Thursday, June 25, 2015


Swaziland’s Speaker of the House of Assembly Themba Msibi was suspended from office for seven days after an allegation that he conspired to oust the Prime Minister from office.

It was one of four allegations that have surfaced in the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.

The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King, reported that Msibi was suspended on 17 June 2015 and a parliamentary investigation started against him for four allegations.

The newspaper listed them as follows:

‘A newspaper article that implicates Msibi in interfering in the personnel recruitment process in Parliament. 

‘Misrepresentation he made in Cameroon during the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, that he had been nominated into the local chapter of CPA.

‘He was responsible for the dissolution of the Parliamentary joint house committee.

‘That he was one of the conspirators to oust the Prime Minister [Barnabas Dlamini] from office.’

Msibi then went to the Swazi High Court to seek a ruling that the House of Assembly did not have the power to suspend a Speaker.

On Wednesday (24 June 2015) the High Court ruled that the House of assembly investigation should be halted pending further deliberation by the court.

Msibi was a controversial choice as Speaker of the House of Assembly. He was elected unopposed after all other candidates withdrew from the election. Msibi was considered to be the choice of King Mswati.

In October 2013, following the national election, in which political parties were banned from taking part, the House of Assembly was ready to elect a Speaker but it was adjourned for three days to allow Msibi time to get his nomination papers entered.

The adjournment was forced by Clerk of Parliament Ndvuna Dlamini. The adjournment caused confusion in the Swazi Parliament because the kingdom’s Constitution suggests the election of Speaker had to take place at the first sitting of Parliament following a national election.

Once news that King Mswati wanted Msibi in place, other candidates withdrew.

Among those withdrawing was Prince Guduza, the Speaker of the previous Parliament. He was widely thought of as the first choice of Parliamentarians and until the King’s intervention, was expected to be elected. 

King Mswati III had a week earlier appointed Msibi to the House of Assembly. Msibi did not stand as a candidate in the national election held on 20 September 2013. The king appoints 10 members of the House.

At the time, the Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King, ran a story recalling Msibi’s past life.  Msibi had at one time complained that there were ‘too many foreigners’ in Swaziland. The newspaper also reported that Msibi was once photographed by journalists with his trousers down in a car with a woman who was not his wife. Msibi later apologised to King Mswati for embarrassment caused.

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