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The main function of the Judiciary is to adjudicate and to interpret Acts of Parliament and the common law. Additionally the Judiciary has the power to issue out orders or directions as may be necessary to ensure law, peace and order is maintained. The Judiciary is independent and subject only to the Constitution. The country’s judiciary comprises of the Courts of general jurisdiction, the Supreme Court, High Court and Magistrate Courts and other specialized courts, such as Swazi or Customary Courts. In addition there is the Industrial Court and the Industrial Court of Appeal which are specialist tribunals whose jurisdiction is confined to Labour disputes. The judges of the superior courts (Supreme and High Courts) and the specialist tribunals are appointed by the King on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission (“JSC”) and Magistrates are appointed by the JSC. Officers (President) of the Swazi Courts which administer Swazi law and custom are appointed by the King independently of the Judicial Service Commission.


The main function of the Legislature is to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of Swaziland. The power of the King and Parliament to make laws is exercised through bills.  A bill may be introduced into either chamber for debate or passage into law except for a money bill, which must only be introduced in the House of Assembly before it proceeds to the Senate. The Parliament of Swaziland is a bicameral chamber consisting of the Senate and the House of Assembly.  Section 94 (1) of the Constitution states that the Senate shall consist of not more than thirty one members. Currently, the Senate consist thirty (30) members. Ten (10) Senators, at least half of whom must be female, are elected by members of the House of Assembly so as to represent a cross-section of Swazi society. Twenty (20) Senators, at least eight of whom must be female are appointed by the King acting in His discretion after consultation with such bodies as He may deem appropriate.

In terms of section 95 (1) of the Constitution the House of Assembly shall consist of a maximum of seventy six members. The House currently consists of sixty-six members, fifty-five of whom were elected from tinkhundla areas serving as constituencies and ten members were nominated by the King, as provided for by the Constitution. The sixty-sixth member is the Speaker of the House who was elected from outside the House as sanctioned by section 102 of the Constitution.


THE THREE ARMS OF GOVERNMENT

Swaziland is a Monarchy whose current Head of State is His Majesty King Mswati III, who ascended to the throne on the 25th April 1986. Both the country’s political and legal system can be described as dual in that they feature the simultaneous operation of traditional institutions and western methods of modern governance and Roman Dutch common Law. The Constitution of Swaziland Act No.001/2005 came into force on 26 July 2005. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. The Constitution provides for three organs or arms of government, that is the Executive, a bicameral Legislature and the Judiciary. Each of these organs is independent from other arms.

THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM

Swaziland practices a Tinkhundla–based electoral system of government. The Tinkhundla system is a democratic participatory system which emphasizes devolution of power from central government to Tinkhundla (constituencies) areas and individual merit as a basis for election or appointment to public office.

 


The primary function of the Executive arm of government is to execute the decisions of the judiciary, to implement the laws made by the Legislature and see to the overall administration of the country. Furthermore, it is the Executive’s role to defend the Constitution of the country. The Executive authority of Swaziland vests in the King as the Head of State. The King may exercise the executive authority either directly or through the Cabinet or a Minister. In His capacity as the Head of State the King has authority to sign and assent to Bills, summon and dissolve Parliament, receive foreign envoys, reprieve or commute sentences, declare State of emergency, confer honors, establish any commission or vusela and order a referendum.

The Executive arm consists of the Cabinet and civil servants. The Cabinet is made up of the The Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and 18 Ministers. They are responsible for policy making, administration and executing the functions of government. The Prime Minister is the Chairman of the Cabinet and the leader of Government in business. He is appointed by the King with the recommendation of the Kings Advisory Council (Liqoqo) from the House of Assembly. The King appoints Ministers form both chambers of Parliament and on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. At least half of the Ministers are appointed among the elected members of the House.

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