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MBABANE – The country’s name change is now being challenged in court.

Through the Institute for Democracy and Leadership (IDEAL) Human Rights Lawyer, Thulani Maseko has filed an application in the High Court where he is seeking an order declaring Legal Notice No.80 of 2018 unlawful and of no force and effect.
IDEAL is a not- for-gain organisation that was established in terms of the Companies Act, 2009.

Legal Notice No.80 of 2018 is the instrument which validates the country name change from Swaziland to Eswatini.
Respondent in the matter is the Government of Eswatini and the Attorneys General.

Maseko and the organisation also want the court to declare that all decisions that were taken pursuant to Legal Notice No.80 of 2018 were unlawful and of no force and effect on the grounds that the Legal Notice was allegedly unconstitutional.

In his founding affidavit Maseko stated like all citizens they had a right to be involved through legislative process in Parliament or through Sibaya when the decision to change the name of the country was taken.

He argued that the right was not only enshrined in Section 84(1) but also provide for in Section 58(1) of the Constitution.
Section 58(1) provides that: “Swaziland shall be a democratic country dedicated to principles which empower and encourage the active participation of all citizens at all levels in their own governance.”

Maseko further submitted that, the right to citizen participation and public involvement was derived from international human rights law, to which the country was party.

“The name change has constitutional implications in as much as the name is entrenched is Section 1 and is mentioned at least 200 times in other provisions of the Constitution,” submitted the well known human rights lawyer.

According to the human rights lawyer, the name change could not be done without a legislative process, including citizens’ participation and public involvement.


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