Jonathan, Joseph Leabua (lēäˈbwä jŏnˈəthən) [key], 1914–87, prime minister of Lesotho (1965–86). He founded (1959) and led the Basutoland National party working for separate independence from Great Britain (rather than, as had originally been planned, becoming part of the Union of South Africa). He became prime minister (1965) under a constitution that preceded Basutoland's independence as Lesotho (1966). Having apparently lost the national election in 1970, he suspended the constitution, ruled by decree and exiled the opposition. South Africa blockaded Lesotho when Jonathan provided sanctuary to ANC guerrillas. In 1986, he was overthrown in a bloodless coup and died while under house arrest a year later.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.