51. Swaziland (1968-present)

 

Pre-Crisis Phase (September 6, 1968-April 11, 1973): Swaziland formally achieved its independence from Britain and became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations (CON) on September 6, 1968. Parliamentary elections were held on May 16-17, 1972, and the Imbokodwo National Movement (INM) won 21 out of 24 seats in the House of Assembly. The National Liberatory Congress Party (NLCP) won three seats in the House of Assembly.

Crisis Phase (April 12, 1973-present):  On April 12, 1973, King Sobhuza II declared a state-of-emergency, dissolved the House of Assembly, and abolished the 1968 constitution.  King Sobhuza II introduced a new constitution banning political parties on October 13, 1978.  Legislative elections were held on October 27, 1978, and independent candidates nominated by traditional local councils won 40 out of 40 contested seats in the House of Assembly.  King Sobhuza II died in August 21, 1982, and Queen Dzeliwe was appointed as Regent.  Queen Dzeliwe was deposed as Regent and placed under house arrest on August 9, 1983.  Queen Ntombi Laftwala, mother of Crown Prince Makhosetive Dlamini, was installed as Regent on August 18, 1983.  Legislative elections were held on October 29, 1983, and independent candidates nominated by traditional local councils won 40 out of 40 contested seats in the House of Assembly.  On September 1, 1984, Prince Sozisa Dlamini, deputy head of state, was suspended for allegedly planning a military coup against the government (he was formally dismissed on November 1, 1985).  Crown Prince Makhosetive Dlamini was crowned as King Mswati III on April 25, 1986.  King Mswati III appointed Prince Sotsha Dlamini as prime minister on October 6, 1986.  Government police arrested 12 opponents of the government in May 1987.  King Mswati III dissolved the House of Assembly in May 1987.  Legislative elections were held on November 16, 1987, and independent candidates nominated by traditional local councils won 40 out of 40 contested seats in the House of Assembly.  King Mswati III dissolved the parliament and abrogated the constitution on October 9, 1992.  Legislative elections were held on September 26 and October 11, 1993, and independent candidates nominated by traditional local councils won 55 out of 55 contested seats in the House of Assembly.  King Mswati III appointed Andreas Fakudze as interim prime minister on October 25, 1993, and appointed Prince Jameson Mblini Dlamini as prime minister on November 4, 1993. The Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU) called for a general strike on March 13-14, 1995, but the SFTU called off the general strike.  The House of Assembly building was burned down on February 6, 1995.  The SFTU and People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDM) called for the lifting of the ban on political parties on January 1, 1996.  Government police arrested SFTU secretary-general Jan Sithole on January 22, 1996, and the SFTU organized an eight-day general strike on January 22-29, 1996.  Government police and SFTU members clashed on January 23, 1996, resulting in the deaths of three individuals.  King Mswati III dismissed Prime Minister Jameson Mblini on May 8, 1996, and appointed Sushayi Nxumalo as interim prime minister on May 9, 1996.  King Mswati III established the 29-member Constitutional Reform Commission (CRC) on July 26, 1996.  Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini was appointed as prime minister by King Mswati II on July 26, 1996.  Jan Sithol, SFTU secretary-general, and three other SFTU leaders, were arrested and detained by government police on January 30, 1997.  The SFTU organized a general strike beginning on February 3, 1997.  Simon Noge, Secretary of the Human Rights Association of Swaziland (HUMARAS) and Chairman of the Swaziland Democratic Alliance (SDA) was arrested and detain on February 5-6, 1997.  Jan Sithol, SFTU secretary-general, and three other SFTU leaders, were released from detention on February 26, 1997.  Legislative elections were held on October 16 and 24, 1998, and independent candidates nominated by traditional local councils won 55 out of 55 contested seats in the House of Assembly.  One individual was killed in a bombing of the officer of the deputy prime minister in Mbabane on November 20 1998.  Mario Masuku, leader of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDM), was arrested and jailed by government police on October 4, 2001.  On October 10, 2001, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), located in Johannesburg, South Africa, condemned the arrested of Mario Masuku in Swaziland.  The trial of Mario Masuku, leader of the PUDM, started in Mbabane on February 4, 2002.  On August 1, 2002, several members of parliament called for the resignation of Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini after the prime minister made a down-payment of $2.8 million on a private jet for King Mswati III.  Mario Masuku, leader of the PUDM, was acquitted of charges of sedition by the Swaziland High Court on August 22, 2002.  Mario Masuku, leader of the PUDM, called for the elimination of the monarchy in Swaziland on September 9, 2002.  On October 18, 2002, the House of Assembly voted 25 to 16 against approving the purchase of a $45 million private jet for King Mswati III.  Six South African judges resigned from the Swaziland Court of Appeal in protest against King Mswati III on December 1, 2002.  The Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU) called for a general strike for December 19, 2002.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CoN) sent three observers to monitor voter registration on July 14-19, 2003. The Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) organized a four-day general strike in Swaziland on August 12-15, 2003.  Legislative elections were held on October 18, 2003, and independent candidates nominated by traditional local councils won 55 out of 55 contested seats in the House of Assembly.  Themba Dlamini was appointed as prime minister by King Mswati III on November 26, 2003.  Marwick Khumalo, speaker of the House of Assembly, was forced to resign by King Mswati III on March 11, 2004.  The Swaziland Court of Appeals resumed hearing cases on November 10, 2004.  The Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU) organized a two-day general strike to promote democratic reforms on January 25-26, 2005.  On July 12, 2005, King Mswati III rejected a draft constitution submitted by the House of Assembly.  On July 26, 2005, King Mswati III signed a new constitution which maintained the state-of-emergency declared by King Sobhuza II in April 1973.  Twelve opposition activists, all members of the banned People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDM), were arrested and charged with treason on December 30, 2005.  The Washington DC-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) sent a five-member pre-election assessment mission to Swaziland on August 24-28, 2008. Protesters clashed with government policemen in Mbabane on September 4-5, 2008.  Legislative elections were held on September 19, 2008, and independent candidates nominated by traditional local councils won 55 out of 55 contested seats in the House of Assembly.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CON) sent four observers and two staff members led by former Deputy Prime Minister Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere of Uganda to monitor the legislative elections from September 13 to September 24, 2008.  The Southern African Development Community (SADC) sent 60 observers led by Ambassador Francisco Caetano Madeira of Mozambique to monitor the legislative elections from September 10 to September 20, 2008.  The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) sent eight observers and eight staff members led by Hon. Mary R. Mugyenyi of Uganda to monitor the legislative elections from September 13 to September 21, 2008.  The Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) sent four observers to monitor the legislative elections from September 13 to September 22, 2008.  Two individuals were killed while attempting to bomb one of the royal palaces near Mbabane on September 22, 2008.  Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini was appointed as prime minister by King Mswati II on October 16, 2008, and he was formally sworn in as prime minister on October 23, 2008.  Mario Masuku, an opposition leader, was charged with terrorism by the government on November 18, 2008.  Government police arrested some 50 pro-democracy activists in Manzini on September 7, 2010.  Government police clashed with pro-democracy demonstrators in Manzini on April 12-13, 2011.  The government of Swaziland requested financial assistance from the South African government on June 22, 2011.  The South African government conditionally agreed to provide a loan of $355 million to the government of Swaziland on August 3, 2011 (South Africa insisted on both political and economic reforms in Swaziland), but the government of Swaziland rejected the conditional loan from South Africa.  The Swaziland Democratic Party (SWADEPA) was established as a political party on September 24, 2011.  On November 14, 2011, Anglican Bishop Meshack Mabuzza called on King Mswati III to give up political power in favor of a democratic government.  On September 18, 2013, the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) called for a boycott of the upcoming legislative elections.  Legislative elections were held on September 20, 2013, and independent candidates nominated by traditional local councils won 55 out of 55 contested seats in the House of Assembly.  The African Union (AU) sent 19 observers from ten countries led by Maxon Mbendera of Malawi to monitor the legislative elections from September 15 to September 24, 2013.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CON) sent four observers and three staff members led by former President Bakili Muluzi of Malawi to monitor the legislative elections from September 15 to September 24, 2013.  The Southern African Development Community (SADC) sent 90 observers from nine countries to monitor the legislative elections from September 15 to September 24, 2013.  The U.S. government imposed economic sanctions (suspension of a duty-free trade program) against the government of Swaziland on June 26, 2014.

[Sources: Associated Press (AP), January 24, 1996; Banks and Muller, 1998, 931-935; British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), October 16, 1998, October 25, 1998, November 20, 1998, February 4, 2002, February 6, 2002, March 19, 2002, August 1, 2002, August 22, 2002, September 9, 2002, October 18, 2002, December 19, 2002, April 23, 2003, August 13, 2003, October 19, 2003, March 11, 2004, January 25, 2005, July 12, 2005, December 30, 2005, September 18, 2008, September 19, 2008, September 22, 2008, September 7, 2010, April 12, 2011, June 22, 2011, July 12, 2011, August 3, 2011, November 14, 2011, September 20, 2013; Commonwealth of Nations (CON) press release, July 14, 2003, September 16, 2008; Degenhardt, 1988, 356; Jessup, 1998, 706-707; Keesing’s Record of World Events, July 1-8, 1972, October 1993, November 1993, January 1996, May 1996; New York Times (NYT), August 23, 1982, August 11, 1983, September 2, 1984, September 26, 1993, August 14, 2003, November 15, 2003, November 10, 2004, December 24, 2005, September 5, 2008, September 19, 2008, November 18, 2008, April 12, 2011, April 13, 2011, July 31, 2012; Reuters, December 4, 2002, June 28, 2011, September 2, 2011, November 17, 2011, September 13, 2013, September 20, 2013, June 26, 2014; Southern African Development Community (SADC) statement, September 20, 2008, September 23, 2013; Sunday Times (Johannesburg); The Economist, September 16, 2010; Washington Post, November 6, 2002; Voice of America (VOA), September 18, 2013.]

 

Selected Bibliography

Proctor, J. H. 1973. “Traditionalism and Parliamentary Government in Swaziland,” African Affairs, vol. 72 (288), pp. 273-287.