Lesotho has a bicameral parliamentary system based on the British model. While the National Assembly is clearly a representative House elected by the citizenry, the purpose, structure and legislative powers of the Senate as the Second Chamber have been a matter of considerable controversy throughout the history of parliamentary democracy in the country. The National Assembly generally has the upper hand not only in the legislative process but also in the broader parliamentary system – it chooses the Prime Minister, it places its confidence in the government and it can withdraw such confidence. The fact that the model generally gives the National Assembly the upper hand is a matter of common cause. What is in question, though, is the nature and extent of the limitation of the powers of the Senate in terms of the Constitution. This article investigates this question and contends that the composition of, and restrictions on, the Senate need to be reviewed in order to enable the Chamber to play a meaningful role in Lesotho's parliamentary democracy.

Download full text