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Monday, 12 September 2016

ORDER BILL BLOCKS POLITICAL PARTIES

The committee appointed to pilot Swaziland’s Public Order Bill has said it would not allow political parties to be legalised in the kingdom.

At present Swaziland is ruled by King Mswati III who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. The King appoints the Government. No members of the Swazi Senate are elected by the people. Political parties are not allowed to contest elections and are to all purposes banned in the kingdom.

International pressure for Swaziland to democratise has forced the kingdom to review a number of laws. The Public Order Bill 2016 is presently being discussed in Swaziland’s Parliament.

The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King, reported on Wednesday (7 September 2016) that the portfolio committee announced it had ‘no intention of allowing political parties to exist’.

The committee is led by Member of Parliament Thuli Dladla, who was not elected to the House of Assembly, but appointed by the King.

The Observer said that the portfolio committee’s report said the Swaziland Constitution, ‘did not provide for political parties’.

The newspaper said, ‘The portfolio committee’s report said the constitution, instead of providing for political parties only made reference to political associations or organisations.’

The Observer made no reference to the fact that a ‘political party’ is a type of ‘political association’.

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