Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Centre for Human Rights and Development - Swaziland statement 31 October 2012

The full realization of fundamental rights and freedoms continue to be a myth in Swaziland as the Swaziland government is in the process of adopting a code of practice for protesters. According to the Times Sunday, this code is allegedly being drafted in conjunction with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and trade unions. With the code, the government seeks to regulate protected protest and industrial actions. Once promulgated, it will be adopted as an amendment to the Public Order Act of 1963 which ILO and the international community have called for review.

The Public Order Act regulates the holding of public meetings in Swaziland and requires police permission for the holding of certain categories of meetings and authorizes the police to control or prevent public meetings. The order authorizes among others the gathering or assembly of members of lawfully registered trade unions solely for purposes of that trade union’s lawful activities. Also the Act permits a gathering convened and held exclusively for social, cultural, charitable, recreational, religious, professional and commercial or industrial purposes. It is important to note that the Act does not include meetings or public activities for political purposes and as a result of this deficiency many political activists and members of political parties have been arrested in the past for engaging in such meetings. This Act has also been used by the government to restrict labour movements from holding public gatherings and protest marches for collective bargaining.

The government has intensified restrictions on freedom of association and assembly in the past few years despite the constitution which guarantee same. According to section 24 of the Constitution, a person has a right to freedom of expression and opinion and such shall not be hindered without the free consent of such person. Furthermore, the Constitution guarantees the rights to freedom of assembly and association in section 25. Under the proposed code workers would be required to obtain permission of the route they will use for their protest from the municipality and further notify the police of the starting time and the estimated number of participants. Notably is the discretion that is vested on the police to determine if a protest action will be a danger to public peace and deny permission for holding such event. According to the code, the police have a general duty to uphold the law and may intervene if there is reasonable apprehension of breach of peace and particularly if there is anticipated violence.

In Swaziland, the police have been very brutal on protesters resulting to deaths and severe injuries. Workers have been beaten and arrested by the police for wearing and carrying promotional material for the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) which was deregistered by the Swaziland government early this year. The Swazi government has used the police and other security agents to intimidate and punish protesters who challenge the current regime. During Swaziland’s human rights status review in March this year, the international community recommended that the Public Order Act and other repressive laws be reviewed to allow the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms. This proposed code is therefore nothing but a reaffirmation of the Public Order Act since it does not include activities by political parties and bestow a wide discretion on the police. If the code is eventually adopted by stakeholders we anticipate the continued refusal by the police and local authorities to grant permission for protest marches and the strategic deployment of mass security agents who at times even outnumber protesters.

+268 2504 0913
ALERTS@DignityFirst is a periodic update on global issues touching on human rights, good governance and democratisation, issued by the Centre for Human Rights and Development operating out of Swaziland ( Recipients are urged to circulate information and share with colleagues in their networks.
** Putting Human Dignity First!**


The UK Government has called for political parties to be un-banned in Swaziland and for them to be allowed to contest national elections next year.

UK Foreign Office Minister Mark Simmonds told the House of Commons   yesterday (30 October 2012), the ‘UK continues to urge the Government there [Swaziland] to ensure that all political parties are able to operate freely and participate in the elections scheduled for September 2013. We believe that the people of Swaziland want political parties and we call on the Government there to respect their wishes.’

Simmonds was responding to concerns raised by MP James Duddridge that the UK was not doing enough to encourage King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, ‘to be a little more sympathetic and tolerant of the existence of political parties’.

Simmonds added, ‘I can also confirm that our high commissioner will be visiting Swaziland in November to participate in discussions and will use the opportunity to underline the UK’s concerns about the current political and economic environment and press for reform.’

Duddridge, at one time worked at Barclays Bank in Swaziland with Mario Masuku, the President of the People’s United Democratic Party (PUDEMO), an organisation banned by King Mswati.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


The claim by Swaziland Finance Minister Mazozi Sithole that King Mswati III has asked him to freeze the Royal budget so he can help his subjects during the present economic crisis has rightly been met with suspicion by observers of the kingdom.

The Times ofSwaziland reported that Sithole told CNN that the King wanted to do his bit to help his kingdom that is facing economic meltdown.

Sithole was reported by CNN saying, ‘I brief him [the king], he has concerns and he will, as he did this year, say whatever you work don’t even increase my budget because I understand the fiscal situation.’

What CNN and the Times did not report was that in the Swazi national budget introduced in February 2012 King Mswati and his royal family continued to receive E210 million a year from the Swazi taxpayer for their own use. This was the same amount they got in the financial year 2011/12, but was an increase of 23 percent over 2010/11 and a whopping 63 percent compared with what the king took from his subjects in 2009/10.

But Sithole failed to point out that in the 2012 budget as well as R210 million for the king, a further R250 million was provided for various royal projects, including the refurbishment of state houses, the maintenance of roads to palaces and royal security training.

The king's office, which manages the royal trust fund and business arm Tibiyo -- which is not taxed and does not use its profits for ordinary Swazis – was given R5 million, up from the R70,000 it was given the previous year.

Observers note that the king, who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, has had many chances in the past to cut back on his spending and reduce the amount of money he takes from his subjects, but so far has in fact increased his budget, rather than reduced it. In 2011 as Swaziland hurtled towards financial meltdown Sithole in his budget demanded 10 percent budget cuts (later increased further) from government departments, but in the same budget the amount of money given to the king increased by 23 percent.

All this is happening while seven in ten of Swaziland’s tiny 1 million population live in abject poverty earning less than US$2 a day; three in ten are so hungry they are medically diagnosed as malnourished and the kingdom has the highest rate of HIV infection in the world.

Despite the poverty of the kingdom, King Mswati continues to live a lavish lifestyle. He has 13 palaces, fleets of top-of-the-range Mercedes and BMW cars and at least one Rolls Royce.

Earlier this year he acquired a private jet, estimated to cost US$17 million. He refused to say who had paid for it, leading to speculation that the money came from public funds.

The king continues to travel abroad in style. In May this year he went to London to visit Queen Elizabeth II for lunch on a trip estimated to cost US$794,500.

The previous year he was in London with a party of 50 people for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middlelton, staying at a US$1,000 per night hotel on a trip that was also estimated to cost US$700 000 for the hire of a private jet to take the king and his party from Swaziland to the UK. 

Earlier this year Queen LaMotsa, the second of the king’s wives, stayed at a Johannesburg hotel on a personal trip at a cost of US$60,000 a month.

In July 2012, some of the king’s 13 wives went on a shopping trip to Las Vegas, where 66 people reportedly stayed in 10 separate villas – each costing US$2,400 per night. The party were reported by South African newspapers to have travelled by private jet which might have cost US$4.1 million.

In August 2009, five of King Mswati’s wives went on a shopping trip through Europe and the Middle East that cost an estimated US$6 million.

In 2009, Forbes magazine estimated that King Mswati himself had a personal fortune worth US$200 million. Forbes also said King Mswati is the beneficiary of two funds created by his father Sobhuza II in trust for the Swazi nation. During his reign, he has absolute discretion over use of the income. The trust has been estimated to be worth US$10 billion.

King Mswati also holds ‘in trust for the Swazi nation’ the profits of Tibiyo Taka Ngwane, an investment fund with extensive shares in a number of businesses, industries, property developments and tourism facilities in Swaziland. This money is supposed to be used for the benefit of the people but the vast majority is actually used for the king’s own personal use.

All of the above are things that King Mswati has actually done.  All the trips and spending are verifiable, they are not the figments of the collective imaginations of anti-Swazi forces.

So, we have no reason to believe Sithole when he says the king is about to make sacrifices for his people. Indeed, we will find out more soon enough where the king’s feelings really are – the next national budget in Swaziland is due in three months’ time in February 2013.

See also


Wednesday, October 24, 2012


The Times Sunday, an independent newspaper in Swaziland, distorted a story about UK Prime Minister David Cameron and freedom and democracy in the kingdom, to deflect criticism away from King Mswati III.

The newspaper carried a report this week (21 October 2012) saying that Cameron had responded to a petition from the Swazi Vigil, a prodemocracy group in the UK.

According to the Times Sunday, the petition read in part, ‘Exiled Swazis and supporters urge you to put pressure on (the Swazi government) to allow political freedom, freedom of the press, rule of law, respect for women and affordable AIDS drugs in Swaziland.’

The newspaper inserted the words ‘the Swazi government’ into the petition to make it seem that it was Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini and his cabinet that was being criticised.

In fact, the petition sent to Cameron in May 2012 actually read, ‘Petition to the British Government: Exiled Swazis and supporters urge you to put pressure on absolute monarch King Mswati III to allow political freedom, freedom of the press, rule of law, respect for women and affordable AIDs drugs in Swaziland.’

The Swazi Vigil made it very clear that it was criticising ‘absolute monarch King Mswati III’.

The Times Sunday and other media in Swaziland, where King Mswati rules as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, constantly mislead their readers and audiences about how King Mswati is viewed outside his kingdom. In May 2012 there was widespread criticism against King Mswati’s invitation to join a lunch in London to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.

There were street demonstrations in London against the king and prodemocracy campaigners drew attention to the lack of freedoms in Swaziland and the lavish lifestyle the king enjoys, while seven in ten of his subjects languish in absolute poverty, earning less than US$2 a day.

Inkhosikati LaMbikiza one of the king’s 13 wives who accompanied him to the lunch wore shoes costing £995 (US$1,559), the equivalent of more than three years’ income for 70 percent of Swazi people. The total cost of the King’s trip was estimated to be at least US$794,500.

The Times, the companion paper to the Times Sunday, reported at the time that Inkhosikati LaMbikiza had ‘rave reviews’ from the Daily Mail newspaper in London for her dress sense, but omitted to say the same newspaper also reported, ‘Guests from controversial regimes include Swaziland’s King Mswati III, who has been accused of living an obscenely lavish lifestyle while many of his people starve.’

There was similar criticism a year earlier in April 2011 when King Mswati went to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The Times newspaper in South Africa reported at the time, ‘The controversial absolute monarch, whose country is ranked among the poorest in the world, spent much of this week playing hide-and-seek with prodemocracy demonstrators tailing him across London.’ The king was forced to change his hotel to avoid pickets.

The Swazi media failed to report any of this, but did say that King Mswati had been welcomed by business people in the UK.

Cameron told the Swazi Vigil he would pass on their petition to the relevant UK Government department.

See also


Monday, October 22, 2012


The on-going political crisis in Swaziland shows ‘the king continues to enjoy almost absolute control over the country,’ Freedom House has said.

The House of Assembly passed a vote of no-confidence in the government and according to the Swazi Constitution King Mswati III should have sacked the government, but he did not. Instead, pressure was put on members of the House and after 12 days of uncertainty they reversed the decision in a controversial vote.

Freedom House in a statement said the actions of the king, who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch,  and the government he appointed, ‘demonstrate a lack of consideration for the rule of law and the authority and independence of Swaziland’s governing institutions, including the House of Assembly, as written in the Constitution’.

It added, ‘This repeal, and the blatant disregard by the king for country’s constitution, epitomizes the increasing deterioration for the rule of law and respect for democratic governance in the country.’

Freedom House said civil society throughout Swaziland has condemned the vote, accusing King Mswati III of ignoring his constitutional responsibilities and unlawfully supporting his political ally, the prime minister.

See also


Sunday, October 21, 2012


The political crisis in Swaziland continues into a third week after a vote of no-confidence in the Swazi Government was passed and then reversed 12 days later.

According to the constitution, the government should have resigned or been sacked by King Mswati III after the first vote – but neither of these things happened. Instead, the government forced a revote which it won. There is no legal reason why the revote was allowed and for the constitution to be ignored.

Swaziland is not a democracy and King Mswati rules as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. It seems that he refused to accept the vote and this set in place a chain of events that led to it being overturned.

Freedom of speech is severely curtailed in Swaziland and people are fearful of talking publicly about what has really been happening in Swaziland in the recent past. They are particularly fearful of being seen to criticise King Mswati – no matter how mildly they do it.

This fear makes it difficult to get people to talk ‘on the record’ about what has caused the present political crisis and who is to blame for it. But this is what Swazi Media Commentary has managed to piece together so far.

On 3 October 2012, by a vote of 42 in favour and six against, the House of Assembly passed a no-confidence motion in the government – this was more than the three-fifths majority (39 votes) of the House membership needed to trigger the constitution. 

According to sections 68 and 134 of the Swaziland Constitution, the government had three days in which to resign. If it did not, the King was obliged by the constitution to sack the Prime Minister and the cabinet.

At midnight on the day of the no-confidence vote PM Barnabas Dlamini held a press conference to announce that he did not recognise the vote and he would not resign. Three days then went by but King Mswati III did not sack the government.

By protocol, when the House of Assembly makes a decision, it has to be personally conveyed to the king by the Speaker of the House. In this case King Mswati refused to meet with Speaker Prince Gaduza. This meant that officially the king did not know about the vote of no-confidence and therefore he felt he did not have to act.

This gave time for the king’s advisors from the Liqoqo (Swaziland National Council) to meet to decide what they should advise the king about the no-confidence vote.

They were not prepared to allow the vote to stand so they looked for excuses to ignore it. The king’s advisers are all traditionalists and are in charge of interpreting Swazi Law and Custom. The laws and customs are administered by chiefs who rule over their subjects in the name of the king. The laws and customs operate outside of the constitution. It is not in the interests of the traditionalists to have their actions subjected to constitutional law.

King Mswati always decides which motions from the Swaziland Parliament he wishes to support and those he does not. He did not wish to support the no-confidence vote. He has also on numerous times in the past sent instructions to Parliament on actions he wishes them to take. They always without discussion or hesitation do as he tells them. The Parliament made up of the House of Assembly and the Senate, therefore, cannot be seen as an institution independent of the monarchy.

King Mswati had personally appointed Dlamini as Prime Minister in 2008 in contravention of the Constitution which states that the PM must be a member of the House of Assembly. Dlamini was not. He came into parliament specifically at the king’s instruction to be PM. The government was also chosen by the king. Therefore, to criticise the performance of the PM and cabinet can also be seen as criticism of the king’s choices.

When it became clear that King Mswati would not support the vote of no-confidence, Dlamini felt confident enough to insist that a new vote be taken by the House to over-turn it. This vote was held and passed on 15 October 2012.  

But, the PM did not have the confidence that he would win by a respectable margin. Only 32 members of the 65-stong House voted and nocount was taken. Instead, the Speaker simply relied on a shout of Aye or Nay from the members present. We will never know how many voted for the reversal of the no-confidence vote. But, with only 32 members of the 65-strong House present the vote could not have been three-fifths (39) of the total membership of the House.

According to standing orders there have to be at least 30 members of the House present for a vote to be taken. During the rerun of the vote some members left the chamber taking the number below 30. The Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku left the chamber to search for missing members and found some of them relaxing in the canteen watching the proceedings on a monitor. The MPs say the DPM bullied and threatened them to return to the chamber. He denies this and says he simply ‘lobbied’ them back into the chamber. They did, however, return. 

After the vote, accusations have been published in Swazi local newspapers that some members were either threatened or bribed to support reversing the no-confidence vote. Reports say some were promised high office or cash to help them get re-elected in next year’s national election.

Immediately the revote was taken, civil society organisations, pro-democracy activists and lawyers in Swaziland protested that it was unconstitutional and that the government had no right to force a re-vote: only a court could do so. The Attorney General Majahenkhaba Dlamini in a newspaper interview agreed that the constitution did indeed say the court was the place to go to get clarity on the constitution, but that government had decided not to do so. 

The Law Society of Swaziland has said it will challenge the revote in court. 

See also



MPs are cowards
By Musa Hlophe Times Sunday (Swaziland) October 21,2012

Here is a quick question for all of us. "What has changed in Swaziland since we decided to have a Constitution?"

Here is the simple and depressing, answer: "Nothing".

I think the only lesson we can take from the farce that surrounds the vote of no confidence is that the constitution means absolutely nothing to the traditional structures, all of the Cabinet, many of our MPs and, I am sorry to say, even some of our judges.

The people on the streets and in the villages know this and are left bewildered and almost hopeless in the face of the arrogance of the powerful and unaccountable elite.

When the draft constitution was being paraded around the country, there was a meeting with some senior princes who were horrified at what it contained.

They were upset that it subjected authorities in the land to rules and regulations and that it was to be supreme over their deliberations and decisions.

It even guided them on who to appoint and what to do.

Prince David, the chair of the Constitutional Drafting Committee, took great care to assure them that, in reality, nothing would change for them. How right he was.

The Constitution of Swaziland exists merely on paper.

It is a convenient shield to show off to our regional and international partners who question the state of democracy and human rights in Swaziland.

However, in practice it does not exist.

A constitution is more than a mere law. It is the founding document of a nation.


In the end, it is a political document that sets out guidelines for how power is divided and how it should be exercised.

It comes alive not in the dry words of the law but in the living examples of how politicians and the powerful behave.

Here in Swaziland, when the rules of the constitution are inconvenient to the wishes of Cabinet and the traditional authorities, they just ignore it.

The constitution is clear on many matters.

It is clear on how many women must be appointed to Parliament and Senate.

It is clear that four extra women MPs must be appointed when there are fewer than 30 per cent of women in Parliament.

It is clear that at least half of Cabinet should be made up of elected members of the House but until recently that was not the case. It is clear about who should be Human Rights Commissioners and Elections and Boundaries Commissioners. It is very clear on what happens after a vote of no confidence: "The King shall dissolve Cabinet."

All of these rules have been ignored.

However, these are the details, the bigger picture is that this government, the first to be appointed under the constitution, has gone out of its way to ignore not only the letter of the constitution but its spirit too. We have a Bill of Rights. Have we seen this government behave any differently?


This week alone saw the newspapers filled with the arrogant and high-handed behaviour of the police.

Have we ever seen a police officer even investigated for abusing his powers?

We know that free speech is simply banned from our TVs and radios and highly restricted in the press. Last year saw one of our best judges in Thomas Masuku sacked for reasons that are obvious to everybody. He was ‘too’ independent.

We have a Human Rights Commission that has never been given a budget to do any real work or employ any staff. We have an Anti-Corruption Commission without Commissioners.

Everybody knows that it is in the nature of politicians to try and grab as much power as possible. This is why Parliament, judges and the independent oversight bodies are supposed to have the ability to call government ministers and civil servants to public account. On the paper of the constitution that is what is said – but what is our reality?

We can see from this month’s vote of no confidence scandal that Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini has done to Parliament in 2012 exactly what he did to the judges in 2002.

In November 2002, this Prime Minister declared that the government did not consider itself bound by judgments of the Court of Appeal.

When the PM refused to recognise the legal judgments, the Court of Appeal had the honour and courage to collectively and completely resign.

They forced the nation, and the world, to recognise the deep political trouble that Swaziland was in. They put the needs of the country, their personal honour and their duty to uphold the law before their own personal enrichment. The result was that the people of Swaziland and governments across the world put enough pressure on us to remove the PM from his position.
This month saw the Prime Minister declare that he did not consider himself bound by Parliament’s vote of no confidence.


He made up some legalistic sounding excuses but in the end he is neither a lawyer nor a judge and he certainly does not have the power to overrule a valid vote of no confidence and the constitution.
In the democratic norms I discussed last week, we expect a losing PM to resign.

However, since he did not do the honourable thing, it is up to the MPs to force him.

That is why my real anger is reserved for the parliamentarians.

What have they done? When faced with the ultimate challenge to their only real power, their constitutional and democratic right and their duty to represent the people, what did they do? Did they stand for democracy? Did they think of their mandate to represent the people? Did they look at the scorn with which the PM treated them and stand up to fight for the constitution and the rights of the ordinary Swazi?

We know they did not.


They behaved like the worst sort of cowards – the type that appears to be strong when the going is easy but let us down when times are hard.

They made us believe they were heroes and champions of the people.

They had the numbers and courage to use the constitution to evict a Cabinet that had long lost its nation’s mandate.

The people spoke with courage at Sibaya, Sidla Inhloko and in the streets, the churches and even the shebeens across the country.

The MPs listened and did the remarkable thing - voted out the Cabinet.

I am told that they were then put under an enormous amount of pressure with threats and bribes raining down on them.

However, as the story of Job in the Bible tells us, you know a person’s character not when times are easy but when the going gets tough.

When MPs caved in and passed a motion that claims to overturn the vote of no confidence, they showed us the true nature of Swaziland’s politics – that it is simply not a democracy in any credible sense of the word.

They failed in their first duty to represent the people against the powerful.

Section 68 is the only part of the constitution that allows the people to change their government and the MPs showed us this week that it might as well not be there. I thank them for showing the world that, in reality, the Swaziland was not, is not, and can never be, a democracy under this constitution.
This leaves us with the political reality that the real Constitution of Swaziland is the King’s Proclamation of 1973.

Sources tell me that many in power still consider this to be the real founding document of the Swazi nation. We all know that it has never been repealed.

The closest we have got was when the Attorney General admitted to an international audience that it had been ‘superseded’ but he never went on to explain what that meant in practice. I think we can all now tell. It means that while the constitution might be the newer document, the 1973 decree never went away.


We can now see that the political reality of Swaziland in 2012 is that the 1973 Order still stands. Political parties are not allowed to stand for elections. The traditional authorities decide what is acceptable. Free speech remains a myth. The rights to assembly and association are simply treated as a joke.

Women remain treated as second-class citizens.

The police, army and others, kill, torture and maim whom they choose. The rich get richer while the poor get poorer.

For sure, we must develop democracy with regard to our own history and culture. However, in Swaziland there has simply been no true democratic development.

We have developed the symbols of democracy such as elections, Parliament, judges sitting in courts, even supposedly independent oversight commissions on elections, human rights, political integrity and corruption. But what we have failed to do is develop a culture of democracy and the rule of law where these institutions are respected by the both the traditional authorities and the ordinary Swazis.
In the end, last week’s decision to reverse the vote of no confidence said the powerful in Swaziland do not respect either domestic law or international democratic conventions. It said Swaziland’s constitution was a complete fraud.

Most telling of all is that it said the powerful in our country have absolutely no respect for us, the ordinary people.

My other question to you, dear reader, is this; ‘What are you going to do about it?’

See also


Thursday, October 18, 2012


Swaziland’s Attorney-General Majahenkhaba Dlamini has said that the Government decided not to follow the constitution when it succeeded in having a no-confidence vote against it overturned.

Dlamini who supports the government action said that although the preamble to the Swazi constitution states, ‘Whereas all the branches of government are the Guardians of the Constitution, it is necessary that the courts be the ultimate Interpreters of the Constitution,’ the government decided not to go to court but simply to demand a re-run of the vote.

He told the Times of Swaziland newspaper, ‘Government decided not to go to court, but even this route to rescind the vote is valid. Government could have gone to court but decided against it.’

Politics in Swaziland has been in turmoil for the past two weeks since the House of Assembly passed a vote-of no confidence in the government by a majority greater than three-fifths. According to the constitution, when this happens the government must resign within three days. Failing this the constitution obliges the king to sack the government.

The government neither resigned, nor did King Mswati III, who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, uphold the constitution.

Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini, who was not elected to parliament but personally appointed to his position by King Mswati, refused to recognise the no-confidence vote. He claimed that correct procedures had not been followed before the vote.

On Monday (15 October 2012), the government forced a rerun and the no-confidence vote was overturned. This time only 32 of the 65 members of the House of Assembly were present. No vote was counted, so it is impossible to know how many supported the motion.

It has emerged that some members of the house who were opposed to overturning the vote were denied the chance to make submissions on Monday and staged a walkout.

The Government has been under severe criticism for forcing through the vote with lawyers in the kingdom claiming that it had no constitutional right to do so. They say only the courts can interpret the constitution, not the government.

When questioned on this point the AG recognised that the constitution made this clear in its preamble. ‘Government could have gone to court but decided against it,’ he told the Times. He said the government relied on parliamentary standing orders.

He attacked the lawyers who opposed the government action.  ‘They don’t know what they’re talking about. All I’m saying is that some of these lawyers know nothing. I don’t know where they got the notion that you can’t rescind a motion.’

He went on: ‘The rescinding is allowed by standing orders.’

Advocate Lucas Maziya said it was unheard of that parliament standing orders could overrule the constitution. Another lawyer, Titus Mlangeni, said that once a vote of no-confidence had been passed in the house it could not be reversed.

See also


Wednesday, October 17, 2012


The Swaziland House of Assembly has reversed its vote of no-confidence in the government, amid great controversy.

On Monday (15 October 2012) after an eight-hour debate members rescinded a vote that had taken place two weeks earlier. That vote, by a three-fifths majority of members of the House, was enough to force the cabinet to resign, in line with Section 68 (5) of the Swazi Constitution.

The first vote had cause a political crisis because the government, led by Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini, refused to resign and King Mswati III did not sack him, as he is required to do under the Constitution.

Last weekend it was reported that the king, who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, was furious at the vote of no-confidence and he refused to see the Speaker of the House on the matter. It was widely interpreted that because the king did not accept the vote’s outcome, a reason would be found to declare it void.

Within days of this, the House met on Monday to reverse the original vote. Only 32 members of the House were present for the vote and this fell short of the three-fifths majority the original vote enjoyed. There are 65 members of the House and the 32 present for the vote was only two members over the minimum number who must be present for the House to be quorate.

The votes on Monday were not recorded; Speaker Prince Guduza used the ‘Aye or Nay’ voting principle to decide the outcome, so the exact numbers who voted for the reversal can never be known.

There are doubts about the legality of Monday’s vote. The Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, reported that on Monday the Attorney General, Majahenkhaba Dlamini had not been able to tell the House on Monday what instrument was being used to allow the vote to go ahead.

Chairman of the Lawyers for Human Rights Swaziland Mandla Mkhwanazi reported in the Times,said, ‘My view is that if it takes two to tango, it should also take two to un-tango. By this I mean that since it took a three-fifths majority for the vote to be passed, it should also take the same number of votes to reverse it.’

See also

Sunday, October 14, 2012


King Mswati III of Swaziland is refusing to recognise the vote of no-confidence in his government, an international news agency has revealed for the first time.

He is said to be ‘extremely upset’ by the vote and is refusing to meet with the Speaker of the House of Assembly on the issue.

The crisis began on 3 October 2012 when the House of Assembly passed a vote of no-confidence in the Swazi government by a majority greater than three-fifths. According to the constitution when this happens the king must sack the cabinet.

But, King Mswati III, generally recognised as sub-Saharan Africa’s last remaining absolute monarch, has not done so. And, his government has refused to resign.

The Inter Press Service (IPS) news and feature agency reported a ‘highly placed source’ saying the king ‘is not prepared to act on the vote because he was extremely upset by the House of Assembly’s resolution’.

IPS reported King Mswati was refusing to meet with Prince Guduza the Speaker of the House of Assembly about the vote. In Swaziland, the protocol is that the king has to be officially told by the Speaker about decisions of the House before he can act.

The revelation is the first time since the crisis began that information about King Mswati’s role has become public. In Swaziland the state-censored media and the self-censoring private media reported the cause of the delay in the king’s action was because he was discussing what to do with advisers.

Some voices in the media blamed Barnabas Dlamini the Prime Minister for the crisis, saying that he should have resigned once the no-confidence vote was passed. However, the constitution puts the onus clearly on the king to sack the government. It is a constitutional requirement for him to do so; there is no allowance for him to do anything else.

The king personally appointed Dlamini as Prime Minister in 2008 in contravention of the constitution and together the king and PM picked the government. Many ministers, including the PM himself, were not elected to parliament, but appointed by King Mswati.

IPS reported political analysts saying the crisis ‘has exposed the undemocratic nature of the Swazi system of government and that it has put Mswati in a precarious position where he has to choose between the will of the people and those he has placed in power’.

Swaziland government spokesperson Percy Simelane told IPS that the cabinet was still waiting for the king’s decision.

See also



The current political crisis in Swaziland demonstrates one thing clearly: the kingdom’s constitution is not worth the paper it is written on.

Nearly two weeks ago the Swazi House of Assembly passed a vote of no confidence in the government by a three-fifths majority.  According to the constitution when such a vote takes place the king is mandated to sack the Cabinet: he has no discretion in the matter.

But, since the vote took place King Mswati III has not fulfilled his constitutional obligation. 

Instead, the king’s advisers, the government and most of the Swazi media have been waiting for King Mswati himself to decide whether he would accept the result of the vote. If he agrees with the House, the government goes: if he disagrees, it stays.

And, that is the heart of the matter. Swaziland is not a constitutional democracy, it is an absolute monarchy. This is despite the fact that King Mswati himself signed the 2005 Constitution into law.

In the absolute monarchy of Swaziland the king rules and nothing can be done without his agreement. He instructs the government and parliament what to do and he overrules government decisions if he wishes. Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini himself publicly admitted this in August 2012 when he told the Times Sunday newspaper in Swaziland that the government belonged to His Majesty.

He told the newspaper, ‘Government listens when His Majesty speaks and we will always implement the wishes of the King and the Queen mother.’

He said this when after a six-week pay strike by teachers which saw government sacking teachers and refusing to negotiate, King Mswati instructed both sides to end the dispute, for the teachers to be reinstated and for negotiations to commence. The teachers willing agreed and the government, with some reluctance, agreed.

King Mswati is no respecter of the constitution. In 2008, he appointed Barnabas Dlamini as Prime Minister even though under the constitution Dlamini did not qualify for the office.

So what happens in the current political crisis? Only one thing should happen: the King (albeit belatedly) should announce that the constitution is the supreme law of the land and the government is sacked.

The likelihood is that he will not do so. He is an experienced man, he understands, without the need for ‘advisers’ what the Constitution says, but although he understands it we must assume that he does not respect it. He is probably hoping that delays will allow a head of steam to be created among anti-democrats in his kingdom to cast doubt on the validity of the vote; that parliamentarians who supported the no-confidence vote will be bullied into reversing their decision and that public opinion will be manipulated to believe that the Prime Minister has done nothing that deserves his sacking.

If the government survives this no-confidence vote, it will be because the constitution has been ignored. The constitution will be worthless and any claims that King Mswati might make in the international arena that his kingdom is a democracy will be exposed.

See also


Friday, October 12, 2012


With the present political crisis in the kingdom, people have been asking where they can read the constitution. Here it is Swaziland Constitution

Thursday, October 11, 2012


As the constitutional crisis in Swaziland enters its second week Themba Masuku the kingdom’s Deputy Prime Minister has said he will ignore the constitution and only resign if ‘the people’ tell him to go.

Last Wednesday (3 October 2012) the Swazi House of Assembly passed a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister and his Cabinet with a majority greater than three-fifths of the House. According to the Constitution, the PM had three days to quit or be sacked by the King.

So far, Barnabas Dlamini, the Prime Minister, has stated clearly he has no intention of resigning and King Mwsati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, has made no move to sack the government.

Now, Masuku, who has been acting PM this week while Dlamini has been on an official visit to Uganda, has told the Times of Swaziland  the government should only resign if the people want it.

‘I’m of the view that if there is any information on the ground that the public really wants us out, we have to know the basis of it. It will have to be proven scientifically. It doesn’t have to be something coined by the media and then be taken at face value to represent the aspirations of the people,’ he told the newspaper.

He added, ‘Gauging public feeling on this is rather complex and not readily comprehensible. At Sandleni, where I come from I haven’t so far picked this negative public feeling about my work. So which public are we talking about?’

He said this even though S68 (5) and S134 (5) (b) of the Constitution state clearly that if there is a three-fifths majority in the House of Assembly in a no-confidence vote, the Government must go.
But, Masuku told reporters he would not respect this vote. ‘We can’t just go because there are voices in Parliament calling for our heads,’ he said.

Meanwhile, the kingdom is still waiting for word from King Mswati. It was reported earlier this week that he had taken advice from Swazi traditionalists in the kingdom on what move he should make.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that they had been trying to find reasons why the vote could be declared void. In particular, they want to find mitigating circumstances why the Prime Minister should not be blamed for the actions of his government.

It is also reported informally that members of the House of Assembly are being pressured by supporters of the King to take the no-confidence vote again and decide differently this time.

See also

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Leaders of Swaziland’s business community have demanded the government abide by a no-confidence vote and quit office.

‘This cabinet has no mandate to govern, is not fit for purpose, and it must do the honourable thing and go immediately before it damages Swaziland any further,’ the Federation of Swazi Business Community (FSBC), said in a statement.

The Government, led by Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini, suffered a vote of no-confidence in the Swazi House of Assembly last Wednesday (3 October 2012) and according to the Constitution the government should have resigned within three days or be sacked by King Mswati III.

Dlamini made it clear that he would not go and the King has not sacked him.

The no-confidence vote came after a long-running saga involving the Swazi parastatal Swaziland Post and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC) and MTN, the only cellphone company in the kingdom. The government closed down some SPTC services after complaints from MTN.

In a joint statement made with the Constituent Assembly and the Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisations, FSBC said,   ‘As leaders of the local business community we must express our utmost concern at the Swazi Government’s poor handling of the issue of SPTC’s Next Generation Network of cellular phones called “ONE” as well as the fixed phone service.

‘The introduction of these new services, at last, brought real competition into the telecommunications sector.  This enabled ordinary people to begin to afford to communicate more and the business community to access new markets, and improve their services, competitiveness and profitability.   As one of the poorest countries in the SADC region we long suffered from monopoly pricing and were charged the highest rates for ICT services.

‘The government’s actions which saw the whole SPTC Board sacked, a Minister of Information Communications and Technology removed from office, and the accusations by the Prime Minister of a “Mafia” at work, show the highly politicised environment in which SPTC was expected to work. 
‘It is well known that the current cabinet reversed SPTC and the previous government’s decision to sell most of its shares in MTN at a fair market price to finance the ONE project.’

The statement added,  ‘ Swazis must realise that the PM has a clear conflict of interest in this matter in that he has shares in Swaziland Empowerment Limited which holds 19 percent of value of Swazi MTN.’

FSBC said, ‘The Prime Minister must know that to ignore a vote of no-confidence from Parliament sends a message to the world that Swaziland is not a country governed by laws but by an arrogant, unaccountable clique who are happy to abuse their powers and use political patronage for personal gain.’

See also



Joint Press Statement Federation of Swazi Business Community, Constituent Assembly and Swazi Coalition.  
9 October 2012

As leaders of the local business community we must express our utmost concern at the Swazi Government’s poor handling of the issue of SPTC’s Next Generation Network of cellular phones called “ONE” as well as the fixed phone service.

The introduction of these new services, at last, brought real competition into the telecommunications sector.  This enabled ordinary people to begin to afford to communicate more and the business community to access new markets, and improve their services, competitiveness and profitability.   As one of the poorest countries in the SADC region we long suffered from monopoly pricing and were charged the highest rates for ICT services.

The government’s actions which saw the whole SPTC Board sacked, a Minister of Information Communications and Technology removed from office, and the accusations by the Prime Minister of a “Mafia” at work, show the highly politicised environment in which SPTC was expected to work.  It is well known that the current cabinet reversed SPTC and the previous government’s decision to sell most of its shares in MTN at a fair market price to finance the ONE project. For the Prime Minister to suddenly claim the sanctity of the courts as a defence for what are highly controversial decisions is to mislead the nation.  Swazis must realise that the PM has a clear conflict of interest in this matter in that he has shares in Swaziland Empowerment Limited which holds 19% of value of Swazi MTN.  At no time has he been heard to recuse himself from discussions in which he has a direct financial interest.

The SPTC saga is one of a long line of self-serving decisions taken by this cabinet, which seriously undermine the business reputation of the country. From giving itself handsome pay rises through Circular No 1 when the country is in cash crisis, to awarding its members massive discounts on shady land deals.  From attempting to arbitrarily evict the tenants at Jozini Big Six to mismanaging the economy so that our members are owed Millions of Emalangeni and viable businesses and ordinary people’s jobs are at risk because of their incompetence.  They have undermined the Anti Corruption Commission and the Human Rights Commission and, probably worst of all, were putting the very basis of all business – legal contracts – in jeopardy through their dreadful mismanaging of the recent Judicial Crisis.

The Prime Minister must know that to ignore a vote of no confidence from Parliament sends a message to the world that Swaziland is not a country governed by laws but by an arrogant, unaccountable clique who are happy to abuse their powers and use political patronage for personal gain.   His behaviour completely undermines his Majesty’s vision of Swaziland being a first world country by 2022.

We have heard the voices of the people at many public meetings including Sibaya and our MPs’ vote of no confidence who have all said it was time for this cabinet to be relieved of their duties.  We now formally add the voices of the business community to this call.  This cabinet has no mandate to govern, is not fit for purpose, and it must do the honourable thing and go immediately before it damages Swaziland any further.  We further call upon the new government to find a way of reinstating the SPTC services that served the nation so well.

For More Information please contact Tum Du Pont +268 76020676

Monday, October 8, 2012


King Mswati III is expected to decide today (8 October 2012) whether to sack his cabinet, following a vote of no-confidence in the House of Assembly.

Although the Swazi Constitution states clearly that the King must dismiss his government, he has so far failed to do so.

The House made its decision on Wednesday (3 October 2012) and Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini had three days to resign, but he refused to do so.

Despite the clarity of the Constitution, King Mswati, who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, has so far refused to act. The King appointed Dlamini, who was not elected to parliament, in 2008 in contravention of the Constitution and has supported him ever since.

The King also handpicked the rest of the government so any of its failings will be seen by some as also a failure of his own judgement.

The King’s advisory council Liqoqo was due to meet today to discuss the matter. The SwaziObserver, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, reported that Liqoqo would examine with a ‘fine comb’ a ruling made by the International Arbitration Court (IAC) over the closing of some services by parastatal Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC) which was the cause of the vote of no-confidence.

Parliamentarians are angry at the way the government handled the matter, but Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini clams that his government was forced to act in the way it did because not to do so would be to defy the IAC and be contempt of the rule of law.

Dlamini has been adamant that his government has done no wrong and claims the no-confidence vote is null and void.

However, news emerged today that despite its name, the IAC is not a court, but an arbitration service, and that the Swazi Government was not obliged to abide by its ruling.

The Liqoqo Chairman Prince Logcogco Mangaliso told the Observer that Liqoqo and another advisory body, the Ludzidzini Committee, would meet to decide what advice to give the King.

The Indvuna of Ludzidzini TV Mtsefwa, who is commonly known as the ‘traditional prime minister’ and is considered to be close to King Mswati and to have more influence on him than the constitutional Prime Minister told the Observer he hoped the meeting with the King would take place today.

See also



Barnabas Dlamini, the Prime Minister of Swaziland, is wrong to say the no-confidence vote passed against him and his government was illegal because it sought to force Cabinet to break the law.

Parliamentarians wanted him out of office because of the way the government forced the parastatal Swaziland Posts and Telecommunication Corporation (SPTC) to switch off its Fixedfones and data components which left thousands of people with expensive and useless gadgets.

Dlamini’s case is that he and his ministers were obliged by the International Court of Arbitration (ICA) to make the move, implying that he did not want to do so, but his hand was forced.

Dlamini, in an interview with the Times Sunday newspaper in Swaziland, said to disobey the ICA would be to go against the rule of law. But this is not true, because despite its name the International Court of Arbitration is not a court: it is a forum where business enterprises that are in dispute can come together to settle differences in front of a panel of arbitrators.

Presumably, PM Dlamini knew this to be true since on its website the International Court of Arbitration states clearly that it exists ‘to resolve disputes outside of formal litigation in court’.

Since it is not a court, any decision the ICA makes is not legally binding. Discussions at the ICA are confidential, but what seems to have happened was that the SPTC agreed after arbitration with its rivals the MTN cellphone company to close down its own services and allow MTN a free hand in the market. If the case for SPTC had been better argued, a different decision might have been reached and the closure of services avoided.

There are rules that can make an arbitration binding on the parties involved. These are in the New York Arbitration Convention, but Swaziland has not signed up to this, so there is nothing to force the government to comply with the ICA decision.

Since the Swazi House of Assembly passed a vote of no confidence in the Cabinet on Wednesday (3 October 2012), Dlamini has been refusing to abide by the Constitution and resign. His main reason has been that he had no choice but to close down the SPTC services because the ICA had ruled that it must and not to do so would be to break the law.

Dlamini is also claiming that the Swaziland High Court has ruled that SPTC must close the services, but in fact, the court has not delivered on the case.

Now, it is clear that there are no legal rulings, he has no excuse. Nor has King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, who, if he is to abide by the Constitution should sack the government immediately.

See also


Sunday, October 7, 2012


Barnabas Dlamini, the Swaziland Prime Minister who has refused to abide by the kingdom’s constitution and stand down after losing a vote of no confidence, has previously caused a political crisis by defying the rule of law.

In 2003, Dlamini was PM and had held office for seven and a half years. Then, he refused to recognise two court judgements that challenged King Mswati III’s right to rule by decree. This led to the resignation of all six judges in the Appeal Court. The court had ruled that the Swazi King had no constitutional mandate to override parliament by issuing his own decrees.

In a report running for more than 50,000 words, Amnesty International  looked back to the years 2002 and 2003 and identified activities of Dlamini that ‘included the repeated ignoring of court rulings, interference in court proceedings, intimidating judicial officers, manipulating terms and conditions of employment to undermine the independence of the judiciary, the effective replacement of the Judicial Services Commission with an unaccountable and secretive body (officially known as the Special Committee on Justice but popularly called the Thursday Committee), and the harassment of individuals whose rights had been upheld by the courts.’ 

Eventually, in a bid to save King Mswati’s face, Dlamini was forced to resign.

But, King Mswati did not send Dlamini to the political wilderness. In 2008 the King appointed him to be PM once again. King Mswati, who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, did this in contravention of the Swaziland Constitution of 2005 that he had signed into law. The Constitution states that the Prime Minister must be a member of the House of Assembly. At the time he was chosen Dlamini was not a member of the House. In the past Dlamini had sat in six parliaments but had never been elected by anyone.

In 2008, when introducing Dlamini as the new PM, King Mwsati told him publicly to get the terrorists and all who supported them.

Dlamini set about his task with zeal. He banned four pro-democracy organisations, branding them terrorists.

His Attorney General Majahenkhaba Dlamini told Swazis affiliated with the political formations to resign with immediate effect or feel the full force of the law. Under the Suppression of Terrorism Act (STA), enacted the same year Dlamini came to power, members and supporters of these groups could face up to 25 years in jail.

Under the draconian provisions of the STA, anyone who disagrees with the ruling elite faces being branded a terrorist supporter.

The Attorney General Majahenkhaba Dlamini stressed that the government was after supporters of the banned organisations. Supporting an organisation, he said, ‘includes associating with such banned formations’.

This happened at a time when the call for democracy in Swaziland was being heard loudly both inside the kingdom and in the international community.

Since 2008, the Dlamini-led Government has clamped down on dissent. In 2011, Amnesty International reported the ill-treatment, house searches and surveillance of communications and meetings of civil society and political activists. Armed police conducted raids and prolonged searches in the homes of dozens of high profile human rights defenders, trade unionists and political activists while investigating a spate of petrol bombings. Some of the searches, particularly of political activists, were done without search warrants.

Amnesty reported that authorities continued to use the STA to detain and charge political activists. The STA was also used as a basis for search warrants and other measures to intimidate human rights defenders, trade unionists and media workers.

In 2010, Dlamini publicly threatened to use torture against dissidents and foreigners who campaigned for democracy in his kingdom.  He said the use of ‘bastinado’, the flogging of the bare soles of the feet, was his preferred method.

Dlamini told the Times of Swaziland newspaper he wanted ‘to punish dissidents and foreigners who come to the country and disturb the peace’.

This week, Dlamini said publicly that he would ignore a vote of confidence passed against him and his government by the House of Assembly. Under the Constitution he had three days to resign or the King would be required to sack the Cabinet.

The deadline has passed and King Mswati has made no move against Dlamini.

See also



Barnabas Dlamini, Prime Minister of Swaziland, is to defy the kingdom’s constitution and ignore a vote of confidence passed against him and his government this week.
Dlamini, who lost a vote supported by more than three-fifths of the House of Assembly, was required by S134 of the Constitution to resign within three days.

 But now, as the three days deadline passed, he publicly said he would not recognise the vote. ‘We will just ignore the vote of no confidence and carry on with our business as usual,’ the Times Sunday newspaper in Swaziland reported him saying.

The paper said he had also instructed his ministers to carry on business as if nothing had happened.

Dlamini lost the vote of no confidence on Wednesday and according to the Swazi Constitution he had three days to announce his and his government’s resignation. According to the Constitution, if the PM does not resign the king must sack either the government or the entire Parliament.

King Mswati III, who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, personally handpicked Dlamini to be Prime Minister in 2008 in contravention of the Constitution which states the PM must be a member of the House of Assembly. Dlamini was not elected to parliament before King Mswati chose him. The King also chose the Cabinet of ministers, many of whom were not elected to the House of Assembly or the Swaziland Senate.

Dlamini’s public refusal to abide by the constitution is plunging Swaziland into a political crisis. According to the Constitution, King Mswati has no choice but to sack the Cabinet, but he is not expected to do this.

Yesterday (6 October 2012), Dlamini was present with King Mswati at the annual graduation ceremony at the University of Swaziland.

See also


Saturday, October 6, 2012


A constitutional crisis may be looming in Swaziland after the House of Assembly voted to sack the Government.  

The Swazi Constitution of 2005 requires King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, to comply with the vote, but expectations are that he will not do so. Reports from the kingdom suggest that he has been in talks with advisers to find a way to ignore the vote and allow the government he personally handpicked to remain in power.

His supporters have been deliberately confusing people about the validity and significance of the vote, especially as it relates to the Constitution, so here is a summary of what has been happening this week and what the Constitution really says on this issue.

On Wednesday (3 October 2012) the House of Assembly passed a vote of no confidence in the Government with 42 members in favour, six against and two abstentions. This total was more than the three-fifths of all members of the House required for S68 (5) of the Constitution of 2005 to kick in.

This clearly states that where a resolution of no confidence is passed on the Cabinet by three-fifths of all members of the House the King ‘shall dissolve Cabinet’.

There is a slight complication, however, because S134 (5) (b) of the same Constitution also states, ‘where the House passes a resolution of no confidence in the Government of Swaziland and the Prime Minister does not within three days after that resolution resign, the King may dissolve Parliament or Cabinet.’

This goes further than S68 (5). It gives the King the option to not only sack the Government but also the entire Parliament.

But, it is clear that the House of Assembly in its vote this week never intended for the whole of Parliament to be sent home, so the King’s choice in this case is clear: sack the Cabinet but not Parliament.

S134 also allows a three-day period in which the sacked government can honourably resign and clear its collective desk. In the present situation Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini made it clear from the moment the no-confidence vote passed that he had no intention of resigning. The three days deadline has now passed so there is no reason for further delay on the part of the King.

Supporters of the Government have been trying to suggest that the House of Assembly vote is invalid because the vote of the House alone is not enough to sack the government: the Senate must also vote. This is not the case. Sections 94 and 95 of the Constitution clearly differentiate between the roles of the Senate and the House of Assembly. Both S68 and S134 when dealing with votes of no-confidence clearly state it is the vote of the House of Assembly that counts. So, in the present situation, the Senate has no say.

The Swaziland Government’s Attorney-General Majahenkhaba Dlamini claimed the vote was invalid because members of the House had censured the Government over its handling of the telecoms parastatal SPTC, when courts had already ruled on the matter - and forced the government's hand. Thereby, he argues, the Cabinet has done no wrong.

Others, including the Swaziland Coalition of ConcernedCivic Organisations and the Constituent Assembly, say the House of Assembly was not only commenting on the telecommunications industrial issues but on the underperformance of the Cabinet and government as a whole.

In reality, it does not matter what were the motives of members of the House when passing the vote. The fact alone that the motion has been passed is all that matters when considering the present Constitutional position.

So what happens now? If King Mswati really believes in democracy as he says he does, then he must follow the Constitution and sack the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

But, that will not be an end to the crisis. In Swaziland, where all political parties are banned, there is no alternative government. The present government was picked by the King. He appointed the present PM in 2008 in contravention of S67 (1) of the Constitution that states ‘the king shall appoint the Prime Minister from among members of the House’, but Barnabas Dlamini was not a member of the House and had not been elected to any office. The King simply decided to ignore the Constitution and put his own man in the job.

Members of the Cabinet were also appointed by the King, with S67 (3) only requiring that at least half the Cabinet ministers have been elected to the House. This leaves scope for more of the King’s placemen to be appointed.

The lack of political parties in Swaziland means there is no ‘official opposition’ as is common in parliamentary democracies and therefore there is no government in waiting. The best the Swazi people can hope for is that King Mswati will sack the present government and replace it with people very much like those who have been deemed to have failed.

See also