Following speculation that King Mswati III had interfered in the election of Speaker of the House of Assembly in Swaziland, his supposed preferred candidate Themba Msibi has announced he will run for the office.
Swaziland’s Parliament was thrown into confusion on Thursday (17 October 2013) when Ndvuna Dlamini, the Clerk to Parliament, adjourned the election for House Speaker without a vote being taken.
This led to an accusation by pro-democracy campaigners, the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN), that this was done to allow Themba Msibi to become House Speaker, even though he was not standing.
The next day Msibi announced he would run for the office. Meanwhile, two other candidates, the well-known dissident writer Mfomfo Nkhambule Patrick ‘Pha’ Motsa said they would withdraw from the contest.
This leaves the election as a straight run off between the outgoing Speaker Prince Guduza and Msibi.
The SSN reported Guduza had been the parliamentarians’ first choice, but King Mswati, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, objected.
In a statement, SSN said, ‘He [the king] has also issued his famous threat that should Msibi not be elected as Speaker, he will not open parliament next year. He has done this in the past when Marwick Khumalo was elected Speaker.’
CONFUSION AS SPEAKER NOT ELECTED
DISSIDENT STANDS AS HOUSE SPEAKER