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The Lesotho Constitution and Doctrine of Separation of Powers: Reflections on the Judicial Attitude

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Abstract Since the popularization of the doctrine of separation of powers in the 18th century by Baron De Montesquieu, emerging democratic nations have continued to strive towards evolving patterns of governance that suit their internal needs with regards to the political, social and cultural peculiarities of each nation. Lesotho is no exception to this evolutionary trend, as the country transitions from a traditional monarchical to parliamentary system of government, founded on popular democracy. The 1993 Constitution of Lesotho embodies provisions that ensure the distribution of governmental powers among the three arms of government, but with due reverence to the monarch whose powers cut across each branch of government. The judiciary plays a very important role in preserving the tenets of the constitution. The courts in Lesotho have been very assertive, sometimes excessively so, by intruding into the functions of the other arms of government. This paper captures the true importance of the doctrine of separation of powers, examines the Lesotho constitutional arrangement in preserving this doctrine and calls for caution on the part of the courts as guardians of the constitutional order.

Affiliations: 1: School of Law, University of Venda University Road, Thohoyandou, Limpopo Province 0950 South Africa


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