Swaziland Politics

Swaziland Politics, Population and Geography

General information: Britain granted autonomy to the South African Swazi tribe at the end of the 19th century; independence was proclaimed in 1968. In the 1990s. student and worker uprisings forced the monarchy (one of the oldest on the continent) to begin political reform and democratization.


Location: South Africa, between Mozambique and South Africa.
Geographical coordinates: 26° 30’S latitude, 31° 30′ E
Reference map: Africa.
Area: total: 17,363 km2; land surface area: 17,203 km2; water surface area: 160 km2
Comparative area: slightly smaller than the state of New Jersey.
Land borders: total length: 535 km; with neighboring states: with Mozambique 105 km, with South Africa 430 km.
Coastline: 0 km (country is landlocked).
Maritime claims: none (country is landlocked).
Climate: ranges from tropical to almost temperate.
Relief: mostly mountains and hills; gradually decreasing plateau.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Usutu River 21 m; highest point: Mt. Emlembe 1,862 m.
Natural resources: asbestos, coal, clay, cassiterite, hydropower resources, timber, small deposits of gold and diamonds, building stone, talc.
Land use: arable land: 11%; cultivated land: 0%; pastures: 62%; forests and plantations: 7%; others: 20% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 670 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural hazards: no data available.
Current environmental issues: limited supplies of drinking water; the disappearance of wild animal populations due to uncontrolled hunting; overgrazing; erosion and soil degradation.
International environmental agreements: Member: Biodiversity, Climate change, Endangered species, Nuclear test ban, Ozone layer protection. signed but not ratified: Desertification, Law of the Sea.
Note to the section “Geography”: the country has no access to the sea; almost completely surrounded by South Africa.


Population: 1,104,343; note: estimates for this country take into account rising AIDS deaths; due to the spread of AIDS, life expectancy, population size and population growth may actually be lower, and child mortality and overall mortality rates correspondingly higher; there may also be changes in age structure and sex ratios (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 45.53% (male 250,327; female 252,479); 15 to 64 years old: 51.88% (male 276,186; female 296,728); over 65: 2.59% (male 11,687; female 16,936) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 1.83% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 40.12 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 21.84 deaths / 1000 people (2001 est.).
Migration: 0 people /1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male/female; under 15: 0.99 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 0.93 male/female; over 65: 0.69 male/female; for the general population: 0.95 male/female (2001 est.).
Child mortality: 109.19 deaths/1000 newborns (2.001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 38.62 years; men: 37.86 years; women: 39.4 years (2001 est.).
Total fertility rate: 5.82 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of the adult population infected with HIV: 25.25% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 130,000 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 7,100 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: resident of Swaziland; adjective: Swazi.
Ethnic groups: Africans 97%, Europeans 3%.
Believers: Protestants 55%, Muslims 10%, Catholics 5%, adherents of indigenous beliefs 30%.
Language(s): English (official, state business is conducted in English), Swazi (official).
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 76.7%; men: 78%; women: 75.6% (1995 est.).


Common long form: Kingdom of Swaziland.
Common short form: Swaziland.
State structure: monarchy; independent member of the Commonwealth. See politicsezine.com to know more about Swaziland Political System.
Capital: Mbabane; note – the city of Lobam-ba is the royal residence and seat of the legislature.
Administrative division: 4 districts: Lubom-bo, Manzini, Hohho, Shiselweni.
Independence: September 6, 1968 (until 1968 – protectorate of Great Britain).
National holiday: Independence Day, 6 September (since 1968).
Constitution: missing; the operation of the constitution, adopted on September 6, 1968, was suspended on April 12, 1973; a new constitution was proclaimed on October 13, 1978, but was not formally promulgated; since then, several more drafts of the constitution have been presented by the Constitutional Review Commission, but none have yet been finally adopted.
Legal system: South African Roman-Dutch law for formal courts and traditional Swazi law and custom for traditional courts; does not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: 18 years.
head of state: King MSWATI III (since 25 April 1986);
head of the government: Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas DLA-MINI (since August 9, 1996);
government: cabinet of ministers, whose composition is proposed by the prime minister and approved by the monarch; elections: no; hereditary monarchy; the prime minister is appointed by the monarch.
Legislature: bicameral Parliament (Libandla) – an advisory body consisting of the Senate (30 members, 10 of whom are appointed by the House of Assembly and 20 by the monarch; all members serve a five-year term) and the House of Assembly (65 members, ten of whom are appointed by the monarch and 55 are elected by popular vote ; all members serve a five-year term); elections: for the House of Assembly – last held on 16 and 24 October 1998 (next to be held in 2003); election results: candidates for the House of Assembly are nominated not by parties, but by the local councils of each of the constituencies; of the three candidates from each constituency who received the highest percentage of votes in the first ballot, one is elected in the second round.
Judiciary: High Court; Court of Appeal; the judges of both are appointed by the monarch.
Political parties and leaders: Imbokodwo National Movement (INM) (leader – NA), Ngwane National Liberation Congress (NNLC) (Obed DLAMINI, president); People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) (Mario MASUKU, president); Swaziland National Front (SWANAFRO) (Elmond SHONGWE, president); Swaziland Progressive Party (SPP) (JJ NQUKU, president); Swaziland United Front (SUF) (Matsapa SHONGWE, leader); note: political parties are prohibited by the constitution promulgated on October 13, 1978; illegal parties are not allowed to hold large public meetings; the listed organizations are political associations.
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: ACP, AfDB, C, CCC, ECA, FAO, G-77, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW, SACU, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO.
Diplomatic Mission to the United States: Head of Mission: Ambassador Mary Madzandza KANYA; office: 3400 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008; phone: [1] (202) 362-6683; fax: [1] (202) 244-8059.
US Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Gregory L. JOHNSON; embassy: Central Bank Building, Warner Street, Mbabane; mailing address: P. O. Box 199, Mbabane; phone: [268] 404-6441 to 404-6445; fax: [268] 404-5959.
Flag Description: three horizontal stripes of blue (top), red (this strip is three times wider) and blue; the red stripe is edged with yellow; in the center of the red stripe is a large black-and-white shield lying on top of two spears and a staff decorated with bunches of feathers; spears and wand are placed horizontally.

Swaziland Politics