King Moshoeshoe II is killed in an accident


King Moshoeshoe II

Monday, 15 January 1996

King Moshoeshoe II of Lesotho died in a car accident shortly after he reclaimed his royal throne in 1995. The car he was travelling in rolled down a cliff on a mountain road on the way to Maseru, the capital city of Lesotho. After four months of investigations the police reported that the King's driver was under the influence of alcohol and that caused him to lose control of the vehicle.

Moshoeshoe II (1938-1996) was the paramount chief of Lesotho, succeeding paramount chief Seeiso from 1960 until Lesotho gained full independence from Britain in 1966. He was king of Lesotho from 1966 until his death in 1996, however, his political power was limited and his reign was interrupted twice. Early in his reign, Leabua Jonathan became Prime Minister of Lesotho and gained control of the government. Jonathan deposed Moshoeshoe in 1970 in order to reestablish his control in the country after his party lost the election. Moshoeshoe went into temporary exile in the Netherlands. A few months later, when he gained control, Jonathan allowed Moshoeshoe to reassume the title of king. Jonathan was deposed in 1986 and the king gained power, but he was deposed again in 1990, while his son Letsie III was forced to take his place as king. Moshoeshoe went to exile again this time in the United Kingdom. He was able to become king again in 1995. The following year he was killed in a car accident on a mountain road, and Letsie became king again a month later. During the political turmoil of 1970 and 1990, and for a month after his death in 1996, his wife and Letsie's mother, Ma Mohato was regent.

• Kalley, J.A; Schoeman, E. & Andor, L.E. eds (1999) Southern African Political History: a chronology of key political events from independence to mid-1997 Westport: Greenwood.
Britannica Moshoeshoe II [online] Available at: [Accessed on 3 December 2013]

Last updated : 05-Dec-2013

This article was produced by South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011

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