Barnabas Dlamini, Prime Minister of Swaziland, is to defy the kingdom’s constitution and ignore a vote of confidence passed against him and his government this week.
Dlamini, who lost a vote supported by more than three-fifths of the House of Assembly, was required by S134 of the Constitution to resign within three days.
But now, as the three days deadline passed, he publicly said he would not recognise the vote. ‘We will just ignore the vote of no confidence and carry on with our business as usual,’ the Times Sunday newspaper in Swaziland reported him saying.
The paper said he had also instructed his ministers to carry on business as if nothing had happened.
Dlamini lost the vote of no confidence on Wednesday and according to the Swazi Constitution he had three days to announce his and his government’s resignation. According to the Constitution, if the PM does not resign the king must sack either the government or the entire Parliament.
King Mswati III, who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, personally handpicked Dlamini to be Prime Minister in 2008 in contravention of the Constitution which states the PM must be a member of the House of Assembly. Dlamini was not elected to parliament before King Mswati chose him. The King also chose the Cabinet of ministers, many of whom were not elected to the House of Assembly or the Swaziland Senate.
Dlamini’s public refusal to abide by the constitution is plunging Swaziland into a political crisis. According to the Constitution, King Mswati has no choice but to sack the Cabinet, but he is not expected to do this.
Yesterday (6 October 2012), Dlamini was present with King Mswati at the annual graduation ceremony at the University of Swaziland.
CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS: WHERE NOW?