lesotho shall adopt policies aimed at—
(a) achieving and maintaining as high and stable a level of employment as possible;
(b) providing technical and vocational guidance and training programmes; and
(c) achieving steady economic, social and cultural development and full and productive employment under conditions safeguarding fundamental political and economic freedoms to the individual. (Sec. 29)

Employment Rights and Protection

English

Lesotho shall adopt policies aimed at securing just and favourable conditions of work and in particular policies directed to achieving—
(a) remuneration which provides all workers, as a minimum with—
(i) fair wages and equal remuneration for work of equal value without distinction of any kind, and in particular, women being guaranteed conditions of work, including pension or retirement benefits, not inferior to those enjoyed by men, with equal pay for equal work; and
(ii) a decent living for themselves and their families;
(b) safe and healthy working conditions;
(c) equal opportunity for men and women to be promoted in their employment to an appropriate higher level, subject to no considerations other than those of seniority and competence;
(d) the protection of women who are in employment during a reasonable period before and after childbirth; and
(e) rest, leisure and reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay, as well as remuneration for public holidays. (Sec. 30)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

English

(1) Whereas every person in Lesotho is entitled, whatever his race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status to fundamental human rights and freedoms, that is to say, to each and all of the following—

(n) freedom from discrimination;
(o) the right to equality before the law and the equal protection of the law;
… (Sec. 4)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

English

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4) and (5) no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.
(2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (6), no person shall be treated in a discriminatory manner by any person acting by virtue of any written law or in the performance of the functions of any public office or any public authority.
(3) In this section, the expression “discriminatory” means affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.
(4) Subsection (1) shall not apply to any law to the extent that that law makes provision—

(b) for the application, in the case of persons of any such description as is mentioned in subsection (3) (or of persons connected with such persons), of the law with respect to adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, devolution of property on death or other like matters which is the personal law of persons of that description; or
(c) for the application of the customary law of Lesotho with respect to any matter in the case of persons who, under that law, are subject to that law; or

(e) whereby persons of any such description as is mentioned in subsection (3) may be made subject to any disability or restriction or may be accorded any privilege or advantage which, having regard to its nature and to special circumstances pertaining to those persons or to persons of any other such description, is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.
Nothing in this subsection shall prevent the making of laws in pursuance of the principle of State Policy of promoting a society based on equality and justice for all the citizens of Lesotho and thereby removing any discriminatory law.
(5) Nothing contained in any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of subsection (1) to the extent that it makes provision with respect to standards of qualifications (not being standards of qualifications specifically relating to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status) to be required of any person who is appointed to any office in the public service, any office in a disciplined force, any office in the service of a local government authority or any office in a body corporate established by law for public purposes.
(6) Subsection (2) shall not apply to anything which is expressly or by necessary implication authorised to be done by any such provision of law as is referred to in subsection (4) or (5).
(7) No person shall be treated in a discriminatory manner in respect of access to shops, hotels, lodging houses, public restaurants, eating houses, beer halls or places of public entertainment or in respect of access to places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of public funds or dedicated to the use of the general public.
(8) The provisions of this section shall be without prejudice to the generality of section 19 of this Constitution. (Sec. 18)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

English

Every person shall be entitled to equality before the law and to the equal protection of the law. (Sec. 19)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

English

(1) Lesotho shall adopt policies aimed at promoting a society based on equality and justice for all its citizens regardless of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
(2) In particular, the State shall take appropriate measures in order to promote equality of opportunity for the disadvantaged groups in the society to enable them to participate fully in all spheres of public life. (Sec. 26)

Equality and Non-Discrimination

English

(5) In this Constitution unless the context otherwise requires,
(a) words and expressions importing the masculine gender include the feminine;
… (Sec. 154)

Obligations of the State

English

(1) Whereas every person in Lesotho is entitled, whatever his race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status to fundamental human rights and freedoms, that is to say, to each and all of the following— …
the provisions of this Chapter2 shall have effect for the purpose of affording protection to those rights and freedoms, subject to such limitations of that protection as are contained in those provisions, being limitations designed to ensure that the enjoyment of the said rights and freedoms by any person does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of others or the public interest.
(2) For the avoidance of doubt and without prejudice to any other provision of this Constitution it is hereby declared that the provisions of this Chapter shall, except where the context otherwise requires, apply as well in relation to things done or omitted to be done by persons acting in a private capacity (whether by virtue of any written law or otherwise) as in relation to things done or omitted to be done by or on behalf of the Government of Lesotho or by any person acting in the performance of the functions of any public office or any public authority. (Sec. 4)

Obligations of Private Parties

English

(1) Whereas every person in Lesotho is entitled, whatever his race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status to fundamental human rights and freedoms, that is to say, to each and all of the following— …

the provisions of this Chapter3 shall have effect for the purpose of affording protection to those rights and freedoms, subject to such limitations of that protection as are contained in those provisions, being limitations designed to ensure that the enjoyment of the said rights and freedoms by any person does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of others or the public interest.
(2) For the avoidance of doubt and without prejudice to any other provision of this Constitution it is hereby declared that the provisions of this Chapter shall, except where the context otherwise requires, apply as well in relation to things done or omitted to be done by persons acting in a private capacity (whether by virtue of any written law or otherwise) as in relation to things done or omitted to be done by or on behalf of the Government of Lesotho or by any person acting in the performance of the functions of any public office or any public authority. (Sec. 4)

Judicial Protection

English

(1) If any person alleges that any of the provisions of sections 4 to 21 (inclusive)4 of this Constitution has been, is being or is likely to be contravened in relation to him (or, in the case of a person who is detained, if any other person alleges such a contravention in relation to the detained person), then, without prejudice to any other action with respect to the same matter which is lawfully available, that person (or that other person) may apply to the High Court for redress.
(2) The High Court shall have original jurisdiction—
(a) to hear and determine any application made by any person in pursuance of subsection (1); and
(b) to determine any question arising in the case of any person which is referred to it in pursuance of subsection (3), and may make such orders, issue such process and give such directions as it may consider appropriate for the purpose of enforcing or securing the enforcement of any of the provisions of sections 4 to 21 (inclusive) of this Constitution:
Provided that the High Court may decline to exercise its powers under this subsection if it is satisfied that adequate means of redress for the contravention alleged are or have been available to the person concerned under any other law.
(3) If in any proceedings in any subordinate court any question arises as to the contravention of any of the provisions of sections 4 to 21 (inclusive) of this Constitution, the person presiding in that court may, and shall if any party to the proceedings so requests, refer the question to the High Court unless, in his opinion, the raising of the question is merely frivolous or vexatious.
… (Sec. 22)

Judicial Protection

English

(1) In addition to the right of appeal accorded by section 47 of this Constitution, an appeal shall lie as of right to the Court of Appeal from decisions of the High Court in the following cases, that is to say:
...
(b) final decisions of the High Court in the determination of any question in respect of which a right of access to the High Court is guaranteed by section 17 of this Constitution and final decisions of the High Court under section 22 of this Constitution.
… (Sec. 129)

National Human Rights Bodies

English

(1) The Ombudsman may—
(a) investigate action taken by any officer or authority referred to in subsection (2) in the exercise of the administrative functions of that officer or authority in cases where it is alleged that a person has suffered injustice in consequence of that action; and
(b) perform such other duties and exercise such other powers as may be conferred on him by an Act of Parliament.
(2) Subject to such exceptions and conditions as may be prescribed by Parliament, the provisions of subsection (1)(a) shall apply in respect of any action taken by the following officers and authorities:
(a) any department of government or any member of such a department;
(b) any local government authority and the members and officers of a local government authority;
(c) any statutory corporation and the members and persons in the service of a statutory corporation.
… (Sec. 135)

Limitations and/or Derogations

English

(1) Whereas every person in Lesotho is entitled, whatever his race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status to fundamental human rights and freedoms, that is to say, to each and all of the following— …
the provisions of this Chapter5 shall have effect for the purpose of affording protection to those rights and freedoms, subject to such limitations of that protection as are contained in those provisions, being limitations designed to ensure that the enjoyment of the said rights and freedoms by any person does not prejudice the rights and freedoms of others or the public interest.
… (Sec. 4)

Limitations and/or Derogations

English

(1) Nothing contained in or done under the authority of an Act of Parliament shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of section 6, section 18 or section 19 of this Constitution to the extent that the Act authorises the taking during any period when Lesotho is at war or when a declaration of emergency under section 23 of this Constitution is in force of measures that are necessary in a practical sense in a democratic society for dealing with the situation that exists in Lesotho during that period.
… (Sec. 21)

Marriage and Family Life

English

(1) Whereas every person in Lesotho is entitled, whatever his race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status to fundamental human rights and freedoms, that is to say, to each and all of the following—…
(g) the right to respect for private and family life;
… (Sec. 4)

Marriage and Family Life

English

(1) Every person shall be entitled to respect for his private and family life and his home.
… (Sec. 11)

Marriage and Family Life

English

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4) and (5) no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.

(3) In this section, the expression “discriminatory” means affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.
(4) Subsection (1) shall not apply to any law to the extent that that law makes provision—

(b) for the application, in the case of persons of any such description as is mentioned in subsection (3) (or of persons connected with such persons), of the law with respect to adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, devolution of property on death or other like matters which is the personal law of persons of that description;
… (Sec. 18)

Marriage and Family Life

English

(1) Lesotho shall adopt policies aimed at ensuring the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health for its citizens, including policies designed to—
(a) provide for the reduction of stillbirth rate and of infant mortality and for the healthy development of the child;
… (Sec. 27)

Marriage and Family Life

English

Lesotho shall adopt policies aimed at securing just and favourable conditions of work and in particular policies directed to achieving—
(a) remuneration which provides all workers, as a minimum with—

(ii) a decent living for themselves and their families;

(d) the protection of women who are in employment during a reasonable period before and after childbirth; and
… (Sec. 30)

Marriage and Family Life

English

Lesotho shall adopt policies designed to provide that—
(a) protection and assistance is given to all children and young persons without any discrimination for reasons of parentage or other conditions;
… (Sec. 32)

Participation in Public Life and Institutions

English

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4) and (5) no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.

(3) In this section, the expression “discriminatory” means affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.

(5) Nothing contained in any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of subsection (1) to the extent that it makes provision with respect to standards of qualifications (not being standards of qualifications specifically relating to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status) to be required of any person who is appointed to any office in the public service, any office in a disciplined force, any office in the service of a local government authority or any office in a body corporate established by law for public purposes.
… (Sec. 18)

Participation in Public Life and Institutions

English

(1) Every citizen of Lesotho shall enjoy the right—
(a) to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives;

(c) to have access, on general terms of equality, to the public service.
… (Sec. 20)

Participation in Public Life and Institutions

English

(1) Lesotho shall adopt policies aimed at promoting a society based on equality and justice for all its citizens regardless of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
(2) In particular, the State shall take appropriate measures in order to promote equality of opportunity for the disadvantaged groups in the society to enable them to participate fully in all spheres of public life. (Sec. 26)

Political Rights and Association

English

(1) Whereas every person in Lesotho is entitled, whatever his race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status to fundamental human rights and freedoms, that is to say, to each and all of the following—

(l) freedom of association;

(p) the right to participate in government, … (Sec. 4)

Political Rights and Association

English

(1) Every person shall be entitled to, and (except with his own consent) shall not be hindered in his enjoyment of freedom to associate freely with other persons for ideological, religious, political, economic, labour, social, cultural, recreational and similar purposes. … (Sec. 16)

Political Rights and Association

English

(1) Every citizen of Lesotho shall enjoy the right—
(a) to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives;
(b) to vote or to stand for election at periodic elections under this Constitution under a system of universal and equal suffrage and secret ballot;
… (Sec. 20)

Political Rights and Association

English

(2) Subject to the provisions of subsections (3) and (4), every person who—
(a) is a citizen of Lesotho; and
(b) has attained the age of twenty-one years; and
(c) possesses such qualifications as to residence as may be prescribed by Parliament, shall be qualified to be registered as an elector in elections to the National Assembly under a law in that behalf; and no other person may be so registered.
… (Sec. 57)

Electoral Bodies

English

(1) There shall be a Chief Electoral Officer whose office shall be an office in the public service.
(2) The functions of the Chief Electoral Officer shall be—
(a) to register as electors the citizens of Lesotho who qualify to be registered as such;
(b) to compile a general register of electors and constituency registers of electors for the several constituencies and to maintain such register or registers up to date;
(c) to conduct elections of members of the National Assembly; and
(d) to perform such other functions as may be conferred on him by or under any other law.
… (Sec. 68)

Head of State

English

(1) There shall be a King of Lesotho who shall be a constitutional monarch and Head of State.
… (Sec. 44)

Head of State

English

(1) The College of Chiefs may at any time designate, in accordance with the customary law of Lesotho, the person (or the persons, in order of prior right) who are entitled to succeed to the office of King upon the death of the holder of, or the occurrence of any vacancy in, that office and if on such death or vacancy, there is a person who has previously been designated in pursuance of this section and who is capable under the customary law of Lesotho of succeeding to that office, that person (or, if there is more than one such person, that one of them who has been designated as having the first right to succeed to the office) shall become King.
(2) If, on the death of the holder of, or the occurrence of any vacancy in, the office of King, there is no person who becomes King under subsection (1), the College of Chiefs shall, with all practical speed and in accordance with the customary law of Lesotho, proceed to designate a person to succeed to the office of King and the person so designated shall thereupon become King.
… (Sec. 45)

Government

English

The executive authority of Lesotho is vested in the King and, subject to the provisions of this Constitution, shall be exercised by him through officers or authorities of the Government of Lesotho. (Sec. 86)

Government

English

(1) There shall be a Prime Minister who shall be appointed by the King acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State.
(2) The King shall appoint as Prime Minister the member of the National Assembly who appears to the Council of State to be the leader of the political party or coalition of political parties that will command the support of a majority of the members of the National Assembly: …
(3) There shall be, in addition to the office of Prime Minister, such other offices of Minister of the Government of Lesotho (not being less than seven in number and one of which shall be the office of Deputy Prime Minister) as may be established by Parliament or, subject to any provision made by Parliament, by the King, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister.
(4) The King shall, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, appoint the other Ministers from among the members of the National Assembly or from among the Senators who are nominated as Senators by the King under section 55 of this Constitution: … (Sec. 87)

Legislature

English

There shall be a Parliament which shall consist of the King, a Senate and a National Assembly. (Sec. 54)

Legislature

English

The Senate shall consist of the twenty-two Principal Chiefs and eleven other Senators nominated in that behalf by the King acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State: … (Sec. 55)

Legislature

English

The National Assembly shall consist of eighty members elected in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution. (Sec. 56)

Legislature

English

(1) Subject to the provisions of section 59 of this Constitution, a person shall be qualified to be nominated as a Senator by the King acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State or designated by a Principal Chief as a Senator in his place if, and shall not be so qualified unless, at the date of his nomination or designation, he—
(a) is a citizen of Lesotho; and
(b) is able to speak and, unless incapacitated by blindness or other physical cause, to read and write either the Sesotho or English languages well enough to take an active part in the proceedings of the Senate.
(2) Subject to the provisions of section 59 of this Constitution, a person shall be qualified to be elected as a member of the National Assembly if, and shall not be so qualified unless, at the date of his nomination for election, he—
(a) is a citizen of Lesotho; and
(b) is registered in some constituency as an elector in elections to the National Assembly and is not disqualified from voting in such elections; and
(c) is able to speak and, unless incapacitated by blindness or other physical cause, to read and write either the Sesotho or English language well enough to take an active part in the proceedings of the National Assembly. (Sec. 58)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

English

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4) and (5) no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.

(3) In this section, the expression “discriminatory” means affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.
(4) Subsection (1) shall not apply to any law to the extent that that law makes provision—

(b) for the application, in the case of persons of any such description as is mentioned in subsection (3) (or of persons connected with such persons), of the law with respect to adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, devolution of property on death or other like matters which is the personal law of persons of that description;
… (Sec. 18)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

English

(2) Nothing contained in any of the provisions of section 7, section 17 or section 18 of this Constitution shall be construed as affecting any law for the time being in force relating to the allocation of land or the grant of any interest or right in or over land or as entitling any person to any greater such interest or right than he would otherwise have.
… (Sec. 24)

Property, Inheritance and Land Tenure

English

Lesotho shall adopt policies which encourage its citizens to acquire property including land, houses, tools and equipment; and shall take such other economic measures as the State shall consider affordable. (Sec. 34)

Protection from Violence

English

(1) Whereas every person in Lesotho is entitled, whatever his race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status to fundamental human rights and freedoms, that is to say, to each and all of the following—

(d) freedom from inhuman treatment;
(e) freedom from slavery and forced labour;
… (Sec. 4)

Protection from Violence

English

(1) No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading punishment or other treatment.
… (Sec. 8)

Protection from Violence

English

(1) No person shall be held in slavery or servitude.
(2) No person shall be required to perform forced labour.
… (Sec. 9)

Protection from Violence

English

Lesotho shall adopt policies designed to provide that—
(a) protection and assistance is given to all children and young persons without any discrimination for reasons of parentage or other conditions;
(b) children and young persons are protected from economic and social exploitation;
(c) the employment of children and young persons in work harmful to their morals or health or dangerous to life or likely to hamper their normal development is punishable by law; and
(d) there are age limits below which the paid employment of children and young persons is prohibited and punishable by law. (Sec. 32)

Public Institutions and Services

English

(1) The law to be applied with respect to any pensions benefits that were granted to any person before the coming into operation of this Constitution shall be the law that was in force at the date on which those benefits were granted or any law in force at a later date that is not less favourable to that person.

(5) In this section “pensions benefits” means any pensions, compensation, gratuities or other like allowances for persons in respect of their service as public officers or for the widows, children, dependants or personal representatives of such persons in respect of such service.
… (Sec. 150)

Public Institutions and Services

English

(1) Where under any law any person or authority has a discretion—
(a) to decide whether or not any pensions benefits shall be granted; or
(b) to withhold, reduce in amount or suspend any such benefits that have been granted,
those benefits shall be granted and may not be withheld, reduced in amount or suspended unless the Public Service Commission concurs in the refusal to grant the benefits or, as the case may be, in the decision to withhold them, reduce them in amount or suspend them.

(5) In this section “pensions benefits” means any pensions, compensation, gratuities or other like allowances for persons in respect of their service as public officers or for the widows, children, dependants or personal representatives of such persons in respect of such service. (Sec. 151)

Status of the Constitution

English

This Constitution is the supreme law of Lesotho and if any other law is inconsistent with this Constitution, that other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void. (Sec. 2)

Customary Law

English

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsections (4) and (5) no law shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.

(3) In this section, the expression “discriminatory” means affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.
(4) Subsection (1) shall not apply to any law to the extent that that law makes provision—

(c) for the application of the customary law of Lesotho with respect to any matter in the case of persons who, under that law, are subject to that law;
… (Sec. 18)

Customary Law

English

The Senate shall consist of the twenty-two Principal Chiefs and eleven other Senators nominated in that behalf by the King acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State: … (Sec. 55)

Customary Law

English

(1) The twenty-two offices of Principal Chief set out in Schedule 2 to this Constitution and the other offices of Chief recognised under the law in force immediately before the commencement of this Constitution shall continue to exist.
(2) Parliament may make provision for the regulation of offices of chief.
(3) Each Chief shall have such functions as are conferred on him by this Constitution or by or under any other law. (Sec. 103)

Customary Law

English

(1) In this Constitution, unless the context otherwise requires: “Chief” does not include the King but includes Principal Chief, and Headman and any other chief whose office is recognised by section 103(1) of this Constitution, and references to a Chief are references to the person who, under the law for the time being in force in that behalf, is recognised as entitled to exercise the functions of the office of that Chief;

“customary law” means the customary law of Lesotho for the time being in force subject to any modification or other provision made in respect thereof by any Act of Parliament;

“law“ includes—
(ii) the customary law of Lesotho and any other unwritten rule of law,

“Principal Chief” means a chief whose office is among those set out in Schedule 2 to this Constitution;
… (Sec. 154)

1

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2

Chapter II on Protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.

3

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Chapter II on Protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.

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Chapter II on Protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.