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Political Parties Allowed Within Swaziland

Amidst the debate in Swaziland regarding the allowance of political parties within the kingdom, Attorney General Majahenkhaba Dlamini says the Swaziland constitution does not prohibit the formation of these groups. This comment is in sharp contrast to the ongoing discussion about the nation’s apparent silence regarding this issue. Meanwhile, there is speculation that some members of parliament are hoping to develop political parties but are unsure of how the government will react, including King Mswati III on down.

In a telephone interview with English to Africa reporter, Peter Clottey, Dlamini explained the constitutional position in relation to the establishment of political parties, “Political parties are not disallowed because that is the position as far as the written word of the constitution is concerned, in the sense that the constitution does not in any of its provisions address the situation of political parties.” He added that people could interpret the constitution as they deem fit, yet must do so in a manner that is in agreement with the constitution.

When asked if there would ever be an amendment to the constitution pertaining to the political party activities within Swaziland, Dlamini said, “I’m not too sure that an amendment would be immediately forthcoming anyway unless there is a sudden change of thinking. The position generally speaking is that the Swazi people are not yet ready for political parties.”

As to whether there should be a public education campaign to discuss the pros and cons of political party growth among the Swazi people, he said, “Well that is a policy sort of position. If the government decides as a matter of policy that they want to move in a particular direction, in fact it will be helpful to all of us…. until there is a clear policy in terms of where the government wants to go, there won’t be much to add in terms of the issue of political parties.”