Abstract

Lesotho's postcolonial state land-reform project has failed to produce intended outcomes. Mainstream explanation points to the antagonism of customary chiefs to state-sponsored reforms, because these were meant to curtail their power over land. First mooted in 1973, when the first land-tenure reforms were attempted, this explanation has been uncritically accepted as immutable truth by a majority of academic commentators and policymakers in Lesotho and elsewhere. I argue in this paper that this explanation is a fable, superficial and shallow, and that the failure of the postcolonial Lesotho land-reform project can fruitfully be explained by reference to the ideology of the regime that assumed state power at independence in 1966, and not by simplistic reference to the antagonism of customary chiefs per se.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-1978
Print ISSN
0001-9887
Pages
pp. 91-111
Launched on MUSE
2007-04-26
Open Access
No
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