Work to increace the capacity of political parties in Swaziland has been undertaken by EISA's Governance Institutions and Political Processes (GIPPS) department, under its Political Parties Support Programme, aims to contribute to an open, inclusive and democratic political system, by strengthening this crucial set of stakeholders in the processes of democratic governance. The political parties capacity building activities are focused on ensuring that political parties are democratic and function effectively.
18-20 Aug 2015
A workshop was held from the 18 to 20 August, Johannesburg on the theme "Linking Policy and Identity to Outreach and Accountability". This intervention was designed to impact on the institutional development of Swaziland political parties. The workshop facilitated the participation of 24 carefully selected participants from across six different political parties in Swaziland, comprising PUDEMO, the NNLC, SWADEPA, SIVE SIYINQABA, AUDP and the Communist Party. While the parties found the workshop interesting and useful, and noted that the workshop was well-targeted and addressed their specific needs.
However the workshop often descended down a familiar path with argument among the parties, and frequent lamentations of the authority of the King. This unsurprising, but worrying trend, suggests that there is no common agreement among the parties for the form and type of democracy that Swaziland should engender, with significant divergence amongst parties on the limits on the King's unfettered executive authority. There are further divergences amongst the parties regarding very fundamental differences in position that relate to important political principles, such as the role of parliament, in relation to the executive, the special reserved seats in parliament, the extraordinary concentration of formal authority to the executive, the veto and absolute powers of the king.
The only fundamental point of agreement amongst the parties is that political parties must be recognised. It is clear that the consensus around this one issue will not address the fundamental differences amongst the political parties.
Apr - Jun 2015
EISA developed materials on "Linking Policy and Identity to Outreach and Accountability", which focuses on policy, outreach, governance, oversight, and the link between oversight and accountability. These themes were identified after consultation with Swazi political parties and other stakeholders, as well as a consideration of the feedback from the last workshop and a consideration of the current political circumstances in Swaziland. The content was designed with a view to maximising political parties operations within the governance system, for future reform and political party organisational development and functionality.
The material aimed to enable parties to effect incremental change within the confines of the democratically deficient political system and equip participants with the tools to link their policies to their individual representatives operations in the legislature and in interactions with the royal executive, through improved oversight and accountability.
A workshop based on these materials was held from the 18 to 20 August, Johannesburg. The workshop facilitated the participation of 24 carefully selected participants from across six different political parties in Swaziland, comprising PUDEMO, the NNLC, SWADEPA, SIVE SIYINQABA, AUDP and the Communist Party.
EISA continued to support a capacity-building project to assist Swaziland's political parties in party organisation and leadership through training and technical support. The project also introduced cross-learning through regional experience sharing and lesson learning to contribute to the organisational development and institutionalisation of the country's political parties.
Considering the political conditions in Swaziland, as well as the needs expressed by political parties, training materials developed focused on 'Political Parties' Institutional and Organisational Development' with themes such as:
To strengthen the above, an introductory training workshop was held from 4-5 November 2014 in Johannesburg, South Africa, and was attended by 24 participants from six political parties in Swaziland. The workshop was an opportunity to broaden participants' knowledge of and exposure to different conceptions of democracy and democratic governance, by specifically locating a political party in a system of democratic governance, and to deepen participants' knowledge of the techniques to enhance political parties' institutional and organisational capacity and development.
A project to support Swaziland Political Parties' Capacity and Internal Organisation was also developed. This project aims to provide capacity building support to party organisation and leadership through training and technical support to political parties, as well as promote cross learning through regional experience sharing and lesson learning to contribute to the organisational development and institutionalisation of Swazi political parties, with funding being granted by OSISA and will commence fully in 2013.
The activities of the Governance Institutions and Processes Department's Political Parties Unit focused on political parties' capacity building through in-country dialogue and training workshops. A training manual on strengthening political parties was drafted consisting of six modules: political parties; leadership; public outreach; party coalitions/ alliances; and conflict management.
The manual was tested in Mbabane, Swaziland from 19-21 November 2007, and was revised based on the observations of the facilitators during the workshops as well as on input from participants with an eye to publication as a standard training manual for parties in the SADC and beyond.
The workshops covered five thematic areas: gender representation, intra-party democracy and inter-party relations, outreach activities, conflict management and leadership in political parties.
The parties trained were: