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Lesotho’s Lawmakers Debated a Motion to Claim Huge Swathes of Territory from South Africa 

An opposition MP wants to declare Free State and parts of four other provinces “Lesotho’s territory”. The people of Lesotho, called Basotho, lived in these areas until the 19th Century, when they were seized by Afrikaners – white South Africans. Tsepo Lipholo of the Basotho Convenient Movement (BCM) is a lawmaker in Lesotho’s 120-seat National Assembly. If his motion passes in the assembly, it would kick off a process that could see the territorial claim turned into law. The motion is based on a 1962 United Nations resolution that recognised the right to self-determination and independence for the people of Basutoland – as Lesotho was then called. This is not the first time that Lesotho’s present-day borders have been a topic of discussion. In 2018 a civil group known as the Free Basotho Movement wrote to the Lesotho’s UK embassy to request that the late Queen Elizabeth remove the current frontier – essentially making Lesotho a 10th province of South Africa.