Swaziland’s Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini misled the media when he said that the kingdom’s Ambassador to the United Nations was now ‘the vice-president’ for the UN General Assembly.
The Observer on Saturday, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, who rules as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, reported Dlamini saying the election of Zweli Mnisi proved Swaziland had been placed in the world map by holding such a high position.
But this is far from the truth. Rather than being elected ‘the’ vice-president’ of the UN General Assembly, Mnisi is one of 21 vice-presidents.
According to UN rules the vice-presidents are chosen from across the world so that six are representatives from African states; five from Asian states; one from an Eastern European state; three from Latin American States; two from Western European or other states with five representatives from the permanent members of the UN Security Council.
Far from demonstrating that Swaziland is held in any particular high esteem, it shows that he go the seat because it was Swaziland’s turn.
According to the United Nations Handbook, vice-presidents sit on the UN General Assembly committees which deal with ‘procedural and organizational issues’ of the assembly.