Eswatini Government and Politics

State and politics

According to AllCityCodes.com, Swaziland lacks the constitution and is governed as Africa’s only absolute monarchy. The succession is hereditary. After the 1968 constitution was repealed in April 1973, the King proclaimed a new constitution in October 1978, which included banned all parties, but it has not been formally approved. In 2006, a new constitution came into force, but although certain civil rights are guaranteed in it, the monarchical monarchy remains. Political parties are still banned and the opposition is being persecuted. The legislation is dealt with in an advisory two-chamber parliament, libandla. Of the 69 members of the Assembly, 59 are elected locally and 10 are appointed by the King. Of the Senate30 members are appointed 20 by the King and 10 are elected by the Assembly of Representatives. The term of office is five years. Elections were held in 1998, 2003, 2008, 2013 and 2018. However, the king can rule by decree.

After the repeal of the Constitution in 1973, it was declared that all legislative, executive and judicial power belongs to the king. However, the judiciary developed to some extent autonomously, but in June 2001, the king took over all power over the press after banning two newspapers, the Guardian and The Nation, which the Supreme Court did not find lawful. Two powerful development funds, Tisuka and Tibiyo, hold virtually all economic power in Swaziland and support the absolute monarchy. Compare the History section. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of WZ and its meanings of Swaziland.

Judiciary

The legal system in Swaziland consists of a mixture of Roman law (Roman-Dutch law, introduced via Transvaal), domestic law, local custom and English law. The highest court is the Court of Appeal. The death penalty remains in the legislation but is de facto abolished in 1983.

Heads of State

Kings

1968-82 Sobhuza II
1982-83 regent: Queen Dzeliwe
1983-86 regent: Queen Ntombi
1986- Mswati III

History and Politics

The very early days

In the Stone Age, Bushmen, the San, settled in what is now the Kingdom of Eswatini – formerly Swaziland. They went through the country with their flocks. They left rock carvings that can still be seen today.

Later Bantu tribes immigrated into the country and partly displaced the locals. First of all, they settled in the region of today’s Mozambique, the direct neighbor of Swaziland. They already practiced agriculture and livestock.

Swazi immigration

In the 18th century, the Swazi immigrated to the area because they were driven out by the Ndwandwe. The Swazi, in turn, subjugated the Sotho and Bapedi people. Ngawane III. founded a kingdom in 1745. He is considered to be the first king of Swaziland.

At the beginning of the 19th century the Swazi were under the protection of the British. But the Boers largely took control at the end of the 19th century. They were the descendants of immigrant Europeans, especially Dutch. Only after the Second Boer War did the administration pass into the hands of Great Britain. In 1907 Swaziland became a British protectorate.

The independence of Swaziland

Since the 1960s, calls for the country’s independence have grown louder and political parties have emerged to support it. But it was to be a few years before Swaziland was granted state independence in 1968.

As early as 1973, however, under King Sobhuza II, all opposition parties in the country that had seats in parliament were banned. In 1978 a new constitution was passed that gave the king sole power in the state. Members of the royal family held many important positions within the state.

King Mswati III

1986 came King Mswati III. to power. He still rules Swaziland. So today Swaziland is one of the last absolute monarchies in the whole world. This means that power is still in the hands of the respective ruling king.

There is a parliament, but the king chooses most of the deputies himself and then only chooses employees who are loyal to the king. There are no parties to vote in elections. Only a part of the MPs is elected by the people. And in the end, the MPs only have an advisory role.

So the king can do whatever he wants. The king himself calls his political system “monarchical democracy”. Every opposition in the country is suppressed and there is no freedom of the press in the country. However, there are increasing efforts, especially by the trade unions, to make the country more democratic. So far, however, in vain.

Why was Swaziland renamed Eswatini?

The reason for the renaming of the small African country was the 50th anniversary of independence from Great Britain. and “eSwatini” means something like “Land of the Swazi”. The king found this term more original than the name “Swaziland”, which simply still clung to the time of colonialism. In addition, one could confuse “Swaziland” with Switzerland or “Schwitzerland”. Swaziland is not the first African country to change its name, the same applies to Zimbabwe, which was once called “Rhodesia”, or Bechuanaland, which is now called Botswana.

Eswatini Head of Government

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