Country in SE Africa, bounded E by Mozambique and SE, S, W, and N by South Africa.
Swaziland is a monarchy within the Commonwealth. Under the 1978 constitution, amended 1992, the monarch is head of both state and government, and chooses the prime minister and cabinet. There is a two-chamber legislature, the Libandla, consisting of a 65-member house of assembly (55 popularly elected and 10 appointed by the monarch) and a 30-member senate (20 appointed by the sovereign and 10 elected by the assembly). Candidates for the 55 elected assembly seats are nominated by tribal chiefs and then elected, at regional level, by traditional communities (Tinkhundla). The powers of the Libandla are more advisory than legislative.
For early history, see South Africa. The region's original autonomy was guaranteed by Britain and the Transvaal, and Swaziland became a special High Commission territory 1903. The South African government repeatedly asked for Swaziland to be placed under its jurisdiction, but this call was resisted by the British government as well as the people of Swaziland. In 1967 the country achieved internal self-government and in 1968 full independence within the Commonwealth, with King Sobhuza II as head of state. In 1973 the king suspended the constitution and assumed absolute powers. In 1978 a new constitution was announced.
power struggles over accession
King Sobhuza died 1982, and the role of head of state passed to the queen mother, Dzeliwe, until the king's heir, Prince Makhosetive, should reach the age of 21 in 1989, but a power struggle developed within the royal family. Queen Dzeliwe was ousted by another of King Sobhuza's wives, Ntombi, who became queen regent Oct 1983, and in April 1986 the crown prince was formally invested as King Mswati III. By June 1987 a power struggle had developed between the sovereign's supreme advisory body, the Liqoqo, and Queen Ntombi over the accession of her son. King Mswati dissolved parliament and a new government was elected in the same year, with Sotsha Dlamini as prime minister.
calls for democracy
Following demands for greater freedom and complaints of government hostility toward trade unions, King Mswati called for the creation of an indaba (popular parliament) Aug 1990, in which people’s views could be expressed. There was agitation for further democratic reforms 1991. In Oct 1992 King Mswati approved a number of constitutional amendments and agreed to proposals for a revised electoral system, expanding the assembly and widening its electoral base. Later in the same month he dissolved parliament and returned to rule by decree. A general election was held Sept–Oct 1992 and Andreas Fukudzi appointed interim prime minister. He was replaced by Prince Jameson Mbilini Dlamini Nov 1993.A monarchy in southeastern Africa.