Under the 2005 Constitution, the King remains the hereditary Head of State. The Constitution provides for a Legislature in the form of a Parliament, consisting of a Senate and a House of Assembly.
Executive authority vests in the King, and he may exercise it either directly, or through the Cabinet or a Minister. The King appoints the Prime Minister from among members of the House of Assembly acting on the recommendation of his Advisory Council. He also appoints the other Ministers from among the members of both chambers of the Parliament, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister; at least half of the Ministers must be elected members of the House of Assembly.
Supreme legislative authority vests in the King-in-Parliament, i.e. the King acting with the advice and consent of the Senate and the House of Assembly. The King appoints ten of the House’s seventy-six members, as well as twenty senators (while ten senators, at least half of them women, are elected by the members of the House). The power of the King and Parliament to make laws is exercised by bills, passed by Parliament (by both chambers severally or in a joint session or by one of the chambers, depending on the situation) and assented to by the King. The Attorney General published bills that have passed and that are assented to in the government Gazette as soon as practicable. A law does not come into operation until it has been published.
The 2005 Constitution contains a Bill of Rights. Notably, although the Constitution guarantees the rights to freedom of association and assembly, the right to form or join political parties, is not expressly included among other fundamental rights. In September 2013, the King announced that the Tinkhundla system would be replaced with a “monarchal [sic] democracy”, but admitted to foreign press that the change was cosmetic, for foreign consumption: “No change really. It’s just a name so people can understand … The world really doesn’t understand the Tinkhundla system. But everybody can understand monarchal democracy … This monarchal democracy is a marriage between the traditional monarchy and the ballot box, all working together under the monarchy.”
- 1. Constitution, S. 4(1).
Without prejudice to the provisions of section 228, the King and iNgwenyama of Swaziland is an hereditary Head of State and shall have such official name as shall be designated on the occasion of his accession to the Throne.
- 2. Constitution, Chapter VII.↵
- 3. Constitution, S. 64(1) and (3).
Executive authority of Swaziland
64. (1) The executive authority of Swaziland vests in the King as Head of State and shall be exercised in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
(3) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the King may exercise the executive authority either directly or through the Cabinet or a Minister.
- 4. Constitution, S. 67.
Appointment of Prime Minister and other Ministers
(1) The King shall appoint the Prime Minister from among members of the House acting on recommendation of the King’s Advisory Council.
(2) The King shall appoint Ministers from both chambers of Parliament on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.
(3) At least half of the number of Ministers shall be appointed from among the elected members of the House.
- 5. Constitution, S. 106(a).
Power to make laws
Subject to the provisions of this Constitution –
(a) the supreme legislative authority of Swaziland vests in the King-in-Parliament;
- 6. Constitution, S. 95(1)(b).
House of Assembly
(1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the House of Assembly shall consist of not more than seventy-six members composed as follows –
(b) not more than ten members shall be nominated by the King acting in his discretion ofter consultation with such bodies as the King may deem appropriate;
- 7. Constitution, S. 94.
(1) The Senate shall consist of not more than thirty-one members (in this Constitution referred to as “Senators”) who shall be elected or appointed in accordance with this section.
(2) Ten Senators, at least half of whom shall be female, shall be elected by the members of the House in such a manner as may be prescribed by or under any law at their first meeting so as to represent a cross-section of the Swazi society.
(3) Twenty Senators, at least eight of whom shall be female, shall be appointed by the King acting at his discretion after consultation with such bodies as the King may deem appropriate.
(4) The Senators appointed in terms of subsection (3) shall be persons who, in the opinion of the King –
(a) are able by reason of their special knowledge or practical experience to represent economic, social, cultural/traditional or marginalized interests not already adequately represented in Parliament; or
(b) are by reason of their particular merit, able to contribute substantially to the good government and progressive development of Swaziland.
- 8. Constitution, S. 107.
Exercise of power to make laws
Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the power of the King and Parliament to make laws shall be exercised by bills –
(a) passed by both chamber of Parliament;
(b) passed by the House in the cases referred to in sections 112, 113, 114 and 116(2);
(c) passed in a joint sitting of the Senate and the House, in the cases referred to in sections 115(3), 116(1), 117, and Chapter XVII;
(d) passed by the Senate in the case referred to in section 115(4),
and assented to by the King under his hand.
- 9. Constitution, S. 109.
When laws come into operation
(1) The Attorney-General shall cause a bill that has been duly passed and assented to in accordance with this Constitution, to be published in the Gazette as law as soon as practicable.
(2) A law made by the King and Parliament shall not come into operation until that law has been published in the Gazette.
(3) Subject to the provisions of section 119, the King and Parliament may state when a law or part of the law shall come into operation.
(4) Laws made by the King and Parliament in terms of this Constitution shall be styled “Acts of Parliament”, and the words of enactment shall be “ENACTED by the King and the Parliament of Swaziland”.
- 10. Constitution, Chapter III.↵
- 11. Additionally, there is no law in Swaziland that regulates such aspects of political parties as registration, funding or financial control.↵
- 12. Reuters, Swaziland’s royal ruler squashes reform hopes (13 September 2013). (accessed 11 December 2013).↵