King Mswati III of Swaziland has instructed his subjects to only vote for Christians in the forthcoming national election.
The king, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, said only Christians would be humble enough to serve the kingdom.
The election due at a time still to be revealed by the king is for a parliament that has no powers. It is widely recognised as being subservient to the wishes of the king.
There are two chambers of parliament, the House of Assembly and the Senate. Of the 65 members of the House, 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.
Many prodemocracy organisations within Swaziland and outside have called on people to boycott the elections because political parties are not allowed to take part.
King Mswati, preaching at the Somhlolo National Stadium at Easter weekend, said his subjects should vote for people who were ‘God fearing’. ‘We can learn that we should be humble. Even those who come to parliament,’ local media, who enthusiastically supported the king’s view, reported him saying.
The king was also supported by the Swazi Conference of Churches President Bishop Stephen Masilela. He said, ‘We fully support the king’s statement and we are getting ourselves ready to take up the challenge. Very soon, we will be mobilising men and women who are Christians to be ready to compete successfully during the upcoming elections.’
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