Monday, March 12, 2012


The Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) will boycott the 2013 national elections in the kingdom because political parties are banned.

TUCOSWA was launched this past weekend after the two main labour organisations in the kingdom merged.

Its newly-appointed secretary-general Vincent Ncongwane said TUCOSWA should do all it could to frustrate the elections.

Delegates agreed on Sunday (11 March 2012) that if elections took place next year they should be for a multi-party democracy and nothing else.

Political parties are banned in Swaziland, which is ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, and only individuals are allowed to stand as candidates.

At present the Swaziland Parliament has few powers. Of the 65 members of the House of Assembly, 10 are chosen by King Mswati and 55 are elected by the people. In the senate, King Mswati chooses 20 of the 30 places. The other 10 are chosen by members of the House of Assembly. None are elected by the people.

The Commonwealth Expert Team (CET) that monitored Swaziland’s last election in 2008 was so unhappy with the system that it advised Swaziland to look again at its constitution, to ensure that there was full consultation with the people, civic society and political organisations.

The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) also denounced the poll because political parties were not allowed to take part.

The European Union refused to send a team to monitor the elections because it could not see the point since it said the elections were obviously not free.

After the 2008 Swaziland’s Elections and Boundaries Commission reported allegations of widespread bribery, ‘treating’, threats of violence and cases of candidates unlawfully holding voter cards.

Later, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) criticised the Swaziland Supreme Court for siding with the Swaziland state and confirming a constitutional right to ban political parties in the kingdom.

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