This paper assesses the role and position of civil society in Lesotho’s democratisation process by interrogating the mandate and functions of civil society organisations from immediately before the transitional elections of 1993 to the recent 2007 polls. While acknowledging the pro-democracy activities of civil society we argue that because of its failure to observe the theoretical civil-political divide its role in democratisation has been ambivalent. While in some cases it has been propitious for democratisation, in others it has tended to undermine the process. We conclude that not only should civil society position itself outside the political realm, although we admit this is not easy to do, but that political society should accept and tolerate civil society as an indispensable partner in the democratisation process.
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Categories: Journal of African Elections