King Mswati III of Swaziland has appointed six members of his family to the kingdom’s senate.
This is in addition to the two princes, a princess and three members of his own Dlamini clan he appointed to the House of Assembly earlier this month (October 2013).
King Mswati, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, chooses 20 of the 30 members of the Swazi Senate. The other 10 are elected by members of the House of Assembly. None are elected by the people.
The king also appoints 10 members of the 65-strong House of Assembly. The others are selected by the people. Political parties are banned from taking part in the election.
The appointment of his family to the Senate and the House strengthen the king’s control over what happens in the Swaziland Parliament. It is widely acknowledged outside of Swaziland that the parliament has no real powers and will not do anything that displeases the king.
In addition to appointing six of his own family to the Senate, King Mswati also appointed four chiefs and one acting chief. In Swaziland chiefs are the personal representatives of the king in their local areas. They are seen as the eyes and ears of the king and often delegate his powers to themselves.
King Mswati also reappointed his staunch supporter Barnabas Dlamini to a third term in office as prime minister. Dlamini, a member of the king’s clan, was not elected to parliament.
KING APPOINTS HIS FAMILY TO PARLIAMENT
‘PM IS INCOMPETENT, UNTRUSTWORTHY, VAIN’