the Constitution had been put into effect as early as 1973.
It was rewritten and reinstated in 1978 - without the public
being asked. The constitution was presented to the chiefs of
the 40 clans in the country, just 15 days before the new
constitution came into force. The Constitution banned the
existence of opposition parties and created a parliament
with very limited powers of power.
From 1980, Swaziland's economy began to be hit by the
crisis in the world economy. The upturn before independence
was now replaced by increases in imported goods and declines
in the prices of the country's export products: maize, sugar
and timber. Inflation increased, the balance of payments
deteriorated, foreign investment dropped dramatically and
GDP fell by at least 4% annually. Exports of minerals fell
from 40% to 10% of total export revenues due to the
depletion of iron bearings. In 1980 several coal deposits
were discovered, but the extraction took place very slowly
due to lack of proper transport.
In August 1982, King Sobhuza II died. The inheritance
prince Makhosetive was only 15 years old, triggering a power
struggle within the royal family. The power struggle brought
Prime Minister Mabandla Dlamini to fall. His post was taken
over by conservative and pro-South African Bhekimpi Dlamini.
He began pursuing South African refugees in the country.
In August 1983, one of Sobhuza's widows, Ntombi overthrew
the reigning Queen Dzellue, took over the throne and
strengthened the conservative wing. Two months after the
Queen was replaced, 200,000 of the country's 760,000
residents voted to elect a new parliament. It happened
through a complicated indirect electoral system known as
Tinkhundla. As expected, Prince Dlamini won the
election in which no political parties participated and in
which the people did not know what it was voting for.
Parliament had less influence than Liqoqo - the
powerful assembly of tribal chiefs who served as the Supreme
Council of State. In the same year, the illegal People's
Democratic Unity Movement (PUDEMO) was formed, which
advocated multi-party rule.
The election result strengthened South African judicial
control over the country. The repression of militant
apartheid opponents escalated during 1984. They were
detained in Swaziland and handed over to the government in
The internal struggles of power in the royal family
continued. The election benefited a small financial elite,
but in April 1984 this group was split. In the second half
of 1984, the government closed the university after student
protests. Prime Minister Bhekimpi Dlamini's authoritarian
rule ended in a resurgence of the Swazi Liberation Movement,
led by Prince Clement Dumisa Dlamini from January 1985 - a
respected nationalist leader who had been secretary general
of the Progressive Party before independence, but then had
to go into exile in Britain.
On April 25, 1986, Prince Makhosetive was crowned King
Mswati III, and by his throne speech he presented a
conservative-oriented policy. In May, he dissolved
Liqoqo and consolidated the power of his own and his
ministers. Prime Minister Bhekimpi was removed from his post
and replaced with Sotsha Dlamini. In September 1987, King
Mswati dissolved the parliament, declaring that elections
would be held in November - a year earlier than planned. The
40 members of parliament and the 10 senators were elected by
an electoral college. However, the king rejected the
election of senators and forced the college to do so.
Relations with South Africa were not altered by the
takeover of the new king. The government continued to
condemn the international economic boycott of the apartheid
regime in Pretoria and the persecution of apartheid
opponents. Oppression of the opposition was stepped up -
especially the repression of PUDEMO.