Members of the Swaziland parliament have passed a vote of no confidence in the government in such large numbers that King Mswati III is obliged to sack his cabinet, if he is to stick to the letter of the kingdom’s constitution.
This might expose the fact that the king who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch ignores the constitution when it suits him.
The latest move involves a vote of no confidence in the cabinet passed by the House of Parliament this week. Members of parliament voted 42 in favour and six against the motion – more than the three fifths vote needed to trigger S68 of the constitution that says the king shall dissolve cabinet.
The motion came after the Swazi Government told the kingdom’s telephone parastatal SPTC to switch off some of its services in favour of MTN, Swaziland’s only mobile phone operator, even though SPTC’s services were cheaper.
It is unlikely that King Mswati will sack the cabinet, because he personally appointed it. He also ignored the constitution in 2008 when he appointed Barnabas Dlamini as Prime Minister. The constitution states that the PM must be from the Senate, but Dlamini was personally appointed by the king from outside Parliament.
Already, the king’s supporters are rallying to him. Attorney General Majahenkhaba Dlamini, said the vote was null and void because the decision to close SPTC services had not been taken by the Cabinet.