Sunday, May 2, 2010


Barnabas Dlamini, the illegally-appointed Prime Minister of Swaziland is telling lies again.

Actually, it’s not a new lie: it’s one the ruling elite tell over and over again.

Dlamini told a meeting of Swazi media editors this week that the kingdom’s constitution that came into effect in 2006 was chosen by the people.

And that is just not true. And the editors know it and they shouldn’t allow Dlamini to get away with it.

Here’s what really happened. After the first draft of the constitution was written King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, invited the International Bar Association (IBA) to comment on it.

The IBA in a report said as clear as clear can be that the process of so-called consultation was deeply flawed.

The IBA pointed out that the judiciary and non-government organisations (NGOs) were not allowed to take part in the consultation. Also, individuals were interviewed in front of their chiefs so were not free to say what they really thought about the powers of the king and what he and his followers like to call Swaziland’s ‘unique democracy’, the Tinkhundla system.

IBA said the consultation did not allow for groups to make submissions and incomplete records were kept of the submissions that were made so, IBA says, there is no formal record of how Swazi citizens presented their views and of what in fact they said.

On top of this the IBA reports that the Swaziland media were not allowed to to report on the submissions.

‘Furthermore, information was elicited in a highly charged atmosphere. Individuals were reportedly asked, in the presence of chiefs, whether they wanted to retain the King and whether they preferred political parties,’ IBA says.

Add that lot together and there is no way you can say that the people of Swaziland were consulted properly.

IBA, using very diplomatic language, called the process ‘flawed’ and said that one critic went so far as to call it a ‘fraud’.

You can read more of what I have written on the IBA here.

For the full IBA report - Striving for Democratic Governance – click here.

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