In this file picture, a voter casts his ballot at a voting station inSwaziland’s last election in 2013. Picture: AP/African News Agency (ANA)
JOHANNESBURG: The citizens of Swaziland, or Eswatini as the kingdom was recently renamed, will go to the polls on September 21 for national elections but the results seem a foregone conclusion with absolute monarch King Mswati III sure to be the winner as democracy again takes the back stage, according to analysts and a new report.

“In the kingdom’s tinkhundla political system political parties are banned from taking part and people are only allowed to elect 59 members of the House of Assembly; the king chooses another 10,” Richard Rooney of Swazimedia.blogspot reported.

“No members of the 30-strong senate are elected by the people. When the election is over King Mswati will choose a prime minister and cabinet. He also chooses top judges and public servants."

No public debate took place in April when Swaziland’s name was unilaterally changed to Eswatini by Mswati to mark the country’s 50th anniversary of independence from Great Britain.

In 2013, the king invented a system of “Monarchical Democracy”, a merger of the alleged will of the people and the monarch, but which in reality further cemented his powerful grip on the country.

Mswati later admitted that his so called “Monarchical Democracy” was just another name for the tinkhundla system already in place.

The European Union Election Experts Mission (EEM) outlined how the absolute monarchy undermines democracy in the region after the group monitored the 2013 elections.

“The king has absolute power and is considered to be above the law, including the constitution, enjoying the power to assent laws and immunity from criminal proceedings,” said an EEM report.

“A bill shall not become law unless the king has assented to it, meaning that the parliament is unable to pass any law which the king is in disagreement with.”

Now a new study “Organised Certainty” has been released by Scribd - a website by journalists and analysts which examines political issues, including elections - which outlines why Swaziland’s elections are not democratic.

The report noted that the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in Pretoria stated that the country’s 2013 elections changed nothing and allowed the ruling regime to have an unchallenged monopoly over state resources. Swaziland’s Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) was also criticised for its inability to run competent elections while the international observers monitoring the elections said the state was unable to accept that peaceful political and social dissent was a vital element of a healthy democratic process. - African News Agency (ANA)