oa De Jure - A critique of the Swazi Constitutional rules on succession to kingship - research

Volume 52 Number 1
  • ISSN : 2225-7160



Several aspects of Swazi constitutional law oftentimes present a jigsaw puzzle to many scholars of constitutional law. The promulgation of the new Constitution in 2005 purportedly marked an end to absolutism and ushered in liberal constitutionalism. However, it would seem that the strong role given to customary law in the constitutional design of Swaziland has provided an avenue for absolutism of the monarch. One area of customary law which is still very controversial is the succession to office of King. The Constitution is not elaborate on the rules of succession; it cagily provides that succession to office of King shall be regulated by “Swazi law and custom”. In practice, this has effectively given ‘Swazi law and Custom’ pre-eminence over the Constitution. The purpose of this article is to critique the rules of succession to the office of monarch in Eswatini. The paper contends that the Constitution can regain its supremacy by incorporating the customary rules of succession into the Constitution. When those roles have been codified in the Constitution, they can easily be synchronised with other devices of constitutionalism such as human rights and supremacy of the Constitution.

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