The Scales of Success: Constructions of Life-Career Success of Eminent Men and Women Lawyers
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Swaziland received independence from Great Britain in September All traditional and customary matters fell within the jurisdiction of the Ngwenyama Lion , or the paramount chief, as the British preferred to call him. This meant that at independence Swaziland inherited a dual system, both legally and politically. The Swazi king, as the political figurehead of the Swazi nation through its chiefdoms, occupied a strong presence in the traditional sector of Swazi politics, and was able to resist the political party democratic arrangement Britain had intended when it handed over sovereign authority to the Swazi nation.
During the run-up to independence, political parties had the backing of the British Colonial Office, but they were disregarded by the traditional Swazi ruling aristocracy. Swaziland received its independence on a multiparty platform, with a Westminster-type constitution and a parliamentary democracy. The Swazi king had been advised to form his own party. Reluctantly, he established the Imbokodvo National Movement INM , which was to prove invincible mainly because of his own presence as well as of those closest to the monarchy.
The INM ruled without opposition for the first five years of independence, during which there was no talk of abolishing party politics. The election, however, ushered in the death of democracy. After failing in its court challenge to the citizenship of one of the Ngwane National Liberation Congress NNLC members, Bhekindlela Ngwenya, the INM decided to attempt to repeal the independence constitution and to ban all political party activity in Swaziland.
As a result, the Swazi king accorded all legislative, executive and judicial powers to himself. The year was the watershed for political party democracy in Swaziland. The operations of these movements are pronounced, unpredictable and probably an unnecessary nuisance to the state.
The third organisation, SS Sive Siyinqaba or Sibahle Sinje is a cultural formation that vowed on its launch in that it would talk political matters. In another sense, it has its eyes more focused on political power and influence than on mere cultural practices. Members of SS are by design found in both houses of parliament, where they are providing effective checks and balances to the operations of government.
In , SS declared that it wanted to occupy all the seats in parliament at the next election. There are enough indications that SS is a political party in waiting. Using various means, the Swazi ruling aristocracy seems to have succeeded in demonising party politics over the years.
One of its approaches was to contrast parties with the majesty of the king, as though both could not exist in the same political environment.
Given such a dubious choice, the majority of Swazis opted for the monarchy. Historical Overview of the Kingship Position. Historically, the king was viewed as his people's mouthpiece, neither an absolute monarch nor a dictator. For more than five decades whilst still under colonial rule, Swaziland was administered through a system of native authorities.
During this time, the king was a paramount chief exercising indirect rule over the Swazi nation. Through this system of governance, the royal family managed to slowly build authority over the allocation of land, particularly tribal land Swazi nation land which it still administers today through a system of chieftainship. Gradually this pre-colonial perception of the monarch eroded as it began to view itself as an institution that is above accountability and one that derived its power from God.
During colonial times, Sobhuza II was initially paramount chief and later king of Swaziland from to when he died.
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Much of this transformation took place during his lengthy reign. King Sobhuza was forced to form his own political party in , despite his resentment of political parties. Hence, most politicians believe that democracy and political parties are foreign concepts that cannot be tolerated; but when pushed further, some claim that there is one political party in existence, which represents the interests of all the Swazi people.
This party is the royalist INM. Political parties were pivotal in the push for an independent Swaziland. These parties called for independence, universal adult suffrage, and a constitutional monarchy with limited powers. In the pre-independence elections of and , the royalist INM was victorious, winning all 24 seats in the new national assembly. Since the Dlamini aristocracy the dominant Swazi clan monopolised the assembly, and legislation required the King's approval, the monarch was de facto in charge of the government.
After a four-year period of limited self-rule, Swaziland gained independence on 6 September and inherited a Westminster-model parliamentary system that provided for a constitutional monarchy, a prime minister and multi-party politics. The British also left Swaziland with a dual legal system comprising Roman-Dutch law and customary law in which rural constituencies under the control of hereditary chiefs reported directly to the King. This dual legal system still exists in Swaziland today. At independence, Swaziland saw the establishment of a parliamentary multiparty system.
In the elections of and , the INM won all the seats. The next few years would see King Sobhuza II out-manoeuvre a relatively small group of modernists who sought to reduce the role of the king to that of a constitutional monarch or figurehead.
This meant that the INM and by implication the King could not amend the Constitution and pass new legislation unopposed. While the INM and the King sought to overturn this election result in a long and drawn out court battle, these attempts proved unsuccessful.
It is widely accepted that it was this defeat and the fear of losing power that ultimately led the late King Sobhuza II, during April , to suspend the constitution. The King proclaimed:. Sobhuza considered that this engendered hostility, bitterness and unrest. The Swazi monarch then assumed all executive powers previously granted by the constitution to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet.
From that day onwards, the King has been able to act wholly in his own discretion, consulting whomsoever he wishes, not bound by law. The decree quoted above gave him the power to detain without charge, and for a renewable sixty days, any person deemed to be a threat to public peace. In addition, the courts lost all jurisdictions to deal with cases of detention. Political parties were banned, and meetings of a political nature, including processions and demonstrations, had to be authorised by the Commissioner of the Police.
The Scales of Success
This spelled the end of political freedom in Swaziland. Traditional sentiments triumphed over modern political initiatives granted under a Parliamentary democratic constitutional arrangement.
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From to , Sobhuza II ruled without an elected Parliament, making laws by decree, when the Tinkhundla system of Government was first put in place as an experiment. The first government of King Sobhuza II was headed by a member of the royal family, Prime Minister Prince Makhosini Dlamini, the leader of the Imbokodvo National Movement INM ; the cabinet consisted overwhelmingly of aristocrats, while a white finance minister reflected settler interests and some members of the cabinet were businessmen or professionals Levin , The government thus largely reflected the power that had been accumulated by the monarchy and the traditional aristocracy and excluded the growing middle and working classes that had voted for the opposition and the peasants who had provided the INM with its overwhelming victory Booth , Labour policy after independence continued to privilege the interests of industry owners over those of workers, for union activity remained tightly controlled, the grievance indvuna system that had resulted in the strikes was reintroduced and state-established wage boards were dominated by government and management Levin , Workers' bargaining power was further eroded as population growth and urbanisation led to ever-increasing levels of unemployment Booth , The number of registered unions declined from 15 to nine; employers preferred to work through works councils, while the aristocracy favoured the indvuna system and the state discouraged trade unionism Levin , 87, 88; Macmillan , , As a result, "Between and the real living standards of the working class declined significantly.
More than half of the labour force was faced with constant or declining money wages.
Levin , The government followed an aggressive policy of Africanisation in the public and private sectors and, concomitant to that, expanded the educational system rapidly, to broaden its support in the middle classes Booth , 70; Levin , New schools were built and teacher training was increased Booth , In , the University College of Swaziland opened Booth , The policy of Africanisation and educational expansion led to declines in standards in the civil service and examination pass rates for students Booth , 58, Even so, the growth of the education sector could not keep pace with population growth Booth , The income from mineral rights was augmented by loans facilitated by the UN and the Commonwealth and used in joint ventures, share acquisitions and land purchases to create ventures that were run as private firms Levin , 85, 86; Macmillan , , The operations of Tibiyo Taka Ngwane were not made accountable to Parliament and were not open to public scrutiny Levin , A continual grievance, unresolved as yet, was the loss of huge tracts Swazi territory to the Boers in the 19th century, which later became part of South Africa Booth , Europeans owned almost all of the title deed land, the most productive and best developed part of the country, and the selling prices for this land was greatly inflated by speculative activities Booth , 71; Levin , The British government refused to finance the repurchase of the land Booth , The Land Speculation Control Act of attempted to make this land available for Swazi purchase by bringing down the prices through control measures that included a control board to govern land sales to non-Swazi citizens and the confiscation of the portion of a land sale regarded as the result of speculation Levin , 94; Booth , The settlers vigorously opposed the measures since they threatened a collapse in land values in the short term and increased the risks involved in capital investment for future economic development over the longer term Booth , These fears did not materialise since the Land Control Board did not hamper sales to foreign investors and capital continued to flow in, but it did not benefit the land-hungry peasantry, who still could not afford to buy land, but rather Tibiyo Taka Ngwane and small numbers of Swazi capitalist farmers Booth , 71; Levin , 86, Since the bulk of the population was rural and concentrated on the Swazi Nation Land, in the Rural Development Areas Programme was initiated to improve the income of peasants on Swazi National Land by adding elements of commercial production to subsistence farming, with financial aid from Britain, the World Bank and other donors Levin , , Despite large investments only marginal gains were made at very high costs and the project wound down in Levin , Booth , In the year proceeding the election the opposition Ngwane National Liberatory Congress NNLC split over plans to centralise leadership and make Dr Ambrose Zwane president for life, but Zwane managed to gain control over the main faction Booth , 70; Levin , Tensions also emerged within the ruling INM between modernisers and traditionalists Booth , The elections were won by the INM who took 21 seats, but the Mpumalanga constituency, with its high numbers of farm workers, small farmers and middle class voters, was won by the Zwane faction of the NNLC, which gave them the remaining three seats Levin , 96; Booth , 72, See May General Election for more detail.
As economic growth would see the rise of these classes as a proportion of voters in the future, this outcome was regarded as a threat to the long term power of the monarchy and hegemony of the aristocracy; the hostility of Sobhuza to multi-party democracy, mollified by overwhelming victory of the INM in , was revived see Pre-independence General Election Booth , 72, On 25 May, five days after the election, an NNLC Member of Parliament was served with an order of deportation, as an undesirable alien, and matters were quickly escalated into a full-scale constitutional crisis Levin , 96; Booth , 73; Macmillan , , In the High Court, the NNLC obtained an order declaring him a citizen, so Parliament passed an amendment in November creating a Tribunal through which his citizenship was revoked, but the Appeal Court declared the amendment unconstitutional Levin , 96, 97; Booth , 73; Macmillan , , On 12 April , over the protests of the NNLC, Parliament passed a motion that "called on the king to devise ways and means of dealing with the crisis" Levin , and then members decamped to the royal palace at Lobomba Levin , ; Macmillan , ; Proctor , There Sobhuza met them and granted their request by suspending the constitution, dismissing Parliament and assuming all power, legislative, executive and judicial Booth , 73; Levin , ; Proctor , He furthermore proclaimed that he would rule by decree in council with the cabinet and that all political parties, meetings and public activities were banned Booth , 73; Levin , A decree was issued providing for a day detention without trial, renewable as frequently "as deemed necessary in the public interest" Levin , A further decree settled the citizenship issue: Citizenship could be acquired only by allegiance to a chief ukukhonta , thus "hardening the distinction between the Swazi of Swaziland and the Swazi of South Africa, and increased the insecurity of people of marginal status" Macmillan , , This was followed by the detention of four of the leaders of the NNLC, including Zwane, who was then forced into exile and allowed to return on condition that he abjure politics Booth , 73; Levin , , In the period that followed opposition, leaders were co-opted, silenced or forced into exile Booth , The elimination of political opposition led to industrial and social unrest.
A march by striking railway workers in was broken up with tear gas by police, a dispute over teachers' salaries in October led to student boycotts and riots that were suppressed by riot police and mass arrests, as was a violent strike by sugar workers in Booth , Nevertheless, having neutralised the NNLC and removed all vehicles of public participation in political life, the monarchy was free to mould the constitutional order more to its liking Levin , , In the meanwhile, "the state became increasingly centralised and undemocratic.
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State power became personalised, centering on King Sobhuza II who came to occupy a special place in the hearts and minds of most Swazis" Levin , A constitutional commission was appointed by the King in September , packed with members of the government and the aristocracy, which finally returned its report five years later Booth , 76; Levin , Its recommendations were enshrined in the "Establishment of the Parliament of Swaziland" King's Order-in-Council Levin , , The order established resembled that of the suspended constitution except that political parties were to remain banned and the members of the House of Assembly would be indirectly elected; at tinkhundla level voters would elect delegates to a an electoral college that would elect members to the House of Assembly and Senate from among themselves in secret Levin , ; Booth , 76; Macmillan , The process was to be overseen by an electoral committee appointed by the King, candidates were vetted by the King and were not permitted to campaign and voting was public and not secret Levin , ; Booth , Parliament's role was limited to debating government proposals and advising the king.
Booth , Subsequently, an election was held in terms of this system See Tinkhundla elections, for more information. Relations with South Africa proved to be difficult for Sobhuza and his successors after Mozambique's independence in as the royal family had to balance its traditional sympathy for the banned African National Congress of South Africa ANC with the overwhelming economic and military power of apartheid South Africa. In , after a meeting between Sobhuza and ANC president Oliver Tambo, the ANC was permitted to establish a low-key diplomatic presence and by Swaziland had become a major corridor for smuggling guerrillas between South Africa and Mozambique and back again Levin , These activities worried Swazi functionaries and the ANC was placed under pressure to reduce its operations Levin , Nevertheless, Swaziland sought closer ties with the frontline states, joined the Southern African Development Coordination Conference and aligned its stances with those of the OAU Levin , This provoked the wrath of the South African government, and along with other states in the region, Swaziland became the target of military and clandestine operations, beginning in June when South African agents bombed two ANC houses in Manzini and followed by a kidnapping in February , an ambush in December and a landmine operation in Booth , , ; Levin , Under these conditions, the Swazis were forced to review their position and come to terms with South Africa.
Sobhuza had designated Queen Dzeliwe as regent with support of a 16 member Liqoqo National Council and Prince Sozisa as the "authorised person" to represent her before it Booth , The factions involved in the Byzantine power struggle that ensued revolved around personal issues and cut across corporate centres of power Levin , The supporters of Mabandla and Dzeliwe were purged from all organs of state and signs of popular unrest suppressed through detentions, but conflict within the elite and social unrest continued leading to a purge of the cabinet in June and retaliatory accusations of financial misappropriation against members of the Liqoqo Levin , In August , Sozisa was suspended as Authorised Person and more arrests followed, but in June , a mass march of members of the royal family on parliament was held to protest against the actions of the Liqoqo Levin , The unseemly power struggle within the ruling elite, and popular perception of endemic corruption in the highest circles of state, dissipated the aura that Sobhuza had built up around the monarchy, which would, in any case, have been difficult to sustain, built as it was on his charisma and legitimated by the personality cult around him Levin , In August, pamphlets appeared denouncing the dismissal of Queen Dzeliwe and student led protest marches occurred Levin , In August at the University of Swaziland, the detention of the members of the Students' Representative Council led to boycotts that escalated into conflict between the University Council and the cabinet over how the students were to be dealt with Levin , In June , the South African government announced that the KaNgwane apartheid Swazi ethnic "homeland" would be reincorporated into Swaziland Booth , ; Macmillan , This was a strip of land on the along Swaziland's west and northern borders with a population of people, almost half of whom had been forcibly moved there, and no economic base.
Also to be transferred was the Ngwavuma district of northern Natal which had a population of about , mainly Tsonga people Booth , ; Macmillan , The purpose was to denationalise black South Africans in furtherance of the apartheid policy, to obtain Swazi complicity in this and to create a greater Swazi buffer zone along major ANC infiltration routes from Mozambique. More than ANC members were detained and gun battles in April between ANC cadres and Swazi security forces broke out that, in the words of Levin , , "resembled a small scale war".
The major reasons for the repeal in April of the independence constitution was the threat posed by the major opposition of the time, the NNLC. While the commissioner was warning the king against aligning himself with a particular political party, the king could not accept that there could be any political innovation in Swaziland without himself in the driving seat.
Traditionalists would expect him to lead the change at all costs. In the same year that he repealed the independence constitution, the king set up a Royal CRC, with members and terms of reference of his own choosing. The terms of reference, according to Hilda Kuper, were:. The type of government established by the order was the Tinkhundla system.