Sign in
Download Opera News App

News Politics

 

Politics

 

Africa politics

History does not have blank pages about the struggle for democracy in Swaziland

History does not have blank pages about the struggle for democracy in Swaziland:

51. Swaziland (1968-present)

Pre-Crisis Phase (September 6, 1968-April 11, 1973): The British protectorate of Swaziland formally achieved its independence from the United Kingdom on September 6, 1968. The Kingdom of Swaziland became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations (CON), and Swaziland was admitted as a member of the United Nations (UN) on September 11, 1968.

The government was headed by Prince Makhosini Dlamini, who also served as foreign minister from 1968 to 1970. Parliamentary elections were held on May 16-17, 1972, and the pro-monarchist Imbokodwo National Movement (INM) won 21 out of 24 seats in the House of Assembly. The Ngwane National Liberatory Congress (NNLC) won three seats in the House of Assembly. One of the elected members from the NNLC, whose nationality was questioned by the major political party, was refused his seat in the House of Assembly and threatened with deportation. The NNLC referred the matter to the Swaziland Court of Appeal, which ruled in favor of the NNLC.

Crisis Phase (April 12, 1973-present): On April 12, 1973, King Sobhuza II declared a state-of-emergency, dissolved the House of Assembly, banned all political parties, and abolished the 1968 constitution. King Sobhuza II established the Umbutfo, the Swaziland Defence Force (USDF), to defend the monarchy. Ambrose Zwane, leader of the NNLC, was arrested and imprisoned on May 2, 1973. Maphevu Dlamini was appointed as prime minister on March 31, 1976. Ambrose Zwane, leader of the NNLC, was arrested in Manzini and imprisoned on February 9, 1978.

King Sobhuza II introduced TINKHUNDLA TINKHUNDLA on October 13, 1978. The new system restored the parliament, including the 50-member House of Assembly and 20-member Senate. Forty members of the House of Assembly would be elected by a eight-member electoral college chose by the traditional constituencies, known as Tinkhundla. Ten members of the House of Assembly would be appointed by the monarch. The 20 members of the Senate would be elected by the House of Assembly (10 members) and appointed by the monarch (10 members). Parliamentary elections were held on October 27, 1978, and independent candidates nominated by traditional local councils won 40 out of 40 contested seats in the House of Assembly.

Prime Minister Maphevu Dlamini died, and Deputy Prime Minister Benjamin Nsibandze became acting prime minister on October 25, 1979. Prince Mabandla Dlamini was appointed as prime minister on November 23, 1979.

On June 4, 1982, two individuals associated with the African National Congress (ANC) were killed in a bombing near Mbabane. King Sobhuza II died in August 21, 1982, and Queen Dzeliwe was appointed as Regent. On December 17, 1982, government police arrested nearly 100 members of the banned ANC in Mbabane and Manzini. Prime Minister Mabandla Dlamini was dismissed by the Supreme National Council (Liqoqo), and Prince Bhekimpi Dlamini was appointed as the new prime minister on March 25, 1983.

The People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) was established at the University of Eswatini on July 7, 1983. Queen Dzeliwe was deposed as Regent and placed under house arrest on August 9, 1983. Queen Ntombi Laftwala, mother of Crown Prince Makhosetive Dlamini, was installed as Regent on August 18, 1983. Parliamentary elections were held on October 29, 1983, and independent candidates nominated by traditional local councils won 40 out of 40 contested seats in the House of Assembly.

On April 14, 1984, government police clashed with members of the ANC in Manzini, resulting in the death of one police officer and arrest of eleven ANC members. On April 19, 1984, government police killed two suspected members of the ANC in Manzini. On June 11, 1984, the Supreme National Council (Liqoqo) dismissed Foreign Minister Richard Dlamini, Finance Minister Sishayi Nxumalo, Police Commissioner Titus Msibi and the head of the armed forces, Colonel Manenomemi Ndzimantse.

On September 1, 1984, Prince Sozisa Dlamini, deputy head of state, was suspended for allegedly planning a military coup against the government. Prince Sozisa Dlamini was formally dismissed as deputy head of state on November 1, 1985. Crown Prince Makhosetive Dlamini was crowned as King Mswati III on April 25, 1986. On October 6, 1986, Prime Minister Bhekimpi Dlamini was dismissed by King Mswati III, who appointed Prince Sotsha Dlamini as the new prime minister.

Government police arrested 12 opponents of the government in May 1987. King Mswati III dissolved the House of Assembly in May 1987. Parliamentary elections were held on November 16, 1987, and independent candidates nominated by traditional local councils won 40 out of 40 contested seats in the House of Assembly. Obed Dlamini was appointed as prime minister on July 12, 1989. King Mswati III dissolved the parliament and abrogated the constitution on October 9, 1992. King Mswati II modified the Tinkhundla system by increasing the number of traditional constituencies to 55 and replacing the electoral college with members directly elected by voters. Parliamentary elections were held on September 26 and October 11, 1993, and independent candidates nominated by traditional local councils won 55 out of 55 contested seats in the House of Assembly. King Mswati III appointed Andreas Fakudze as interim prime minister on October 25, 1993. Prince Jameson Mbilini Dlamini was appointed as the prime minister by King Mswati II on November 4, 1993.

The Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU) called for a general strike on March 13-14, 1995, but the SFTU called off the general strike.

The House of Assembly building located in Lobamba was bombed on February 6, 1995. The Mashekeshe Liberation Army (MLA) claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Organizing a workers strike became illegal in Swaziland as a result of the adoption of the Industrial Relations Bill by the parliament in 1995. The SFTU and PUDEMO called for the lifting of the ban on political parties on January 1, 1996. Government police arrested SFTU secretary-general Jan Sithole on January 22, 1996, and the SFTU organized an eight-day general strike on January 22-29, 1996. Government police and SFTU members clashed on January 23, 1996, resulting in the deaths of three individuals.

King Mswati III dismissed Prime Minister Jameson Mbilini on May 8, 1996. Sishayi Nxumalo was appointed by King Mswati II as interim prime minister.

King Mswati III established the 29-member Constitutional Reform Commission (CRC) chaired by Prince Mangaliso Dlamini on July 26, 1996. Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini was appointed as prime minister by King Mswati II on July 26, 1996. SFTU Secretary-General Jan Sithol and three other SFTU leaders were arrested and detained by government police on January 30, 1997.

The SFTU organized a general strike beginning on February 3, 1997. Simon Noge, Secretary of the Human Rights Association of Swaziland (HUMARAS) and Chairman of the Swaziland Democratic Alliance (SDA), was arrested and detain on February 5-6, 1997. Jan Sithol, SFTU secretary-general, and three other SFTU leaders, were released from detention on February 26, 1997. Parliamentary elections were held on October 16 and 24, 1998, and independent candidates nominated by traditional local councils won 55 out of 55 contested seats in the House of Assembly.

A security guard was killed in a bombing of the offices of the deputy prime minister in Mbabane on November 20 1998. In 1999, another security guard was killed in a bombing of the Tinkhundla headquarters in Mbabane. On June 22, 2001, King Mswati III issued a decree that restricted freedom of expression and press freedoms in Swaziland.

The Namibia-based Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) condemned the decree issued by the king. Mario Masuku, leader of the PUDEMO, was arrested and jailed by government police on October 4, 2001. On October 10, 2001, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), located in Johannesburg, South Africa, condemned the arrested of Mario Masuku in Swaziland. The trial of Mario Masuku, leader of the PUDEMO, started in Mbabane on February 4, 2002. On August 1, 2002, several members of parliament called for the resignation of Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini after the prime minister made a down-payment of $2.8 million on a private jet for King Mswati III. Mario Masuku, leader of the PUDEMO, was acquitted of charges of sedition by the Swaziland High Court on August 22, 2002. Mario Masuku, leader of the PUDEMO, called for the elimination of the monarchy in Swaziland on September 9, 2002.

On October 18, 2002, the House of Assembly voted 25 to 16 against approving the purchase of a $45 million private jet for King Mswati III. Six South African judges resigned from the Swaziland Court of Appeals in protest against King Mswati III on November 30, 2002.

The SFTU called for a general strike for December 19, 2002, and more than 1,000 individuals protested in Mbabane on December 19-20, 2002. The CON sent three observers to monitor voter registration on July 14-19, 2003. The SFTU and the COSATU organized a four-day general strike in Swaziland on August 12-15, 2003. Parliamentary elections were held on October 18, 2003, and independent candidates nominated by traditional local councils won 55 out of 55 contested seats in the House of Assembly. The CON Secretariat sent five short-term observers led by former minister of finance David Thompson of Barbados to monitor the parliamentary elections from October 9 to 23, 2003. On November 5, 2003, the CON Secretariat reported that “no elections can be credible when they are for a Parliament which does not have power and when political parties are banned.”

Themba Dlamini was appointed as prime minister by King Mswati III on November 26, 2003. Marwick Khumalo, speaker of the House of Assembly, was forced to resign by King Mswati III on March 11, 2004. The CON mediated an agreement between the government and the judiciary on September 17, 2004, and the Swaziland Court of Appeals resumed hearing cases on November 10, 2004.

The SFTU organized a two-day general strike to promote democratic reforms on January 25-26, 2005. Some 500 representatives of Swaziland churches protested against a proposed new constitution, and the Council of Swaziland Churches (CSC) delivered a petition to the prime minister on May 12, 2005.

The PUDEMO organized protests against the government in Manzini beginning on July 9, 2005. On July 11, 2005, Mario Masuku, leader of the PUDEMO, said that the protests were “the beginning of protracted struggle to reclaim our political freedoms.” On July 12, 2005, King Mswati III rejected a draft constitution submitted by the House of Assembly.

On July 26, 2005, King Mswati III signed a new constitution which maintained the state-of-emergency declared by King Sobhuza II in April 1973. Twelve opposition activists, all members of the banned the PUDEMO, were arrested and charged with treason on December 30, 2005.

On January 11, 2006, Maphadlana Shongwe, a founding member of PUDEMO, was arrested by government police and charged with destruction of government property, attempted murder, and high treason. The Washington DC-based NGO, National Democratic Institute (NDI), sent a five-member pre-election assessment mission to Swaziland on August 24-28, 2008. King Mswati III signed into law the Suppression of Terrorism Act in August 2008. Protesters clashed with government policemen in Mbabane on September 4-5, 2008. Parliamentary elections were held on September 19, 2008, and independent candidates nominated by traditional local councils won 55 out of 55 contested seats in the House of Assembly. The CON sent six short-term observers led by former Deputy Prime Minister Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere of Uganda to monitor the parliamentary elections from September 13 to September 24, 2008. The SADC sent 60 observers led by Ambassador Francisco Caetano Madeira of Mozambique to monitor the parliamentary elections from September 10 to September 20, 2008. The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) sent eight observers and eight staff members led by Mary Mugyenyi of Uganda to monitor the parliamentary elections from September 13 to September 21, 2008. The Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) sent four observers to monitor the parliamentary elections from September 14 to September 22, 2008.

Two individuals – Musa Dlamini and Jack Govender – were killed while attempting to bomb one of the royal palaces in Lozitha on September 21, 2008. Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini was appointed as prime minister by King Mswati III on October 16, 2008, and he was formally sworn in as prime minister on October 23, 2008. The appointment of Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini as prime minister was opposed by the leaders of the SFTU and PUDEMO.

On November 14, 2008, the PUDEMO, Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO), and the South Africa-based Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) were declared as terrorist organizations. Mario Masuku, leader of PUDEMO, was charged with terrorism by the government on November 18, 2008.

On June 2, 2009, Thulani Maseko, a human rights attorney, was arrested by government police and charged under the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act of 1938. On June 9, 2009, the Namibia-based MISA condemned the arrest and detention of Thulani Maseko. The home of Alex LaNgwenya, a human rights activist national secretary of the Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF), in Bhunya was bombed on June 8, 2010. A bomb exploded in the Magistrate’s Court in Manzini on June 10, 2010. On June 14, 2010, the SSN issued a statement indicating the government security forces were using the recent bombings to “conduct illegal raids and arbitrary detentions of known political activists”. On September 4, 2010, government police arrested, interrogated, and tortured Wandile Dludlu, president of SWAYOCO, near Bhunya. Government police arrested some 50 pro-democracy activists in Manzini on September 6, 2010. On September 21, 2010, the Swaziland High Court acquitted Mario Masuku, president of the PUDEMO, of charges brought against him under the 2008 Suppression of Terrorism Act.

On November 4, 2010, the government border post in Mananga was bombed, but no group claimed responsibility for the bombing. Government police clashed with pro-democracy demonstrators in Manzini on April 12-13, 2011.

The government of Swaziland requested financial assistance from the South African government on June 22, 2011, and the South African government conditionally agreed to provide a loan of $355 million to the government of Swaziland on August 3, 2011.

The SSN condemned the South African loan to the government of Swaziland. The South African government insisted on both political and economic reforms in Swaziland, but the government of Swaziland rejected the conditional loan from South Africa. Although political parties are banned, the Swaziland Democratic Party (SWADEPA) was established as a social democratic political party in Swaziland on September 24, 2011.

On November 14, 2011, Anglican Bishop Meshack Mabuzza called on King Mswati III to give up political power in favor of a democratic government. The Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU), Swaziland Federation of Labor (SFL), and Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) merged to form the Trade Union Congress of Eswatini (TUCOSWA) on January 25, 2012. On March 18, 2012, Barnes Dlamini, president of the TUCOSWA, demanded the participation of political parties in the following year’s parliamentary elections. On October 3, 2012, the House of Assembly approved a vote of no-confidence in Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini due to a controversy involving an unsuccessful attempt by the Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC) to acquire a mobile phone license in Swaziland.

Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini refused to resign, and King Mswati III refused to dismiss the government. On October 15, 2012, the House of Assembly repealed the vote of no-confidence in the prime minister, although only 32 out of 65 members of parliament were present for the vote.

On September 18, 2013, the PUDEMO called for a boycott of the upcoming parliamentary elections. Parliamentary elections were held on September 20, 2013, and independent candidates nominated by traditional local councils won 55 out of 55 contested seats in the House of Assembly.

The African Union (AU) sent 19 observers from ten countries led by Maxon Mbendera of Malawi to monitor the parliamentary elections from September 13 to September 25, 2013. The CON sent four observers and three staff members led by former President Bakili Muluzi of Malawi to monitor the parliamentary elections from September 15 to September 24, 2013. The SADC sent 90 observers from nine countries to monitor the parliamentary elections from September 15 to September 24, 2013. The SADC Lawyers Association (SADC LA) sent 12 short-term observers to monitor the elections from September 17 to September 22, 2013. The U.S. government imposed economic sanctions (suspension of a duty-free trade program) against the government of Swaziland on June 26, 2014. On July 25, 2014, Judge Mpendulo Simelane of the Swaziland High Court sentenced Thulani Maseko, a human rights attorney, to two years in prison for contempt of court.

King Mswati III changed the name of the country to Eswatini on April 19, 2018. The government headed by Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso was dismissed on September 4, 2018, and Vincent Mhlanga was named as acting prime minister on September 5, 2018. Parliamentary elections were held on August 18 and September 21, 2018, and independent candidates nominated by traditional local councils won 59 out of 59 contested seats in the House of Assembly.

The SADC sent 34 short-term observers from ten countries led by Highvie Hamududu from Zambia to monitor the parliamentary elections. The AU sent 30 short-term observers from 17 countries led by former president James Alix Michel of Seychelles to monitor the parliamentary elections from September 14 to September 22, 2018. The CON Secretariat and CON Parliamentary Associations (CPA) sent short-term observers to monitor the parliamentary elections. The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) sent short-term observers to monitor the parliamentary elections. King Mswati III appointed Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini as prime minister on October 27, 2018.

On December 20, 2019, Wandile Dludlu, secretary-general of the PUDEMO, and other opposition leaders were arrested by government police. On December 13, 2020, Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini died in a South African hospital after testing positive for Covid-19 one month earlier. Deputy Prime Minister Themba Nhlanganiso Masuku was named as acting prime minister on December 13, 2020.

On May 8, 2021, a 25-year old law student Thabani Nkomonye was allegedly killed by government police. Thabani Nkomonye’s body was found in a field near Nhlambeni on May 14, 2021. Members of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) protested over the death of Thabani Nkomonye on May 18, 2021. On May 21, 2021, Sacolo Bafanabakhe, secretary-general of the Swaziland National Students Union (SNSU) and four others were arrested by government police following a memorial for Thabani Nkomonye. Pro-democracy protests took place in Manzini and other locations beginning on June 20, 2021.

On July 1, 2021, the South African government expressed concern about the political crisis in Eswatini and called on government security forces to exercise restraint. On July 16, 2021, King Mswati III appointed Cleopas Sipho Dlamini as prime minister. Cleopas Sipho Dlamini was sworn in as prime minister on July 19, 2021.

On July 25, 2021, two members of parliament – Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube – were arrested and charged under the 2008 Suppression of Terrorism Act for their involvement in the pro-democracy protests that took place earlier in the summer. Government security forces suppressed the pro-democracy protests by the end of July, resulting in the deaths of at least 24 individuals.

Source - click here

Content created and supplied by: Alupheli. (via Opera News )

British Kingdom of Makhosini Dlamini Swaziland United

COMMENTS

Load app to read more comments