By Nyokabi Ng’ang’a
Thumbnail photo-courtesy: mountaininn.sz
The Kingdom of eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is an absolute monarchy state based in South Africa. It gained its independence from Britain in the year 1968. The British government colonized eSwatini for 66 years, from 1902 till independence. However, the Boers in 1894 had taken charge of eSwatini, but upon defeat by the Britons, they surrendered their colony to the latter in 1902.
As written by http://www.sahistory.org.za, “…the Swazi nation…originally came from Mozambique.” The Kingdom of eSwatini dates its existence from Mozambique, with its majority populace streaming from the Nguni tribe. The Swazi people deserted their original homeland for “the Pongola River valley in Kwazulu Natal in the nineteenth century as a result of internal pressure,” http://www.sahistory.org.za. Their settlement, however, lasted for a short-time due to the Zulu Civil War or Ndwandwe-Zulu War of 1817-1819; resulting to their resettlement in Ezulwini Valley- modern day eSwatini.
Modern day, eSwatini, is led by King Mswati III- who came into power in 1986 at the age of 18 years. King Mswati III succeeded his Father, King Sobhuza II- who is the acclaimed world’s longest reigning monarch- http://www.gov.sz. Before King Mswati ascended to the throne, Queen Dzeliwe acted as a regent until the former was of age. It is recorded by http://www.gov.sz that there were two female regents in eSwatini’s history, namely: Queen Gwamile and Queen Dzeliwe who tentatively graced the throne on behalf of the then young heirs, King Sobhuza II and King Mswati III respectively. The monarchy’s power lies on the King (Ngwenyama) and the Queen Mother, Ndlovukazi (She-elephant).
Aside from eSwatini’s monarchical base, important to note is that the ratified Constitution of 2005 is regarded as the supreme law of the land. The constitution asserts that the kingdom’s power lies with the King. The Constitution also stipulates the three arms of government in eSwatini, namely: Bicameral legislature, Judiciary and the Executive; of which all are independent from each other. The Bicameral Legislature consists of the House of Assembly and the Senate, which contain 65 members and 30 members respectively. The House of Assembly members are usually elected by the monarch and universal adult suffrage-which comes from the Tinkhundla electoral system; afterwards, the house of Assembly elects a section of members of the senate and the remaining number is left to the decision of the monarch, https://thecommonwealth.org/ .
The monarch also elects the Prime Minister of the State who then runs government business and chairs the Cabinet. Moreover, the Prime Minister is tasked with the responsibility of keeping the monarch abreast with all governmental affairs.
The Kingdom of eSwatini is one that has stood the test of times. Not only is it true to itself and its existence but also true to its practices and authentic African culture. From its still practiced ceremonies; Umhlanga (reed dance) http://www.thekingdomofeswatini.com/news-blogs/the-umhlanga-reed-dance-an-amazing-cultural-spectacle/ and Incwala (a cleansing and renewal ceremony) http://www.thekingdomofeswatini.com/eswatini-experiences/events/incwala-festival/to its authentic traditional attires and not forgetting its embrace of the Ubuntu Philosophy. Swaziland is a monarchy worth watching out for!
Ngiyabonga! (siSwati name for Thank you)