ESWATINI is counting down general elections scheduled for 29 September. Candidates who have passed the Primary Elections stage are now vying for election for 59 seats in the Kingdom’s House of Assembly.
The Eswatini elections depart from the universal norm and are held without the direct participation of political parties. Candidates stand in their individual capacity and are elected at grass root based on their personal merit.
This year’s elections are being closely watched in the aftermath of searing protests during 2021. Some of the country’s political parties supported the demanding increased political space and democracy. However the political parties are divided over their role under the country’s Tinkhundla system which forbids their participation in Government. Some parties insist on boycotting the elections until there is law reform to accommodate their participation. Others however are supporting their members to participate as individuals, insisting they hope their members will influence policy reform from within Parliament.
So far sitting MPs are experiencing a hard time. Most of them have been eliminated in the preliminary stages which is seen as a backlash at perception of service delivery against the government that they were part of.
The main election are scheduled for the end of the month. This will be followed by a week of social dialogue. The Prime Minister Cleopas Dlamini who has served for two years is expected to retain his position.