Africa Notes: Swaziland: In Transition to What? - July 1984
July 13, 1984
The tiny kingdom of Swaziland, sandwiched between apartheid South Africa and revolutionary Mozambique, is in the midst of a fratricidal power struggle that threatens the delicately balanced legacy left the country by King Sobhuza II, the astute monarch whose 61-year reign ended with his death in August 1982.
The battle for supremacy within the royal family is being fought against a backdrop of intrigue, power, and tradition. It has been a conflict marked thus far by the dismissal of a prime minister and the ouster of the acting head of state; the removal of several cabinet members and the detention of lawyers, civil servants, and various members of the royal family; and the emergence for the first time in years of an active if still embryonic opposition movement. Bhekimpi Dlamini, a conservative, is the current prime minister, but the real power appears to be Prince Mfanasibili, a traditionalist and masterful political operative. As the struggle continues, the country Sobhuza left in peace is wracked with internal dissent and, more ominously, a cloud hangs over his successor, young Prince Makhosetive.