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Looming poll sheds light on monarch’s rule

Publish date: 10 September 2018
Issue Number: 790
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Swaziland

The nation formerly known as Swaziland – it is now eSwatini, although there is some debate about this – is one of the few remaining absolute monarchies in the world, and the only one in Africa. Total executive power is in the hands of King Mswati III, who in April celebrated his 50th birthday. In an analysis on the allAfrica site, Simon Allison questions whether there any limits on the king's power and notes that the 21 September elections suggest that such limits are few and far between. The poll will determine the composition of the national assembly, ‘but there is little doubt about the result’. Allison notes: ‘Political parties are not allowed to compete – despite repeated attempts by opposition politicians to have this edict overturned in a court of law. The country's 2005 Constitution is unequivocal on the subject of the monarch's wide-ranging powers. Although it creates a legislature and legislative elections, there's no question about who is really in charge. Where most modern Constitutions begin with something akin to a Bill of Rights – outlining the responsibility of the state towards its people – eSwatini's Constitution begins with a lengthy exegesis on the rules governing the succession to the throne.’

Full report on the allAfrica site