JOHANNESBURG, Jan. 15 1996 – Lesotho’s King Moshoeshoe II, who was twice forced from power in the small African kingdom, died in a car accident Monday. The accident happened while the 57-year-old constitutional monarch was traveling between his royal village and the country’s capital, Maseru.
Moshoeshoe was crowned paramount chief in 1960, a title that changed to king when Lesotho gained independence from Britain in 1966. In 1970 Moshoeshoe went into exile after a bitter power struggle with his powerful prime minister.
He was returned to power in 1986 after the military overthrew Lesotho’s government. However, Moshoeshoe clashed with the military council and was sent into exile for a second time in 1990.
His son was sworn in as King Letsie III. Moshoeshoe was restored to the position of king early 1995 when his son was forced to step down as Lesotho’s monarch after trying unsuccessfully to oust Lesotho’s government, which was democratically elected in 1993.
Lesotho, which has a population of 1.8 million people, is completely surrounded by South Africa. NW
The article was originally published by the UPI on January 15, 1996.