7 November 2013

Swaziland: King Gives Top Job to His Daughter

King Mswati III of Swaziland has appointed his eldest daughter Princess Sikhanyiso, aged 23, to Liqoqo, the most powerful advisory committee in his kingdom.

Liqoqo, also known as the Swaziland National Council, has the key role in Swaziland, where the King rules as an absolute monarch.

The King's advisers on Liqoqo are all traditionalists and are in charge of interpreting 'Swazi Law and Custom'. The laws and customs are administered by chiefs who rule over their subjects in the name of the King. The laws and customs operate outside of the constitution.

In all matters, the King defers to Liqoqo. King Mswati avoids taking advice from the House of Assembly, which has 55 of its 65 members elected by the people. It is generally accepted in Swaziland that Liqoqo can veto any decision made by the Swazi Parliament.

During the political crisis of October 2012 when the House of Assembly passed a vote of no confidence in the government and according to the Constitution the monarch was obliged to sack it, King Mswati went to Liqoqo which told him he could ignore the Constitution. He did so safe in the knowledge that the traditionalists whom he had appointed would do nothing to support the members of parliament, some of whom had been elected by the people.

Princess Sikhanyiso has never worked in her life, although nominally she is a police officer. She was appointed to the force in 2010. She also sits on the board of MTN-Swaziland, the only mobile phone company in Swaziland. King Mswati is reported to have a substantial personal investment in MTN.

Princess Sikhanyiso graduated from Sydney University, Australia, in 2012 with a Masters in Digital Communication. She has also studied acting and modelling in the US.

If she is known at all, it is for her attempt to build a career as a 'rap' singer under the names of 'Pashu', or 'Passionfruit.'

She is the eldest of King Mswati's children which are believed to number at least 26.

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