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Monday, 3 July 2017


Some women in Swaziland are too scared to stand as candidates in the national election because their husbands would be angry with them.

This emerged during voter education at KaGucuka organised by the Elections and Boundaries Commission. One women, reported by local media, said most women of the area feared being nominated for the elections because they would be questioned and even disowned by their husbands.

The Swazi Observer on Monday (26 June 2017) reported a woman who did not want to be named saying, ‘To be very honest, the reason why this small area has never had a female nominee for elections is because we fear our husbands who will question us on how we got nominated to stand for the elections in the first place. We have heard that a successful nominee requires at least 10 people to nominate them to stand for the elections, unfortunately for us women our husbands will get angry at us when we get nominated.’

King Mswati III rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. Swaziland is due to hold its national elections in 2018 but the King has yet to announce an exact date. Political parties are banned from taking part in the election and the King’s subjects are only allowed to pick 55 of the 65 members of the House of Assembly; the other 10 are appointed by the King. 

None of the 30 members of the Swazi Senate are elected by the people; the King appoints 20 members and the other 10 are appointed by the House of Assembly.

The King choses the Prime Minister and cabinet members. Only a man with the surname Dlamini can, by tradition, be appointed as Prime Minister. The King is a Dlamini.  

Women are underrepresented in the Swazi parliament and there was only one woman elected as member of the Swaziland House of Assembly at the last election in 2013. Other women were later appointed to the Parliament, including at last two members of the Royal Family. According to the Swazi Constitution women should make up 30 percent of the total membership of Parliament.

At present an Election of Women Members to the House of Assembly Bill of 2017 is being discussed in the kingdom. It aims to put in place a process for electing women to Parliament.

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