Saturday, February 27, 2010


The Speaker of the Swaziland House of Assembly has told Barnabas Dlamini, the illegally-appointed Prime Minister to his face that he is answerable to Parliament.

Dlamini had asserted earlier in the week that he was answerable to no one, and even King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch had to consult him on some matters.

Yesterday (26 February 2010,) Speaker Prince Guduza told Dlamini and the whole House of Assembly that the Prime Minister answered to Parliament.

The House was meeting to hear Finance Minister Majozi Sithole deliver his annual budget speech, but before e could begin Speaker Guduza read a prepared statement.

In it he said, contrary to the PM’s assertion, the PM was not head of Parliament, instead, the king was.

He said, ‘No member or individual of this House, regardless of his status or position is above the authority of the Speaker. On the contrary, the Speaker is accountable to this House in its collective form and to His Majesty the King.’

He said the Swaziland Constitution sections 68 and 69 made this clear.

He said anyone who said otherwise ‘should be condemned by all law abiding citizens’.

Senate President Gelane Zwane had previously said that there was a separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary in Swaziland. Dlamini angrily denounced Zwane and told the kingdom that he was in complete control.

In what may have been a reference to Dlamini’s subsequent bullying of Zwane, the Speaker said, ‘Intimidation, manipulation of politicians by another, and in part, using the treasury as battle-ground to settle political scores is devoid of civilised decency and smacks of flagrant abuse of State power.’

The Prime Minister reacted angrily to the Speaker. Dlamini told the Speaker in the House of Assembly, ‘We will answer on what you have just said. You should not take advantage just because you’re the Speaker.’

The Speaker called the PM to order and instructed him to stick to what was in the order paper and nothing more.

According to the Swazi News, an independent newspaper, ‘During recess, legislators conversed in hush tones regarding what had happened inside the chamber; with others predicting that more was still to come.’

More still to come? Yes, I think that’s a fair prediction. Dlamini will not want to take this, but he has now been publicly reminded of his limited powers by both the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Assembly. If he continues to abuse his power he will no longer be able to claim that Swaziland is a democracy.


A Swaziland High Court judge has rewritten a law because it is denies women their human rights.

Justice Qinisile Mabuza said she was entitled to do this because the Swazi Constitution allows judges to defend the rights of the Swazi people.

It happened on Tuesday (23 February 2010) when Justice Mabuza ruled that Swazi women may register property in their own name.

The ruling made national and international news, but as far as I can tell no media pointed out that Justice Mabuza had defended the constitution.

She wanted to find in favour of the applicant Doo Aphane but the law as it stood denied Aphane her human rights. So the judge changed the law.

It involved S16 (3) of the Deeds Registry Act, which reads:

‘immovable property, bonds and other real rights shall not be transferred or ceded to, or registered in the name of, a woman married in community of property, save where such property bonds or real rights are by law or by a condition of a bequest or donation excluded from the community’.

The judge said she would ignore this and instead rewrite the paragraph. She cut out the words ‘not’ and ‘save’ and replaced ‘save’ with the word ‘even’, thereby making the paragraph say the exact opposite to what the lawmakers intended.

The paragraph now reads:

‘immovable property, bonds and other real rights shall be transferred or ceded to, or registered in the name of, a woman married in community of property, even where such property bonds or real rights are by law or by a condition of a bequest or donation excluded from the community’.

To see the full judgement click here.

Justice Mabuza, the only woman High Court judge in Swaziland, says she is entitled to do this because ‘S151 (2) (a) of the constitution states that the High Court has jurisdiction to enforce fundamental human rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, This includes the right to equality which is guaranteed by sections 20 and 28 of the Constitution.’

She also criticised the Swazi Government for not moving faster to ‘embark on aggressive legal reforms especially those relating to women who have been marginalised over the years in many areas of the law.’

She awarded the costs of the trail against the government ‘in the hope that such sanction will galvanize them into action’.

This is a brave decision from Justice Mabuza. I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of it. How can Barnabas Dlamini, the illegally-appointed Prime Minister of Swaziland, who only this week said he was answerable to no one except King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absoluter monarch, let this go?

Just think what would happen if it caught on and all High Court judges started rewriting laws so they gave people their human rights.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Barnabas Dlamini, the illegally-appointed Prime Minister of Swaziland, is victimising the senate leader who said he and the Swazi government are answerable to parliament.

Senate President Gelane Zwane pointed out what everyone who understands democracies knows, that there should be a separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.

But Dlamini said: No. He was in charge of everything and not answerable to parliament.

Now as punishment for speaking the truth, Dlamini has decided that Zwane cannot travel outside of Swaziland on official business without his permission.

It’s a very petty move from the Prime Minister, but one entirely in keeping with him: he will bully anyone who stands in his way.


We all know that Barnabas Dlamini is the illegally-appointed Prime Minister in Swaziland, but now he has set himself up as a dictator to rival King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, himself.

Dlamini has told the media in Swaziland that he is in charge of nearly everything in the kingdom – the members of parliament, the senate and the judiciary. The only one above him is the king himself and sometimes even he has to act on the recommendation of Dlamini, he said.

He was reacting to a statement from Senate President Chief Gelane Zwane who said there is a ‘separation of powers’ in the kingdom. She said parliament was not an arm of government and the cabinet, including the PM, was responsible to parliament.

Not so, says Dlamini. It’s me and me alone. Even the king has to listen to Dlamini when it comes to dissolving parliament, he said.

He said Zwane had spoken out of line.

The Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, went so far as to say Zwane had been ‘put in her rightful place’ by the prime minister.

In fact, she hadn’t been. She was right and the Prime Minister is wrong.

Dlamini’s taking of power (a coup you might say) was not noticed by the Swaziland media which (as they nearly always do) simply recorded his words.

The Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisations (SCCCO) was more alert. It said in a statement,

‘At last the Prime Minister has openly admitted that the full and proper independence of both Parliament and the Judiciary is a sham and that the control of budgets, staffing, legislative and judicial timetables are all within the power of the Prime Minister to exercise and manipulate. Yet he calls Swaziland a “fully democratic state”. ‘

It goes on, ‘In a democratic state, the will of the people is expressed in its choice of government. In Swaziland, the people’s will had no say in the choice of government. There were hundreds of thousands of votes for parliamentarians whose wishes are now being overruled by the Prime Minister who only received one vote [that of King Mswati who appointed him]. How can he call that a democratic state? He is not accountable to the people or parliament.’