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The Electoral System

Legal Basis The legal basis for Swaziland’s electoral system combines only the:
• Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, 2005
• Elections Order, No.2 of 1992
• Voters Registration Order, No.3 of 1992
Electoral System Please note that Proclamation No.7 of 12th April 1973 was the supreme law of Swaziland until the year 2005 and the new Constitution then became the successor supreme law. Section 79 of the new constitution provides that “The system of government for Swaziland is a democratic, participatory, tinkhundla-based system which emphasizes devolution of state power from central government to tinkhundla areas and individual merit as a basis for election or appointment to public office”. In May 2009 the Supreme Court in the matter of Jan Sithole N.O. and Others v The Prime Minister and Others concluded that the Constitution in general and section 79 in particular does not envisage political parties contesting elections. The Proclamation of 12th April 1973 is therefore incorrectly included as a legal basis for Swaziland’s electoral system.
Electoral Period House of Assembly elections every 5 years.
Electoral Institutions Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC).
Functions of Electoral Institutions To supervise voter registration, to ensure fair and free elections, to facilitate voter education, to delimit tinkhundla constituencies and to produce periodic reports on work done.

NOTE:

Please note that all the five members of the Elections and Boundaries Commission (Chair, Deputy Chair and the 3 other members) are appointed by the King on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission. Section 90(2) of the new Constitution of 2005 refers. There are no consultations that take place between the King and the minister responsible for elections. The appointment of all the five members of the Commission is done by the King on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission.
Independence of Electoral Insitutions Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) members are appointed by the King; the Chair and Deputy-Chair on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission and the other three after consultation with the ministers responsible for elections and for local government. Commissioners may only be removed by the King for incompetence or misbehaviour on the recommendation of the Judicial Services Commission.
Demarcation The EBC is resposible for the demarcation of the 55 constituencies known as tinkundhla; boundaries are reviewed very 5 years, one year before election of the House of Assembly.
Voter Registration Kindly be informed that in the case of registration at urban areas, voter registration is done in the presence of an immigration official and other competent witnesses. Section 5(2) of Voters Registration Order No.3 of 1992 refers). Evidence of Swazi Citizenship is required to be produced by the registration applicants.

It is therefore incorrect to state that the registration is done in the presence of Indvuna yeNkhundla.
Voter Education The Elections and Boundaries Commission is responsible for facilitating civic and voter education.
Nomination of Candidates House of Assembly elections: The voters of each of several chiefdoms in an inkhundla nominate candidates to stand for election. Nominations must be endorsed by 15 voters registered in that inkhundla.
Funding of Political Parties Please note that it is incorrect to state that Proclamation No.7 of 12th April 1973 has not been repealed. The Proclamation became the supreme law of the country on 12th April 1973 until the new Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland was adopted in 2005 as the successor supreme law of Swaziland.

Be informed further, that the report stated to have been written by Nqobile Ndlovu makes an incorrect reporting. There was never an order of the High Court that directed the government to register the African United Democratic Party as a legal political party. That information is wrong and incorrect. The ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs also never agreed to comply with the alleged court order because it never even existed. Kindly delete all the information based on the Nqobile Ndlovu report.

The African United Democratic Party (AUDP) approached the High Court for an order compelling the Government to register it as a political party. This case was not concluded. The applicant (AUDP) appears to have abandoned the case because it never pursued it after the Government had filed her opposition papers. The news report attributed to Nqobile Ndlovu is therefore inaccurate.

Be also informed and advised that Chief Gija Dlamini, the Chair of the Elections and Boundaries Commission, did not state that political parties were unlawful and would therefore not be permitted to take part in the October 2008 election. Chief Gija only referred to the law as provided, particularly section 79 of the new Constitution. Section 79 provides that “The system of government for Swaziland is a democratic, participatory, tinkhundla-based system which emphasizes devolution of state power from central government to tinkhundla areas and individual merit as a basis for election or appointment to public office”. Chief Gija was only referring to the latter part of section 79 because it clearly stipulates that individual merit is the basis for election.

The news report of 14 August 2007 attributed to IOL 2007 stating that King Mswati III asserted that political parties remain banned is also inaccurate and misleading. There was never a court order directing the Government to register the AUDP as a legal political party, and the contextual reference where such a report is based is when reference was made to section 79 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, 2005.

It is however true that there is no legislation in Swaziland governing aspects of political party life such as registration, regulation, funding and financial control. Things are that way because Swaziland is not a political party state based system.
Election Camplaign Campaigning is initiated through public addresses by candidates at inkhundla meetings. No other measures affecting campaigning have been enacted
Communication There are no regulations governing coverage of candidates by the public media.
Counting After the close of the poll the presiding officer seals all the documentation and ballot boxes and forwards them to the returning officer. The returning officer gives notice to the candidates or their agents informing them of when and where the count is to take place. After checking that nothing has been tampered with the returning officer proceed to count the votes in the presence of candidates and/or their agents.
Announcement of Results At the inkhundla, or constituency level the Returning Officer announces results publicly outside the counting station. The results are forwarded to the Elections and Boundaries Commission. The Elections and Boundaries Commission is responsible for announcing the result at the national level and must publish them in the Gazette.
Conflict Resolution The EBC is not tasked with hearing disputes, nor is there any specific legislation governing dispute resolution, so election petitions are heard by the High Court.
Election Monitoring Observers are accredited by the EBC.

 

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