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Swaziland:

Striving for
Freedom
As seen through the pages of Swazi
Media Commentary.
Compiled by Richard Rooney

Volume 21: Janury to March 2016

SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

CONTENTS

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2
3
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5
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Introduction
King Mswati III
Budget
Drought
Education
Rule of law
Protests
About the author
Other publications
Occasional papers
Previous editions

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3
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19
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INTRODUCTION
King Mswati III, the absolute monarch of Swaziland, has once again been at the centre of
events in his kingdom. His refusal to recognise there was a drought crisis and hundreds of
thousands of his subjects were at risk of hunger set back relief efforts by many months.
The Kings vast wealth was in the spotlight when it was reported he could make US$65
million with the reopening of a gold mine in his kingdom. The King supposedly holds
mineral royalties in trust for the nation but in fact he uses such monies to finance his
personal lavish lifestyle that includes 13 palaces, fleets of Mercedes and BW cars and a
private jet.
Elsewhere it was reported that new rules if they come into force would censor what could be
taught at the University of Swaziland, where King Mswati is Chancellor. The university was
told it should not teach things which could be detrimental to the wellbeing and image of the
country.
King Mswati IIIs absolute monarchy in Swaziland ultimately is incompatible with a society
based on the rule of law, a report into the kingdoms judicial crisis and published by the
International Commission of Jurists concluded.
These are some of the stories from the past three months that have been reported by Swazi
Media Commentary. This compilation brings together posts that originally appeared on its
website.
Swazi Media Commentary website has no physical base and is completely independent of
any political faction and receives no income from any individual or organisation. People who
contribute ideas or write for it do so as volunteers and receive no payment.
Swazi Media Commentary is published online updated regularly.

SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

1. KING MSWATI III


Swazi Kings personal gold rush
5 January 2016

Swazilands King Mswati III stands to personally make up to US$65 million if a reported
gold mine deal in his kingdom is successful.
The Observer on Saturday, a newspaper in effect owned by the King, reported that a gold
mine on Lufafa Mountains, near Piggs Peak in the Hhohho region, was estimated to contain
251,000 ounces of gold, said to be worth more than E4 billion (US$263 million).
The newspaper said a company called Lufafa Mine Pty Ltd would run the mining operations.
In Swaziland the law is that King Mswati, who rules as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute
monarch, owns 25 percent of all mining companies in his kingdom. On that basis his share is
worth US$65 million. In theory the King holds this in trust for the Swazi nation, but in
reality he uses the money to support his lavish lifestyle. He has 13 palaces, a private jet, a
Rolls Royce car and fleets of BMW and Mercedes-Benz cars.
Meanwhile, seven in ten of his 1.3 million subjects live in abject poverty with incomes of less
than US$2 per day.
Lufafa Mine Pty Ltd, the company that will run the mining operations, comprises SDZ
Holdings LCC, the Swaziland Government and the King.
King Mswati has been mired in controversy over his dealings with foreign investors. In 2011
the Ngwenya Iron Ore Mine was opened but was forced to close in 2014. King Mswati held
25 percent of the operating company Southern Africa Resources Ltd (SARL) in trust for the
Swazi nation.
In April 2012, the King took US$10 million from the company as an advanced dividend
against future income. Within weeks, the King spent US$9.5 million on a McDonnel Douglas
McDonnell Douglas DC-9-87 private jet.
The company was forced to cease trading in August 2014 amid much acrimony. A
compensation claim for at least US$141 million has been prepared by SARL against the
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Kingdom of Swaziland at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes


(ICSID).
See also
HOW SWAZI KING DESTROYED IRON MINE

Will Swazi King cut his spending?


15 February 2016
Swazilands absolute monarch King Mswati III has ordered his Government to make budget
cuts as his kingdom approaches financial meltdown.
Following the Kings speech on Friday (12 February 2016), the Swazi Observer Sunday, a
newspaper in effect owned by the King, reported that Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini, said
now that the King had spoken it was compulsory that the government implemented this.
Dlamini was personally appointed Prime Minister by the King. He was never elected to
Parliament by the people.
But, it remains to be seen whether King Mswati and his fourteen wives and vast Royal
Family will also make cuts.
History suggests they will not.
The Royal budget amounts to about five percent of national spending. It increased by 25
percent between 2015 and 2016.
The Nation, an independent monthly magazine in Swaziland, reported in 2015 that for the
year 2015/16, every budget of the royal household, except for the subvention to the Kings
Office, had a generous increase.
The Nation reported, The overall budget for King Mswati and the royal household took a
significant increase of about 25 percent from E630 million [US$63 million at the then
exchange rate] to E792 million. This reflects a staggering E162 million increase and accounts
for just about five percent of the overall national budget. This has been the trend for some
years.

SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Government increased the Royal Emoluments and Civil List by 21.9 percent from E279
million last year to E340 million. This reflect an increase E61 million.
The Swazi National Treasury, a royal unit responsible for national courts and advisory
committees such as Liqoqo, the idle Border Restoration Committee and others, has its budget
handsomely increased by E77 million from E200 million. This is a 38.9 percent increase.
Government further increased budget for construction of State houses by E13 million from
E131 million to E144 million. This is an increase of about 10 percent. The state houses are
mainly palaces for the royal household. This budget has become a common feature in the
national budget.
The budget for link roads to royal residence has been increased by E5 million from E25
million last year to E30 million this year. This reflects a 20 percent increase. The status of the
project has never been publicly disclosed. This is another budget that has become a common
feature in the national budget.
Government cut down subvention to the Kings Office by E3.4 million from E5 million to
E1.6 million. This is a decrease of about 68 percent. A budget of E252 million has been made
for the link road to KMIII Airport and to Hlane.
At the opening of the KMIII airport last year (2014), government blew over E5 million on a
bash for the royal project.
The Nation magazine is edited by Bheki Makhubu, who along with writer and journalist
Thulani Maseko, were released from jail on 30 June 2015 after serving 15 months for
contempt of court after writing and publishing articles critical of the Swazi judiciary.
The magazine has a long-standing reputation for covering stories about people in power in
the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati, who is the last absolute monarch in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Nation reported, The budget for the royal household is not debated in parliament. Not
because there is any law against it but simple because it is considered unSwazi and a taboo
for commoners to discuss anything pertaining to the esteemed family.
Parliament is also in the dark as to how the funds are used as audited reports are only for the
eyes of the King.
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King took more as spending cuts bit


16 February 2016
As King Mswati III, Swazilands absolute monarch, calls for public spending cuts to save his
kingdoms damaged economy, we are reminded of a similar national crisis in 2011.

That year the King forced spending cuts in Government departments of up to 20 percent; but
at the same time he awarded himself and the Royal Family a budget increase of 23 percent
from public funds.
Then, as now, Swaziland was affected by cuts in income from the Southern African Customs
Union (SACU). Successive governments that are not elected by the people but chosen by the
King have failed to manage Swazilands economy. The Swazi Government relies heavily on
SACU income and when it falls, as this year, it has little alternative income.
In his speech opening Parliament on Friday (12 February 2016), King Mswati blamed falling
SACU revenues for the crisis and called on everybody to help ensure the economy improved.
In 2011, when budgets controlled by the Swaziland Government were slashed by 20 percent
King Mswati III got 23 percent more from the Swazi people for the upkeep of himself and his
Royal Family.
This was a 63 percent increase when compared with what he took from his subjects two years
previously in in 2009/2010.
The information was contained in the national budget but not announced publicly.
In 2011/2012 the King and his family got E210 million (US$30 million at the then exchange
rate). That was E40 million more than he got in 2010/2011, when he got E170 million. And
E80 million more than the E129.5 million he got in 2009/2010.
At the time Majozi Sithole, the then Swazi Finance Minister, in his budget speech praised,
their Majesties for their continued support, wisdom, guidance and their insight into the
emerging trends brought about by the global economic meltdown. As the socio-economic
challenges continue to face the country, their Majesties concern and involvement in joining
government to tackle these problems deserves acknowledgement and appreciation.

SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Swazi King spends as he pleases


17 February 2016
There is no oversight on how Swazilands King Mswati III, his fourteen wives and vast royal
family spend public money, a United States report concluded.
The US makes annual reviews of the fiscal transparency of governments that receive its
financial assistance to ensure that American taxpayers money is used appropriately.
In its review of Swaziland published in June 2015 the US Department of State concluded the
kingdom, ruled by King Mswati, who is an absolute monarch, did not meet acceptable
standards.
The report stated, Expenditures to support the royal family, military, police, and correctional
services are included in the budget, but are not subject to the same oversight as the rest of the
budget.
It added, Revenues and expenditures related to natural resources are not included in the
budget.
The report concluded, Fiscal transparency in Swaziland would be improved by including all
expenditures and revenues in the budget; subjecting the entire budget to audit and oversight;
consistently applying legal procedures in the awarding of natural resource extraction
contracts and licenses; and making basic information on natural resource awards publicly
available.
The truth about of the Kings spending has been consistently hidden from the Swazi people,
his budget is never debated in parliament, and audits of the budget are only presented to the
King himself and the Royal Board of Trustees chaired by the minister of finance.

Media in Swaziland have access to the full budget estimates which contain information about
the Kings budget but do not publish it. State media in the kingdom are heavily censored and
the private media censors itself when reporting about the King.
The source of much of King Mswatis income remains secret. In 2009, Forbes magazine
estimated that the King himself had a personal net fortune worth US$200 million. Forbes also
said King Mswati was the beneficiary of two funds created by his father Sobhuza II in trust
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for the Swazi nation. During his reign, he has absolute discretion over use of the income. The
trust has been estimated to be worth US$10 billion.
In August 2014 the Sunday Times newspaper in South Africa reported King Mswati
personally received millions of dollars from international companies such as phone giant
MTN; sugar conglomerates Illovo and Remgro; Sun International hotels and beverages firm
SAB Millerto.
It reported that MTN, which has a monopoly of the cell phone business in Swaziland, paid
dividends directly to the King. He holds 10 percent of the shares in MTN in Swaziland and is
referred to by the company as an esteemed shareholder. It said MTN had paid R114 million
(US$11.4 million) to the King over the past five years.
The newspaper also reported that the King was receiving income from Tibiyo Taka Ngwane,
which paid dividends in 2013 of R218.1 million. The newspaper reported several sources
who said it was an open secret that although money generated by Tibiyo was meant to be
used for the benefit of the nation, Tibiyo in fact channelled money directly to the Royal
Family.
Meanwhile, seven in ten of Swazilands tiny 1.4 million population live in abject poverty
with incomes less than US$2 a day; three in ten are so hungry they are medically diagnosed
as malnourished and the kingdom has the highest rate of HIV infection in the world.
Despite the poverty of the kingdom, King Mswati continues to live a lavish lifestyle. He has
13 palaces, fleets of top-of-the-range Mercedes and BMW cars, at least one Rolls Royce and
a private jet.

SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

A picture of power in Swaziland


24 February 2016
This is the picture that demonstrates the true power of King Mswati III, the absolute monarch
of Swaziland.

It shows the President of the Swazi Senate Gelane Zwane on her knees before the King.
According to the caption of the picture which first appeared in the Times of Swaziland
newspaper, King Mswati gives instructions to her ahead of the opening of Parliament in
2013.
In Swaziland political parties are banned from taking part in elections. Elections which take
place every five years (the last was in 2013) are only for 55 of the 65-member House of
Assembly. The other ten members are appointed by King Mswati III. No members of the 30strong Swaziland Senate are elected; 20 are appointed by the King and 10 are selected by the
House of Assembly.
The people do not elect a government. The Prime Minister and Cabinet ministers are
appointed by the King. Only a man with the surname Dlamini can, by tradition, be appointed
as Prime Minister. The king is a Dlamini.

SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Swazi King strengthens PMs power


26 February 2016
Swazilands absolute monarch King Mswati III has granted his Prime Minister Barnabas
Dlamini unlimited power to intervene in the business of any government department.
The move comes after the President of the Swazi Senate Gelane Zwane, questioned the
power of the Prime Minister.
Neither Dlamini nor Zwane were elected to office; both were directly appointed by the King.
In Swaziland political parties are banned from taking part in elections. Elections which take
place every five years (the last was in 2013) are only for 55 of the 65-member House of
Assembly. The other ten members are appointed by King Mswati III. No members of the 30strong Swaziland Senate are elected; 20 are appointed by the King and 10 are selected by the
House of Assembly.
The King appoints all government ministers and the kingdoms top judges.
News of the change was tabled in the Swazi Parliament on Monday (22 February 2016)
although the legal notice had been signed by the King in November 2015.
The Times of Swaziland reported that the King had revoked the Assignment of
Responsibilities to Ministers Notice 2009 which had been in force since the current ministries
were set up.
The new legal notice N0.189 of 2015 was signed by the King on 10 November 2015 at
Lozitha Palace. It confirms S70 of the Swaziland Constitution which states, The King may,
after consultation with the Prime Minister, assign to the Prime Minister or any other Minister
responsibility for the conduct of any business of the Government including the administration
of any department of Government.
The Times reported on Wednesday (24 February 2016), When asked by this reporter why he
had waited so long to table the Legal Notice or working instrument, the PM said it had
always been his intention to table it in Parliament and that is why his office had even
bounded it to make it presentable to the legislators.

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However, with the sudden turn of events when my responsibilities have been questioned
by the Senate President, Gelane Zwane, I also felt it was proper to inform the legislators as
early as possible, said Dlamini.
This was a reference to an on-going dispute between the Prime Minister and the Senate
President about the powers of the PM. In a speech at the opening of the Swazi Parliament on
12 February 2016 Zwane warned the PM about taking powers that were not his and said he
was only chairman of cabinet and leader of government business in parliament.

Gold mine adds to Swazi Kings wealth


1 March 2016
King Mswati IIIs share of the just-reopened Lufafa Gold Mine at Hhelehhele in the Hhohho
region of Swaziland could be worth up to US$149 million.
The King, who rules Swaziland as sub-Sharan Africas last absolute monarch, holds 25
percent of the mine in trust for the Swazi nation. He holds a quarter of all Swazilands
mineral wealth in trust but in reality he uses the money to fund the lavish lifestyle of
himself and his vast Royal Family.
The Swazi News on Saturday (27 February 2016) reported, The mine is reported to have
more than two million tonnes of gold ore that contains the gold while the actual gold that may
be recovered is estimated at about 15,000 kilograms.
It added, Lufafa Mine PTY Ltd is composed of three shareholders. The shareholders are
Ingwenyama [King Mswati] in trust for the Swazi nation, government of Swaziland and SDZ
Mine PTY Ltd. The life of the mine is 25 years with an option of renewal for a further 15
years.
What it did not report was that at present prices gold can fetch between US$16,501 and
$39,572 a kilo depending on the golds quality. This would make King Mswatis 25 percent
share worth between US$61,879,000 and US$148,395,000.
Media were invited to the reopening ceremony on Friday but were banned from taking
photographs. The Nation, an independent monthly magazine, reported on its Facebook site,
journalists were prevented from taking pictures creating suspicion about the extraction of the
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mineral in the country. Security forces and Minister of Natural Resources, Jabulile
Mashwama, ordered journalists not to take pictures at the mining site without giving any
reasons.
It added, Sources told The Nation that the directors of [the mining company] did not want
pictures of the mine to be published for security reasons. Journalists were only allowed to
photograph the event at the entrance of the mine, where a tent was pitched for King Mswati
to meet the local community, and at the reception held at Piggs Peak.
King Mswati has 13 palaces, a private jet aircraft, fleets of BMW and Mercedes-Benz cars
and a Rolls Royce. He and his family live in splendour and take many expensive foreign
holidays.
Meanwhile, seven in ten of the Kings 1.4 million subjects live in abject poverty with
incomes of less than US$2 per day.
Last month (February 2016), the Government handpicked by the King announced a national
drought emergency but said it did not have enough money to cope with the situation. It asked
for E143 million (about US$9 million) in aid from the international donor community.

$12m spend on Royal dcor at airport


29 March 2016
As the Swaziland Government goes cap-in-hand to the international community to seek
money to stop people starving as a result of drought, news has emerged that US$12 million is
to be spent on decorating the Royal Terminal Building at King Mswati III (KMIII) Airport.

KMIII, formerly known as Sikhuphe, is an airport built in the wilderness in Swaziland. It has
been widely criticised outside the kingdom where King Mswati rules as sub-Saharan Africas
last absolute monarch as a vanity project for the King.
Despite efforts by the Swaziland Civil Aviation Authority and others to disguise the fact, the
airport has not attracted the international flights the airports supporters promised. The airport
officially opened in March 2014 but flights did not start until the following October. The only

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route served is with OR Tambo in Johannesburg, South Africa, which is a flying time of less
than an hour. Fewer than 100 passengers a day on average fly from the airport.
The cost of building the airport is unknown, but estimates widely reported by the media
suggest it could have been as much as US$250 - 300 million. It took at least 10 years to build
and was opened at least four years behind schedule.
In October 2013 a report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said the
airport was widely perceived as a vanity project because of its scale and opulence compared
with the size and nature of the market it sought to serve.
On 21 March 2016 The Star Africa news site reported that more than US$12 million would
be spent on the interior decorations at the terminal.
It reported, The money for the project termed VVPI Royal Terminal, according to
government estimates, will be sourced locally for the procurement of ground handling
equipment.
It added, Solomon Dube, Director of the Swaziland Civil Aviation Authority (SWACAA)
says the airport is a commercial airlines facility and therefore needs to accommodate
important guests who require detailed welcoming protocol separately.
At present 70 percent of King Mswatis 1.3 million subjects live in abject poverty, with
incomes less than US$2 a day. Swaziland also has the highest rate of HIV infection in the
world. In 2003, the International Monetary Fund said the airport should not be built because
it would divert funds away from much needed projects to fight poverty in Swaziland.
There is no obvious need for the new airport which is being built in the Swazi wilderness 80
kilometres east of the Swazi capital Mbabane. Major airports already exist less than an hours
flying time away in South Africa with connecting routes to Swaziland.
There has never been a needs analysis undertaken on the airport, and Swazilands airport at
Matsapha which closed to make way for KMIII only carried about 70,000 passengers a year.
Today, Swaziland is in the grip of a drought crisis. In February 2016, the Swazi Government
announced it did not have enough money to give drought relief. It asked for immediate

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emergency donations amounting to US$16 million. Since then it has been revealed that the
Swazi Government intends to spend at least US$9 million on a private jet plane for the King.
See also
U-TURN ON SUCCESS OF KINGS AIRPORT
KING PARTIES WHILE CHILDREN DIE
AIRPORT TERMINAL CANT HANDLE TRAFFIC
KINGS AIRPORT WILL BE UNUSABLE

Elderly stay poor as King gets more


30 March 2016
King Mswati III, the absolute monarch in Swaziland, is to get a 9 percent increase for his
spending from the taxpayer, while elderly pensions are frozen because there is not enough
money to pay for increases.
The news about King Mswatis budget increase has not been reported in Swaziland, where
media routinely censor news about the King.
King Mswatis Civil List, the money given to him to run the Royal household, will increase
by E30m (US$1.9m) in the coming financial year to E370m (US$24m).
The King also receives income from a variety of businesses in the kingdom. For example, he
holds 25 percent of all mineral wealth in trust for the Swazi nation. In reality he uses this
money to fund his lavish lifestyle, which includes 13 palaces, a private jet, fleets of Mercedes
and BMW cars and at least one Rolls Royce.
Earlier this month (March 2016), it was revealed the Kings share of the just-reopened Lufafa
Gold Mine at Hhelehhele in the Hhohho region of Swaziland could be worth up to US$149
million.
Meanwhile, seven in ten of his 1.3 million subjects live in abject poverty with incomes of less
than US$2 per day.
The increase in the Kings budget was contained in the annual budget estimates in February
2016. Although the Swazi media covered aspects of the budget, the news about the King was
not published.
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Meanwhile, the same budget pegged the elderly grant (pensions), which are for people aged
60 and over, at E240 per month. A total of E170,765,454 (about US$11m) was paid in elderly
grants in the 2015 2016 financial year. This was about half the E340 million that the King
received as Civil List to fund the Royal household.
The budget also revealed that about US$9 million would be spent on a private jet for the
King. Also US$12 million will reportedly be spent on dcor at the Royal Terminal Building
at King Mswati III (KMIII) Airport.
See also
THE HYPOCRISY OF KING MSWATI III
SWAZI KING ATTACKS LAVISH LIFESTYLES
WILL SWAZI KING CUT HIS SPENDING?
KING DIVERTS WEALTH FROM HIS SUBJECTS
KING MSWATI SPENDS AND SPENDS

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2. BUDGET
Swazi security budget soars
9 March 2016

Swaziland is to spend US$150 million on security in the coming year, the kingdoms annual
budget reveals.
It amounts to 11 percent of the tiny kingdoms total budget.
The money will be spent on the army (USDF), police and correctional services. It continues a
trend of massive military spending by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africas last absolute
monarch.
The security budget of E2.3bn is more than the E2.0bn set aside for health. The total budget
is E20.6bn.
In his budget speech Finance Minister Martin Dlamini, said, Government has, over the past
years, actively enhanced the capacity of the USDF and the Police in order to safeguard peace
and security of Swazis and their property.
He added, Government will therefore ensure that the USDF and Police continue to have
what they need to ensure Swazis are secure.
He said, These resources will be utilized to further strengthen the USDF, Correctional
Services and the Police. Specific emphasis will be placed on strengthening intelligence
capability, training and welfare.
Swaziland is a tiny landlocked kingdom with a population of about 1.4 million people. Seven
in ten live in abject poverty, with incomes of less than US$2 per day.
Political parties are banned from taking part in elections and groups advocating multi-party
democracy are banned under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.
Swaziland spent US$259.8 million on its military in the years 2011 to 2014. In 2014 military
spending amounted to 5.9 percent of all government, spending in Swaziland, according to the

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Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in its Military Expenditure


Database for 2015.
The military spending amounted to 2.2 percent of Swazilands entire gross domestic product
(GDP).
In the calendar year 2014, Swazilands military spending was estimated to be US$80.6
million; about the equivalent of US$62 for every person in the kingdom.
In 2011, the Swazi Government set aside more than US$100 million for spending on the
army and police force and the then Finance Minister Majozi Sithole admitted that the army
was prepared for an uprising by the population in Swaziland.
This followed a series of prodemocracy uprisings in North Africa, leading to what became
known as the Arab Spring. King Mswati was fearful something similar could happen in his
kingdom. A Facebook group calling itself the April 12 Uprising had already called for an
overthrow of the King.
In February 2011, Sithole told an open stakeholder dialogue on the 2011-2012 budget and
Fiscal Adjustment Roadmap, Yes, we are spending a lot on the army but we are not
anticipating what is happening in North Africa to come here, he said.
He added, However, the army is there to avoid such situations.
In 2009, the Swazi Government was revealed to be engaged in arms dealing by the United
States. A diplomatic cable written by Maurice Parker, the then US Ambassador to Swaziland,
and later published by WikiLeaks revealed that the UK Government had blocked an arms
deal between a UK company Unionlet and the Swaziland Government because it feared their
possible use for internal repression.
The Swazi Government wanted to buy equipment worth US$60 million.
Among items listed for purchase were, 3 Bell Model UH-1H helicopters, FN Herstal
7.6251mm Minimi light machine guns, blank and tracer ammunition, armored personnel
carriers, command and control vehicles including one fitted with a 12.7x99mm M2 Browning
heavy machine gun and others fitted with the FN Herstal light machine guns, military
ambulances, armored repair and recovery vehicles, weapon sights, military image intensifier
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equipment, optical target surveillance equipment, 620 Heckler & Koch G36E assault rifles,
240 Heckler & Koch G36K assault rifles, 65 Heckler & Koch G36E rifles, 75 Heckler &
Koch UMP submachine guns 9x19mm, and 35 Heckler & Koch USP semi-automatic pistols.
The Swaziland Government said it wanted the items to fulfil its United Nations
peacekeeping obligations in Africa.
The UK Government did not believe it and thought either the weapons would be used against
the Swazi civilian population, or they were being bought in order to sell on to another
country, possibly Iran. The UK Government blocked the deal.
In his diplomatic cable, Parker said, The array of weapons requested would not be needed
for the first phases of peacekeeping, although it is possible someone tried to convince the
Swazi government they were required. The GKOS [Government of the Kingdom of
Swaziland] may have been attempting to build up domestic capability to deal with unrest, or
was possibly acting as an intermediary for a third party such as Zimbabwe or a Middle
Eastern country that had cash, diamonds or goods to trade.
Once the cable became public in 2011, John Kunene, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of
Defence, who signed the original deal in 2008, said the kingdom had never given up trying to
buy the weapons.
The Swazi News, an independent newspaper in Swaziland, reported (26 February 2011) that
Kunene was still trying to broker a deal.
In March 2011 Kunene was sacked from his job after a disclosure that the army had run out
of food to feed its soldiers.

See also
SECRET ARMS DEAL FOR IRAN
SWAZILAND AND SECRET ARMS DEAL
SUPPORT FOR BLOCK ON SWAZI ARMS
ARMS SHIPMENT HEADS TO SWAZILAND

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3. DROUGHT
Swazi Kings drought blunder
19 February 2016
Only weeks after Swazilands absolute monarch King Mswati III told his subjects the drought
in his kingdom was over, his government has declared a national emergency.
King Mswati had said the drought was over when his regiments took part in the Incwala
ceremony. The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King, reported on 1
January 2016 that the King had pronounced an end to the drought situation.
It reported, The King said the drought situation changed as soon as the water party (bemanti)
was commissioned to fetch water in the Indian Ocean in Mozambique.
When the water party was commissioned (kuphuma kwesigubhu), the heavens responded
and we saw rain coming down and things changed. From there onwards we saw a difference
as rain began to fall and the valleys became green. We have our irrigation system coming
straight from God. We do not need drip irrigation because God has always shown that He has
powers to bring us rain. We use drip irrigation just for the sake of it, otherwise God is the one
who provides us with irrigation water, the King said.
The newspaper added, As he pronounced an end to the drought situation, the King predicted
a bumper harvest and urged all Swazis to go and work hard in their fields.
God will bring down the rains to water your fields. The countrys main focus should be on
food security and we are confident we will achieve this. Time has come for us to have plenty
food and stop running to our neighbours to ask for food donations, he said.
But King Mswatis complacency has led to a devastating delay in taking action. Swaziland is
now at crisis point.
The European Union in Swaziland reported on Thursday (18 February 2016), The drought
caused by the El Nino phenomenon has severely affected Swaziland resulting in the loss of
more than 40,000 herd of cattle with more than 300,000 people in the country (about 25
percent of the population) facing severe food shortages.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Barnabas Dlamini, the Prime Minister of Swaziland who was personally appointed to his post
by the King, officially declared a national emergency on Thursday. He said over the next two
months the Swazi Government would need E248 million (US$16 million). In total,
government would need about E2 billion to address the situation over five years, the Times of
Swaziland, the kingdoms only independent daily newspaper, reported.
The Prime Minister did not say where the money would come from. Only last week (18
February 2016) King Mswati, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute
monarch, ordered the government he hand-picked to slash budgets as the kingdom faced a
financial crisis following a reduction in receipts from the Southern African Customs Union.
Swaziland, where political parties are not allowed to contest elections and groups
campaigning for democracy are banned as terrorist organisations, is to seek financial aid
from overseas mostly from multi-party democracies.
EU Ambassador to Swaziland Nicola Bellomo said the kingdom immediately would seek
E143 million from the donor community.
He said the EU would support the government's efforts to mitigate the impact of the drought
situation.
See also
WILL SWAZI KING CUT HIS SPENDING?
GOD WILL BRING DOWN THE RAINS

Swaziland drought truth revealed


2 March 2016
The drought in Swaziland that its absolute monarch King Mswati III declared was over has
devastated the kingdom, a United Nations report revealed.
About 300,000 people, one in four of King Mswatis subjects, have been targeted for
assistance because of the drought. Rural people are in danger of severe malnutrition and there
is only enough water to supply the Swazi capital Mbabane for between one and three weeks.

20

SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

The report that covers February 2016 stated that, maize production fell by 31 percent in
2015, and is expected to be lower in the 2016 crop season, placing at least 300,000 people in
dire need of assistance, specifically for food and water.
The report issued by the Office of the Resident Coordinator of the UN Country Team in
Swaziland said, Nearly one-third of the rural population has a high expenditure on food, thus
having little capacity to cope with the combined effects of production shortfalls and increased
market prices, and can quickly fall further into food insecurity. Swaziland has seen an
increase of food insecurity in the country with many households unable to eat three meals a
day.
It added, Acute malnutrition rates have increased by 2.5 per cent from the average of 3 to 5.5
percent [of the population].
The report stated, The Hawane Dam, which feeds the capital, Mbabane, stands at 17 percent,
enough from one to three weeks only. The city has started water rationing for the first time in
its history.
The Swazi Government declared a national emergency on 18 February 2016, only weeks
after King Mswati preached to his subjects that God had saved Swaziland from the drought.
Now, the Swazi Government is asking for international assistance to pay for drought relief.
The United Nations estimated donors would have to raise US$64 million for Swaziland.
The irony is that the bulk of this money will come from countries that are multi-party
democracies. King Mswati rules Swaziland as an absolute monarch and political parties are
banned from taking part in elections. Groups advocating for multi-party democracy are
banned under the Suppression of Terrorism Act. The King and the Government he hand-picks
often decry multi-party democracies and advocate their own monarchical democracy as a
preferred model of governance.
The UN report stated, Ninety percent of Swazilands sugar cash crop relies on irrigation,
which has significantly been hampered by the rationing of water. Sugarcane harvests, which
accounts for a staggering 21 percent of Swazilands GDP, has been hit hard, spelling trouble
for government finances and possible service delivery.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

The report added, The reduction of water has impacted the education of children as
(especially urban) schools depend on flushing toilet systems; but even in the rural areas,
existing boreholes are running dry. In all 189,000 learners and 8,157 teachers and support
staff has been affected nationally of which 23,633 learners and 1,654 teachers and support
staff are from around Mbabane, according to recent assessments.
The situation also puts almost 197,157 students, teachers and workers nationally, at risk of
water borne diseases and malnutrition, due to the water, sanitation/hygiene conditions.
Another main concern is the contamination of water which can increase the number of waterborne diseases in the country.
The country has one of the highest prevalence of HIV-infected adults (26 percent of people
aged 15-49). Food insecurity in the country affects anti-retroviral (ARV) intake as ARVs are
meant to be taken with food and water. It also affects access to medical facilities as some
people are unable to make the journey to the facilities due to illness, weakness or lack of
finances.

Money for Kings jet, but not drought


7 March 2016
Only weeks after it was announced Swaziland would seek E143 million (US$9 million) from
the international community because it could not pay for drought relief, the Swazi Finance
Minister announced the Government would buy the kingdoms autocratic monarch King
Mswati III a jet plane costing at least E96 million.
The Observer on Saturday, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, reported the money
was set aside as part of the annual budget announced by the Swazi Finance Minister Martin
Dlamini on Friday (4 March 2016).
About 300,000 of the kingdoms 1.4 million population are reportedly facing a food crisis
caused by the drought presently crippling Swaziland. Rural people are in danger of severe
malnutrition and it has been reported that there is only enough water to supply the Swazi
capital Mbabane for between one and three weeks.

22

SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

On 18 February 2016, Swazi Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini declared a state of emergency
and said Swaziland would need E248 million over the coming two months for drought relief.
EU Ambassador to Swaziland Nicola Bellomo said the kingdom immediately would seek
E143 million from the donor community to help Swaziland meet its needs.
The Observer reported the E96 million was set aside for a jet for the King after members of
the parliament, many of them appointed by the King, urged the Swazi Government to
consider buying the King a plane to replace the DC-9 jet (also known as an MD-87) which he
already has. It has been the subject of legal disputes in both Canada and the British Virgin
Islands.
Earlier this month (March 2016), it was reported that King Mswatis share of the justreopened Lufafa Gold Mine at Hhelehhele in the Hhohho region of Swaziland could be worth
up to US$149 million.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

4. EDUCATION
Draft rules censor varsity teaching
21 January 2016
Universities and colleges in Swaziland will be censored in what they can teach to ensure they
do not damage the image of the kingdom, if new draft regulations are adopted.
Swaziland is ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch.
The Times of Swaziland reported on Thursday (21 January 2016) that higher education
institutions should not teach things which could be detrimental to the wellbeing and image of
the country.
The newspaper reported the Executive Secretary of the Swaziland Higher Education Council
(SHEC) Mboni Dlamini said, this did not mean that institutions should not provide political
studies, if their mission was to do so.
The Times added, He said, however, they should stick to the parameters of that particular
subject. He said lecturers should stick to the approved syllabus and not teach things which
could be detrimental to the wellbeing and image of the country.
In Swaziland all political parties are banned from taking part in elections. Many groups
advocating democracy in the kingdom are banned under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.
In Swaziland, the King appoints the cabinet, top civil servants and judges.
Elections are held every five years, but voters get to choose only 55 of the 65-member House
of Assembly. The other ten members are appointed by King Mswati. No members of the 30strong Swaziland Senate are elected; 20 are appointed by the King and 10 are selected by the
House of Assembly.
Dlamini was presenting the Draft Higher Education Regulations to representatives of Swazi
universities and colleges.
The Times quoted Dlamini saying, The University of Swaziland teaches political studies,
lecturers should stick to the parameters and not go outside their domain to the detriment of
the country.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

The Times reported, He said they should not also teach things which will harass others be it
in politics, religion or local culture. He said if an institution was licensed to teach Agriculture,
they should stick to that, and not be involved in any other non-agricultural activities.
We do not want institutions to focus on other things that will smear the image of the
country. The institutions should also not teach things which will incite students to engage in
protest actions, he said.

Head tells pupils to be sex workers


10 February 2016
A headteacher in a school in Swaziland has told his girl pupils they should consider
becoming sex workers to pay their school fees, a local newspaper reported on Wednesday (10
February 2016).
He reportedly said they should offer themselves as prostitutes to passing road traffic.
The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom ruled by King
Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch, did not name the headteacher of
school involved. It reported, Some of the pupils, who have not paid their schools fees, are
orphaned and vulnerable children (OVCs).
It added, The head teacher allegedly also advised the boys to find work in construction
companies and even mentioned the names of the firms, situated in Matsapha.
The Times reported, A widow, who wept during an interview, told this publication that the
head teacher said the children should find work or venture into prostitution so they could help
their parents pay their fees. The woman, who is a mother of two of the children, alleged that
the children were told that education was very expensive and was not for the poor.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

King-defying school heads face arrest


18 February 2016

School principals in Swaziland will be arrested if they continue to defy an order from King
Mswati III, the kingdoms absolute monarch, and charge parents top-up fees for their
childrens education.
The Swazi Education and Training Minister Phineas Magagula made this promise on Monday
(15 February 2016) after the Kingdoms High Court confirmed the Kings edict that no
school should charge parents top-up fees.
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, reported that Magagula
said by charging top-up fees the principals were failing to comply with His Majesty King
Mswati IIIs order that such should not be paid and that no child should be deprived of
education.
Schools have been in disarray since February 2014 when the King pronounced on top-up fees
in his speech opening the Swaziland Parliament, even though the government he hand-picked
did not have a plan to deal with the financial shortfall this would create.
In Swaziland the Kings word is a proclamation. Once he speaks nobody is allowed to
question him.
It is this mind-set that has sent schools across the impoverished kingdom into chaos.
According to reports within Swaziland most schools have been forced to suspend activities
including participation in sports and music competitions. It is estimated these extra-mural
activities have halved when compared to recent years.
The Swazi Observer reported some head teachers had resorted to selling sweets on behalf of
their schools to raise additional funds.
In 2015, the newspaper reported, Swaziland Principals Association (SWAPA) President
Mduduzi Bhembe confirmed the sad situation and lamented the fact that the growth of the
countrys education system was taking a nosedive.

26

SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

He said as principals of schools they decried the collapse of the education system and called
for government to bring an alternative to the scrapped top-up fees that were paid by parents to
assist boost the schools coffers.
Government introduced free primary education in 2009, starting from Grade One and in 2015
the programme was rolled out in Grade Seven, which is the last grade at primary school level.
More than 240,000 pupils are enrolled in the primary education system. According to the
2012 annual education census, 95 percent of appropriate age and eligible children are able to
access primary education.
Principals complained that the money paid by government was too meagre to run the schools
and a majority of them opted for top-up fees to make up for the shortage.
There are further problems ahead for Swazi schools as the kingdom only has about half the
number of secondary schools than primary schools and existing secondary schools are not
able to absorb all the expected primary school leavers.

Another police attack on students


25 February 2016
Swazi security police attacked students at the University of Swaziland campus by driving an
armoured troop carrier at speed into a crowd, injuring one so badly her back might be broken.

The assault was the latest violent attack on students by police and security forces dating back
a number of years.
The latest happened on Monday night (22 February 2016) at the Kwaluseni campus of the
university, known as UNISWA.
The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom ruled by King
Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch, reported, a Royal Swaziland Police
(RSP) Operational Services Unit (OSSU) casspir drove at high speed into a group of about
2,000 students, who, when they realised that the vehicle was not stopping, ran in all
directions.

27

SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Ayanda Mkhwanazi, (22), a second year B-Ed-Science student, was run over by the RSP
vehicle and is fighting for her life at the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial (RFM) Hospital.
The newspaper added, Mkhwanazi is said to have suffered severe injuries, including a
broken spinal cord, fractured ribs and further injuries to the body, face and legs.
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, named the student as 23year-old Andile Mkhabela. It reported, The official police version of events was to the effect
that Mkhabela tried to climb on the body of the casspir and fell, thus injuring herself.
This was said by Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent
Khulani Mamba yesterday afternoon.
He denied that the casspir could have been used as a weapon by the police and when he was
asked if the officers were qualified to rush a person to the hospital instead of waiting for
paramedics considering that Mkhabela had spinal injuries, Mamba said they were trained in
first aid and acted due to the emergency of the situation.
The Swaziland National Union of Students (NSUS), in a statement posted on Facebook,
named the student as Ayanda Mkhabela. The statement said newspapers had distorted the
truth to make the incident look like an accident.
SNUS said, Truth of the matter is approximately 1,000 protesting students at Kwaluseni
UNISWA were targeted by the police casspir which sped to disperse them and as their desire
hit our very own desperate Ayanda Mkhabela. Upon knocking her down, as expected the
casspir switched off lights and she was taken away, fortunately to hospital.
Students at the university have been protesting and boycotting classes to protest about delays
in registration. The university has been closed until further notice.
Police and security forces in Swaziland routinely violently attack students when they engage
in protest.
In November 2013, police raided dormitories and dragged students from their rooms. Later
they beat up the students at local police stations. Students had wanted the start of
examinations postponed. Armed police stood guard outside examination halls as the
UNISWA Administration attempted to hold the exams.
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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

In August 2012, two students were shot in the head at close range with rubber bullets, during
a dispute about the number of scholarships awarded by the government. Reports from the
Centre for Human Rights and Development, Swaziland, said several other students were
injured by police batons and kicks.
In February 2012, police fired teargas at students from Swaziland College of Technology
(SCOT) who boycotted classes after the Swazi Government did not pay them their
allowances.
In November 2011, armed police attacked students at the recently-opened private
Limkokwing University. The Swazi Observer said Limkokwing students reported that police
attacked them unprovoked as they were not armed.
The newspaper added, During a visit to the institution about 10 armed officers were found
standing guard by the gate. The Observer said police fired as they tried to disperse the
students.
In January 2010, Swaziland Police reportedly fired bullets at protesting university students,
injuring two of them. They denied it and said they only fired teargas. Students from
UNISWA had attempted to march through the kingdoms capital, Mbabane, to call for an
increase in their allowances.
See also
STUDENTS UNDER SIEGE BY ARMED POLICE
POLICE FLEE ROOMS AS POLICE ATTACK
BOYCOTTING STUDENTS CLOSE UNIVERSITY
POLICE SHOOT TWO STUDENTS IN HEAD
ARMED POLICE STOP STUDENTS PROTEST
SWAZILAND STUDENT UNREST SPREADS
STUDENTS UNDER FIRE FROM POLICE
SWAZI STUDENTS BEATEN TO PULP
SWAZILAND POLICE SHOOT STUDENTS

4,556 cases of severe school beatings


31 March 2016
There have been 4,556 cases of severe corporal punishment of children in Swazilands
schools over the past four years, an international news organisation reported.
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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Star Africa quoted Zanele Thabede from youth group Super Buddies, who leads a team
looking into youth and child issues, who in an interview said the number of whippings dated
from 2012.
Star Africa reported Thabede saying, Corporal punishment by teachers and principals is
legal and routinely practiced and there is a growing trend of incarcerating of children and
youth in the Malkerns Industrial School for Rehabilitation because of unruly behaviour.
There is confusion in Swaziland as to whether corporal punishment has been banned in
schools. It is believed that a directive was issued to schools in 2012 not to use corporal
punishment but few teachers appear to know it had been made.
The Times of Swaziland reported in October 2015 that Phineas Magagula, Minister of
Education and Training, warned that teachers who beat pupils should be reported to the
ministry so that they could be disciplined.
Swaziland has a long history of atrocities committed by teachers against their pupils in the
name of discipline. Although there were rules about how corporal punishment could be
administered, these were largely ignored.
As recently as September 2015, the Times reported a 17-year-old school pupil died after
allegedly being beaten at school. The pupil reportedly had a seizure.
In March 2015, a primary school teacher at the Florence Christian Academy was charged
with causing grievous bodily harm after allegedly giving 200 strokes of the cane to a 12-yearold pupil on her buttocks and all over her body.
In February 2015, the headteacher of Mayiwane High School Anderson Mkhonta reportedly
admitted giving 15 strokes to a form 1 pupil for not wearing a neck tie properly.
In April 2015, parents reportedly complained to the Ndlalane Primary School after a teacher
beat pupils for not following his instruction and shaving their hair.
In October 2014, 20 pupils were thrashed before they sat an examination because they had
been absent from school studying for the exam the previous day.

30

SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

In October 2015, the Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III and
the voice of the traditionalists in Swaziland published an article against the abolition of
corporal punishment.
Observer journalist Fanyana Mabuza wrote that if corporal punishment was abolished, [T]he
future could be bleak, especially for the children who for their own good need a bit of
spanking to bring them to order.
The article in the Observer, a newspaper that believes Swaziland will be a First World
nation by 2022 added, We just do not see the future clearly without the cane in our schools.
See also
SWAZI SCHOOL TORTURES STUDENTS
CHILDREN CHAINED AND FLOGGED BARE
PROBE VICIOUS SCHOOL BEATINGS
SCHOOL FLOGGINGS OUT OF CONTROL
SCHOOL HEAD PUBLICLY FLOGS ADULTS

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

5. RULE OF LAW

Opposition to King is terrorism


25 January 2016
All opposition to the rule of absolute monarch King Mswati III of Swaziland is treated as
terrorism, according to a new analysis of the legal system in the kingdom.
Courts in Swaziland do the Kings bidding and lawyers regularly face intimidation.
The analysis was published by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) to mark
International Day of the Endangered Lawyer on Friday (22 January 2016).
The report written by Annabel Raw and Caroline James said, In Swaziland, opposition to the
King and the political system which prohibits political parties is treated as terrorism and the
courts have often been seen to do the Kings bidding.
Swazi lawyers regularly face intimidation when they challenge this status quo.
In August 2014, human rights lawyer Sipho Gumedze attended a civil society event in
Washington DC held at the White House to coincide with the US-Africa Summit hosted by
American President Barack Obama. At the time, there had been a crackdown on free
expression in Swaziland and a number of political and social activists were in prison or
facing charges resulting from their criticism of the Swazi King and political system.
Gumedze was photographed with a colleague from the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland
(TUCOSWA) holding a banner saying Free Speech in Swaziland NOW! Soon after, the
Prime Minister of Swaziland, Barnabus Sibusiso Dlamini, said, in a speech to Parliament,
that Gumedze and his colleague should be strangled on their return to Swaziland.
Another of these lawyers, Thulani Maseko, spent fifteen months in prison in 2014 and 2015
after he was charged and convicted of contempt of court for writing an article that was critical
of the then-Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi. Maseko was described as a disgrace to the
legal profession by the presiding judge, Mpendulo Simelane, when he was sentenced.
Ramodibedi and Simelane have since been charged with defeating the ends of justice in
essence what Maseko was attempting to highlight in his article.
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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

The analysis concluded, The beauty of the law and the potential of an independent judiciary
is that no matter who you are, you are beholden to the same rules as everyone else. Even
kings and armies must comply with the rule of law. It is vital that lawyers are able as
professionals to serve the laws potential in being free to represent their clients independently
and with zeal, being able to speak freely when shining light on violations of the law, and to
defend the rights of the vulnerable, even against the most powerful. It is an idea that the
international community has recognised and affirmed as indispensable to the rule of law and
the realisation of human rights.

Respect for Swazi rule of law falls


27 January 2016
Respect for human rights and the rule of law declined in the Kingdom of Swaziland, ruled
by an absolute monarch, King Mswati III, since 1986. Political parties are banned, judicial
independence is severely compromised, and repressive laws are used to target critics of the
government and the King.

These were the conclusions of Human Rights Watch in its World Report 2016, published on
Wednesday (27 January 2016).
The report stated, As in previous years, Swazi authorities severely restricted civil and
political rights. In March 2015, police beat leaders of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland
(TUCOSWA) and the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) and prevented
them from holding a meeting, ostensibly because the discussions would have included calls
for multiparty democracy. Among those severely beaten was a prominent trade unionist, the
SNAT Secretary General Muzi Mhlanga.
The Suppression of Terrorism Act, the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act of 1938, and
other similarly draconian legislation provided sweeping powers to the security services to halt
meetings and protests and to curb criticism of the government, even though such rights are
protected under Swazilands 2005 constitution. In September 2015, eight human rights
defenders challenged the constitutionality of these security laws in the High Court of
Swaziland. A final ruling has yet to be handed down.

33

SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

In a detailed analysis of Swaziland, HRW, highlighted media freedom as a particular


problem.
It said, Journalists and activists who criticized the government were often harassed and
arrested. The Sedition and Subversive Activities Act continued to restrict freedom of
expression through criminalizing alleged seditious publications and use of alleged seditious
words, such as those which may excite disaffection against the king. Published criticism of
the ruling party is also banned. Many journalists practiced self-censorship, especially with
regard to reports involving the king, to avoid harassment by authorities.
On June 30 [2015], the Supreme Court of Swaziland granted an appeal by human rights
lawyer, Thulani Maseko, and editor of The Nation magazine, Bheki Makhubu, and ordered
their immediate release from prison. Maseko and Makhubu were arrested in March 2014 for
two articles they published in The Nation questioning the impartiality of the judiciary, and
sentenced to two years in prison. Civil society groups dismissed the trial as a sham.
In July 2014, The Nation and its publishers were fined an equivalent of US$9,500 by the
Swaziland High Court for publishing seditious information in the two articles that Maseko
wrote.
Authorities also barred media from reporting on issues they deemed sensitive. For example,
when scores of young girls died in a road traffic accident on August 28 [2015] on their way to
an annual Umhlanga festival where thousands of virgins dance before the king to celebrate
womanhood and virginity, authorities blocked media reporting of the incident. The
government later said 13 people had died. Regional and international media disputed the
governments figure and estimated the death toll at 65.
See also
SADC URGED TO ACT ON HUMAN RIGHTS

34

SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Swazi terror law court challenge


11 February 2016
A challenge to the legality of Swazilands anti-terror and sedition laws is taking place in the
kingdoms High Court.
At stake is the future of the Suppression of Terrorism Act 2008 and Sedition and Subversive
Activities Act 1938.
Pro-democracy campaigners say both Acts are used to silence dissent in Swaziland where
King Mswati III rules as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch.
Political parties are banned from taking part in elections and groups that advocate for multiparty democracy are banned under the Suppression of Terrorism Act. Individual protesters
have also been arrested and jailed under the Act.
The hearing in the Swaziland High Court began in September 2015, but it was adjourned
because there was not enough time to hear the case fully.
Advocates against the two acts are arguing that they are unconstitutional as they infringe the
right to free expression. They say the definitions of terrorism and sedition are too vague
and can be applied at times when people have legitimate rights to speak or act.
The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), one of the international organisations
including Amnesty International that are campaigning for a change in the laws, reported
This hearing was a consolidation of four separate cases each of which involved criminal
charges in terms of these laws which had been brought against activists who had expressed
opinions against the Swazi governmental system. What characterized the activities that led to
these charges was that they were all peaceful.
The case is highlighting Mario Masuku, President of the Peoples United Democratic
Movement (PUDEMO) and Maxwell Dlamini, Secretary General of PUDEMOs youth wing,
SWAYOCO. They were arrested and charged with sedition, subversion and terrorism after
participating at a May Day celebration in 2014. They were accused of supporting PUDEMO,
which had been banned under the Suppression of Terrorism Act. They were in pre-trial
detention for nearly 15 months, before the Supreme Court released them on bail in July
2015.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

In a report from the court on Monday (8 February 2016), SALC said lawyers for the Swazi
state (the Prime Minister, the Minister of Justice, the Director of Public Prosecutions, and the
Attorney General) argued that the law in Swaziland was based on international standards.
The case is continuing.
Both The Suppression of Terrorism Act and The Sedition and Subversive Activities Act have
been criticised by global human rights groups as oppressive.
Amnesty International in April 2015 renewed its criticism of Swaziland for the continued
persecution of peaceful political opponents and critics by the King and his authorities.
The human rights organisation called for both Acts to be scrapped or drastically rewritten.
It said the Swazi authorities were using the Acts, to intimidate activists, further entrench
political exclusion and to restrict the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression,
association and peaceful assembly.
In a public statement to draw attention to the repression of fundamental freedoms in
Swaziland, Amnesty said 14 people were currently charged in five separate trials.
Ten are charged under both laws, including Mario Masuku, Maxwell Dlamini, and Mlungisi
Makhanya, the Secretary General of the opposition organization, PUDEMO, along with six
other co-accuseds.
The authorities also initiated trial proceedings under the Sedition and Subversive Activities
Act against Thulani Maseko in September 2014, on sedition charge first raised against him in
2009.
It added, The alleged offences include shouting slogans at a Workers Day rally, utterances
made at funerals, possession of PUDEMO leaflets, wearing PUDEMO t-shirts while
attending the trial of Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu, or calling for a boycott of the
elections held in 2013.
Amnesty said the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act violated Swazilands human rights
obligations. It placed the onus on the accused to prove that their alleged acts, utterances or
documents published were not done with seditious intention.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

The Sedition and Subversive Activities Act also obliged courts to conduct proceedings in
camera relating to an offence under the Act if so requested by the prosecution.
Amnesty also said the Suppression of Terrorism Act was incompatible with Swazilands
human rights obligations because of, The failure to restrict the definition of terrorist act to
the threatened or actual use of violence against civilians.
The failure of the definition to meet the requirements of legality, that is, accessibility,
precision, applicability to counter-terrorism alone, non-discrimination and non-retroactivity.
It added offences were, defined with such over-breadth and imprecision that they place
excessive restrictions on a wide range of human rights, including the right to hold opinions
without interference and the right to freedom of expression.
See also
SWAZI TRIALS POLITICALLY MOTIVATED: AMNESTY
AMNESTY ATTACKS SWAZI JUSTICE

No rule of law with absolute King.


23 February 2016
King Mswati IIIs absolute monarchy in Swaziland ultimately is incompatible with a society
based on the rule of law, a report into the kingdoms judicial crisis has concluded.
Swazilands Constitution must be amended to bring it in line with regional and universal
international law and standards, in particular on the separation of powers and respect for
judicial independence, the report called Justice Locked Out: Swazilands Rule of Law
Crisis said.
It was published by the International Commission of Jurists on 18 February 2016.
An international mission investigated Swaziland following the attempted arrest and the
impeachment of former Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi and the arrest of the Minister of
Justice Sibusiso Shongwe, two High Court judges Mpendulo Simelane and Jacobus
Annandale and High Court Registrar Fikile Nhlabatsi in April 2015.

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The report stated the judicial crisis was part of a worrying trend of repeated interference by
the Executive and of the Judiciarys inability to defend its independence, exacerbated by
apparent strife within the ruling authorities of Swaziland.
Swazilands Constitution, while providing for judicial independence in principle, does not
contain the necessary safeguards to guarantee it. Overall, the legislative and regulatory
framework falls short of international law and standards, including African regional
standards.
It added, The mission found that some members of the Judiciary have exercised their
mandate with a lack of integrity and professionalism. In particular, former Chief Justice
Ramodibedi failed to protect and defend the institutional independence of the Judiciary, and
played a reprehensible role in undermining both the institutional independence of the
Judiciary and that of individual judges in Swaziland.
He also presided over, or was involved in the case allocation of, legal proceedings in which
he had a personal interest or in which he acted at the apparent behest of members of the
Executive, further undermining the independence and impartiality of the Judiciary.
Based upon its independent research, including its consultations with various stakeholders,
the fact-finding mission determined that this latest crisis has served to expose already existing
divisions within and between the Judiciary and the Executive. The consequence has been an
abuse of the justice system to settle political scores, further damaging the independence of the
Judiciary in the process.
Overall, the events that triggered the international fact-finding mission are both a reflection
of a systemic crisis and potentially a contributing factor to its deepening further. In light of its
findings, this report includes the fact-finding missions recommendations for reform to the
Crown, Executive and Legislature, the Judiciary, the legal profession, the international
community and civil society, which it considers will strengthen the rule of law, respect for
human rights and access to justice and effective remedies in the Kingdom of Swaziland.
See also
JURISTS: DEEP FLAWS IN LEGAL SYSTEM
SWAZI JUDICIAL CRISIS: KINGS WORD IS LAW

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6. PROTESTS
Tension over Swazi pay protest
10 February 2016

There is tension within Swaziland as the kingdoms public sector workers protest over pay
rises.
The government of the tiny kingdom ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africas last
absolute monarch, has refused to publish a report on public sector pay review.
There have been attempts to picket and to march in protest, but the draconian anti-labour laws
in the kingdom prohibit such action.
Two trade union activists were arrested and charged with obstruction when they took part in a
picket organised by public service unions.
They were Mcolisi Ngcamphalala, a Communist Party of Swaziland Central Committee
member and member of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) and
Mbongwa Dlamini, Manzini Regional Chairperson of SNAT.
Officers from Swazilands serious crimes unit, also known as the Swazi anti-terrorism squad,
raided their homes on Thursday (4 February 2016). They were then held in custody before
being granted bail of E1,000 (US$60) each pending their trial.
Kenneth Kunene, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Swaziland said in a
statement, The picket, which is being held regularly every Wednesday to protest the secrecy
of government pay policy for public sector workers, is part of a defiance campaign by public
servants.
They are banned from organising protest demonstrations and are resorting to more flexible
and small-scale ways of highlighting their demands, such as pickets. Ngcamphalala and
Dlaminis offense was to have blocked the road where the picket was held, for which an
arrest warrant was subsequently issued.

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Meanwhile, a proposed march to deliver a petition in Swazilands capital city has been put on
hold after the Municipal Council of Mbabane enforced a law that makes it unlawful to protest
on the streets without permission, the Times of Swaziland reported.

Swazi Police halt pay protest


15 February 2016
Public servants were prevented by police from protesting about their pay levels when King
Mswati III, Swazilands absolute monarch, opened the Swazi Parliament on Friday (12
February 2016).
Trade unionists wanted the Swazi Government, which is unelected and handpicked by the
King, to release a salary review report into their pay that was completed four months ago.
Public protests are rare in Swaziland where political parties are banned from contesting
elections and groups advocating multi-party democracy in the kingdom are banned under the
Suppression of Terrorism Act.
Members of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), Swaziland Democratic
Nurses Union (SWADNU), National Association of Public Servants and Allied Workers
(NAPSAW) and Swaziland National Association of Government Accounting Personnel
(SNAGAP) had wanted to march to the Parliament building and deliver a petition to the
Clerk of Parliament.
Earlier this month two trade union activists were arrested and charged with obstruction when
they took part in a picket organised by public service unions.

Activists arrested after alleged arson


10 March 2016
Four supporters of the Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) have been arrested and charged
following an alleged arson attack on rondavels in a-Ngcamphalala Chiefdom in Siphofaneni
under the leadership of Chief Mshikashika II.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

The Party said in a statement they were arrested during a continuing campaign against the
feudal rule of King Mswati III, who is sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch.
The CPS said, CPS activists are playing a prominent role in mobilizing communities to stop
feudal leaders from barring boys from schooling and attending university because of their
non-attendance at the Kings annual ritualistic events.
Such protests have cantered in amongst other many communities, on Siphofaneni, KaNgcamphalala Chiefdom as well as on Siyandle, in Shiselweni Region. Community members
held a meeting at Siphofaneni to tell the chief that the abuse of people in the name of culture
must end.
It added, The Communist Party of Swaziland is calling for robust solidarity with the local
communities under feudal rule in our country who have been protesting efforts to punish
young boys for not taking part in King Mswatis traditional ceremonies.
The statement added, The CPS is confronting the Mswati regime on its manipulation of
traditional cultural practices for dubious purposes, mainly to intimidate Swazis into reverence
for the monarchy.
The CPS said it had been leafleting rural areas, to mobilise opposition to royal rule and its
obsequious implementation by local chiefs. This is being done in a tense situation of
surveillance and intimidation by undercover police and military intelligence.
The four men arrested will appear at Siteki Magistrate court on charges of arson.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Richard Rooney was associate professor at the University of Swaziland 2005 2008, where
he was also the founding head of the Journalism and Mass Communication Department.
He has taught in universities in Africa, Europe and the Pacific. His academic research which
specialises in media and their relationships to democracy, governance and human rights has
appeared in books and journals across the world.
His writing regularly appears in newspapers, magazines and on websites. He was a full-time
journalist in his native United Kingdom for 10 years, before becoming an academic.
He has published the blog Swazi Media Commentary since 2007 and also has other social
media sites that concentrate on human rights issues in Swaziland.
He holds a Ph.D in Communication from the University of Westminster, London, UK.
He presently teaches at the University of Botswana, Gaborone.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Publications from Swazi Media Commentary available online free-of-charge

BOOKS

2013. The beginning of the End? 2012, a year in the struggle for democracy in
Swaziland
This compilation of newsletters from Africa Contact in collaboration with Swazi Media
Commentary contains an assortment of news, analysis and comment covering the campaign
for freedom in Swaziland throughout 2012. These include the Global Action for Democracy
held in September; campaigns for democracy spearheaded by trade unions and students and
the continuing struggle for rights for women, children, gays and minority groups.

2012. The End of the Beginning? 2011, a year in the struggle for freedom in Swaziland
This book looks at activities in the freedom movement in 2011. It starts with a section on the
unsuccessful April 12 Uprising followed by separate chapters looking at events in each
month of 2011, including the Global Week of Action held in September. They also highlight
the numerous violations of rights suffered by the poor, by children, by women and by sexual
minorities, among others, in the kingdom.

2011. Voices Unheard: Media Freedom and Censorship in Swaziland.


This volume of pages from Swazi Media Commentary focuses on media freedom and
censorship. It starts with some overview articles that set out the general terrain, moving on to
look at repressive media laws. Other sections of this book relate the daily threats journalists
in Swaziland face when they want to report, but are not allowed to.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

OCCASIONAL PAPERS SERIES


No. 1. 2013. Cynicism Eats Away at Swaziland Journalism: The State of Swazi
Journalism, 2013
One thing that shines out about journalists and their editors in Swaziland is the deeply cynical
way they operate. Swazi journalists claim to be upholders of fine ethical traditions of honesty
and inquiry, but instead they are often publishing lies or playing with readers emotions to
boost company profits.
This article explores the state of newspaper journalism in Swaziland, a small kingdom in
Africa, ruled over by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch. Editors
are deliberately misleading their readers by publishing material that is intended to provoke
controversy and reaction, even though they know it also contains lies. This is done in order to
boost profits for owners.
No. 2. 2013. Swaziland Broadcasting Not For The People
A review of broadcasting in Swaziland that demonstrates through research that radio in the
kingdom only serves the interests of King Mswati III and his intimate supporters. All other
voices are excluded from the airwaves. The paper contrasts a public broadcasting service
with public service broadcasting and demonstrates that changes in the kingdoms
broadcasting cannot be made until it becomes a democratic state.
No. 3. 2013. Swaziland Media Need Code of Conduct for Covering Elections
A review of how media have covered past elections in Swaziland highlighting a number of
areas for improvement. The paper includes a suggested code of ethical conduct that Swazi
journalists can adopt in order to improve performance.
No.4. 2013. Swaziland Press Freedom: The case of Bekhi Makhubu and the Nation
magazine
In April 2013 Bheki Makhubu the editor of the Nation magazine and its publishers,
Swaziland Independent Publishers were convicted of scandalising the court after two
articles criticising the judiciary were published in 2009 and 2010. The purpose of this paper is
to bring together details of the story so far (May 2013). It is an attempt to bring under one
cover all the available information on the case in order to assist those people in the future
who might need a quick primer.
No.5. 2013. Media Coverage of Swaziland Election 2013.
A review of media coverage of the Swaziland national election, most notably in the only two
newspaper groups in the kingdom, and at international media. It notes that generally
newspapers in Swaziland ignored the real issue, that of the non-democratic nature of the
elections, and concentrated instead on trying to justify the governance system to their readers.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM


PREVIOUS EDITIONS

Volume 13: Jan 2014 to March 2014, is available free of charge here
Volume 14: April to June 2014, is available free of charge here
Volume 15: July to September 2014, is available free of charge here
Volume 16: October to December 2014, is available free of charge here
Volume 17: January to March 2015, is available free of charge here
Volume 18: April to June 2015, is available free of charge here
Volume 19: July to September 2015 is available here.
Volume 20: October to December 2015 is available here.

OTHER VOLUMES
Volume 1, Jan 2013, is available free of charge here.
Volume 2, Feb 2013, is available free of charge here.
Volume 3, March 2013, is available free of charge here.
Volume 4, April 2013, is available free of charge here.
Volume 5, May 2013, is available free of charge here.
Volume 6, June 2013, is available free of charge here.
Volume 7, July 2013, is available free of charge here.
Volume 8, August 2013, is available free of charge here.
Volume 9, September 2013, is available free of charge here
Volume 10, October 2013, is available free of charge here
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Volume 12, December 2013, is available free of charge here

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Swazi Media Commentary


Containing information and
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Swaziland
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