Assignment of functions to local authorities in Lesotho

Hoolo Nyane


In Lesotho the adoption of the new constitution in 1993 made provision for local development. These constitutional provisions were only operationalised in 1997 through an Act of parliament (Local Government Act 1997). The question of how functions are assigned between the central and local governments has always been an area of dispute. The Act attempted to demarcate the assignments through the Schedules to the Act which embody the functions of local authorities at various levels – community councils, urban councils and district councils. However, local development and service delivery continue by and large to be undertaken by central government despite the demarcation. The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to critically analyse the challenges of assignment of functions to local authorities in Lesotho. The paper contends that as the assignment of functions is integral to decentralisation in Lesotho, intergovernmental relations and assignment of functions should be incorporated into the country’s constitution.

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