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Swaziland Government
 
 
 

General

Swaziland is governed under a form of constitutional monarchy, in which political power is shared by the king and parliament. According to current Swazi law and custom, the monarch holds supreme executive, legislative and judicial powers. History is short, however, and in Swaziland's case is punctuated with a 65 year reign (including a 23 year regency) of Sobhuza II of Swaziland. The Ngwenyama is a hereditary leader, rules the country, with the assistance of a council of ministers and a national legislature. The Ndlovukati (Senior Queen, preferentially the mother of the king) is in charge of national rituals, and acts as regent if her counterpart Ngwenyama dies and the heir has not performed royal adulthood rituals or is indisposed. If the king's mother is no longer living, one of the king's wives may act as Ndlovukati.

In general practice, however, the monarch's power is delegated through a dualistic system: modern, statutory bodies, like the cabinet, and less formal traditional government structures. At present, parliament consists of a 82-seat House of Assembly (55 members are elected through popular vote; the Attorney General as an ex-officio member; 10 are appointed by the king and four women elected from each one of the administrative regions) and 30-seat Senate (10 members are appointed by the House of Assembly, and 20 are appointed by the king, whom at least the half must be women). The king must approve legislation passed by parliament before it becomes law. The prime minister, who is head of government is appointed by the king from among the members of the House on recommendations of the King's Advisory Council and the cabinet, which is recommended by the prime minister and approved by the king, exercises executive authority.

Parliament (Libandla) has two chambers: the House of Assembly has 82 members, 55 members elected out of candidates nominated by traditional local councils, the Attorney-General as an ex-official member, 4 women elected for each of the regions and 10 appointed members; balloting is done on a non-party basis; candidates for election are nominated by the local council of each constituency and for each constituency the three candidates with the most votes in the first round of voting are narrowed to a single winner by a second round, and the Senate has 30 non-partisan members, 10 members elected by the House of Assembly and 20 appointed members, with at least half of them being women, as is required by law.

Political parties are banned by the constitution promulgated on 13 October 1978; illegal parties are prohibited from holding large public gatherings. At the last elections, 18 October 2003, only non-partisans were elected. Most opposition politicians boycotted the elections.

For local administration Swaziland is divided into four regions (Hhohho, Lubombo, Manzini, Shiselweni), each with an administrator appointed by the king. Parallel to the government structure is the traditional system consisting of the king and his advisers, traditional courts, and 55 tinkhundla (subregional districts in which traditional chiefs are grouped).

Overview

Country name :
conventional long form: Kingdom of Swaziland
conventional short form: Swaziland
local long form: Umbuso weSwatini
local short form: eSwatini


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