See also:
» 23.04.2010 - Lesotho adopts new system to cut on road accidents
» 12.02.2010 - Lesotho to focus budget on alternative revenue creation
» 05.10.2009 - Lesotho signs $25 million agreement with WB
» 07.08.2009 - Lesotho govt to also investigate industrial pollution
» 03.08.2009 - Lesotho’s opposition stay-away not a success
» 03.08.2009 - Lesotho’s blue rivers to be investigated
» 30.07.2009 - Forum discusses role of infrastructure to health care
» 16.07.2009 - Lesotho govt not backing off new financial tool

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Society | Gender - Women

Princess born in Lesotho; still no heir

King Letsie III of Lesotho:
Proud father of two princesses, but no heir to the throne.

© Govt of Lesotho
afrol News, 22 November
- The Royal Family of Lesotho has been blessed with a second daughter, born Saturday at the Maseru Private Hospital. The birth of the Princess may spark a new discussion over the Kingdom's order of succession, which currently only allows male heirs to the throne.

The Royal Palace in Lesotho on Saturday announced the birth of another princess into the Royal Family. Born at 11:00 at the Maseru Private Hospital, the princess, second born after Princess Senate, was yet to be given a name.

41-year-old King Letsie III of Lesotho was thrown water at as he arrived the hospital, an age-old tradition telling the new father that the new-born is a girl. He thus avoided being beaten with sticks, which would have been the reception in Lesotho's Queen, 'MaSenate Mohato Bereng Seeiso, had given birth to a son.

The middle-aged Royal Family thus now has two daughters, four-year-old Princess Senate and the new-born girl. But despite Basotho attempts to embrace gender equality, the two daughters will not resolve the Kingdom's throne succession disorder.

Currently, Basotho legislation only foresees male successors to the throne, thus preventing Princess Senate and her new-born sister from becoming the next Queen of Lesotho. There is no tradition for women leaders in the 200-year-old Mountain Kingdom.

King Letsie's younger brother, the popular 39-year-old Prince Seeiso Seeiso, thus remains next in line to the Basotho throne. Prince Seeiso has a son, born one and a half year ago, who thus also remains in the direct line of succession to the Basotho throne.

As the King and Queen are getting older, discussions about a possible reform of Lesotho's Act of Settlement to allow female heirs to the throne, may be spurred. As modern values of gender equality are penetrating the Kingdom, many Basotho are questioning the old-fashioned order of succession that bars women from becoming Heads of State in the Kingdom.

Even within the Royal Family, there are voices favouring a female succession to the throne. Speaking to afrol News shortly after his son was born, Prince Seeiso said he did not agree to current inheritance laws, disfavouring women at large. The Act of Settlement, which one day could make him or his son King of Basotho, was no exception.

- Some of us feel that the law of succession needs to be looked at [when it comes to gender], he told afrol News. "I am personally in favour of equal opportunities for all," Prince Seeiso added. The discussion in Lesotho over this topic is however in its mere beginnings. For the moment, the Prince thus remains next in line to the Basotho throne.

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