Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Development debates have been going on since the beginning of the 1960's. Development models have been proposed and tried in many developing countries, but it seems that in spite of all those efforts, rural people in such countries are experiencing less development and increased hardship. The current trend in the development literature is therefore laying emphasis on rural development. While the emphasis has changed, the methods have not. Governments, scholars and professionals make major decisions on rural development and expect the rural people to implement those decisions. Current studies are also directed toward solutions of rural development problems within an administrative context that generally excludes the political barriers to rural development. Most rural development studies are also carried out without the participation of rural peoples themselves, although there is general agreement that the grass-roots approach would be the most beneficial.;This study will test the hypothesis that the political aspect of achieving improvement in the quality of life (i.e. development) includes structural changes at national and local levels that will allow for effective popular participation.;Major support for this thesis is derived from a survey of rural Basotho people's opinions on development needs, development projects, local authority structures and centre-local relations. This survey then makes up the largest part of the thesis, but is preceded by a survey of literature on development, and by a history of Lesotho focussing primarily on centre-local relations.;The survey examines people's attitudes towards their role and toward the central government's role in rural development, attempting especially to determine whether or not the current structure affords any popular participation. The survey is a random sampling within a stratified sample of villages. It relies upon in-depth interviews and a broader sample of respondent replies to questionnaires.;The survey has shown that rural people do have an interest in participating in rural development, not only in the implementation of projects but in the planning as well. It has also shown that the Basotho people have a high level of interest in administrative matters at both the local and centre levels.;This study has brought out the structural and political barriers to development that rural people in Lesotho face. It has also shown the rural development can only succeed with full participation of rural people in the development decision-making process. Of paramount importance is the availability of local government structures within which rural people can participate in development. This study also presents the people's opinions on the nature of a local government system necessary to support local services.



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