Swaziland

This section contains a brief description of the legal system of Swaziland.

Swaziland became independent from Britain on 6 September 1968. In the colonial period from 1906 to 1968, Swaziland was governed by a resident commissioner who ruled according to decrees, issued by the British High Commissioner for South Africa, which were formulated in consultation with the resident commissioners, who took informal and formal advice from white settlers and the Swazi royalty.

An elected European Advisory Council was constituted in 1921, while the Native Administration Proclamation of 1941 recognised the position of the ngwenyama (paramount chief).  In 1964, elections for a legislative council were held under Swaziland's first constitution.

On 12 April 1973, King Sobhuza II, who had been head of the Swazi nation since 1921, announced that the constitution had been repealed and that he had assumed supreme executive, legislative, and judicial powers. In 1979, a new parliament was chosen, partly through indirect elections and partly through royal appointment.

A power struggle ensued after Sobhuza's death in 1982. Following a period of regency, King Mswati III was crowned absolute monarch on 25 April 1986.

Protests during during the 1990s pressured King Mswati III, to allow some political reform and greater democracy.

A constitution came into effect in 2006, but the legal status of political parties remains unclear. Talks over the constitution broke down between the government and progressive groups in 2007.

 

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