King of Swaziland rejects draft constitution

King of Swaziland rejects draft constitution

[JURIST] King Mswati III of Swaziland [government website] has officially refused to sign the final draft of the country's proposed constitution [link to PDF text], which passed through both the House of Assembly and Senate of Swaziland in June [JURIST report]. The king had already sent the constitution back to parliament [JURIST report] a week ago, asking parliament to reconsider adopting Christianity as the country's official religion. King Mswati III, Africa's last absolute monarch, ordered parliament to reconsider passages in the constitution that require members of parliament to receive their salaries should parliament be dissolved early. The king also expressed unhappiness with sections that would require taxation for royals, as they are currently free from paying taxes. If parliament does not accept the king's changes, he has the authority to make them law. King Mswati has been criticized by many for his lavish lifestyle during a time when most Swazis live in poverty and over 30% are HIV positive. BBC News has more. South Africa's Mail and Guardian has local coverage.