Swaziland: 1967 Pre-independence General Election

Extracted from: "Swaziland" IN Compendium of Elections in Southern Africa (2002), edited by Tom Lodge, Denis Kadima and David Pottie, EISA, 327.

The pre-independence general election was held on 19 and 20 April 1967. Unlike the 1964 general election to the first Legislative Council, in which seats were allocated on racial lines, the 1967 election was based on a common voters' roll. King Sobhuza had strongly pleaded for national unity and had assured minority groups that colour and race would play no role in an independent Swaziland.

According to the 1966 census, Swaziland had a population of 395 264, with an electorate estimated at 250 000. All adult males and females of 18 years and over qualified to vote or to be voted for.

Four political parties contested the election. The principal parties were the Imbokodvo National Movement (INM) - the majority party in the Legislative Council, and the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress (NNLC). The INM was the King's party and all loyal supporters of the Ngwenyama were expected to vote for it. The INM promised to protect national unity and Swazi customs and traditions. It had countrywide support, especially in the rural areas, and enjoyed financial backing from the country's emerging business class as well as from the National Party government of South Africa. The INM thus had notable advantages over its opponents. The two smaller parties were the Swaziland United Front (SUF) and the Swaziland Progressive Party (SPP).

The NNLC projected the image of a modern political party espousing Pan-Africanism. It advocated a parliamentary democracy with the King as Head of State. Its support was rooted mainly in the urban areas, amongst workers and the educated. The Swaziland Progressive Party, with a history dating back to the late 1920s, made no impact on voters. The showing of the Swaziland United Front, an offshoot of the SPP, was equally poor.

Summary

Contesting parties: INM, NNLC, SPP and SUF.
Leaders: Prince Makhosini Dlamini (INM); Dr Ambrose P Zwane (NNLC); JJ Nquku (SPP) and Obed M Mabuza (SUF).
Number of constituencies: 24.
Results: The INM won 191 160 votes (79,4%); the NNLC came second with 48 744 votes (20.2%). The two smaller parties, between themselves, received only 1 000 votes. All 24 seats went to the INM.
Percentage poll: 90 (estimate).

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