Swaziland has a fairly new Constitution. It came into force on the 8th February 2006. The Constitution is a true reflection of the aspirations of the Swazis in that it is home crafted and home-grown. This is fully captured in the Pre-amble to the Constitution which states that -
Whereas we, the people of the Kingdom of Swaziland do hereby undertake in humble submission to Almighty God to start afresh under a new framework of constitutional dispensation;
Whereas as a nation it has always been our desire to achieve full freedom and independence under a constitution created by ourselves for ourselves in complete liberty;
Whereas various Vusela Consultations, Economic and Constitutional Commissions, political experiments and sibaya (national byre) meetings have been established and undertaken in the last thirty (30) years in search of a sustainable home-grown political order;
Whereas it has become necessary to review the various constitutional developments, decrees, laws, customs and practices so as to promote good governance, the rule of law, respect for our institutions and the progressive development of the Swazi society;
Whereas it is necessary to blend the institutions of traditional law and custom with those of an open democratic society so as to promote transparency and the social, economic and cultural development of our nation.
With the above aspirations in mind, our new Constitution has brought with it new roads into our electoral dispensation as evidenced by the following:-
a) There is provision for the establishment of an Independent Elections management body. Some countries in the region have not established this important body in the Constitution. The Elections Commission is also responsible for demarcating constituency boundaries. In almost all the countries in the SADC region, constituency demarcation is carried out by a different body. All the provisions pertaining to the operations of the Commission are captured in Section 90 to 92 of the Constitution;
b)The right to representation in the legislative bodies and the right to be heard through freely chosen representatives is guaranteed. It is now a constitutional right. Section 84 of the Constitution guarantees this right;
c)The right to vote at elections is equally guaranteed. Section 85 provides for that. The qualifications and disqualifications as a voter are also prescribed. Sections 88 and 89 provides for that; and
d)Election by secret ballot is also guaranteed by the Constitution. Section 87 provides for that.