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number 2 · 20 April 2004


Legal Perspective
Legal & Institutional
Architecture 1
Towards a Democratic
Transition 10
Election Post-mortem
Post-mortem of the Swaziland
General Election 14
Traditional Politics
Chiefdom Politics vs Electoral
Process 23
Gender Perspective
Interrogating the Gender
Question 29

Published with the assistance



The Legal and 2003. This political event SADC region that has not
Institutional was preceded by the primary yet undergone a democratic
elections held on 19-20 transition by way of
Architecture September 2003. This article embracing multiparty
for the reviews the legal and competition for state power
Swaziland institutional architecture that (for further argumentation
Election 2003 structured these two events see Claude Kabemba in this
with a view to discovering volume). Even at the real
Khabele Matlosa the broader framework for risk of repetition of the
Electoral Institute of elections in Swaziland and views in this and the
Southern Africa interrogating the possible previous Election Update
meanings of that in terms of 2003: Swaziland, it is
Introduction the prospects for democratic important to bear in mind
transition in the Kingdom. It that in Swaziland the
Swaziland organised its is worth stating from the following critical conditions
Parliamentary elections over onset that Swaziland is one informed the 2003 electoral
the period 18-19 October of a few countries in the process:
election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

• The country has not had SADC countries, but these issues speak to the
a Constitution since 1973 rather as Orders for this legitimacy (or lack
and just prior to the 2003 denotes the thereof) of the Chief
elections public debate overwhelming authority Election Office in the
both in and outside the and power of the King eyes of the electorate in
Kingdom revolved, in whose executive powers playing its presumed role
part, around whether or by far eclipse the as a fair umpire of the
not to have a general watchdog role of election game and an
election prior to a Parliament; thus the effective institution for
Constitutional King’s deliberate leveling the political
referendum; however, it political hegemony playing field.
came to pass that the (more by design than by
election would come first default) throttles the Thus three broad issues are
and as such a Draft power of other organs of brought to light in this
Constitution that exists the state and in so doing article, namely that lack of a
has not as yet been put to thwarts accountability of functioning and living
its litmus test through a the executive to the Constitution prohibits fair
public enquiry regarding electorate and not to even political play during
both its legitimacy and mention its deleterious elections in Swaziland and
acceptability; thus, in a effects on checks and this is compounded by the
nutshell, the election was balances in the fact that political parties still
held under a condition of governance process; and remain banned. Second, the
a Constitutional void, so • Again, unlike a majority election is governed by
to speak; not only that; of SADC member-states, King’s Orders whose
elections in Swaziland do Swaziland does not have primary thrust is not so much
not give room for an independent electoral to entrench democratic
political competition commission (IEC) and governance, but rather to
between and among the election is run by a ensure and perpetuate the
political parties, but one-person Chief authoritarian dynastic regime
rather the elections are Election Office; the in the Kingdom. Thirdly, that
contested by individuals Chief Election Officer even the institutional
representing various and his deputy is framework for the
constituencies styled appointed by the King management of elections in
Tinkhundla; himself and of course Swaziland is far from being
• Like the previous recent answerable to the King; an independent and impartial
elections, the 2003 this situation raises a player given that it is
election was governed by number of key questions strongly beholden to the state
three pieces of legislation including the impartiality machine and under strong
namely (a) the 1992 of the Chief Election influences of the King.
Establishment of the Office as an adjunct of
Parliament of Swaziland the state machine, Global and Regional
Order; (b) the 1992 accountability of the Context of the 2003
Election Order; and (c) Office to both the Election in Swaziland
the 1992 Voter contestants and the
Registration Order; It is electorate as well as the Swaziland lives in its own
instructive that all the transparency and fairness world despite the political
three legal instruments of the Office as it winds of change that have
are referred to not as executes its legal swept the SADC region
Acts of Parliament, as is mandate of running and since the early 1990s.
the case in a majority of managing elections. All Although both the reformed

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

Southern African sense depicted above in Only recently, the King

Development Community order to suggest that in appointed a Commission to
(SADC), through its Organ today’s globalising world work on a new Constitution
on Politics, Defence and issues of democratic and a draft dated March
Security (OPDS) does not governance and human 2003 does exist. The draft
recognise any form of rights have increasingly has not yet been subjected to
unconstitutional regimes, become international issues a national referendum to turn
much the same way as do 53 that seem to transcend it into a national Constitution
member African Union (AU) questions of sovereignty as yet and it is not yet clear
and the 54 member even though state when the draft would be put
Commonwealth club of state sovereignty, in and of itself, to a public scrutiny which is
led by Britain, Swaziland cannot be wished away as its ultimate litmus test. It is
still operates a fairly such. Thus, quite obviously worth noting that the Draft
authoritarian political system the quest for democratic Constitution of the Kingdom
anchored upon traditionalism transition in Swaziland of Swaziland (as it is called)
and governments have been should, ipso facto, be rather than providing an
formed in the Kingdom even cherished not only by opportunity for the opening
in the absence of an concerned Swazi people, but of the political marketplace
operating Constitution since also by the international for competition and a
1973. Interestingly, this community as organised in window for democratic
debilitating political such formations as SADC, transition, attempts to
environment has not become AU and the Commonwealth. entrench dynastic rule
a major issue for debate and It is highly possible that behind the façade of
clear-cut policy positions small geographic size, institutionalised liberal
towards Swaziland in SADC, landlocked status and lack of democracy. Thus, despite the
the AU and Commonwealth. a robust resource endowment attempt to institutionalise
It is worth pointing out that makes Swaziland invisible to governance in Swaziland
both Zimbabwe and Pakistan large multilateral inter-state through emphasis on the key
have been suspended from organisations. In the next role of the critical arms of
the Commonwealth for section, we review the legal the state such as the
alleged human rights abuses and institutional environment legislature, the executive and
and other vices emanating for the 2003 election in the judiciary, in the final
from bad governance, yet Swaziland and pose a analysis the Draft
Swaziland still remains off complex question whether or Constitution still centralises
the hook. In fact, during the not this environment creates actual power within the
recent Commonwealth an enabling condition for Office of the King and the
summit in Abuja Nigeria in democratic transition. King’s Advisory Council.
December 2003, following a
decision taken by the Club to The Legal and Institutional Whereas the King wields
extend Zimbabwe’s Framework for the enormous powers as an
suspension, the latter simply Swaziland Election in executive monarch, the
withdrew its membership Perspective King’s Advisory Council
from the Club, an forms the hub of
unprecedented move thereby Since the suspension of the government. The King’s
throwing the Club into some Independence Constitution in Advisory Council is
kind of disarray. 1973, Swaziland still does appointed for a period of five
not have a Constitution and (5) years by the King himself
The writer poses the legal is ruled by royal decrees.1 as Ngwenyama and is
framework problem in chaired by the Senior Crown
Swaziland in the broader Prince (Umntfwanenkhosi
1 Lodge et. al, 2001

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

Lomkhulu) also appointed by from the royal family and the 10. Minister for
the King. The main mandate current Prime Minister Enterprises and
of the Council is to advise following the October 2003 Employment: Hon.
the King on “whatever issues election is Prince Themba Lutfo Dlamini
or matters on which the King Dlamini (former Chairperson 11. Minister for Tourism,
may seek advice” 2 This of Tibiyo Taka Ngwane a Environment and
centralisation of dynastic royal investment corporation Communication:
rule is entrenched behind a whose total net assets stood Hon. Mrs Thandi
veneer of political opening in at E420 million in 1996). Shongwe;
which the Draft Constitution The King appoints members 12. Minister for Public
itself upholds a Bill of of Cabinet from both Works and Transport:
Rights in Chapter IV. Chambers of Parliament Hon. Elijah Shongwe
Further more, the Draft upon recommendation of the 13. Minister for Health
Constitution seems to Prime Minister and the Draft and Social welfare:
recognise the central role of Constitution proposes that Hon. Chief Sipho
such key organs of state as half of the Cabinet be Shongwe
the legislature, the executive constituted by members of 14. Minister for
and the judiciary as well as the elected lower house. The Economic Planning
the supportive institutions as current Cabinet is as follows: and Development:
the bureaucracy or public 1. Rt. Hon. Prime Hon. Rev. Absalom
service, yet even in the case Minister: Mr. A.T. Dlamini
of all these important Dlamini 15. Minister for Home
institutions of governance, 2. Hon. Deputy Prime Affairs: Hon. Prince
the King still reigns supreme Minister: Mr. Albert Gabheni
in the process stamping the Shabangu 16. Minister for Justice
political hegemony of the 3. Minister for Natural and Constitutional
dynastic elite. Swaziland Resources and Affairs: Hon. Prince
operates a bi-cameral Energy: Hon. David
legislature; the National Mfomfo Nkabule
Assembly (lower house) and 4. Minister for Evidently, the King and the
the Senate (upper house). Of Agriculture and royal house aim to
the total of 65 legislative Cooperatives: Hon. consolidate its power and
seats, the King appoints 10 Mtiti Fakudze political hegemony even by
members and the Attorney- 5. Minister for Finance: the manner in which Cabinet
General (the King’s Hon. Majozi Sithole is composed. Quite
appointee) is an ex-officio 6. Minister for Public obviously, the Cabinet of
Member of Parliament. Of Service and sixteen (with only two
the total 30 members of the Information: Hon. women) is dominated mainly
Senate, only ten are elected Themba Msibi by the dynastic elite and
by the National Assembly 7. Minister for Foreign headed by a Prince. The
and the rest are appointed by Affairs and Trade: dilemma that this approach
the King representing chiefs, Hon. Mabili Dlamini faces is that then Cabinet is
bantfwabenkhosi and special 8. Minister for Housing composed of largely
interests3 The King appoints and Urban unelected individuals who
the Prime Minister often Development: Hon. may not necessarily have the
Mrs Dumsile Sukati popularity among the
2 Draft Constitution of the 9. Minister for electorate which is required
Kingdom of Swaziland, 2003, p. 6 Education: Hon. for legitimacy of
3 The Establishment of the
Constance Simelane government. A good
Parliament of Swaziland Order, example of this paradoxical
1992, p.6

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dilemma is demonstrated Constitution for Swaziland the current scheme of things,

vividly by the result of the through Parliament under the however, the King exercises
2003 election itself whereby leadership of the new powers that have sufficient
only one (1) out of seventeen Speaker, Mr. Marwick weight to reverse decisions
(17) Cabinet members won Khumalo and consequently or judgements emanating
the election. That is not the followed by a national from the judiciary.
full story though. Further referendum. However, such
more, although one a process would have to Three pieces of legislation
opposition leader of the dovetail somehow with the that are central are in respect
Ngwane National Liberatory process already initiated by specifically of elections are
Congress (NNLC) and the King and just how that the 1992 Establishment of
former Prime Minister, Dr happens still remains a the Parliament of Swaziland;
Obed Dlamini, stood for million dollar question. So the 1992 Elections Order;
elections as an individual there are essentially three (3) and the 1992 Voter
and not representing the basic elements of the Registration. The first Order
NNLC and won a Swaziland executive branch elaborates on the
constituency in Manzini, he of government following the qualifications for
does not feature in the 2003 election namely (a) membership to Parliament,
Cabinet. In fact Obed power consolidation by the the form and composition of
Dlamini’s participation in royal house, (b) exclusion of Parliament, the powers of
the election race has raised a opposition voices in the Parliament, procedures for
number of questions from Cabinet and (c) parliamentary proceedings as
keen observers of the marginalisation of women well as prorogation and
Swaziland political scene. propelled by patriarchal dissolution of Parliament. It
First and foremost why he ideology and traditionalism further prescribes the form
decided to contest the poll (regarding this latter point, and composition as well as
while political parties still see Jackie Kalley in this powers of Cabinet. The 1992
remain banned? Why he volume). Establishment of the
contested the poll while the Parliament of Swaziland
trade union and human rights The King dissolves both the Order provides that “the
alliance (Democratic legislature and the executive King may at any time
Alliance) had decided to just before elections and prorogue or dissolve
boycott the election? What appoints an interim head of Parliament.”5
does he hope to achieve in a government and prior to the
Parliament heavily 2003 election government The 1992 Elections Order
dominated by the King? was dissolved and a former sets out the law that governs
Some have even argued that police commissioner, Mr. the manner in which
there is little that Obed Albert Shabangu (currently elections are conducted in
Dlamini could change under the deputy Prime Minister), Swaziland. This legislation
the circumstances and that was appointed by the King should be read in
the best of his achievement as interim head of conjunction with another
would simply be to press for government until a new related document entitled
unbanning of political government was formed “Notes for Candidates”
parties. and one may also following the election race. which essentially represents
add that all that Obed Compared with both the a useful information bulletin
Dlamini could also try to legislature and the executive, for the candidates during
achieve would be a national the Draft Constitution seems elections. The 1992
to provide much scope for
autonomous powers of the 5
4Cornish, Mail and Guardian judiciary from the King. In GOS, 1992, p.12
October 24, 2003

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Elections Order and this linked to the manner in candidates were nominated
additional document govern which polling stations were of which 300 were females.
the all the three phases of the located within the Following the primary
electoral process namely (a) constituencies themselves. elections, 333 candidates
the pre-election phase; (b) were voted to stand for
the polling day activities; Besides delimitation, another secondary elections of which
and (c) the post-election contentious element of the only 30 were women. Quite
processes including dealing general election in clearly the Swaziland
with election petitions etc. Swaziland revolves around political system is extremely
One of the crucial elements the primary elections. This deficient in this respect.
of the Swaziland election issue is treated adequately by EISA research on primary
revolves around constituency Shumbana Karume in elections in the SADC region
delimitation which process number one of the Election as a whole reveals that this is
then defines the electoral Update of September 2003, one of the hot-spots that
boundaries or what are also and Wole Olaleye in this trigger overt and covert
termed tinkhundla. The volume. Thus details around election-related conflicts due
Delimitation Commission is how the process unfolds will mainly to lack of intra-party
appointed by the King and is not detain us here for it has democracy. But then
the principal authority for been sufficiently interrogated Swaziland provides yet
determining the appropriate elsewhere as mentioned another dimension of the
size of the 55 constituencies above. However, it is worth problem namely that even in
as well as the polling stations mentioning that the whole the absence of political
within the constituencies. process of nominations and parties primary elections are
About 150-200 polling the primary elections used to serve certain
stations were set up themselves are open to entrenched political interests,
throughout the 55 undue influences by in this regard the dynastic
constituencies for the 2003 entrenched political interests elite.
election. Delimitation of given that both processes do
constituencies is a fairly not conform to the one of the Finally, another aspect of the
delicate political process most cardinal principles of electoral process covered by
which requires a trusted democracy, namely secrecy the law, yet still highly
independent and impartial of the vote. Worthy of note controversial, relates to the
body in the form of an also is the fact that during counting of votes once
independent electoral nominations and primary polling has been completed.
commission to undertake. elections no campaigning is Although candidates are
Failing which it suffers not allowed. This happens only supposed to have agents
only a legitimacy crisis from between the primary monitoring the whole voting
the electorate and is easily elections and the secondary and counting process on their
amenable to political elections. Thus, officially behalf, the efficacy of the
manipulation such as campaigning for the 2003 agents left a lot to be desired
gerrymandering by interested elections in Swaziland during the 2003 election.
powerful political actors. happened between 22 Further more, there were not
During the 2003 elections, September and 17 October many observers during the
for instances, there were 2003. Given the short space election to observe the whole
voices in Swaziland which of time for campaigning, the process adequately more so
complained about the electorate has difficulties because the interest of the
delimitation process and the making informed choice of international community in
way in which it tended to preferred representatives in Swaziland (compared to a
disenfranchise some Parliament surely. During country like Zimbabwe for
communities and this was the 2003 about 1500 instance) is almost zero. So

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

the most horrendous election much the same way as Conclusion: Imperatives
irregularities could happen in delimitation of electoral for Democratic Transition
Swaziland without the notice boundaries. Thus, if this in Swaziland
of international and regional exercise is not handled with
observers. Fortunately, the utmost care and diligence, It is abundantly evident from
umbrella body for Swaziland especially through an the above expose and the
NGOs, the Coordinating independent, neutral and subsequent chapters of the
Assembly of Non- impartial body, this can also Update that Swaziland has
Governmental Organisations generate a massive amount been holding regular
(CANGO) monitored the of political dust which, in elections for the composition
whole election process and turn, tarnishes the integrity of the National Assembly
subsequently prepared a of the electoral process and under a political condition
fairly detailed report (see casts the legitimacy of a new considerably devoid of
CANGO, 2003). The process government in serious doubt. democratic content. Thus,
following the polling day is The actual election does not without any equivocation,
extremely open to really happen during polling the major challenge for the
possibilities of irregularities. day if we are to be small Kingdom is surely a
After the last person has technically correct and part smooth democratic
voted in a polling station, of the explanation for the transition. This chapter and
ballot boxes are then ferried outcome of polling day the subsequent chapters in
to a nearby police station activities lies in earlier this Update read together
where they are kept processes. These include with first Update that was
overnight. The following both the delimitation of prepared in September 2003
day, the ballot boxes are constituencies and voter just prior to the election of
ferried once again to a registration. Once things go October 2003 suggests, in
nearby community hall or a haywire on these two fronts, fact, that need for a transition
school building where the outcome of an election is towards multiparty political
counting takes place. In most bound to be clouded in system is more urgent now
other SADC countries, it has incessant and, at times, than say some twenty years
been proven that it is not violent conflict among ago when the Constitution
only cost-effective but also protagonists in the election was suspended in 1973. In
efficient and prudent to have race. Of the total population order to generate debate
votes counted at a polling of about 1.2 million people, within the SADC region on
station and in countries like Swaziland has an eligible this process, we elucidate in
Lesotho the counting at the voting population of about a sketchy fashion some
polling station takes place 600 000, only 228 950, of issues and processes that
immediately after polling. which 119 535 were women need to inform such a
This creates confidence in and 109 415 were men, democratic transition in
the process and makes it less registered for the 2003 Swaziland.
prone to unnecessary election. Although slightly
political intrigue and above the 1998 voter First, the major imperative
manipulation. registration, the low numbers for democratic transition in
of voters still emphasise the Swaziland revolves around a
The last piece of legislation profound problem of voter development of a widely
governing elections in apathy in Swaziland as accepted constitutional
Swaziland is the 1992 Voter elsewhere in the SADC framework. Thus, a new
Registration Order. region as whole (see Wole Constitution is a key
Undoubtedly, registration of Olaleye in this volume). imperative and such a legal
voters tends to be an document should not just
electrically charged process exist but be a living

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

document upon which Third, both the constitutional engineers; and then civil
constitutionalism and the provisions and the actual society and the electorate
Rule of Law are firmly practice in the field of should be the engine. Thus,
anchored. Integral to this applied politics should this proposition calls for
mode of constitutionalism ensure and be predicated constructive and peaceful
should obviously be the Bill upon checks and balances engagement of civil society
of Rights and the revocation between the main layers or with the state for positive
of the 1973 Royal organs of the state namely democratic reforms in
Proclamation that banned the legislature, the judiciary Swaziland.
party political activity. Then, and the executive branches.
a conducive political playing The legislature and the Finally, all said and done,
field would be set in motion. judiciary must be able to the international community
How far the present Draft hold the executive must also show sufficient
Constitution tackles this accountable and reduce interest in the political
imperative still remains a incidences of abuse of power developments in Swaziland.
moot point. Probably the by the latter due to the These should include, inter
general public debate over currently obtaining condition alia, the Southern African
this draft document and the of the political hegemony by Development Community
subsequent referendum (if the dynastic elite. In this (SADC), the African Union
any is planned) will tell us wise, even the current (AU) and the
whether or not this is the condition of high Commonwealth to which
right format for democratic centralisation of power Swaziland is a member. The
transition in Swaziland. within the palace would need interest of the international
to be tampered with. It may community in the
Second, then having sorted be a good opportunity for imperatives for democratic
out the supreme law of the Swaziland to borrow from transition in Swaziland
land, Swaziland then has to Lesotho’s constitutional should start first and
reform its electoral laws and monarchy and deliberately foremost through
electoral institutions steer its political system constructive diplomatic
accordingly. In this vein, more and more away from dialogue aimed at exhorting
obviously all the three pieces the executive monarchy the ruling elite to open up the
of legislation namely (a) the framework. political system in a
1992 Establishment of the democratic direction.
Parliament of Swaziland; (b) Fourth, besides the
the 1992 Election Order; and unbanning of political parties Hopefully before the next
(c) the 1992 Voter for purposes of opening the election in 2008, Swaziland
Registration Order would political marketplace for free will have undergone these
have to be amended in order and unfettered competition momentous developments
to conform to a new for control of state power, it and following that the key
democratic Constitution. is also imperative that civil challenge, would shift from
Equally important is the society movement in democratic transition to that
whole issue of reform of the Swaziland be allowed ample of democratic consolidation.
election management body space to operate and lobby
(EMB) away from a policy actors for a more
government department democratic dispensation. References
towards an independent and Democracy operates
impartial body in the form of somewhat like a car; the CANGO. 2003. “Report of the
an independent electoral state institutions are the Electoral Support Network
Observer Mission on the Primary
commission. drivers; political parties are and Secondary Elections in
the motor mechanic

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

Swaziland in 2003”, Mbabane


Cornish, J. “Not all the Swazi

King’s men”, Mail and Guardian,
24 October 2003.

Government of Kingdom of
Swaziland. 1992. The
Establishment of the Parliament of
Swaziland Order, Nkhanini.

Government of the Kingdom of

Swaziland. 1992. Elections Order,

Government of the Kingdom of

Swaziland. 1992. Voter
Registration Order, Nkhanini.

Government of the Kingdom of

Swaziland. 2003. Draft
Constitution of Swaziland,

Government of the Kingdom of

Swaziland. Undated. Notes for
Candidates No.2. Mbabane.

Lodge, T., Kadima, D. and Pottie,

D (eds). 2001. Compendium of
Elections in Southern Africa,
Johannesburg: The Electoral
Institute of Southern Africa.

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2


Towards a political culture embedded Unfortunately, the King,

Democratic within the liberal democratic who holds all the executive
mould. African intellectuals power, is not accountable to
Transition in and leaders have called on citizens. For example, while
Swaziland Africans to find a democratic corruption is all too common
system suitable to African in democracies, including
Claude Kabemba dynamics. Swaziland (King well-established ones, an
Electoral Institute of and his entourage) claims to independent Parliament and
Southern Africa have found that system. judiciary along with a free
What the King and his press, can check abuses of
Introduction entourage fail to appreciate, power and sanction where
however, is that there are possible. This is not possible
Swaziland has just organised universal principles beyond in Swaziland as far as the
its National Elections. simply as King people to King, and his entourage, is
Judging from the observer vote or choose who would concerned.
mission reports, these were represent them in Parliament
well organised and for a system of governance The Parliament in Swaziland
administered. But these to be really legitimate. First, does not fulfil the role
elections, as were the there is the need to have the expected of such structure in
previous ones, have been presence of parties around democracies. Democratically
discredited not on the basis which the entire electoral elected leaders have an
of the organisational point of process takes place. important additional source
view but on the Secondly, the entire political of legitimacy that can
understanding that no system from the electoral reinforce their ability to
elections can be credible system, distribution of power make decision in all spheres
outside political parties’ to the accountability of of state activities. This is not
competition to access power leaders must be accepted by the case in Swaziland where
and on the basis that the majority of citizens for it the Parliament is said to be
elections must lead to the to be seen as democratic. It rubber stamp of the King to
creation of a legitimate and should also be understood all intents and purposes. The
credible Parliament. that under a democratic system in Swaziland has
system elected leaders are been criticised first for its
Current Political accountable to the people. nepotistic and kleptocratic
Development in Swaziland: Accountability is one of the tendencies. For example,
Opening Pandora’s Box? most critical ingredients of following the recent
any democratic system. elections, the King used his
The question that challenges Indeed there are countries prerogatives recognised by
political scientists and policy that hold elections through a law to appoint 10 MPs to
makers alike in Southern multiparty system and where compliment the 55 MPs
Africa is how to deal with leaders are not accountable. popularly elected. He used
Swaziland which claims to The argument here is that the occasion to appoint his
have found a political system under a representative own family members.
that is rooted in traditional system of government, Among the 10 were his
culture immune from undue leaders are more likely to be nephew Mphiwa Dlamini.
influences of the western accountable to their people. He also appointed his

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

brother, Prince David calling for more freedom. a King, it is intended to

Dlamini as MP. He further Often times, the King has satisfy his subjects and
named his sister, Princess promised change but unsure improve their lives. It is
Tsandzile to Parliament. It is of his hold on power or therefore logical that if the
this kind of behaviour from unsure of his ability and people are not happy with
the King that creates tension indispensability, he the way they are being
in society and exposes the continues to use an iron fist, governed or ruled alternative
deliberate political in a typically Machiavellian form of governance must be
enfeeblement of the fashion, to silence the found through a consensual
country’s Parliament. The opposition voices. It is only approach. Even in America
futility of Parliament is fair to conclude that there and Europe, there are
further reinforced by the fact has not been shift of mindset questions about democracy.
that the legislature has no in terms of democratisation There are questions about
power. In effect, MPs do not in Swaziland, a situation that electoral system. There are
create laws, but debate laws contrasts sharply with what questions about the rights
brought to them by the currently obtains in a and levels of participation.
Cabinet ministers, who are majority of the SADC There are questions on the
palace appointees. member states today. authority of government’s
actions in controversial
Banning of political parties Swaziland’s political situations. But the
is another infringement on impasse is traceable from opportunity given to people
the democratic right of the 1973 when the King to debate freely and propose
Swazi people. The King has abrogated the Constitution. alternatives is the power
failed to positively react to Current indicators and in behind the much-celebrated
the call of civil society to view of the content of the democracy in various parts
deal with this issue and even new Constitution, the King’s of the world especially social
the much-awaited position is still that of an democracies in the
Constitution does not absolute monarchy with Scandinavia for instance.
recognise political parties. wide-ranging powers. The Definitely, the Swazi people
For the King, as was for his new Constitution, still to be are not different from other
father in 1973, political ratified by the King, is being people and are also capable
parties are the source of criticised as a contrivance of generating good ideas and
problems and do not advance meant to keep the monarchy propositions that can help the
democratic rights. The in power forever. The King and his government to
political leadership in Constitution strengthens the advance the common good.
Swaziland prefers to relate to powers of the traditional
conflict between political leadership, and can be read Nevertheless, all is not lost
parties in SADC and lack of as forbidding organised in Swaziland. While the idea
democracy within these political opposition to royal of democracy is potentially
parties as enough good rule. The King in Swaziland viable everywhere, the
reason to maintain their has confused the chieftaincy process of democratisation is
position not to allow and governing. He is King long and hard, especially in
multipartism through through tradition and not countries where political
political parties. The King because of his capacity to progress is hostage to
has long promised and govern. economic difficulties linked
blocked political reform at to culture. The new
the same time. As a result Elections are held for the Constitution has introduced
tension has risen sharply in welfare of the citizens and some positive changes
recent years with pro- one assumes that a leader though limited. While the
democracy and trade unions whatever he does, especially Constitution maintains the

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

power of the King, it does that this Constitution did not process of democratisation.
have a Bill of Rights and emanate from a wider The challenge is to develop
recognises the freedom of consultation. Civil society people’s participation and
association. It also refers to organisations were never awareness in the political
the status of women. It consulted and the selective management. The creation
makes provision for the manner in which of a democratic society in
increase of women submissions were made Swaziland cannot start until
representation in Parliament opened room for the and unless there is a drastic
and government. The 2003 rejection of the Constitution behavioural change from the
election did not improve on even before one could even Kingdom. It is thus
women representation; only consider its form and imperative that the capacity
9 women were elected to content. There is a need to of pressure groups is
Parliament and two go back to the drawing board enhanced and their
nominated by the King. We and rethink a better institutional capacity to play
have today 11 women MPs constitutional route for this role effectively and
out of 65 MPs. Swaziland. register meaningful impact
Nevertheless, these changes assured.
demonstrate that the King is Second, the place and role of
not, as one would like to the King in future political Fourth, Swaziland is a
believe, insensitive to the system must be well country where the power of
cries and supplications of his determined. Arguably, tradition is so pervasive and
subjects. Swaziland may have to as a result the governance
follow the Lesotho example process is marked by clear
Way Forward of a constitutional monarchy bifurcation: Western modern
(see Matlosa in this volume). model and traditionalism.
First, there is no doubt His traditional role as the Apparently, the biggest
reforms are quickly needed father of the nation should challenge for Swaziland is
in Swaziland. Consensus not be tempered with. precisely how to strike the
must be reached on key balance between the two
issues. These reforms should Third, civil society forms of governance and the
cover the Constitution and organisations play a critical dilemma is how to go about
the electoral law in the first role in the transformation of it? Fortunately, there are
instance. The negotiations societies. The movement of already examples on the
would have to include all change in other countries in continent of good practice to
stakeholders from the King, SADC was the work of bring about a peaceful
political parties, civil society internal forces. Swaziland transformation. In Southern
and citizens. There is no civil society has not been Africa, Lesotho could be a
shortcut to political able to pressure the country from which
transformation. Any change monarchy to introduce Swaziland could learn.
that would try to sideline fundamental change for the
major actors would not be past decade. There is no Fifth, the Tinkhundla system
sustainable in the long run. It doubt the democratisation of organising elections must
is with this in mind that process would be slow be changed or amended to
Khabele Matlosa argues, “it without civil society ensure that it is more open,
would be difficult to have agitation (see Matlosa in this transparent and competitive
the current Draft volume). Quite obviously, to give electorate sufficient
Constitution adopted as a there is need for a working room to make informed
collective Constitutional partnership between and choices on the people who
vision.” The underlying among the state, private should govern them. As a
basis for this argument is sector and civil society in the consequence of the

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

Tinkhundla system, the References

Parliament as an important
overseeing institution does Integrated Regional Information
not have the material means Network (IRIN), 10/31/2003
or required capacity to fulfill Matlosa, K.2003. “Constitutional
its triple functions of Development” in Election Update
national representation, 2003: Swaziland , No. 1. Electoral
legislative output and control Institute of Southern Africa.
of government activity. This
results essentially from the
lack of a true parliamentary
tradition which, itself, is a
consequence of the King
executive power and
domination that does not
allow the Parliament to
acquire the necessary means
and mechanisms to operate
in a system where the
powers are separated. There
is therefore need to
strengthen and protect
Parliament from the
executive interference (the
King) as it is now. But this
would only be possible when
the entire electoral system is
reformed and method of
governance adjusted with
emphasis on the separation
power between the
executive, the judiciary and

Sixth, the SADC region has

a greater role to play in this
process. The SADC region
and democratic states in the
region must take upon
themselves to help and
gently guide the Swaziland
government to come up with
a negotiated system of
governance. SADC must
engage the King and guide
the Kingdom to go through
what will be a slow and long
road to a democratic

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2


Post-mortem of noted a disparate mood and a noted all sorts of allegations

the Swaziland slightly less optimistic about the registration
picture. A few allegations of certificate, from aspiring
General violence were reported in the MPs alleged to have bought
Election of press; there were claims in voter certificates to some
2003 two constituencies; Logoba even stealing them. The
and Luve that some men capacity of the Elections
Shumabana Karume used violence to force voters Office also came into
Electoral Institute of to vote for certain question. Candidates
Southern Africa candidates. References were admitted that there were
also made to a few isolated some successes in terms of
Pre-Election Environment cases of intimidation and putting in place all the
and the Campaign corrupt practices that necessary mechanisms;
occurred during the however it was felt that
The atmosphere of the 2003 campaign period. The most various issues on the process
Parliamentary elections in commonly mentioned case had not been clearly
Swaziland was rife with referred to the traditional articulated to the electorate.
contradictory moods. On the chief who used his influence They also lamented on other
one hand external observers to intimidate voters in his shortcomings such as the
were made to believe that an chiefdom. The Chief unavailability of the voters
enthusiastic mood prevailed Electoral Officer in response register to the public before
among both the eligible issued a statement warning the election. This meant that
voters and the overseers of “that people who manipulate voters could not check on or
the elections, for very others would be found challenge their entry.
distinct reasons for each guilty” but this was mere
group. The election rhetoric, proclaimed sceptics. The court cases arising from
authorities were confident primary election disputes
that all systems for the The mood among the generated even more
elections were in place; 150- candidates was one of uncertainty. A total of 10
200 polling stations had been uncertainty and concern. lawsuits were filed after the
prepared to serve at least Particular issues on which primary elections, most of
200,000 eligible voters. The some candidates expressed which alleged vote rigging
enthusiasm among the concern focused on election and other forms of electoral
eligible voters stemmed from preparations; and the trade of fraud. The day before the
the possible adoption of the registration certificates. The elections three court cases
Draft Constitution, which registration certificate is the still had not been resolved by
political analysts at the key to voting and contains the High Court which
University of Swaziland particulars of the voter. In resulted in the temporary
believed had given these fact it is the only means by suspension of elections in the
elections a catalyst to which voters could be three constituencies involved
overcome voter apathy. identified and confirmed in in the election disputes. The
the voter’s roll and thereby allegations behind the
On the other hand the daily allowed to cast their vote. disputes varied; in
papers and several Weeks prior to the elections, Maseyisini constituency the
stakeholders consulted, however several stakeholders former Member of

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

Parliament for the area public consultation on the allowed, it is only

accused the former Justice Draft Constitution had been independent campaigning
Minister of registering completed. Pro- democracy that is prohibited; meaning
people in absentia, and of activists who called on that permission from both
intimidating a Returning people to boycott the ballot the Election Office and the
Officer, whilst both in included the Swaziland constituency head has to be
Nkhaba and Gege Democratic Alliance (SDA), sought before meetings of a
constituencies, disputes an umbrella organisation that political nature can be held.
arose from claims that voters includes labour and human Once permission has been
were intimidated and others rights groups and the obtained campaigns are then
assaulted to prevent them Swaziland Federation of held in the tinkhundla
from voting. Political Trade Unions (SFTU). centers, the only venue
analysts announced that Despite the boycott, however where such meetings can be
these court cases should have we were informed that there held, as stated in the 1973
been ironed out at the latest was unprecedented euphoria proclamation. Traditionally,
by Friday, the eve of the and excitement. Quite a large the Returning Officers
elections but many cases had section of the population together with the
been grounded because there took these elections more constituency headman,
were no judges to preside seriously than previous introduce the candidates to
over them. Given that the elections and did not heed the constituencies and then
court was, in fact, in a two their call for an election organise standard
week recess during this boycott and included some campaigning meetings,
period, it is no wonder that members of the banned where each candidate is
several of those interviewed political parties who were given equal time. In the
charged that “the involved as independent previous elections candidates
Parliamentary elections were candidates. Obed Dlamini, a would be given at most 15
being held under the absence former Prime Minister from minutes to campaign. It was
of the rule law”. Moreover, 1989 to 1993 and president observed that more time to
the law in relation to election of the political organisation, campaign was allocated to
petitions contributed to the Ngwane National candidates for these
making the pre-election Liberatory Congress elections. Other low key
process more precarious. As (NNLC) contested the conduits for campaigning
it currently stands in the election. Notwithstanding purposes were also utilised;
Voter Registration Order of the boycott, the progressives’ these included posters, T-
1992, the law is not clear on reaction to these elections shirts, the print media as well
the effect of the filing of an was low-key in contrast to as the national radio.
appeal to a Magistrate, High the 1998 elections. There
Court Judge or even Court of were no rallies to dissuade Outside the structured
Appeal. This factor needs to voters from participating and meetings candidates
be clarified so that the nor were there protest campaigned as they wished.
election process is not activities staged to provoke Because the law does not
affected and the elections the authorities. have any specific campaign
can continue with certainty. regulations which govern the
It is worth noting that the Campaigning activities and conduct of
elections were also slightly candidates, the process is
affected by a stay-away Campaigning commenced on easily manipulated. We were
campaign staged by pro- 22 September and ended on told that the mechanisms and
democracy groups, who had 17 October 2003, the day procedures of campaigning
advocated the postponement before the general elections. are laidback; and there is a
of the general elections until Campaigning in Swaziland is lot of space to manoeuvre.

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

That said the Election Order was higher than average, employment generating
of 1992 does list what is unleveling the playing field projects.
considered as unethical to their advantage. There
practice. Part II of the Order was the possibility that high We were also informed that
lists the following as corrupt profile candidates linked to the composition of
practices to which candidates political organisations candidates in these elections
are expected to adhere: benefited both in terms of tended to dilute the quality
(sections 63) treating the voter support and assistance of the campaign promises.
provision of meat, drink or from their organisations. For Candidates did not seem to
refreshment in order to that reason we noted that the have the political attitude
influence voters, (section 64) involvement of “independent one would require in aspiring
using or threatening to use candidates” in future MPs. We were told that two
force violence or elections will bring some school-going children were
supernatural means to daunting challenges to the contesting the elections and
persuade a person to vote, electoral processes, which they used rhetoric that did
(section 65) the giving or can be addressed via not quite connect to politics.
offering of money, gifts, enacting appropriate For instance they were heard
rewards, etc to promise legislation. to have said that they were
anyone to vote. Candidates hungry and they needed a
hardly adhered to these rules Both the absence of political chance to earn money as an
and as a result campaign parties and the calibre of MP. They also focused on
irregularities were rampant. candidates affected the minor issues such as
There were a lot of quality of campaign promising to provide a
complaints about how the promises and issues. Because football pitch. Celebrity
campaign process went and candidates have no party candidates also found some
there were allegations that platforms to follow, voter appeal this year. With
some candidates donated campaign issues were more politicians banned in the
food hampers to prospective situational and dependent per Kingdom, it was not
voters, provided their own constituency than policy uncommon to see individuals
transport and other forms of based as expected in party with such diverse
bribes to entice voters. political campaigning. In the background such as fashion
absence of political parties and radio producers contest
The unprecedented aspiring MPs tend to focus these elections. The general
involvement of members of more on local issues that sentiment was that the
banned political parties as matter to their electorate at election was a popularity
candidates in these elections community level than on contest and that people
introduced new elements in issues that emphasise sought to be MPs for
the election process that beg national plans and priorities. personal gains.
some attention. As much as As a result there was no
their participation was a uniformity in the campaign Essentially candidates are
welcome initiative which issues; these ranged from restricted to certain issues
had created some excitement HIV/AIDS related issues due to the mode of
in constituencies and such as passing the necessary governance that presently
galvanised interest, it caused legislation to address the rules Swaziland. Many felt it
some suspicion among the issue of orphans from was unnecessary to draw on
non-politically affiliated HIV/AIDS pandemic, to policy specifics of how they
candidates. We were others promising to resolve would press for reform given
informed that due to their the problem of the Rule of that Parliament is usually
connection with political Law, and promising voters used as an advisory body and
groups their level of capacity with roads, clinics and MPs lack the power to

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

deliver on their promises. the voter education for instituting political

Because of this, MPs in implemented by the Election reform.
Swaziland are seen more as Office was narrow and not There was one success story,
extension of government well structured. It only however. A few NGOs
officers than legislators. focused on the electoral conducted a successful civic
processes and did not engage education programme under
Civic and Voter Education all voters. The general the Vote for Women
complaint was that the Campaign. This engaged
The responsibility for Office’s programmes women candidates in a
conducting voter education reached the converted and comprehensive education
during elections usually falls not the majority of the rural process by holding
on the National Elections population. Their use of the workshops to instruct
Office. In this regard the electronic media was also women candidates on
Chief Electoral Officer insufficient; it mostly elections issues, gender
reported that a nation wide entailed a half hour empowerment and most
voter education programme programme. Moreover the importantly, how to run a
was conducted by placing Office had an impractical successful campaign. We
notices in Swaziland’s monopoly on voter were reminded that the fact
national dailies and using education. The idea was for that there were as many as
both the state’s radio and the Elections Office to 30 women running as
television facilities to subcontract the job, however candidates in these elections
advertise the elections. the Chief Elections Officer was an indication that the
Pamphlets and booklets were and deputy conducted it campaign had achieved its
also distributed informing themselves. goals.
the voting population on all
the different stages of the To complement the whole Media Coverage
elections; from the civic education exercise a
registration, nomination, and few NGOs conducted their The print media in
campaigning to the voting own voter education Swaziland played an
phase for both primary and programmes, but faced some important role in keeping the
secondary elections. We official resistance at voters and all stakeholders
were informed that the community level. NGOs we informed about the elections
information and education met told us that although by their extensive coverage
officers in addition went these elections provided of the elections not only in
around the communities plenty of opportunities for the run up to the secondary
using dramatisations to such initiatives they were elections but also during the
explain the election unable to manoeuvre, and preceding different phases
processes. The Office had mobilise people freely. This was a marvel
also hoped to contract some Another reason cited by considering there was a
NGOs to carry out these NGOs for their minimal parallel process on
activities but admitted that involvement in voter constitutional issues in the
due to limitations on the education this time, was that Kingdom, which was equally
budget they were able to do the Draft Constitution review important in terms of
relatively little thus making diverted attention from the coverage. We observed
voter education for these elections. Issues related to however that the approach
elections inadequate. the elections had been the two main dailies; the
sidelined, instead NGOs Times of Swaziland and the
The NGO community voiced preferred to engage people Observer took was different
similar sentiments. They on constitutional issues as it from one another. The
charged that the content of provided a larger framework Observer seeing that it was

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

government owned took a about 5 minutes. Moreover to explain the haphazard

conservative approach to the there seemed to have been coverage of both the print
elections whereas the Times some collaboration to ensure and electronic media on
of Swaziland, a privately that both the Swaziland election issues. Most media
owned paper took a Broadcasting Corporation personnel commented that
progressive approach and and other privately owned they were not aware of a
tended to sensationalise the broadcasting stations gave policy, law or even a
issues. With regard to the aspiring MPs equal access. commission that ensures that
content of their coverage we elections were covered
noted that the eight cases Reports from the local effectively and fairly or one
that arose from the primary observers as well as that allocates fair and free
election disputes, received representatives form the time to all candidates. In
more coverage in both media indicated that the use recent months however,
dailies than pertinent of the media by the Elections media practitioners with the
electoral issues that are Office was very limited. Media Institute of Southern
aimed at informing the Most commented that there Africa (MISA)’s assistance
electorate. The local was very little feedback from have agreed to establish a
observers and media the Elections Office to the Code of Conduct to be
personnel indicated that various media outlets launched in November that
coverage by the broadcasting regarding the election would govern their activities
media on the other hand was process. Local observers but these, we were reminded,
scant. There were no blamed this lack of are attempts at self-
programmes or any other communication on the regulation. At the end of the
discussions on elections in mistrust the Election day, Swaziland has no
the few weeks leading to the Officers had for the media. regulatory code or law that
polling day. That said, at least one will bind media to any of
representative from the these codes.
The response from the media outlets commented
contesting candidates positively on the The Poll and the Count
regarding access to the interventions of the Elections
media varied. Some Office to ensure that Opening and closing times
individuals commented that pertinent information
there had been unfairness in regarding the election Approximately 45 polling
terms of giving people equal process was regularly fed to stations were visited by
access; that candidates with the media. In a related EISA Fact Finding Team in
financial influence had matter, we observed that three constituencies;
greater access to the print there was no monitoring Lobamba in the Manzini
media. And usually those mechanism within the region, Piggs Peak in
featured were mostly the Elections Office to assess the Hhohho Region and
popular candidates, which media’s coverage of Dvokodweni in the
tended to marginalise those elections. This would have Lubombo Region. Although
in rural communities with no ensured that the media the opening and closing
assets. Others however played a more constructive times were clearly set out in
commended the broadcasting role in the elections. the notice that was issued on
media for providing 16 July 2003 by the King of
equitable access. The It is worth noting that there Swaziland, they varied
Swaziland Information is no Code of Conduct substantially across the
Broadcasting they noted, regarding the behaviour of country. Some were opened
allowed all candidates to the media especially during as early as 5.00 am and
canvass in the airwaves for elections, which may serve others at 6.00 am and they

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

closed between 5.00 pm and caused some confusion that in almost all the polling
6.00pm. These differences in among the voters and stations the team visited the
opening and closing times compelled the government to outer perimeter was not
that we observed were a arrange transport at the last clearly marked, hence it was
result of miscommunication minute. We also noted that difficult to assess whether or
between the Election Office voting stations were not not any form of candidate
and its staff. The correct easily accessible. Those who campaigning taking place
times were clearly not did not have official was or was not taking place
communicated to the transport had to walk for within the perimeter.
Presiding Officers; many it long hours.
seemed had different Voting procedures
information and were not Each polling station
aware of the correct times. according to the polling The polling arrangements are
There were some cases procedures was supposed to clearly set down in the
however where the voting be staffed and managed by Election Order of 1992,
process was delayed as a the Presiding Officer, polling which also states the laws
result of agents and officers and security regarding the counting and
candidates arriving late and personnel. The Presiding results process. The rules
the material being delivered Officer’s main and regulations, we
late. responsibilities were to concluded were not
maintain a commanding appropriately communicated
Polling Station set-up position, give directions as by the Election Office to its
may be necessary, explain to staff, nor were they followed
Most voting stations were voters the correct uniformly across the country
laid out correctly, with procedures, give assistance as they are set out in the
adequate facilities and voting and keep order. A Returning Order. This conclusion was
space. Sufficient number of Officer was also appointed based on the following
tables and chairs and for each constituency observations.
adequate supplies of forms, responsible for the general
voters’ rolls, ordinary and arrangement and conduct of We observed that there were
tendered ballot papers were the poll in that constituency. many other cases where
made available. There were We noticed that in some polling procedures were not
two forms of ballot papers, stations, however not all the uniformly followed. Some
one for the election of the required staff was present. stations did not check for
Member of Parliament and Some stations had the 8 indelible ink on voters
the other for the election of required staff and others had thumbs neither did they
the Indvuna/community less than four. It was also stamp the voters certificate.
headman. difficult to identify them; in Some were stamped at the
some stations the election end of the voting at some
The number of polling staff was easily identifiable polling stations and at other
stations was adequate; in fact with their bright orange polling stations not stamped
the Election Office had election bibs whilst in others at all. At most of the stations
arranged for a total of 150- staff did not have any form we visited we found more
200 polling stations. of identification to denote than one voter inside the
However, the Election their status, which made it station which is against
Office, without prior notice difficult for observers to voting procedure whilst
combined two stations in one identify those that had other stations only allowed
location for some districts, permission to be in the one voter at a time.
the morning of the election. stations and those that did According to the Election
This change of location not. It is also worth noting Order of 1992 in section 22,

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

no person is admitted to a stated that a particular name observed that this was more
polling station unless his/her in the registers roll referred a result of inadequate staff
name appears on the register to him but there was training by the Election
of voters. Persons who are evidence that a ballot paper Office than inability of the
exempt are of course, the had already been issued in officials to perform their
Election Officers, security his name, not all polling tasks. This raises questions
officers, the candidates’ officers followed procedures about staff training and is an
agents and observes. The as stipulated in the Election indication that there may not
sealing of ballot boxes also Order. Some followed the have been an adequate
differed, we observed that instructions by issuing him a administrative system
many stations only had their tendered ballot paper and provided by the Election
ballot boxes locked and asking the voter to sign a Office for its staff to operate
many were not sealed with declaration whilst others in.
thread and sealing wax as allowed such voters to vote
stipulated in the regulations using the ordinary ballot. All Secrecy of the ballot
these different cases arose
There were some positive because the registration The secrecy of the ballot
observations however. For certificate did not have during the voting was
instance we noted that adequate information of the generally assured except for
electoral officials observed voter and was open to the assisted voters, in
the rules quite well with manipulation and vote particular the elderly, whose
regard to voters’ buying. The Elections Office secrecy was compromised as
identification. Most admitted that this was an they had to be assisted by the
demanded to see the issue that needed to be Presiding Officer. This is
registration certificate or the modified. The fact that the authorised, however in such
stipulated identification certificate did not have a instances we observed that
documents in the case where picture for instance was others too, assisted voters
a voter had misplaced his or problematic. such as the security officers.
her certificate. They also When assisting incapacitated
turned away voters that did Electoral staff performance voters, Presiding Officers
not have either form of were required to enter the
identification, although there The mission observed that name of the voter on a form
were very few such cases. for the most part, election for record keeping; a
There were cases where the officials carried out their procedure that was not
Presiding Officer allowed duties efficiently and in an always followed. A further
voters without appropriate impartial manner. Each tendency that might have
voter certificates to vote station we visited was staffed undermined the ballot
provided their names were by a sufficient number of secrecy was the way in
identified in the registers roll officials which helped to which some voting booths
and provided the identity of overcome the workload as were positioned. In a few
the voter was confirmed by a this ensured that each staff instances the open end of the
traditional chief. In general, was designated a particular voting booth was facing
in those stations we visited task. Presiding Officers in windows or officials.
we observed that Presiding particular, should be Additionally, the team was
Officers only allowed those commended for their diligent particularly concerned with
who were on the register to work and support they the writing of the registration
vote. provided their staff. In a few number on the counterfoil of
of the reported cases where the ballot paper, this meant
However, in cases where the procedures were not that it was possible to
applicant for a ballot paper followed correctly, the team ascertain who each voter

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

voted for. Fundamentally have their representatives process. The team, in

the ballot was not at all present. As for the local addition, observed that
secret, and one could view observers, it appeared to closing arrangements slightly
this practice as a form of have been the first time that differed per station. The
intimidation, among other NGOs deployed domestic procedures for the safe
things. observers to observe the keeping of all the sensitive
electoral processes. There election material for
Security forces was no provision for their example, varied. Most
involvement in the electoral Presiding Officers took the
Security forces made up of laws but with regard to responsibility in safekeeping
both police and soldiers were candidate agents, the law the material. Other stations
present at all times in the does set out the rules stored them together with the
stations we visited. It was concerning their ballot boxes at the police
not clear how many were appointment. It states that a stations. We also noted that
authorised to be at each candidate may appoint, if candidates’ agents did not
station but we noted that s/he wishes, one polling always accompany the ballot
there was an uneven agent and one messenger to boxes to the designated
distribution of security represent him at each polling police station, yet again
forces. Fewer forces were station, but the Election another example of how
deployed to rural areas than Office must be informed in inadequately informed they
to stations located in urban writing of the elected were of their responsibilities.
areas. Their presence, there representatives at least seven
however may have been days before the polling day. Counting of votes at polling
more important for Candidates’ agents however, stations
maintaining order. Overall we noted seemed unaware of
there were no incidents of their duties and did not raise The counting took place the
overt voter intimidation but any complaints or concerns next morning and the process
their performance could have even when warranted. overall proceeded
been more thoroughly Generally agents did not satisfactorily and swiftly
assessed. A related issue fulfill their role as expected, especially as the stipulated
worth pointing out is that in indicating that extensive counting procedures were
some instances, security training is necessary. few and manageable.
forces directly assisted Security forces were present
voters cast their ballot, and Closure throughout and particularly
not the Returning Officer as effective during the
stipulated by the election Again closing times, as transportation of the ballots.
laws. This practice should be already noted above, varied Candidates and their agents
discouraged in future across the country. Most as well as local and
elections. closed at 6.00 pm, the international observes were
stipulated time and the team also present but in some
Local Observers and concluded that overall the stations Returning
Candidates’ agents closing process went Officer/unaccredited persons
smoothly, with the exception were allowed to observe the
Domestic observers and of a few stations. At a voting counting.
candidates agents were station in Dvokodweni
deployed to observe the delays were experienced and Some observers reported
polling process. In some there seemed to be some delays in transporting the
stations, however there were confusion among staff about ballots from the police
no agents; some candidates the procedures to be stations. At a counting
obviously saw no need to followed during the closing station in the Lobamba

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

constituency delays seemed included the names of most

to have resulted from mere of those who voted, there
disorganisation, counting were some instances where
commenced two hours after voters who had transfered
the material had been were not on a particular
delivered. It is worth noting consitituency register
that in stations we observed, because the transfers had not
the ballot boxes and other been properly addressed or
election material were completed in time. Another
appropriately sealed as they shortcoming of the processes
had been the previous night. as highlighted in the above
Procedures overall were account and needs to be
followed with the exception brought to the attention of
of the Lobamba High School the Election Office, is that
counting station where the certain proceedures as
Presiding Officer did not required by the election laws
verify the count nor tally up were overlooked by the
used and unused ballots. election staff.

Conclusion of the poll and

the count

In conclusion, the voting

process went swiftly in all
the regions, Presiding
Officers and their staff
executed their tasks
professionally and in an
impartial manner. The
Election Office of Swaziland
is highly commended for the
successful conduct of the
election especially given that
it is staffed by only a handful
of individuals . The
delegation also congratulates
the Office for the inclusion
of women among polling
The mission however,
observed some inefficiencies
in the management of the
election. In some cases
voters did not always
understand the voting
proceedures especially in the
rural areas, a reflection of the
inadequacy of the voter
education provided.
Although the voters roll

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

Traditional Politics Re-examined

Chiefdom impasse between the Kingdom of Swaziland

Politics vs traditionalist and the and its people, finally
pro-democracy groups. released the first draft in
Electoral May 2003 only to find
Processes in The impasse is a result that the issue of political
Swaziland of domination of the parties was omitted.
political landscape by This was a
Wole Olaleye the royalist faction, disappointment to many
Electoral Institute of which dates back to of the progressive
Southern Africa April 1973 when the groups and individuals.
Constitution was The final
Background to suspended by King recommendation of the
Election Results Sobhuza II. Political Commission on an
parties were banned appropriate and effective
An election is a under the pretence that political system for
demonstration of the parties are allegedly Swaziland is a no-
will of the people on responsible for the political party system
who should govern undesirable political based on the tinkhundla
through popular vote. activities, bordering on system
The process leading to the subversive that are
the general elections in completely foreign to, As the tinkhundla
October 2003, which and incompatible with system evolved, its
started in July 2003, the normal and peaceful social engineers
with the nomination of way of life of the Swazi remained adamant
candidates for the people. This state of against the necessity of
legislative seats, was affairs continues to political parties for the
interrupted twice create a rift between the proper functioning of
because of poor voter defenders of the society in Swaziland for
participation in the monarch and the several reasons. Most
nomination process. It progressives, who are importantly, they
was observed that the calling for unbanning of maintain that political
nomination process was political parties, and parties’ are incompatible
conducted in an total reform of with Swazi chiefdom
undemocratic manner in Swaziland political system. They claimed
some areas because system. All hopes and that political parties
traditional chiefs aspirations were dashed allow division within
prevented citizens’ their by the 31 member society in party
rights to nominate Constitutional Review affiliation and impose a
people of their choice Committee (CRC) set up structure that allows
because of personal by the King, Mswati III elections to be
grudges. It is quite in July 1996. The CRC, dominated by those who
ironic that this which was to draft a derived influence from
nomination took place new Constitution wealth or high status.
under a state of political suitable for the This they argue, violates

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

Swazi tradition that inadequate attempt to constituency (inkhundla)

allows everyone, involve citizen representative in the
regardless of status, to participation in political House of Assembly. The
contribute on an equal processes, especially in second stage involves
basis to matters of local elections. secret voting. Polls
and national interest; usually take place every
and opened the way to The first tinkhundla five years: 1993, 1998,
political corruption, the elections were and 2003.
funding of certain conducted in 1993.
political groups by Swaziland is now the Voter turnout in 1998
foreign powers, and the only country in Southern elections was lower than
“buying” of votes by Africa without a in 1993, with just 30%
interest groups with the multiparty system. The of eligible voters casting
necessary financial monarchy is hereditary; their ballots2 Banned
means. the Prime Minister is political parties, trade
appointed by the unions and other pro-
The King, Mswati III monarch. A bicameral democracy groups had
introduced a new Parliament, an advisory called for a boycott of
electoral dispensation in body, consists of the the 1998 election and
1992 through the Senate (appointed by the some observers say that
establishment of House of Assembly and this was a significant
Parliament of Swaziland the monarch) and the reason for the poor level
Order 1992. The Voter House of Assembly of voter participation3
Registration Order 1992 (appointed by the (Ibid). Others suggest
and the Election Order monarch and elected by that apathy and a lack of
19921 (See Matlosa in popular vote). There are civic education played a
this volume). Prior to two stages in the part, as well as
1992, the choice of who elections for the 55 disillusionment with
should become a public elected members: incumbent MPs. In fact,
representative was a sole primaries and secondary the percentage turnout
responsibility of the elite elections. Nomination of was not very different
within the Electoral candidates takes place from that of other
College. The citizens by show of hands in African countries that
were only responsible open session at a have recently held
for electing members of meeting held at a local elections (Zimbabwe
the Electoral College, school or the chief's 27%, Niger 28%,
who then elected kraal. The candidates do Botswana 45%, Zambia
Members of Parliament. not officially put 34%) under a one party
These amendments themselves forward, but dominant political actor.
partially shifted the must be proposed by the Voter turnouts are lower
power of electing public people within respective where there is
representation away chiefdoms. Those manipulation of political
from the Electoral nominated then go into a power.
College, which is an primary election and the
winners are put on to the
1Commonwealth Expert ballot for the 2 Rule: 1998
Team: 2003 Ibid.

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

What is clear from the would have wanted such results of the
2003 Swaziland a dramatic change but Parliamentary and the
elections result is that this is not the case. Of Tindvuna Tetinkhundla
there was widespread the 30 members of the elections on 21 October
dissatisfaction with the Senate - the upper house 2003. The result of the
performance of of Parliament - 20 are election announced
incumbent MPs - a large appointed by the King. excludes constituencies
number of whom were The King has where elections result
not re-elected into considerable amount of were disputed either at
Parliament and serious power and scope to exert the primary and
evidence of voter substantial influence secondary levels.
disengagement in the over election process.
election. This would The number of votes
appear to suggest that Summary of the 2003 secured by the elected
the process is relatively Elections Results Parliamentary and
free from the influence Tindvuna Tetinkhundla
of the chiefs, since it The Chief Electoral candidates is as follows:
seems unlikely that they Officer declared the

Table 1: Votes won by elected representatives in different constituencies


Hhohho Lobamba Khumalo Marwick 902 Khumalo 699
Hhukwini Sibanyoni Mamisa 621 Mkhabela Titus 629
Maphalaleni Dlamini Michael 758 Manana 662
Motshane Shongwe Elijah M. 869 Dlamini Robert 662
Nkhaba** No Elections Nil No Elections Nil
Mbabane East Dlamini Esther 538 Mshengu Mabuza 523
Mbabane West Sikhondze Elphas 320 Ndwandwe Simon 369
Pigg’s Peak Ndlovu Hlobsile 695 Mavuso Philemon 542
Ntfonjeni Dlamini Henry M. 762 Shongwe Mpostoli 690
Timpisini Tsabedze Zondi S 652 Mamba Jeremiah 652
Mayiwane Dlamini Vusi 1201 Ncongwane 1048
Mhlangatane Mavuso Phillip 1620 Mkhatshwa Musa 915
Madlangempisi Masuku Joseph 699 Nxumalo Gagu 1061
Ndzingeni Dlamini Lutfo 2021 Dlamini Mpondo 652
Shiselweni Sandleni Hlophe Gibson 1277 Simelane Nomsa 604
Zombodze Thwala Titus 743 Dlamini Samuel 567
Somntongo Sihlongonyane 597 Mbhamali 615
Doward Thokozani
Matsanjeni Shiba John 506 Myeni Themba 543
Sigwe Jele Joshua 787 Langwenya Titus 631
Shiselweni 1 Sithole Vusi 916 Gamedze 619
Gege** No Elections Nil No Elections Nil
Maseyisini** No Elections Nil No Elections Nil
Kubuta Mabuza Njabulo 486 Dlamini John 602
Mtsambama Simelane Franson 830 Simelane Aaron 765
Nkwene Dladla Aaron 1194 Dladla Moses 1004
Shiselweni 2 Vilane Enos 394 Dlamini Lymon 325
Ngudzeni Malinga Phineas 495 Masuku Titus 382
Hosea Masaku Thulani 681 Dlamini Abel 413

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

Table 1 (continued from previous page)

Manzini Kwaluseni Nkambule Majaha 351 Dlamini Andreas 322
Nhlambeni Dlamini Obed 509 Nxumalo Edgar 587
Lobamba Lomdzala Magongo Charles 630 Dube S’dumo 410
Mkhiweni Mavuso Machawe 1364 Dlamini 1353
Mtfongwaneni Nkambule Mfomfo 616 Mkhatshwa Mvelo 533
Mafutseni Sithole Majozi 864 Mkhatshwa 645
Ludzeludze Sikhondze Phillip 536 Dlamini Thandi 455
Lamgabhi Dlamini Themba 581 Dlamini 435
Manzini North Sukati Dumsile 326 Mdluli Clement 378
Manzini South Ntshangase Mariah 262 Mabuza Kenneth 302
Kukhanyeni Dlamini Clement 1119 Simelane Phola 399
Mhlambanyatsi Mavimbela Petros 263 Zwane Zacharia 346
Ngwempisi Msibi Vulindlela 496 Ntshangase S’fiso 451
Mahlangatsha Ngwenya Petros 826 Manyatsi 643
Ntondozi Manyatsi Moses 814 Dlamini Mganyeta 485
Mangcongco Motsa Patrick 343 Dlamini Peter 205
Lubombo Dvokodvweni Fakudze Mtiti 1021 Dlamini Steward 726
Hlane Dlamini Mandlenkosi 793 Mavuso Lindiwe 580
Mhlume Mathunjwa Moses 382 Dlamini Bennet 408
Lomahasha Meninjeni Mahlaela 806 Mngometulu 752
Siteki Ntjingila Wiseman 713 Nkambule Msizi 708
Matsanjeni Mbhamali Nkululeko 546 Matsenjwa 656
Mpholonjeni Dlamini Thulani 506 Nhleko Lofana 466
Sithobela Mamba Patrick 725 Mamba Enock 706
Lubuli Myeni Timothy 1045 Dlamini Manesi 1305
Nkilongo Gina Trusty 437 Gina Thomas 363
Siphofaneni Gamedze Gundwane 1841 Dlamini David 536
Source: Extracted from the Report on NGO Electoral Support Network Observer Mission on Primary and Secondary
Elections in Swaziland: 19th – 20th September & 18th – 19th October 2003. Published by The Coordinating Assembly of
Non-Governmental Organisations (CANGO)

** Elections either did or did not take place in these constituencies because of disputes on primary or secondary
elections outcome.

In all constituencies the election (39 276) that voters than usual voter turnout is
number of registered voters are more interested in voting much evident in this election
for the Parliamentary for Members of the with Hhohho district
election is exactly the same Parliament as compared to commanding the highest
as those who registered for local council representatives number of votes cast in the
the Tindvuna Tetinkhundla (Indvuna Yenkhundla) where Kingdom – 20.3%. Since
election. The register of only 31 326 exercised their there is no available estimate
voters does not distinguish choice. In total, this number on the actual number of
voters on the basis of those represented a mere 18.4% eligible voters in Swaziland,
registered for the (39 276) of registered voters it is difficult to extrapolate to
parliamentary election and who voted in the the entire population relative
those registered for the parliamentary election. This to the proportion of eligible
Tindvuna Tetinkhundla figure, when compared to voters in Swaziland. The
election. 1998 elections, represents a table below provides the
difference of 67.2% (80 569) percentage of registered
However, it does appear in number of voters who voter who voted in the 2003
from the number of votes voted in the parliamentary parliamentary elections:-
cast for the parliamentary election. Generally, a lower

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

Table 2: The percentage of registered voters who cast their votes in the 2003 parliamentary election



Lubombo 44 424 8 815 19.8%

Hhohho 57 384 11 658 20.3%
Manzini 63 638 9 900 28.1%
Shiselweni 48 501 8 906 18.4%
Total 213 947 39 279 18.4%

Source: Compiled from the Report on NGO Electoral Support Network Observer Mission on Primary and Secondary
Elections in Swaziland: 19th – 20th September & 18th – 19th October 2003. Published by the Coordinating Assembly of Non-
Governmental Organisations (CANGO)

Contextaulising the 2003 increase of 15.2% (30 171) its outcome as representing a
Elections Results in the number of registered form of democracy that
voters compared to 198 445 remains true to African
The election under registered voters in 1998 traditions. Others would
consideration in this paper is elections. According to the struggle to acclaim any
the parliamentary elections statistics provided by the legitimacy to elections
for Members of Parliament Swaziland National conducted under a system
and Tindvuna Tetinkhundla Elections Office, Manzini that appears to give the
within different and Hhohho regions had the people a minimal say on how
constituencies in Swaziland, highest number of registered their interest is represented.
which was conducted on 18 voters – 63 638 and 61 999 This election, demonstrated
October 2003. The counting respectively. This is through its low voter turnout
of votes took place on 20 followed by Shselweni (58 is a clear indication that the
October 2003 in all 555), and Lubombo (44 Swazi people are refraining
constituencies and the 424). from participating in
election result was Tinkhundla based elections.
announced on 21 October The political impasse in This is a highly striking
2003 by the Chief Electoral Swaziland not only raises feature and possibly a
Officer. pertinent question around the victory to the pro-democracy
nature of political and movements and the
In general, there is no efficacy of the political underground political parties
official figure available on system. In appreciating and who called for the boycott of
the actual voter turnout for assessing the performance of the election and that the
the elections. A total of 228 the various elected tinkhundla system lacks
616 people registered for the representatives in the popular legitimacy as a
October 2003 general October 2003 elections, one consequence of apathy
election. The number of must query whether an demonstrated through low
women who registered to election conducted under a voter turnout.
vote far outweighs the state of political impasse
number of men: 119 358 characterised by a The challenge for Swaziland
women registered compared despairingly low voter as well as outside observers
to 109 258 men. The number turnout can be regarded as is to determine whether
of registered voters reflects representing the will of the individuals elected through
an increase trend when Swazi people. Invariably, the tinkhundla system
compared to the previous there will be divergent views without aggregated
elections (i.e. 1993 & 1998). on this issue. Some would constituency
This number represents an like to see the election and mandate/interest and national

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

policy preferences represent contributes to increasing the Institute of Southern Africa,

an appropriate and efficient obstacles to participation. In Johannesburg.
institutional mechanism for Swaziland, these actions are Rule, S. 1998. Elections in
mediating between the state prima facie evidence of Swaziland. Electoral Institute of
and people. We should not disengagement. Southern Africa, Johannesburg.
loose sight of the
fundamental function of any Conclusion -mor.htm
political system, which is to
represent the interest of the This election result clearly
citizens. The capability and demonstrates the urgent need
disposition of the tinkhundla to transform the tinkhundla
system to be undemocratic system into a political
operationally as a system system that provides
necessitates the participation adequate and equal
of organised political rivals. opportunities for citizens to
This would typically be in place questions on the
the form of political parties. national agenda and for
It is a widely accepted truism expressing reasons for
that governance is highly endorsing a particular
unlikely in the absence of political outcome over
competitive political parties. another. Participation and
There is a need for stabilised representation will only
party representation. happen through a political
system that is designed to
One of the key features of promote the protection and
any political system is the advancement of citizen’s
mass participation of citizens interest such as protection
(not subjects as they are against the abuse of state
commonly referred to in power and equality before
Swaziland) through various the law. The freedom to form
social formations and or and participate in political
political parties in political parties as an expression of
processes. Parties in these people interest as well as a
processes provide wider mechanism for structuring
representation that extends electorates choice are non-
beyond fielding candidates existent.
for contestation in election
within constituencies. They References
help motivate political
participation and integrate Commonwealth Expert Team
people on a larger scale into 2003. Swaziland National
Elections 18 October 2003: Report
the political system. Most
importantly, they provide an Mkhonta, T. 2003. “More Women
avenue for articulating and Register for Elections”, in Swazi
aggregating political Observers, 19 September 2003.
preferences and interests.
Olaleye, W. 2003. “Democracy
Repressing and banning of without Political Parties:
participatory structures such Contradiction or Congruous?
as political parties, Swaziland’s Struggle for
competitive elections only Liberalisation, 2004. Electoral

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2


Interrogating and women still believe that choices for Parliament.

the Gender it is still not right for women Zakhe Hlanze, research
to be involved in politics”. associate with Women and
Question in the She also stated that single Law blamed the advocacy
Swaziland women were most likely to groups for the lack of
Electoral be excluded because in political success “We didn’t
Process Swazi culture, married know the women who stood
women are taken more for election; we don’t even
Jackie Kalley seriously in their know if they were about
Electoral Institute of communities, yet ironically, women’s rights and
Southern Africa they could be prevented from problems11 (Only Two
seeking office by their Women Get into
Historical and Cultural husbands9 Swaziland’s Parliament:
Background 1998). Swaziland Progamme
Other examples of the Officer for Women and Law,
Swazi women have been customs to which women Maureen Magwadza
engaged in a long struggle candidates adhere include itemised other reasons for
for emancipation in electoral kneeling when addressing the lack of representation by
matters, fighting age-old gatherings attended by chiefs women such as lack of
custom and tradition. and men, as well as the empowerment, no follow-up
Women have been wearing of a headscarf. If support from their
considered as minors and widowed, participation in an communities, the risk of
denied control and election is not permitted, and humiliation by other women
ownership of assets. neither is election to who voted for others, time
Inheritance has been through Parliament10The period of and energy necessary in
the male children with the mourning is two years, and addition to running the home
effect that women have been this denies thousands of and caring for children; and
unable to advance both capable women the chance to stated “women are often
socially and economically. run for office or even to cast custodians of culture and are
Dependency on men for a ballot. trained to be submissive. It
access to the land has gone can be very difficult for them
as far as women heads of The 1998 Elections to enter politics” 12
household having to gain
permission for land use In the 1998 elections, 2 The 2003 Elections
through sons or other male women were elected to the
relatives. Culture and House of Assembly although In the five years since the
political structures have been 200 were nominated for 1998 elections, women have
the main obstacles in Parliament. This number been engaged in a quiet
discouraging women seeking remained unchanged from cultural revolution, in which
election the support that they the 1993 election. In addition the battle against HIV/AIDS
need. As stated by Phumzile to the 2 elected women, King has played no small part. The
Dlamini, the head of the Mswati III included 2 mourning period hinders a
Justice, Peace and women among his 10 woman’s ability to earn an
Reconciliation Department
with the Council of 9
Women Candidates Fight Age- 11 Only Two Women Get into
Swaziland Churches “ It is a Old Sexism: 1998 Swaziland’s Parliament: 1998
matter of attitude; many men 10 Ibid. 12 Ibid.

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

income and further tips on how to impress the voters representation with the
impoverishes destitute and how to run a successful difference being marginal.
families. The demographic campaign. The time for an The Shiseleni region topped
education campaign is before the
change wrought by MP enters office, even before she the Manzini region by one
HIV/AIDS is raising a is elected. Once they are in the vote, with 102 nominated for
‘threat’, in the view of the House of Assembly, it is almost too the former and 101 for the
traditionalists, that more late to ground them in an latter, while Hhohho was not
women will enter the public understanding of basic issues, far behind with 99. The
because of their work duties. For
service. As women at the most part, the candidates are drought–stricken Lubombo
present, are not permitted to made up of community leaders. If had approximately 52
own property or secure bank they have been nominated, and women nominated with an
loans, Women and Law in succeeded in the primary elections unofficial report that a
Southern African have to run in the general elections, woman was forced to
then they have influence and
successfully managed to put supporters. They will continue to withdraw by her husband.
into place in the Draft be involved in the developmental Thwala stated “It is true that
Constitution a section that issues. It is important that they be a number of women were
makes it illegal to refuse to trained as well, even if it turns out nominated, but a number
do business with women.13 they don’t become MPs.14 declined… so to me, the
The Draft Constitution figures are not different from
Participants were also
perhaps heralds the end of previous elections, except
introduced to a wide range of
the Swazi custom that that perhaps now, there has
social issues as well as
bestows on women the legal been a lot of interest from a
information on gender
status of minors as it number of people.”15
empowerment and specific
prohibits discrimination on
legislation that is required to
the basis of sex, but it was Voter Turnout
elevate the status of women
not ratified by the King in
such as property ownership
time for the 2003 elections. According to the
permission for women.
The King has made it clear Commonwealth Expert
that none of its provisions Team, the turnout of women
Approximately 255 women,
will be allowed to stand if voters as a proportion of the
from a total of some 1000
they are in conflict with total number was impressive,
were nominated to stand as
Swazi law and custom. although poor transport
Members of Parliament in
facilities may have deterred
the parliamentary elections.
Nevertheless, Non- some women from voting 16
This excluded a number of
Governmental Organisations
those who were nominated
(NGOs) have played a Women in Parliament
as constitutency heads
seminal role in increasing the
(Tinvuna Tetinkhundla) and Five women were appointed
number of women legislators
those elected constituency to the 65-member House of
in the 2003 elections. The
councillors (Bucopho). Assembly and four as
National Director of the
According to figures constituency governors. The
Swaziland Chapter of
supplied by the Chief Shiselweni Region was the
Women in Law in Southern
Elections Officer, almost all most disappointing with only
Africa explained:
three (considered one female candidate,
We engaged in a candidate educationally advanced) Nomsa Simelane appointed
education process like never regions of Shiselweni, as constitutency governor for
before. We held workshops to Manzini and Hhohho had the Sandleni. In the Lubombo
instruct women candidates about lowest number of women
the issues. But we also gave them
15Lushaba: 2003
Hall: 24 October 2003 16Commonwealth Expert Team:
13 Hall: 2003 2003

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

region, three women emeged Given the number of women Speaker in the House of
as winners, Trusty Gina was to make it to Parliament in Assembly.20
elected MP for Nkilongo the national elections, His
while Lindiwe Mavuso of Majesty seemed to be the Conclusion
Hlane and Manesi Dlamini last hope for those who
became governors. The same advocate the appointment of The challenge for greater
number of women were women to positions of participation of women in
elected in Manzini , with two power.18 In reality, the King the political development of
becoming MPs. These are appointed two women two Swaziland is two-pronged.
Dumisele Sukati from MPs to complement the five First, the constitutional and
Manzini North and Maria elected women MPs, one of legal framework must be a
Ntshangase of Manzini whom is his sister Princess conducive one for gender
South. Thandi Dlamini is the Tsandzile. This raised the equality. Second, women’s
constituency governor at representation of women in organisation ought to
Ludzeludze. Only two the House of Assembly to intensify the gender struggle
women were elected in the 11%. in Swaziland with or without
Hhohho region. Esther constitutional reforms.
Dlamini and Hlob’sile The national director of the
Ndlovu became MPs for Swazi Chapter of the This conclusion means that
Mbabe East and Pigg’s Peak Women in Law in Southern constitutional and legal
respectively The number Africa summarised the reforms are a critical
represents 8.6% of the total current increase in the imperative for increased
number of candidates elected number of women participation in the
for both the MP and Indvuna representatives as follows: governance process. How the
Yenkhundla (constituency We fought hard to get Draft Constitution addresses
governor) posts This comes women into Parliament. We this issue remains to be seen.
far below what SADC is are succeeding. Swazis now Be that as it may, addressing
advocating when it comes to see what these women can gender imbalances in
decision-making since it do. They see us in positions Swaziland, as elsewhere, is a
desires a 30% women of authority; they see us political issue that forms part
representation 17. speaking from the floor of of lobbying and advocacy by
Parliament – this will make both women’s organisations
an impression. It has been and other pro-democracy
Section 95 (3) of the Draft difficult for women to be groups in the country.
Constitution states that 20 elected before – now it will
Senators, at least eight of be easier. People will no
whom shall be female, shall longer dismiss the notion of
be appointed. If the Draft women in positions of power,
Constitution was adhered to or be afraid of us in those
at least 12 of the people on position19
His Majesty the King’s list
of appointees should be This position was further
women. The Draft contains validated by the appointment
clauses that make it of Trusty Gina, the first
compulsory for the King to female to the post of Deputy
appoint at least eight women
into the Senate and four into
the House of Assembly. Maphala: 24 October 2003
Swaziland: Mswati Picks His
New MPs :2003.
17 Maphala:2003 20 Yende:2003

election update 2003 · swaziland · number 2

References IRIN News. “Mswati Picks His “Women Candidates Fight Age-
MPs” old Sexism”, 1998.. Africa News
Commonwealth Expert Team. Service, 15 October
2003. Swaziland National
Elections Lushaba, A. 2003. “255 Women s/15 October_women.htm
Nominated” in Time of Swaziland.
Hall, J. “Candidates Vote to “Only Two Women get into
Promote Social Agenda if Swaziland’s Parliament” 1998,
Elected.” Maphala, I. 2003. Times of Inter Press Service, 26 October. Swaziland, 21 October
.html s
Maphala, I. 2003. Times of
Hall, J. 2003. “Swaziland Women Swaziland, 24 October Yende, M. 2003 “Trusty Gina is
Battle with Culture In Order To First Female Deputy Speaker”
Fight AIDS”, rticle 8 Times of Swaziland, 18 November


Dr. Khabele Matlosa is the Senior Advisor-Research Department.

Claude Kabemba, is a Programme Manager-Research Department.

Shumbana Karume, a Research Fellow-Research Department.

Wole Olaleye is a Research Fellow-Research Department.

Dr. Jackie Kalley the Senior Librarian and Publications Officer-Research Department.

Sydney Letsholo is a Reseach Assistant in the Department.

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