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Eswatini

1997 Eswatini

According to Countryaah, 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 Pretoria.

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.

 

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