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State

Capital

Swaziland

Mbabane

Currency unit

Lilangeni

Connections

Empire

South Africa

Southern

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

History

A landlocked kingdom surrounded by South Africa and Mozambique. When South Africa was formed in 1910 it remained a British Protectorate, one of the three High Commission territories with Basutoland (now Lesotho) and Bechuanaland (now Botswana).

It became independent in 1968 .

It derives from the Mfecane period (see South Africa) following the period of Shaka. The Swazis are a people related to the Zulu clans of which Shaka was the leader.

An attempt to transfer some Swazi speakers from South Africa failed on the grounds that it would have made Swaziland into a Bantustan, which would have been considered by the OAU as co-operating with the Apartheid policy of South Africa.

Now that South Africa has a democratic government the position of Swaziland may come under question and there may be calls to incorporate it within a Southern African Federation, also including Lesotho and perhaps Botswana and Namibia.

It is a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Languages

Seswati
one of the Ngoni Click languages

English

 History

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

Politics

Swaziland became independent in 1968.

It is still in form an absolute monarchy. The Parliamentary system set up by the British was abandoned after independence in 1977 by the king Sobhuza II. He died aged 83 in 1982.

Since his death the regime has resembled some of the Gulf monarchies with larger numbers of the royal Clan exercising influence over the young king, Mswati the third. Probably this was encouraged by the former South African regime.

General strike in January 1996, calling for democracy, perhaps influenced by the South African example.

Election in October 1998 for 55 deputies in the "National Assembly" , the candidates nominated by traditional local councils which are themselves appointed by the king. None of the candidates represent any of the political parties which were outlawed in 1973 by royal decree issued by the former king Sobhuza, father of king Mswati.

Parliament "Libandla" is entirely dependent on the King. It is made up of a National Assembly and a senate. In addition to the 55 deputies in the national assembly elected by voters, the King appoints another ten. He also appoints 20 out of 30 senators. These senators then appoint the remaining 10.

This Parliament is only advisory and has no power to initiate legislation. If they disagree with the king (unlikely) he can dismiss it.

There are calls for a democratic system and criticism of the king’s lavish lifestyle in a very poor country. Will this result in a revolution similar to those in the "Arab -Spring"? It may happen.

 History

 Politics

 Green

 Rights

Economics

The economy includes tropical products such as sugar and pineapples and iron ore mining. The economy is closely integrated with South Africa, though there is a rail outlet through Maputo in Mozambique.

During the period of sanctions against South Africa Swaziland was used to relabel South African products for sale in other parts of Africa.

The high death rate from HIV makes economic progress difficult. The textile factories may have to close following the change in WTO rules that make China more competitive.

Sugar faces the same type of problem because import rules in the EU change. The government tends to invest in large projects that don't make ordinary people better off.

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Rights

Green/Ecology

With 40% of the adult population infected with HIV this country is believed to have the highest rate of infection and there is a very high death rate.

The king has a dozen wives at least.

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

Human Rights

There are political prisoners and there is no press freedom.

Climate effects

Last revised 14/04/12


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The author has travelled in Swaziland


Since 14/04/12

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