King Sobhuza II, enthroned in 1921, and ruled the country for 61 years, becoming the world’s longest ruling Monarch of his time, had a passionate commitment to preserving Swazi traditions. His long reign, till his death in 1982, gave him every chance of achieving his aim.
In 1921 Swaziland established its first legislative body, an advisory council of elected European representatives mandated to advise the British High Commissioner on non-Swazi affairs. Later on the High Commissioner conceded that the council had no official status and recognized the Paramount Chief (as the king was referred to by the British), as the native authority for the territory to issue legally enforceable orders to the Swazis. Consequently, in 1921 King Sobhuza II became the King of the Swazi Nation.
A Constitution for limited self-government was introduced in 1963. In 1967 a revised Constitution transforms the Swazi territory into a protected state as the Kingdom of Swaziland. During the same year Swaziland became a self-governing state when King Sobhuza II was recognised international as a king, and the country acquired its own flag. On 6 September 1968 independent status was attained.
Having shepherded his kingdom back to independence, King Sobhuza II established a latter-day version of an 18th-century enlightened form of government with absolute powers vested in him. In 1973 he scrapped the Constitution devised under British guidance and reverted to a traditional system of government with all effective power in royal hands. However, he retained the outward form of government led by a Prime Minister and Cabinet.
The result of this move was a period of stability and progress for the Kingdom of Swaziland, with a new emphasis, as far as the economy would allow, on improvements in education and health.
However, as a result of the fast changing political dispensations around the world, in 1978 King Sobhuza II decided to introduce an experimental form of democracy, in which traditional local groups (the tinkhundla) elect Members of Parliament on the basis of universal right to vote for people over the age of 18.