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Swaziland:

Striving for
Freedom
As seen through the pages of
Swazi Media Commentary,
compiled by Richard Rooney

Volume 26: April to June 2017


Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

CONTENTS

Introduction 2
1 King Mswati III 3
2 Army 16
3 Police 24
4 Crime 34
5 Terrorism 43
6 Children 46
7 Juvie jail and prison 54
8 Politicians 61
9 Prime Minister profile 64
10 Health 70
11 Corruption 77
12 Election 2018 81
13 LGBTI 84
14 Human rights round up 88
15 National airline 97
About the author 98
Other publications from Swazi Media Commentary 99
Occasional papers 100
Previous editions 101

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

INTRODUCTION

A health crisis that stripped public hospitals of life-saving drugs and reportedly led to deaths
alongside a chronic shortage of food in schools that have prompted fears that children might
starve dominated the news in months April to June 2017. Both cases highlight how the
Swaziland Government, hand-picked by autocratic monarch King Mswati III, has failed the
people of the kingdom by not paying bills to suppliers. Meanwhile, the plan to buy the King a
second private jet goes on.

These are some of the stories that appeared on the Swazi Media Commentary website over
the past three months that have been brought together in this compilation, volume 26 of
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom. Other stories include army and police corruption under the
spotlight by a United Nations review team; the Kings controversial objection to divorce and
the kingdoms Election and Boundaries Commission tour to sell Swaziland undemocratic
elections in 2018.

There is also a special profile of Swazilands Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini highlighting
his record of human rights abuses and corruption. Dlamini was never elected to office and
was personally appointed by the King.

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.

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1 KING MSWATI III

Swazi King says no to divorce


17 April 2017

King Mswati III of Swaziland has told his subjects they are not allowed to divorce. In our
culture, once you marry someone, there is no turning back, the King said.

King Mswati, who rules as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch, told Swazi pastors at
an Easter service held at the Engabezweni Royal Residence on Saturday (15 April 2017)
marriage was covenant with God.

The Times Sunday newspaper in Swaziland reported, He said it was wrong for people to
break agreements made with God. He said that in siSwati, there was no word for divorce.

The newspaper reported the Kings ruling comes after the office of the Attorney General
drafted the Marriage Bill of 2017, which carries five grounds of divorce and if passed to law
will replace the Marriage Act of 1964.

In Swaziland, women, who under traditional Swazi law are treated as children and are in
effect owned by their husbands or fathers, are expected to live lives devoted to their men and
families. A report on the State of the Population in Swaziland said that Swazi women were
responsible for childbirth, raising the children and taking care of the entire family.

Women are expected to give their husbands sex on demand and those who refuse have been
blamed for men who rape children.

A survey in Swaziland suggested four in 10 women believe that a husband is justified in


beating his wife because he is the head of the household.

This is not the first time that so-called Swazi culture has been investigated.

The APA news agency reported in 2015 a demographic health survey called the Multiple
Indicator Cluster Survey Comparative Report which gave a number reasons for wife-beating
which included; if she refused to have sex with him, if she argued with him, if she went out
without telling him, if she neglected the children and if she had sex with other men.

APA reported, Silindelo Nkosi, the Communication and Advocacy Officer for Swaziland
Action Group Against Abuse (SWAGAA) said, These beliefs of justifying abuse have
increased to the worst rate resulting in more young women dying in the hands of their lovers
or husbands.

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The world famous medical journal, the Lancet reported that one in three girls in Swaziland
had experienced sexual violence by the age of 18, according to a study.

Sexual violence was defined as forced intercourse; coerced intercourse; attempted unwanted
intercourse; unwanted touching; and forced touching.

The most common perpetrators of the first incident of sexual violence were men or boys from
the girls neighbourhood or boyfriends or husbands. Over a quarter of all incidents of sexual
violence occurred in the respondents own home, with a fifth occurring at the home of a
friend, relative or neighbour.

In June 2008 it was reported that the National Democratic and Health Survey found that 40
percent of men in Swaziland said it is all right to beat women. The same year, the United
Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) found that the status of some women in Swaziland was so
low that they were practically starved at meal times, because men folk ate first and if there
was not enough food for everyone, the women must go without.

See also

ONE IN THREE SWAZI WOMEN ABUSED


SWAZI CULTURE LETS WOMEN STARVE
TWISTED SWAZI MEN RAPE CHILDREN
SHOCKING LIVES FOR SWAZI WOMEN

Swazi Kings budget increases US$14-mil


19 April 2017

The Swaziland Royal Household is to increase by E200 million (US$14 million) in the
coming year to take it to E1.3 billion, an independent monthly magazine in the kingdom has
reported.

The Nation reported (April 2017), While the entire budget for King Mswati and the royal
household continues to grow in hundreds of millions of emalangeni every year, social grants
for elderly and the physically challenged showed a very insignificant increase.

King Mswati III rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch. Seven in ten
of his 1.3 million subjects have incomes of less than US$2 per day.

The Nation reported the budget increase as mouth-watering. It said elderly grants (pensions)
had a paltry increase. The Finance Minister Martin Dlamini announced in his February
budget the grant would rise from E240 to E400 per month.

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The Nation reported, Even health institutions have seen cuts to their budget allocations this
year while the armys allocation continues to rise unabated even though the country is at
peace. Money for agriculture has also been cut, despite that the country has just come out a
devastating drought and farmers need help to find their feet.

King Mswati has been criticised outside Swaziland for his lavish spending. He has 13
palaces, fleets of BMW and Mercedes cars and at least one Rolls-Royce. He is to receive a
second private jet aircraft later this year.

Swazi Members of Parliament at first rejected the entire national budget and called for it to be
replaced with one that favoured ordinary people. Later they relented and the budget was
passed.

See also

SWAZI MPs REJECT NATIONAL BUDGET


SWAZI PM OVERTURNS BUDGET VOTE
SWAZILAND: MASSIVE SECURITY SPENDING
U.S. SAYS BUDGET LACKS TRANSPARENCY

Pray for First-World status - King


20 April 2017

King Mswati III, the autocratic ruler of Swaziland, told his subjects that the impoverished
kingdom would achieve First World status by 2022 if they prayed hard enough.

He told congregants gathered at the Easter Sunday service at Somhlolo Stadium to have faith.
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King and described by the Media
Institute of Southern Africa in a report on press freedom in the kingdom as a pure
propaganda machine for the royal family, reported on Tuesday (18 April 2017), He said the
worshippers should start believing that Swaziland is already in the first world status and it
will surely come to pass if they believe it.

His Majesty King Mswati III said it was very imperative for the country to attain first world
status so that the coming generations can enjoy it.

The King has been talking about Swaziland becoming a First World nation for some years,
but has never made it clear what he means by it.

The concept of the First World nation is a little outdated. During the time of the Cold War,
following the Second World War, the First World nations were generally considered to be

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those that supported the United States, against the Soviet Union and the communist bloc. In
the past 20 years or so, since the fall of the Soviet Union, the term First World has begun
to fall into disuse.

There are many modern-day definitions of First World, but they all insist that to be included
in this category a nation must be a multi-party democracy and people must be able to elect
and dismiss their government.

Swaziland is not like this. King Mswati III rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last
absolute monarch, political parties are banned from taking part in elections and the King
chooses the Prime Minister and government. There is no way for the people to either elect or
dismiss the Kings government.

First World status cannot be achieved without a movement towards democracy. King
Mswati has no intention of allowing this to happen and he continues to keep a firm grip on
any public dissent in his kingdom.

Another definition of First World speaks to prosperity and the health of the nations
economy. But, Swaziland is nowhere close to becoming prosperous.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Swaziland issued a report in February
2014 that received no publicity in the kingdom, that said if Swaziland were to achieve First
World status it would have to be among high human development countries like Norway,
Australia, United States, Netherlands and Germany to name a few.

UNDP went on to give these statistics comparing present-day Swaziland with Norway, the
United States and Germany.

Life expectancy: Swaziland (48.9 years); Norway (81.3); United States (78.7); Germany
(80.6).
Mean average years of schooling: Swaziland (7.1); Norway (12.6); United States (13.3);
Germany (12.2).
Percentage of population with at least secondary school education: Swaziland (48);
Norway (95.2); United States (94.5); Germany (96.6).

The UNDP in Swaziland did not comment on the likelihood of Swaziland reaching First
World status by 2022; it did not have to. Any independent observer can see from these
statistics that Swaziland is not even close to reaching the Kings target.

The UNDP is not alone. In 2012, a report published by 24/7 Wall St in the United States, and
based on data from the World Bank, identified Swaziland as the fifth poorest country in the
entire world.

It said 69 percent of King Mswatis 1.3 million subjects lived in poverty.

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Its report stated, [T]he countrys workforce is largely concentrated in subsistence


agriculture, even though the country faces serious concerns about overgrazing and soil
depletion. While these factors harm the nations economy, health concerns are likely one of
the major factors preventing Swazilands population from escaping poverty.

King Mswati does little to address this situation. His latest call to prayer is another distraction
away from the true dire situation in Swaziland and misleads his subjects about the prospects
of achieving First World status.

Richard Rooney

See also

SWAZILAND FIRST WORLD MYTH


KING, THE FIRST WORLD AND DEMOCRACY

Swazi Kings God delusion


24 April 2017

King Mswati III, who rules as an absolute monarch over the destitute kingdom of Swaziland,
appears to have a God delusion.

The King and his family say they have a direct-line to God. In 2013, King Mswatis elder
brother, Prince Masitsela Dlamini, told African Eye News Service that God had given the
royal family authority to rule over other Swazi clans. The Dlaminis are closer to God, said
Dlamini.

In 2011, the King said God spoke to him through a TV remote control. It happened at the
Lozitha Palace, near Mbabane. At the time the King told his subjects about his miraculous
experience.

The Times of Swaziland, the kingdoms only independent daily newspaper, reported in
October 2011, His Majesty saw a miracle yesterday when he was preparing a sermon [to
preach to a group of evangelical Christians.] The King said a remote control lay at the centre
of a coffee table but something mysteriously brought it down.

He said there was no person or wind that could have brought it down. The King said he
realised that God was with him. It was Him who brought the remote control down.

Reverend Jonas Dlamini, one of the kings preachers, said, The King preached to us. He was
filled with the light of the Lord when he told us that God had given him a sign when he was

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getting ready to meet us. He said a TV remote on his table dropped to the floor with no one
touching it and that is how he knew God was communicating with him.

In September 2013, the King himself told his subjects he had received a vision during a
thunderstorm and was told that the political system in Swaziland that puts the King at the
head and bans political parties should from then on be called Monarchical Democracy.

It helps the King and his supporters if people think King Mswati is chosen by God. It
suggests the King has special abilities and wisdom. For that reason, his word must be obeyed.
Those who speak against the King, speak also against God and who can dare criticise God?

Of course, King Mswati wasnt chosen by God. A political group plotting within the ruling
elite of Swaziland chose him.

The Nation, a monthly magazine of comment in Swaziland, in July 2008 reported extensively
about a documentary called Without The King that revealed how the present King came to
the throne and the manoeuvrings were positively Shakespearian.

Unlike in many societies that still have monarchs, in Swaziland the eldest son doesnt simply
become king once the reigning monarch dies. The king is chosen by virtue of the rank and
character of his mother in accordance with Swazi law and custom. But the part of Swazi law
and custom relating to the selection of a successor to a king is unknown to a majority of
ordinary Swazi. It may include the mother to the heir.

The Nation reported, In the documentary, King Mswati III shed some light on how he got to
know that he would be the next King of Swaziland.

He said then he was about 12 years of age and it was after the demise of his father, King
Sobhuza II when the news were broke to him.

King Mswati III did not say anything about his mother who was then an ordinary wife to the
late king. It was not until the then Supreme Council (Liqoqo) removed the then Queen Regent
for the biological mother to the then Crown Prince that she was appointed to office.

The act drew reprisals for the Liqoqo members who ousted the then Queen Regent.

After the King was crowned, the Liqoqo members were charged with high treason arising
from their decision to remove the Queen Regent Dzeliwe. Some were found guilty and
sentenced to imprisonment terms as high as 15 years.

The King subsequently pardoned them.

One biography of King Mswati says the story of how King Mswati, who was known as
Prince Makhosetive as a child, became the monarch goes like this. King Sobhuza II had

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deftly managed to hold rivalling power factions within the royal ruling alliance in check, and
so his death in August 1982, left a power vacuum.

At this time Makhosetive was 15 years old and a schoolboy at Sherborne in England.

In keeping with tradition, Makhosetives appointment by his father was not publicly
announced. Before his death the King had chosen one of his queens, the childless Princess
Dzeliwe, to preside over the monarchy as regent until the prince turned 21 years of age.

It was in keeping with tradition that she be childless, so that she would not involve herself in
a factional struggle to advance the position of her own son. Factional quarrels broke out into
the open, however, in the interregnum period, while the prince was [at school] in the United
Kingdom.

Continuing disputes led members of the Liqoqo, a supreme traditional advisory body, to
force the Queen Regent to resign. In her stead the Liqoqo appointed Queen Ntombi, Prince
Makhosetives mother, who initially refused to take up the position.

Further disputes between royal factions led to his coronation as King Mswati III, at the age of
18, in April 1986, three years earlier than expected.

At the time, the King was the youngest monarch in the world.

Observers saw the early coronation as an attempt on the part of the Liqoqo to legitimate the
usurpation of Dzeliwe and consolidate their gains in power. Prince Makhosetive, now King
Mswati III, acted quickly however to disband the Liqoqo and call for parliamentary elections.
In May 1986 Mswati dismissed the Liqoqo, the traditional advisory council to regents, which
had assumed greater powers than were customary. In July 1986 he dismissed and charged
with treason Prime Minister Prince Bhekimpi and several government officials for their role
in the ejection of Queen Regent Dzeliwe, though he eventually pardoned those who were
convicted.

Another biography of King Mswati says, King Mswatis first two years of rule were
characterized by a continuing struggle to gain control of the government and consolidate his
rule.

Immediately following his coronation, Mswati disbanded the Liqoqo and revised his cabinet
appointments. In October 1986 Prime Minister Bhekimpi Dlamini was dismissed and for the
first time a nonroyal, Sotsha Dlamini, was chosen for the post.

Prince Bhekimpi and 11 other important Swazi figures were arrested in June 1987. [Prince]
Mfanasibili, [Prince] Bhekimpi, and eight others were convicted of high treason. Eight of
those convicted, however, were eventually pardoned.

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In 2011, court papers relating to the treason trial that was held in secret come to light after 23
years. The papers that had been deliberately removed from Swaziland after the trial in 1987
were unearthed in Namibia.

They have not been released to the public and might contain details about the plotting that
surrounded King Mswatis rise to power. The papers might also remind the Kings subjects
that he is really only where he is today because of political intrigue.

See also

SWAZI KINGS PRIVATE LINE TO GOD


IS SWAZI KING SENT BY GOD?
FEARS OVER KINGS MENTAL HEALTH

King feasts while people starve


28 April 2017

Just as the World Food Program revealed that one-in-three people in Swaziland are in need
of emergency food assistance, media in the kingdom reported that King Mswati IIIs
birthday cake took three months to prepare.

The Times of Swaziland reported on Wednesday (26 April 2017), All eyes were on the cake
that was beautifully displayed in the front during the garden party at His Majestys birthday
celebration. Most people were asking themselves how much time it took the bakers to prepare
the cake. The company has always made it a point that it prepares a beautiful cake every year
for His Majestys birthday celebrations.

The Swazi Observer said, The purple and cream white cake was set on a gold stand that
connected the 49 pieces to make it one and the artistic look was finished off with a gold lion
shaped piece.

The King, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch, marked his
49th birthday while more than one in three of his 1.3 million subjects were kept alive by
international food aid. The WFP reported 350,000 people were in need of emergency food
assistance, with 640,000 potentially affected by some degree of food insecurity at the peak of
the lean season (November 2016 - April 2017).

The WFP reported that its efforts to feed Swaziland was underfunded and people might not
get fed in June 2017.

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It reported, Chronic malnutrition is a main concern in Swaziland: stunting affects 26 percent


of children under five years. Swaziland is vulnerable to drought in the south east. 77 percent
of Swazis rely on subsistence farming for their livelihoods.

King Mswati lives a lavish lifestyle with at least 13 palaces, a fleet of top-of-the-range
Mercedes and BMW cars. He is about to take delivery of a second private jet. Meanwhile,
seven in ten of his subjects live in abject poverty with incomes of less than US$2 per day.

See also

SWAZI KINGS BIRTHDAY EXCESSES


KING DEMANDS COWS FROM THE POOR
KING GETS 32 BMW CARS FOR HIS BIRTHDAY

Newspaper calls King, oppressor


15 May 2017

A newspaper in Botswana has criticised Swazilands King Mswati III calling him an
oppressor of the Swazi people.

Mmegi, in an editorial comment, on Thursday (11 May 2017) called on the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) which Mswati chairs to review the kingdom. It said,
SADC should prepare for a tough assignment the day the Swazis say enough is enough and
stand up to their King to demand democracy.

King Mswati rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch. Political parties
are banned from taking part in elections and King Mswatis subjects are only allowed to pick
55 of the 65 members of the House of Assembly; the other 10 are appointed by the King.
None of the 30 members of the Swazi Senate are elected by the people; the King appoints 20
members and the other 10 are appointed by the House of Assembly.

The King choses the Prime Minister and cabinet members. Only a man with the surname
Dlamini can, by tradition, be appointed as Prime Minister. The King is a Dlamini.

Earlier in May 2017, the globally-renowned charity Oxfam named Swaziland as the most
unequal country in the world.

In its editorial comment Mmegi said King Mswati III had been in Botswana for a two-day
tour of the SADC Secretariat which is based in Gaborone. The King brought at least two of
his wives and family in addition to his entourage.

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The newspaper called King Mswati III, an oppressor who does not allow press freedom,
multiparty democracy, trade unionism and any dissenting voices are crushed with a
disproportionate force.

It added, In Swaziland, judges take instructions from the King and they comply
unconditionally, something, which we are fighting hard in Botswana. The independence of
the judiciary, the independent press, and dissenting voices are a measure of commitment to
democracy. It is disturbing that SADC has allowed King Mswati III to be the chairman of the
bloc yet he does not believe in their democratic values and principles.

SADC should review some of its agreements to ensure that it remains relevant to the youth,
majority of whom believe in democracy, freedom of expression and the fact that Africa is
part of the global village.

It added, France recently elected its youngest President ever at the age of 39, and the whole
world was watching including the youth in Africa and particularly in Swaziland where they
are not allowed to say a word about the expenditure of their public funds amongst
others. SADC should prepare for a tough assignment the day the Swazis say enough is
enough and stand up to their King to demand democracy.

Mmegi said, We want the youth of Swaziland to have same ambitions and dreams as their
regional counterparts to one day take part in the affairs of their country and even lead it.
SADC should put more pressure on Swaziland to formulate a new constitution to usher in
democracy and keeping the Royal family as a ceremonial institution.

See also

BOTSWANA OPPOSITION REJECTS KING


ABSOLUTE KING TAKES CHAIR OF SADC
DICTATOR KING NOT FIT TO CHAIR SADC

Confusion over cost of Kings jet


25 April 2017

Swaziland lawmakers have been told that the Kings jet will cost the impoverished kingdom
US$12.6 million. In the national budget in February 2016, E96 million (about US$7.3
million) had been set aside for the jet.

There is some confusion about the true cost of the plane. A report in the Swazi Observer
newspaper on 15 March 2017 said Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation was given
E296 million, during the current financial year, to buy the state jet and E96 million was used
to pay deposit for the airplane.

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The jet is a 15-year-old Airbus A340 owned by China Airlines in Taiwan and after
refurbishments it is expected to accommodate about 60 to 90 people.

Politicians and the media in Swaziland consistently say the Airbus is being purchased as a
state jet, but it has now been confirmed it will be for the sole use of King Mswati III who
rules as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze told a
parliamentary workshop on Thursday (20 April 2017) government had committed itself to
pay the equivalent of E166 million (US$12.65 million).

According to The Swazi Observer (21 April 2017), a newspaper in effect owned by King
Mswati, Gamedze revealed the government had agreed to pay for the jet in two equal
instalments and one had already been paid. The plane is expected to arrive in Swaziland early
in 2018.

The King already has a smaller McDonnell Douglas DC-9-87 jet plane.

The Observer reported that Gamedze told the workshop the plane could only be used by
heads of state, not just anyone.

He said it was possible that the jet might be hired out to other users. The newspaper reported
him saying, It is true that we need money as a country. But we cannot give this plane to just
anyone .We know that many people can afford to hire it, but the plane will only be given to
someone who occupies a status that is similar to that of the King.

King Mswati rules over a population of 1.3 million people. Seven in ten live in abject poverty
with incomes less than US$2 a day. The King lives a lavish lifestyle with 13 palaces, a
private jet, fleets of top-of-the range Mercedes and BMW cars and at least one Rolls-Royce.

In April 2016, Members of the Swaziland Parliament blocked the move to allocate money for
the jet. Once news of the intended spending was made public outside of Swaziland the King
came in for heavy criticism. Swaziland was in the grip of a drought crisis and in February the
Swazi Government declared a national emergency and said the kingdom would need
E248 million (US$16 million) before the end of April 2016.

Within days, the MPs overturned their earlier decision. Unconfirmed reports circulating on
the Internet said that King Mswati had refused to sign-off Swazilands budget unless he got
his jet.

Cost of flying Swazi Kings jet


26 April 2017

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As confusion reigns over the true cost on King Mswati III second private jet, confidential
figures suggest his present plane may have cost Swaziland at least US$15 million to operate
since he received it in 2012.

The modified McDonnel Douglas DC-9-87 jet, also known as an MD-87, cost US$9.5
million in 2012 and at least another US$4.1 million was spent on refurbishments before the
King took delivery.

In 2012, the Kings company Inchatsavane signed an aircraft management operating


agreement with Greek-based Gain Jet Aviation. As part of the deal the King was required to
deposit US$500,000, described as average two months operating costs to guarantee future
payments. On this basis the operating costs of the aircraft would be US$250,000 per month or
US$3 million per year. In the five years since the jet has been flying, the operating costs
would have reached US$15 million.

The figure set by Gain Jet Aviation was only an estimate. Another estimate of costs of
operating an MD-87 is available from Conklin and de Decker, Aviation Information.
It has set the total fixed cost of the MD-87 at US$1,124,525 for a year. This works out at
US$93,710 per month.

Fixed costs are the costs that have to be paid even if the plane never flies. Among the fixed
costs it lists are salaries for the pilot, the co-pilot and the flight attendant.

Conklin and de Decker set the variable costs at US$9,736.20 per hour.

Variable costs include fuel, maintenance, landing charges at airports, staff expenses and
catering.

The US$250,000 per month or US$9,736.20 per hour anticipated for operating costs might be
underestimates for the true cost of flying King Mswatis jet.

Gain Jet Aviation invoiced the Swaziland Ministry of Foreign Affairs US$312,500 for a
flight in June 2012 from Tokyo (Japan), to Manzini (Swaziland). The flight was spread over
two days and included fuel stops in Danang (Vietnam), Male (Maldives), and Dar Es Salaam
(Tanzania). The total flying time for the journey was 20 hours 50 minutes.

The company billed for a total of US$312,500, which works out at about US$14,880 per
hour.

In August 2014, Gain Jet Aviation invoiced for a trip that was going to take place the
following month over 14 days from Swaziland Tanzania Maldives Malaysia India
Egypt Nice (France) Cameroon Swaziland. The total estimated number of flying hours
was 39 hours 35 minutes.

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The invoice total was for US$593,750.00, which works out at about US$14,843 per hour.

It would be impossible to get figures for the true full cost of operating King Mswatis private
jet. The King rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch. Political parties
are banned from taking part in elections and he picks the Prime Minister, the Government and
the kingdoms judges.

People who question his authority or advocate for multi-party democracy are jailed under the
Suppression of Terrorism Act and / or the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act.

The US$15 million estimated to have been spent on the Kings jet since 2012 is about E197
million in the kingdoms local currency. As a comparison, in the national budget announced
in February 2017, E110 million was set aside for the impoverished kingdoms entire Regional
Development Fund.

King Mswati is set to take delivery of a 15-year-old Airbus A340 early in 2018. Media
reports in Swaziland of its cost have varied from US$12.6 million to US$22.5 million.

See also

CONFIRMED: KING WILL GET PRIVATE JET


KING STEALS FROM CHILDREN TO BUY JET
SWAZI MPs ABOUT-TURN ON KINGS JET
MONEY FOR KINGS JET, BUT NOT DROUGHT
SWAZI KING REFUSED TO PAY JET DEBT
SWAZI KINGS JET HELD FOR UNPAID DEBTS

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2 ARMY
Soldiers sex for food with girls, 14
8 May 2017

Poverty-stricken parents of girls as young as fourteen in Swaziland are giving them to


soldiers for sex in exchange for food, a newspaper reported.

The Observer of Saturday newspaper in Swaziland reported (6 May 2017) that members of
the Umbuto Swaziland Defence Force (USDF) have been accused of taking advantage of
poor families all over the kingdoms remote rural areas. They give away food parcels to
young and needy girls in exchange for sexual favours.

The newspaper reported, Some families have allegedly adopted the system of giving away
their young girls to the cunning soldiers in exchange for food in their homes. The parcels are
said to contain mealie-meal, chunks of meat, beans and vegetables.

Nearly seven in ten people in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III as sub-Saharan Africas
last absolute monarch, live in dire poverty, with incomes of less than US$2 per day. About
26 percent of children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition.

A health caregiver in the Lubombo region told the newspaper, It is an open secret that
soldiers are having a field day all over the country. As health caregivers we are worried as we
come across a number of cases where we feel the young girls are being abused.

She added, Even 14-year-old children are sold out cheap and this is painful.

The newspaper quoted a soldier it did not name saying, We get just about any girl we want.
Nobody forces anyone but we reach a mutual agreement with the girls.

The health caregiver said, Some of them even loiter around the army barracks and camps
just to be noticed by the cunning soldiers who then pounce on them in exchange for food that
they duly need.

She said, What is more agonising is that some families even send their young girls to loiter
around where the soldiers [are] to be noticed so that they can bring something home for their
entire families to eat.

The health caregiver said, We have to take care of them when they acquire STDs [sexually-
transmitted diseases] especially since most them are still very young and afraid to go straight
to the hospital or are just ignorant of their situation.

But because of their poverty plight they are forced to engage in acts that are immoral and
dangerous to them.

16
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

See also
PROBE INTO SWAZI CHILD EXPLOITATION
SEX STARVED MEN RAPE CHILDREN
SWAZI CHILD RAPE IS NOT UNUSUAL

Corruption in Swazi Army recruiting


2 May 2017

Corruption in army recruitment in Swaziland has been exposed with at least 40 recruits
expelled during basic training.

Among allegations circulating in newspapers in the kingdom is that top army officers were
bribed. Families are reported to have sold livestock and other belongings to get their men in
uniform.

The Swazi News reported on Saturday (29 April 2017) that corrupt practices had been known
about for several years, but this was the first time that recruits had been expelled.

The Times of Swaziland reported that about 40 recruits were shown the exit door from the
Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF) Infantry School in Mbuluzi on Thursday. It said
recruits had failed to prove that they used the legal route to be recruited into the military.

The Swazi Observer reported the army said action was taken following complaints from
throughout Swaziland about abnormalities which happened during the recruitment
exercises.

In February 2017, during the recruitment drive it was reported that several men who tried to
cheat during exercises were tortured by army personnel. The Army was recruiting 495
additional soldiers from across the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africas
last absolute monarch.

See also
ARMY TORTURES RECRUITMENT CHEATS

Army among most corrupt in world


31 May 2017

Swazilands army is one of the most corrupt in the world, according to a report published by
a Swazi newspaper.

17
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

There was no oversight of the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF) as the army is
known, according to rankings made by the government defence organisation.org, a division
of Transparency International, according to the Times of Swaziland.
The Times reported, There is no formal provision for effective and independent legislative
scrutiny of defence policy. While the Constitution provides for a Parliament and freedom of
speech to parliamentarians, the legislature is neither independent nor constitutionally in
charge of defence scrutiny.
The Times added the report, further highlighted that the country did not have an identifiable
and effective parliamentary defence and security committee (or similar organisation) to
exercise oversight.
The Times which is the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom also reported,
Swaziland is an absolute monarchy where the King has final authority over all branches of
government.
Although parliament includes both appointed and elected members and a prime minister,
international observers have concluded that the September 2013 parliamentary elections did
not meet international standards - it can, therefore, not be considered independent. US State
Department reporting notes authorities have failed at times to maintain effective control over
the security forces.
There is nonetheless a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for the Ministry of Defence that
reviews the budgets and performance reports of the ministry.
The King is in effect the head of the USDF.
The USDF is responsible for external security but also has domestic security responsibilities,
including protecting members of the royal family. According to numerous annual reports on
human rights in Swaziland published by the United States State Department the USDF, along
with police and correctional officers were susceptible to political pressure and corruption.
As recently as April 2017 corruption in army recruitment in Swaziland was exposed with at
least 40 recruits expelled during basic training.
Among allegations circulating in newspapers in the kingdom was that top army officers were
bribed. Families were reported to have sold livestock and other belongings to get their men in
uniform.
The Swazi News reported that corrupt practices had been known about for several years, but
this was the first time that recruits had been expelled.
The Times of Swaziland reported that about 40 recruits were shown the exit door from the
Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF) Infantry School in Mbuluzi. It said recruits had
failed to prove that they used the legal route to be recruited into the military.
The Swazi Observer reported the army said action was taken following complaints from
throughout Swaziland about abnormalities which happened during the recruitment
exercises.

18
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

In February 2017, during the recruitment drive it was reported that several men who tried to
cheat during exercises were tortured by army personnel. The Army was recruiting 495
additional soldiers from across the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africas
last absolute monarch.

Army probes self over corruption


12 June 2017

The Swaziland Army is to investigate itself amid accusations of corruption in recruitment.

It is alleged that officers of the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF) as the army is
officially known took bribes from recruits.
The latest round of recruitment has sparked widespread outcry and more than 40 recruits
were expelled from the Mbuluzi Infantry School. It was said recruits had failed to prove that
they used the legal route to be recruited into the military.
Among allegations circulating in newspapers in the kingdom is that top army officers were
bribed. Families are reported to have sold livestock and other belongings to get their men in
uniform.
The Swazi News reported in April 2017 that corrupt practices had been known about for
several years, but this was the first time that recruits had been expelled.
The Times of Swaziland reported at the same time that recruits were shown the exit door from
the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF) Infantry School in Mbuluzi.
The Swazi Observer reported the army said action was taken following complaints from
throughout Swaziland about abnormalities which happened during the recruitment
exercises.
In February 2017, during the recruitment drive it was reported that several men who tried to
cheat during exercises were tortured by army personnel. The Army was recruiting 495
additional soldiers from across the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africas
last absolute monarch.
According to a report in the Swazi Observer on Monday (5 June 2017), eight top recruiting
officials face dismissal from the force. It said they had been summoned to headquarters to
answer allegations of bribery. One allegation is that they recruited their own relatives.
The newspaper reported, Some are said to have admitted bending the rules while some flatly
denied [it].
The Army has refused to comment about the recruitment irregularities.

19
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Soldiers inspect womans private parts


9 June 2017

A woman in Swaziland has complained that soldiers at a border crossing made her remove
her underwear and inspect her private parts with a mirror. The Swazi Army said it happened
all the time.

The Times of Swaziland newspaper reported on Wednesday (7 June 2017) that soldiers were
trying to see if she was carrying illegal objects.

The newspaper reported it happened at the informal crossing situated next to the Mananga
Border Gate with South Africa.

It said members of the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF) the official name of the
Swaziland Army used a mirror similar to that used to inspect the underside of cars.
The Times reported, The woman, who asked not to be named, said they showed her a
mirrored machine and asked her to take off her underwear and spread her legs so wide so that
it could detect if there were any illegal objects.
She mentioned that when she first arrived at the crossing point, some young looking soldiers
asked her to enter the searching tent and take off her underwear.
The woman described herself as a plus size woman and quite old.
She added, [B]eing asked to take off my underwear by such young soldiers to stretch and
show my private parts was embarrassing to me.
She said, I was not amused having to hold my underwear while the soldiers did their security
check that exposed my private parts, she said.
A spokesperson for the USDF told the newspaper there was nothing new with the method
used by soldiers to search people crossing through the informal points. The woman had been
checked by female officers, he said.
The Times reported, When contacted again to determine when this type of arrangement
began, he did not offer much details, save to emphasise that all was done for security
purposes.
In July 2015, Swazi MP Titus Thwala reported that Swaziland soldiers beat up old ladies so
badly they had to be taken to their homes in wheelbarrows. He said that elderly women were
among the local residents who were regularly beaten by soldiers at informal crossing points
between Swaziland and South Africa. Thwala said the soldiers made people do push ups and
other exercises.

20
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

See also

SWAZI SOLDIERS TORTURE OLD LADIES


SWAZI ARMYS IDEA OF PEACE
ROUGH JUSTICE FOR SEX WORKERS

Army unrepentant on strip search


16 June 2017

The Swaziland Army has said it strips people naked at border posts to search them and if they
do not like it they should stop crossing the border.

The admission came after an international outcry that women routinely had their private parts
inspected by soldiers.

The Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF) as the Swazi Army is officially know
issued a media statement to clarify its position. It said complaints about their tactics were
unnecessary.

If they cannot cope with those security measures used there, they should avoid using those
crossings, the USDF official spokesperson Lieutenant Nkosinathi Dlamini said.

The Sunday Observer newspaper in Swaziland reported (11 June 2017), He was emphatic
that the USDF would not be stopped by such protests and they would continue searching
people as before.

He said, We search for weapons, drugs and other contraband suspected to be hidden on their
bodies or inside their clothing, by requiring the person to remove some or all of his or her
clothing.

The searches take place at informal crossings along the border with South Africa.

He said the searches were of vital interest is national security and individual human rights
cannot stand in the way of national security.
The outcry came after a woman in Swaziland complained that soldiers at a border crossing
made her remove her underwear and inspect her private parts with a mirror. The Swazi Army
said it happened all the time.

21
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Army hits back at strip protests


20 June 2017

The Swaziland Army continues to try to justify stripping people naked at border crossings to
see if they are carrying illegal goods.
The Army said it did not use body scanners instead of strip-search because it did not have
any.
The practice of inspecting the private parts of women with mirrors and stripping suspects
naked came to light after a woman complained about her treatment.
A spokesperson for the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF) as the Army is
officially called was quoted in the Swazi Observer on Thursday (15 June 2017) saying,
Soldiers do not use scanners to search people passing at the informal crossings and we are
not yet planning to introduce them. In fact, we do not have them.
The trouble occurs at informal crossing over the border between Swaziland and South Africa.
Locals who live within four kilometres of the border use them, often daily.
The spokesperson said if people cannot cope with the security measures, they should avoid
using those crossings.
The newspaper reported, He said USDF will not be stopped by such protests and they will
continue to search people as before.

When Army tried to buy spy equipment


8 June 2017

The fear among some politicians in Swaziland that their phones might be tapped has revived
memories of when the kingdoms army was caught buying spy cameras and phone
monitoring equipment worth US$1.25 million.

It came to light in 2012 when prodemocracy demonstrations were at their height in the
kingdom ruled by King Mswati III as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch.

The Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF) the formal name of the Swaziland Army
was sued in the Swaziland High Court because it ordered the equipment, but did not pay for
it.

The equipment was known as GSM Option: Voice Intercept or delivery and SMS (Short
Message Service) Intercept or delivery, as well as spy cameras and alarm systems, the Times
of Swaziland reported at the time.

22
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

The equipment could be used against the civilian population in Swaziland. The Voice
Intercept equipment is marketed as a tool to monitor and record live phone conversations,
which, according to one supplier called SyTech Corporation, the equipment can be
a valuable asset to any agency and investigation. It, delivers the evidence that makes the
case while protecting officers safety.

The GSM equipment is designed to monitor mobile phones. This type of equipment is widely
available across the world. Another supplier listed the main use as, following a persons
activities and staying undetected.

The equipment records all information on the phone as it happens and records phone events.
It can spy on SMS text messages, on web browser activities and call logs (inbound and
outbound). It can also track the phones location using GPS.

It was, one supplier said, 100 percent undetectable and you can spy on unlimited [number
of] phones.

The Swaziland Army ordered equipment worth about E10 million (US$1.25 million at the
then exchange rate) from Naspoti J & M Security Solutions, in Nelspruit, South Africa, the
Swazi High Court heard, but cancelled the order just as the company was ready to deliver.
No reason was given to the court for the cancellation but, then as today the Swazi
Government was broke and struggling to pay its bills, including public sector salaries.

The revelation came at a time of growing activity in the kingdom to force King Mswati to
democratise. All political parties and opposition groups are banned and the King controls the
parliament and judiciary.

This was not the first time that the Swazi ruling elite has been found trying to spy on the
Kings subjects. In August 2011, Wikileaks published a cable from the US Embassy in
Swaziland that revealed the Swazi Government had tried to get MTN, the only mobile phone
provider in the kingdom, to use its network for surveillance on political dissidents.

Tebogo Mogapi, the MTN chief executive officer (CEO) in Swaziland, refused to comply
and later did not have his work permit renewed and so had to leave the kingdom.

See also

TOP SWAZI POLITICIANS PHONES BUGGED


STATE POLICE SPY ON SWAZI MPs

23
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

3 POLICE

Swazi police torture inquiry


29 May 2017

A United Nations group is investigating the use of torture by police in Swaziland.

It comes as another suspect alleges he was tortured while in custody and had to have hospital
treatment.

Swaziland ratified the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR) in 2004 and its initial report on progress was due by 2005, but 13 years later it has
failed to report. After such a long delay, the Human Rights Committee (HRC) has scheduled
a review of the kingdom in the absence of report. This review will take place in July 2017.
In a wide-ranging document the HRC poses a number of questions to the Swazi Government
which was not elected by the people but hand-picked by King Mswati III who rules
Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch.

On the use of police torture HRC asks the government, Please state whether torture is
specifically criminalized in the State party, with appropriate penalties, and provide
information on whether an independent body exists to investigate complaints and prevent
abuse and ill-treatment by law enforcement officials.

The inquiry also asks for information on the permissible grounds for deprivation of liberty
and there is a way to address instances of unlawful arrest or detention.

HRC says, Please also provide information on the rights of persons in police custody,
including their right to have access to a lawyer, the stage at which a suspect is allowed access
to a lawyer and the maximum period of detention before an individual is brought before a
judge.

It asks for data on the number of law enforcement officials that have been: (a) investigated;
(b) prosecuted; (c) convicted or acquitted; and (d) punished, and the nature of the sanctions
imposed.

The inquiry comes as Suspected killer Lucky Matsenjwa told a court in Swaziland he had
been tortured by police so badly that he needed hospital treatment. The Observer on Saturday
newspaper (27 May 2017) reported he had been taken to hospital in neighbouring South
Africa for treatment.

In March 2017, police were alleged to have suffocated Elangeni alleged serial killer and
rapist Vusi Kunene with a tube to coerce him to confess to the crimes. The Times of

24
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Swaziland reported at the time, According to Dlamini, the interrogation and torture by the
police lasted for 11 days before he was brought before a magistrate to record a confession.

He was allegedly not only suffocated and tortured but was also assaulted all over the
body. As a result of the assault, Dlamini reportedly sustained serious injuries in some parts
of his body.

There are numerous reports of police torture in Swaziland. In January 2017, local media
reported police forced a 13-year-old boy to remove his trousers and flogged him with a
sjambok, to make him confess to stealing a mobile phone.

In September 2016, women were reportedly ambushed by armed police and brutally
attacked by police during a strike at the Plantation Forest Company, near Piggs Peak.

In June 2016, a United Nations review panel looking into human rights in Swaziland was told
in a joint report by four organisations, In Mbabane [the Swazi capital], police tortured a 15-
year-old boy after his mother had reported him for stealing E85.00 (US$6). The boy alleges
that he was beaten with a slasher (metal blade tool for cutting grass) and knobkerrie (club) for
five hours. While enduring the pain, he alleges that he was made to count the strokes aloud
for the police to hear. Instead of being charged, the boy was physically assaulted and made to
sit in a chair for thirty minutes before he was sent back home.

The report was submitted to the United Human Rights Council Working Group on the
Universal Periodic Review of Swaziland by the Swaziland Multi-Media Community
Network, Swaziland Concerned Church Leaders, Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic
Organisations and Constituent Assembly Swaziland.

They also reported the case of Phumelela Mkhweli, a political activist who died after an
alleged assault by police after they arrested him.

The report also stated, In April 2011, a 66-year-old woman was confronted by three police
officers regarding the wording on her t-shirt and headscarf. The police allegedly pulled off
her T-shirt, throttled her, banged her head against the wall, sexually molested her, kicked her
and threw her against a police truck.

The US Department of State reported on many allegations of torture and ill-treatment by


police; including beatings and temporary suffocation using rubber tube tied around the face,
nose, and mouth, or plastic bags over the head, the report stated.

25
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Investigate police brutality: court


4 May 2017

A senior magistrate in Swaziland has called for an investigation into alleged brutality at one
of the kingdoms police stations.

Sindisile Zwane said she has noted that there have been a lot of complaints by suspects who
were brought in to her court from Matsapha Sigodvweni Police Station.

She made her comment after a suspect appeared before her with a bandaged head. The Swazi
Observer newspaper reported on Tuesday (2 May 2017) the woman suspect, was beaten by
police officers based at Sigodvweni Police Station [and] suffered severe injuries to the head
and as a result had to be stitched in hospital before she was taken to custody. She had been
arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.

The newspaper reported the magistrate said it was becoming the norm for suspects to
complain of being assaulted by police officers at Sigodvweni.

The newspaper added, The senior magistrate warned the police officers to stop taking the
law into their own hands, as she said such a habit of beating up suspects is bad and if police
continue, it might end up leading to fatalities.

In June 2016, a United Nations review panel looking into human rights in Swaziland was told
in a joint report by four organisations, In Mbabane [the Swazi capital], police tortured a 15-
year-old boy after his mother had reported him for stealing E85.00 (US$6). The boy alleges
that he was beaten with a slasher (metal blade tool for cutting grass) and knobkerrie (club) for
five hours. While enduring the pain, he alleges that he was made to count the strokes aloud
for the police to hear. Instead of being charged, the boy was physically assaulted and made to
sit in a chair for thirty minutes before he was sent back home.

The report was submitted to the United Human Rights Council Working Group on the
Universal Periodic Review of Swaziland by the Swaziland Multi-Media Community
Network, Swaziland Concerned Church Leaders, Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic
Organisations and Constituent Assembly Swaziland.

See also

HORROR TALE OF SWAZI POLICE TORTURE


POLICE BRUTALLY ASSUALT WORKERS
KINGS PAPER SUPPORTS POLICE TORTURE
MORE POLICE TORTURE IN SWAZILAND

26
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Police turn water cannon on students


7 April 2017

Police in Swaziland reportedly used water cannon from an armoured vehicle and batons to
disperse students protesting about examination fees.

It happened at Gwamile Vocational and Commercial Training Institute (VOCTIM) on


Monday (3 April 2017).

The Times of Swaziland, the kingdoms only independent daily newspaper, reported, During
the clash, some students were allegedly assaulted with batons by the police from their hostel
to the institutions gate and the Casspir and water cannon were used to drive them away from
the establishment towards the University of Swaziland (UNISWA), Kwaluseni Campus.

Students had boycotted classes and demonstrated inside the college.

The Times reported, Their main grievance was that last Thursday, government-sponsored
students were sent home by the administration to ask for E6,000 (US$420) examination fee.
Apparently, government had not paid this fee. In Swaziland seven in ten people live in abject
poverty with incomes less than US$2 per day.

Later, the Swazi National Police Commissioner Isaac Magagula told a press conference the
vehicle used was not a Casspir but an nyala. He reportedly said, Police vehicles will be used
when need be.

The Times reported, The commissioner said nyala, Casspirs and water cannons were
procured by the government with taxpayers money to be used in events of rioting crowds.

See also

SWAZI POLICE FIRE AT STUDENTS


STUDENTS UNDER SIEGE BY ARMED POLICE

Police patrol Swazi varsity campus


12 May 2017

Police have been stationed at a university campus in Swaziland ahead of the end-of-year
examination in what has been called an act of intimidation.

This is not the first time police have been onto University of Swaziland (UNISWA) campus.
The latest deployment is at the UNISWA Luyengo campus. According to the Times of
Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, about 20 officers were

27
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

stationed around the campus, including at the main gate. It reported, The heavy presence of
the officers left the students, who are preparing for the upcoming examination, worried and
intimidated.

Police took to the campus after students protested against a lecturer over allegations of
abusive treatment and victimisation by the academic. Local media reported more than 700
students protested and the lecturers car was overturned.

It is now commonplace for police to intervene in student protests in Swaziland, where King
Mswati III rules as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch.

In February 2017 police warning gunshots as students protested about late payment of their
allowances. It happened after UNISWA students tried to march with a petition to the Ministry
of Labour and Social Security, following a meeting on the Kwaluseni campus.

Media reported armed military police from the Operational Support Services intercepted the
students who were walking down the road near the Mahhala shopping complex and fired
warning shots.

The Times of Swaziland reported the students want to restore the 60 percent of allowances
that was slashed after the implementation of a scholarship policy during the 2011/2012
academic year.

In February 2016, Swazi security forces attacked students at the UNISWA Kwaluseni
campus by driving an armoured troop carrier at speed into a crowd, injuring one so badly her
back was broken. Students had been protesting and boycotting classes to protest about delays
in registration.

The assault was one of many violent attacks on university students by police and security
forces dating back a number of years.

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.

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.

28
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

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

No chance of Swazi police union


25 May 2017

A suggestion from schoolteachers in Swaziland that the kingdoms police should form a trade
union will almost certainly be dead in the water.

There is a bitter history in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africas last
absolute monarch, of oppression of police union rights.

The Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) said at a workshop that it wanted
an expansion of trade unionism in the kingdom to include the police. The Observer on
Saturday (13 May 2017) reported SNAT representatives suggested the police should follow
other countries with a well-functioning police union system such as in Botswana, Namibia
and South Africa in the region and form a union to engage in collective bargaining.

29
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

History is against such progress. A Swaziland Police Union (SWAPU) had been formed in
2005 and failed after a struggle for recognition when both the Swaziland High Court and the
Supreme Court dismissed it as illegal. The Police Union became incorporated to the legally-
recognised Royal Swaziland Police Staff Association.

In September 2008, the then Police Commissioner Edgar Hillary applied for a court order to
arrest Khanyakwezwe Mhlanga the Secretary General of the Police Union because Mhlanga
was illegally mobilising officers.

This was part of a bitter fight that continued for many months. In April 2008, Swazi police
officers disobeyed their commander when instructed to arrest fellow police officers who were
trying to hold a trade union meeting. So, the senior officers themselves had to try to break up
the meeting. As they tried to arrest trade union leaders their fellow unionists freed them and
they escaped to safety.

The Times of Swaziland (19 October 2007), the only independent daily newspaper in the
kingdom, gave vivid details of the disobedience of the junior officers who were on duty to
break up the meeting. They were given a direct instruction from Regional Commander Senior
Superintendent Caiphas Mbhamali to arrest the unionists, but they did not take his orders as
they stood and watched.

More than 40 police in total were at the scene to break up the meeting, but only 10 senior
officers actually tried to make the arrests.

The Swazi Observer, Swazilands only other daily newspaper and which is in effect owned
by King Mswati, ignored the event altogether.

Swaziland police Deputy Commissioner of Police Isaac Magagula had warned the unionist
against holding the meeting. The Swazi Observer had the previous week (12 October 2007)
quoted Magagula saying, It is only with the expressed approval of the commissioner that
police officers can convene or attend any meeting.

Although SWAPU lost its case in both the High Court and Supreme Court there was one
dissenting judgment. High Court Judge Qinisile Mabuza said that existing regulations that
banned trade unions were inconsistent with the Swazi Constitution, which allowed for
freedom of association. She also said Swaziland laws needed to conform to international
standards and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions.

The Times of Swaziland (30 April 2008) quoted the judge saying Swaziland needed, to
conform to modern trends in a democratic society in meeting the [unions] expectations and
fulfilling their constitutional rights.

30
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

The Times further reported that the judge said that denying officers their fundamental rights
to form a union were, repugnant to good governance and the rule of law, and particularly
that the sanction for forming a union is dismissal, which is a disciplinary measure.

She called the existing laws banning the union old discriminatory and oppressive. She went
on, They are inconsistent with Chapter III of the constitution. They should be declared null
and void. They have no place in a democratic society.

See also

SWAZI POLICE REFUSE TO ARREST COLLEAGUES


SWAZI POLICE ATTACK ON VIDEO
JUDGE BACKS SWAZI POLICE UNION

Police steal illegal drugs to sell


13 June 2017

Swaziland police officers have been accused of stealing illegal drugs from residents and
selling them.

People in Mahlangatsha accuse armed police of forcefully taking away the marijuana (known
locally as dagga) that they had illegally farmed.

The Swazi Observer newspaper reported on Thursday (8 June 2017), The farmers who said
they were aware that they were breaking the law had no problem with the long arm of the law
bringing them to order however they were unhappy with the police illegally taking their
illegal drug for their own benefit.

Police are expected to burn illegal drugs they seize, instead residents say they sell them.

One farmer was reported by the newspaper saying, They make deals outside the country then
come to our homes, armed with government guns, bought with our tax and harass us.
Swazi Police said they would investigate.

Swazi police corruption probe


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Police in Swaziland are to investigate their own officers amid claims they helped to
smuggle illegal foreigners into the kingdom.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

National Commissioner of Police Isaac Magagula made the announcement amid increasing
concerns that Asians are in Swaziland illegally.

The Swazi Observer on Monday (5 June 2017) reported, He said even though these remain
only allegations for now, it is important that an investigation be conducted. It is recalled that
the said allegations is actually information unearthed by the parliamentarians committee
which has been tasked to probe the influx of Asians into the country.

Some interviewees allegedly told the probe team that some senior police officers were
engaging in criminal activity, assisting illegal immigrants to get forged travel documents and
resident permits.

The Observer added, Magagula said the police service was disappointed to learn of the
manner in which illegal immigrants of Asian origin were being treated by the courts.

He pointed out that on several occasions; police would conduct raids and arrest illegal
immigrants who would be found without valid resident permits. He said, however, a few
hours later, the same convicts would be seen back on the streets after paying a mere E500
(US$40) fine.

See also

ALL ASIANS BANNED FROM SWAZILAND


ASIANS EVICTED FROM HOME

Policeman breaks baton on protestors


15 June 2017

A Swaziland policeman broke his baton as he attacked schoolteachers during a peaceful


protest march.

The baton broke while the police officer used it to restrain the teachers who were pushing
the Cabinet gates, the Times of Swaziland reported on Thursday (15 June 2017).

Members of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) were trying to deliver a
petition during a dispute about a salary review.

The Times reported the policeman lost his cool and used it to restrain the teachers who
were pushing the Cabinet gates.

It added, The agitated officer used his baton to beat-up the hands of the teachers who were
forcing the gate open.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

The newspaper said the march was peaceful until that point.

The Swazi Observer newspaper reported that a court order banning the march had been
delivered a minute too late.

It reported, By the time the judgement was made, teachers were already at the public service
ministry to deliver their petition.

The newspaper estimated more than 1,500 teachers took part in the march.

See also

POLICE ATTACK ANOTHER UNION MEETING


SWAZI POLICE HALT DEMOCRACY MEETING
POLICE INTIMIDATION CONTINUES

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

4 CRIME

Mbabane crime threat critical: report


26 May 2017

The United States has assessed Swazilands capital city Mbabane as a critical-threat
location for crime in a report just published.

Street robberies are prevalent and they happen at all times of the day. Criminals usually
brandish knives or machetes. Swaziland experiences violent deaths on a frequent basis.
Some of the murders have been particularly gruesome. Rapes occur frequently.

The report called Swaziland 2017 Crime & Safety Report from the Unites States State
Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security is published annually. It was updated on 8 May
2017.

On crime threats, the report stated, The general crime rate is above the U.S. national average.
Although criminals considered Mbabane and Manzini prime grounds for operation due to the
number of people, businesses, and affluent areas, the rate of crime reported in small towns
and rural areas increased in 2016. There are some local crime gangs but no organized crime.

Congested urban areas are particularly dangerous at night; and occasional daytime larceny
has been reported. The presence of pedestrians should not be taken as an indication of a
secure/safe environment. Suspects have found themselves pursued and beaten by by-standers.

Residential burglary and petty theft are the most commonly reported crimes, with street
robberies being the most prevalent. They occur at all locations regardless of the time.
Criminals are generally interested in cell phones and cash.

The report added, Criminals usually brandish edged weapons (knife, machete) and
occasionally firearms and will resort to deadly force if victims resist. The general modus
operandi of robbers is to target residences or businesses that have little/no security measures
in place. They will use force if necessary but rely on the threat of force to commit the act.

While the number of murders per capita remains lower than some African countries,
Swaziland experiences violent deaths on a frequent basis. Some of the murders have been
particularly gruesome. Victims have been found decapitated, and body parts were mutilated
or removed. Some are a result of disputes among criminal groups.

Rapes occur frequently and tend to be perpetuated on isolated/desolate urban and rural areas
or roads.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

The response time of Swazi police to incidents is described as, slow, if at all, unless the
police are in the general area where the incident occurred. Police consider a 30-minute
response time adequate, even in urban areas. Police are generally willing to assist but often
lack transportation and resources to properly respond to, or investigate, crimes.

In March 2017, the Times of Swaziland reported there was a great deal of concern in
neighbouring South Africa about crime in Swaziland.

The newspaper reported that Swazilands main commercial city Manzini was considered, a
haven for International crime kingpins who have become so sophisticated that they are
supplying shops with fake cosmetics and counterfeit drugs.

It added, Human trafficking is also a crime regarded as a serious problem in the country,
which led to a Parliament probe being launched following a high number of nationals from
Asian countries being found in the country without legal documentation while others
suspected of obtaining citizenship illegally.

The growing of dagga [marijuana] was another crime that refused to go away, the Times
reported.

It added, These incidents suggest that there is a whole lot more criminal activity taking place
than what meets the eye. As a country with one of the highest expenditure on national
security, Swaziland should be a country no criminal should dare to set foot.

In 2015, Swaziland was came bottom among 100 nations on factors that included crime rates,
life expectancy and national police presence, in a survey by ValuePenguin, a New York-
based global consultancy, according to a report in the Observer on Saturday newspaper.

See also

SWAZILAND A WORLD HOTSPOT FOR CRIME

Poverty-stricken vendors defy police


30 June 2017

Police in Swaziland have arrested poverty-stricken women in Swaziland for selling firewood
by roadsides. The women say their children will starve if they are not allowed to continue the
trade.

Vendors at Mbadlane threatened to either commit suicide or poison their children rather than
helplessly watch them die of hunger, the Sunday Observer newspaper in Swaziland reported
(25 June 2017).

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

There is a long-running dispute between the women and police and recently firewood and
products worth about E9,000 (about US$700) were confiscated. Police and the Swaziland
Environment Authority (SEA) say the women are depleting the forest and destroying the
environment by collecting wood, something the vendors deny.

The police said they would continue to enforce the law whenever they were called upon by
the SEA. Despite the threats the women have continued to trade.

The Observer reported, Their argument is that they had no other source of income, hence
they will not abandon their business.

The newspaper added, Make Nkenjane from Mbadlane has vowed to feed her children with
poison as she will not be able to feed them as this was her sole source of income being a
single parent. Similar words were shared by another female vendor who vowed to hang
herself than watch her children wiped by hunger.

The Observer reported one young man, who did not want his name published, saying he
would be forced into crime as he had no other way to sustain himself and his siblings.

The newspaper added, A young woman, who requested not to be named in fear of
victimisation, said she would now resort to prostitution as all her wares were confiscated
while she is a breadwinner of both her siblings and children. She stated that both her parents
died due to HIV and [she] was now forced to look after the family, hence she dropped out of
school.

Another woman said her children would have to drop out of school because she had no
money for fees, uniforms and bus fares.

The Observer reported that women vendors from Mafutseni said their case was worse than
those at Mbadlane because they had been arrested on average three times a month by police.

The Observer added, The women also alleged that the police threatened to shoot them
whenever they tried to escape, saying firewood was now protected like the wild animals.

The newspaper reported, Gogo Dludlu said it is clear that government protects animals and
trees more than humanity.

In Swaziland, nearly seven in 10 of the kingdoms estimated 1.3 million people live in abject
poverty with incomes of less than $US2 a day. Meanwhile, King Mswati III, who rules
Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch, lives a lavish lifestyle, with at least
13 palaces, fleets of top-of-the-range Mercedes Benz and BMW cars and at least one Rolls
Royce. He has a private jet airplane and is soon to get a second.

36
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

See also
NO LET UP IN SWAZI POVERTY

SEVEN IN 10 SWAZIS GO HUNGRY

Residents murder elderly witch


27 June 2017

Residents in Swaziland allegedly killed an elderly woman because she was a witch, a local
newspaper has reported.

They enlisted a prophet to seek out the woman, the Swazi Observer reported on Friday (23
June 2017)

It happened at Sithobelweni where the woman reportedly had been roaming around their
homesteads and bewitching them.

The Observer reported, An elderly woman married to one of the residents was eventually
killed after being fingered by a prophet who was hired by the community to root out the
witchcraft practices in the area. She was named as Philphinah Mamba.

A case of murder is being heard before High Court Judge Sipho Nkosi.

The newspaper reported, Giving evidence under oath, Sicelo [Mamba] told the court that the
community was having a problem with a woman who would be spotted in the odd hours of
the night moving around peoples homesteads naked and this was reported to the Royal
kraal.

Sicelo said following various incidents where the woman was spotted, the Inner Council
convened a meeting where hundreds of residents were in attendance and deliberated on the
matter.

At least three meetings in connection with the witchcraft, according to Sicelo were held and
it was in the last meeting that they resolved to seek the services of a prophet who would assist
them in fingering the witch giving them sleepless night.

The Inner Council ordered that each homestead owner pay a sum of E50 (about US$4) as
contribution towards payment of the services of a prophet called Boy Sithole. The woman
was taken before a crowd of residents where she admitted to witchcraft, the newspaper
reported.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

The newspaper reported, At this point, people insisted that a declaration be made with
everyone signing next to their names to the effect that the witch be killed.

She was later stabbed three times in the chest at her home.

The court case continues.

See also

MPs USE WITCHCRAFT FOR SUCCESS


WITCHDOCTORS TOLD STOP MURDERING

Move to legalize cannabis


3 April 2017

Swaziland lawmakers are to investigate legalising the use of cannabis as a way of boosting
the kingdoms ailing economy.

They believe the small landlocked kingdom with a population of about 1.3 million people
could make E23.4 billion (US$1.63 billion) in a year. This would be 26 times more than the
value of sugar, Swazilands major crop. They believe the gross domestic product of the
kingdom could triple.

A campaign has been running in Swaziland for some time to legalise cannabis (also known as
marijuana and dagga). The economy of the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan
Africas last absolute monarch, is always in the doldrums. The King lives a lavish lifestyle
with at least 13 palaces, fleets of top-of-the-range BMW and Mercedes cars and a private jet.
He is soon to take delivery of another jet. Meanwhile, seven in ten of his subjects live in
abject poverty with incomes less than US$2 per day.

The Swazi House of Assembly was told on Friday (31 March 2017) that various products
could be made from the cannabis plant, including carpets and army uniforms and it could
treat diseases like tuberculosis, cancer and HIV.

The House appointed a five-member committee to explore the possibility further.

38
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Rangers shoot dead another man


18 May 2017

Game rangers in Swaziland shot dead a mentally challenged man they suspected of
poaching in what the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III called cold blooded
murder.

It comes at a time when a United Nations group is questioning Swaziland about a law that
gives game rangers immunity from prosecution for killing any person suspected of having
poached and just after Survival International reported Swaziland appears to have a shoot-
on-sight policy that allows game rangers to kill suspected poachers.

The most recent killing happened at Sihhoye. The Swazi Observer reported on Wednesday
(17 May 2017) rangers at Inyoni Yami Swaziland Irrigation Scheme (IYSIS) shot a resident
who had lived all his life on the roadside and was known to the rangers who assaulted him
and finished him off as he ran for dear life.

It added, As if that was not enough the rangers are alleged to have emptied some of their
ammunition on themselves in an attempt to either conceal evidence or to carry out orders
from a superior who had been giving instructions throughout.

The man was named as John Tsabedze and described as a lone village wanderer who
scavenged for a living at the Tshaneni shopping complex trash bins where he collected
leftovers. Local newspapers described him as mentally challenged.

The Observer quoted a herd boy who said he heard screams and struggles. The newspaper
reported, Tsabedze was dragged from his lonely hut on the grazing land strip nearly half a
kilometre from the fence with the game farm across the road to the nearby bushes on the
other side where he was finished off.

The herd boy named Siyabonga Galela Magagula said he witnessed the entire event. The
Observer reported, He says Tsabedze kept on fighting and he, Magagula, heard a shot being
fired, apparently Tsabedze had freed himself and ran to the bushes across the road fencing on
the other end with the rangers in pursuit. After disappearing into the bushes there were more
gunshots and there was a sudden deafening silence that was followed by another two shots.
Minutes later Tsabedzes still body was dragged to the roadside and that was the last he saw
of the elderly citizen.

The Times of Swaziland reported on Wednesday that according to witnesses Tsabedze, was
unarmed and he raised his hands to the air after he was surrounded by the rangers, which
meant that he was no threat to them.

The Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, called the shooting, cold
blooded murder.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Police fired teargas to disperse about 50 Sihhoye residents who later protested at Cattle
Country against the killing.

The killing comes at the time that Swazilands delay in implementing the United Nations
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is under scrutiny. Swaziland
signed in 2004 and its initial report on progress was due by 2005, but 13 years later it has
failed to report. After such a long delay, the Human Rights Committee (HRC) has scheduled
a review of the kingdom in the absence of report. This review will take place in July 2017.

Among other issues the HRC is asking questions about the right to life in the kingdom. On
game rangers, it asks the Swazi Government this, Please explain what measures the State
party [Swaziland] is taking to bring the Game Act (No. 51/1953) as amended in 1991, which
gives conservation police personnel (game rangers) immunity from prosecution for killing
any person suspected of having poached, in line with the Covenant, and to train game rangers
in human rights.

Last month (April 2017), Survival International wrote to the United Nations Special
Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, saying Swaziland appears
to have a shoot-on-sight policy that allows game rangers to kill suspected poachers.

In its letter it said, We say appears because usually the policy is not defined by any law, or
even written down. As a consequence, nobody knows when wildlife officers are permitted to
use lethal force against them, and it is impossible for dependents to hold to account officers
whom they believe to have killed without good reason.

Stephen Corry, Survival International Director, said the shoot-on-sight policy directly
affected people who lived close to game parks and guards often failed to distinguish people
hunting for food from commercial poachers.

There has been concern in Swaziland for many years that game rangers have immunity from
prosecution and can legally shoot-to-kill.

In 2016, the Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisations (SCCCO) reported to a


United Nations review on human rights in Swaziland, There are numerous cases where
citizens are shot and killed by game rangers for alleged poaching as raised by community
members in several communities such as Lubulini, Nkambeni, Nkhube, Malanti, Sigcaweni,
and Siphocosini.

In terms of Section 23 (3) [of the Game Act] game rangers are immune from prosecution for
killing suspected poachers and empowered to use firearm in the execution of their duties and
to search without warrant, SCCCO told the United Nations Human Rights Council Working
Group on the Universal Periodic Review of Swaziland in a report.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

In January 2014, Swazilands Police Commissioner Isaac Magagula said rangers were
allowed to shoot people who were hunting for food to feed their hungry families.

Commissioner Magagula publicly stated, Animals are now protected by law and hunting is
no longer a free-for-all, where anybody can just wake up to hunt game whenever they crave
meat.

He told a meeting of traditional leaders in Swaziland, Of course, it becomes very sad


whenever one wakes up to reports that rangers have shot someone. These people are
protected by law and it allows them to shoot, hence it would be very wise of one to shun
away from trouble.

His comments came after an impoverished unarmed local man, Thembinkosi Ngcamphalala,
aged 21, died of gunshot wounds. He had been shot by a ranger outside of the Mkhaya Nature
Reserve. His family, who live at Sigcaweni just outside the reserves borders, said he had not
been poaching.

Campaigners say poor people are not poaching large game, such as the endangered black
rhinos, but go hunting animals, such as warthogs, as food to feed themselves and their
families. Hunger and malnutrition are widespread in Swaziland where seven in ten of King
Mswatis subjects live in abject poverty. Many are forced to become hunters and gatherers to
avoid starvation.

King Mswati III, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch, has
given game rangers permission to shoot-to-kill people suspected of poaching wildlife on his
land and protects them from prosecution for murder in some circumstances.

Ted Reilly, the chief executive of Big Game Parks (BGP), which owns and manages
Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and Mkhaya Nature Reserve and also manages Hlane National
Park, the kingdoms largest protected area, held in trust for the Nation by the King, holds a
Royal Warrant to allow him to shoot-to-kill.

He has had this for at least twelve years. In 2004 Reilly appeared in a documentary produced
by Journeyman Pictures in which he spoke of his relationship to the King and showed his
warrant on camera.

The documentary commentator said, He [the King] gave Ted a Royal Warrant that allowed
him to arrest and if necessary shoot-to-kill the poachers.

The commentator added, The Royal Warrant, still in force today, protects rangers from
prosecution for murder as long as the poacher draws his weapon first.

Reilly said, It is the biggest honour that you could possibly imagine.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Reilly showed the documentary makers a specially-made fort with gun turrets, where rangers
can hide to shoot at poachers. He also showed surveillance towers. From here, we go out, we
launch attacks, he said.

On camera, Reilly said the automatic weapons his rangers used against poachers, are much
smaller than the AK-47, but are equally as devastating. You dont survive one of those shots
if it hits you properly.

Reilly told the documentary, Our guys arent to be messed with. If they [poachers] come
after rhino theyre going to get hurt, and if he gets killed or maimed, well, you know, whos
to blame for that?

See also

RANGERS CAN SHOOT TO KILL


TRUE FACE OF INJUSTICE IN SWAZILAND
KING LETS GAME RANGERS SHOOT-TO-KILL

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

5 TERRORISM

No terror threat in Swaziland


30 May 2017

There are no known terrorist groups operating in Swaziland, but even so the government has
banned several local organisations as terrorist groups, a new report from the United States has
revealed.

Police see no difference between protestors and bystanders and will fire teargas and rubber
bullets at close range to disperse protestors.

These insights were contained in a report from the United States Department of State Bureau
of Diplomatic Security, just published. It is aimed at American diplomats in Swaziland.

The report assessed the Swaziland capital Mbabane as a low-threat location for political
violence. It stated, In 2016, there were no acts of terrorism in Swaziland and no known
terrorist organizations. Through the Swazi Suppression of Terrorism Act of 2008, the
government deemed several local political organizations as terrorist groups.

Swaziland is ruled by King Mswati III as an absolute monarch. Political parties are banned
from taking part in elections and the King choses the Prime Minister, cabinet ministers and
senior judges among others.

In September 2015, Amnesty International reported the Swazi government continued to use
repressive laws, including the 1938 Sedition and Subversive Activities Act (SSA Act) and
the 2008 Suppression of Terrorism Act (STA) as a tactic to silence its critics and suppress
their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

It added, Critics of Africas last remaining absolute monarchy, who regularly advocate for
the opening up of the political space in the country and the respect for human rights, are put
in jail or face other forms of harassment, including persecution and surveillance. The
government is also misusing its criminal justice system to criminalize and stigmatise their
activities, imposing charges like contempt of court or sedition.

The report from the United States called Swaziland 2017 Crime & Safety Report also said
civil unrest in Swaziland was limited to public protests. It added, Civil servant
demonstrations and strikes are fairly common. These demonstrations, which are widely
advertised in local media, are usually in response to labor/political disputes.

It said, When a demonstration is pending, the Royal Swaziland Police Service (RSPS) is
called out to monitor. Americans are cautioned to stay away from demonstrations, as the

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

police use non-lethal force to control and disperse protestors; teargas and rubber bullets (shot
at close range) are the most common forms of crowd control. Police have also shot warning
shots in the air to disperse protestors.

Police do not distinguish between bystanders and protestors, and the possibility of becoming
a collateral casualty should be of concern to anyone in proximity to a demonstration.

Swaziland quizzed on terror law


5 June 2017

A United Nations group has asked Swaziland to account for the number of arrests made
under its anti-terror and sedition laws.

Coincidentally, it comes at a time that a Bill to amend the controversial Suppression of


Terrorism Act (STA) was pulled from the Swazi Senate.

Swaziland ratified the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR) in 2004 and its initial report on progress was due by 2005, but 13 years later it has
failed to report. After such a long delay, the Human Rights Committee (HRC) has scheduled
a review of the kingdom in the absence of report. This review will take place in July 2017.

The United Nations group is asking a series of questions across a wide range of issues
relating to human rights in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III as an absolute monarch.

Both the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act (SSAA) and the STA have been used to
silence criticism of the Kings regime. Groups that advocate for democracy have been banned
under the STA.

Now, the HRC is asking the Swazi Government to account for its anti-terrorism laws. It asks
Swaziland to report on the progress made to narrow the definition of terms such as terrorist
act. It also asks how the proposed amendment to the STA will provide access to effective
legal remedies.

It also asks Swaziland to provide detailed information on the number of investigations,


detentions, prosecutions, acquittals and convictions under both the STA and SSAA.

On Wednesday (31 May 2017) the Suppression of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill was pulled
out of Senate.

The Swazi Observer newspaper reported that this was done by the Minister of Labour and
Social Security Winnie Magagula. She said government wanted a bit more time to amend
some sections in the legislation, but no details were given.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

It came ahead of a meeting of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which has been
closely monitoring Swazilands lack of progress in human rights.

In 2014 the United States withdrew trading privileges from Swaziland under the Africa
Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) because the kingdom had not fulfilled all the requirements
of the programme, including respect for human rights.

The US wanted Swaziland to implement the full passage of amendments to the Industrial
Relations Act; full passage of amendments to the STA; full passage of amendments to the
Public Order Act; full passage of amendments to sections 40 and 97 of the Industrial
Relations Act relating to civil and criminal liability to union leaders during protest actions;
and establishing a code of conduct for the police during public protests.

Both the STA and the SSAA 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 September 2016, the Swazi High Court ruled sections of the STA and the SSAA were
unconstitutional because they contravened provisions in the Constitution on freedom of
expression and freedom of association.

The Swaziland Attorney-general has appealed the decision.

See also

SWAZI HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD KILLS AGOA


SWAZI TERROR LAW COURT CHALLENGE
AMNESTY ATTACKS SWAZI JUSTICE
SWAZI TRIALS POLITICALLY MOTIVATED: AMNESTY
NO AMNESTY IN TERROR CASES

45
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

6 CHILDREN

No food so schoolkids sent home


2 June 2017

For the second term running children in Swaziland are being sent home from school because
there is no food to feed them.

The Swazi Government has once again failed to deliver food, known locally as zondle, to
poverty-stricken areas of the kingdom.

The Swazi Observer reported on Wednesday (31 May 2017) that school principals had not
been told what was going on. Pupils in schools around the Shiselweni and Lubombo regions
which were hit by a severe drought now break classes early or miss school altogether because
of the shortage.

The newspaper quoted one school principal in the Shiselweni region, saying, Some of the
pupils come to school without having eaten anything and they rely on the feeding programme
at school for food. They cannot stand the long hours on empty stomachs, hence we cut the
days short so they can concentrate and be able to grasp something.

The principal added, The availability of food in schools encourages pupils to come to school.
So if there is a shortage they then stay at home.

She said some of the girls were now dating sugar daddies because they wanted pocket
money to keep them going during the day and night.

The Ministry of Education and Training delivers about four 50kgs of rice and six to 10 to
50kgs of mealie-meal, depending on the size of the school and beans in each school to last a
month.

The situation has not changed since the start of the February 2017 school term.

At that time Zwelithini Mndzebele, General Secretary of the Swaziland National Association
of Teachers (SNAT), blamed government for being slow in paying school fees so principals
could not buy supplementary food.

According to the World Food Program about 350,000 Swazi people from a population of 1.3
million need assistance with food following the drought. Chronic malnutrition is a main
concern in Swaziland: stunting affects 26 percent of children aged under five years.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

See also

HUNGER FORCES SCHOOLS TO CLOSE EARLY


SWAZI KING GETS NEW JET AS PEOPLE STARVE
DROUGHT: PEOPLE DIED OF HUNGER

Bad food poisons 200 Swazi pupils


23 June 2017

More than 200 children in Swaziland were treated for food poisoning after allegedly being
served contaminated meat at school.

It came as schools throughout the kingdom struggle to feed children because the Swazi
Government has not paid monies owed.

The emergency happened at Mphundle High, the Swazi Observer reported on Tuesday (20
June 2017).

The newspaper reported, Over half of the total number of pupils at the school is said to have
complained of severe stomach pains, diarrhoea and vomiting.

It added, Some of these allegedly vomited in the middle of lessons, throwing a serious wave
of panic among the teachers.

Paramedics were called to the school and pupils needing urgent medical attention were taken
to nearby health clinics where some were later transferred to hospitals.

The newspaper said pupils ate beef and rice during their lunch break the previous day, a
meal which is suspected to have been the cause of their illness. All children have reportedly
recovered.

Deputy Regional Education Officer Dzabulase Mthupha confirmed the incident.

The outbreak of food poisoning came after for the second term running children across
Swaziland have been sent home early from classes because there is no food for them. This is
because the Swazi Government has failed to deliver food, known locally as zondle, to
poverty-stricken areas of the kingdom.

The Ministry of Education and Training delivers about four 50kgs of rice and six to 10 to
50kgs of mealie-meal, depending on the size of the school and beans in each school to last a
month.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

The situation has not changed since the start of the February 2017 school term.

According to the World Food Program about 350,000 Swazi people from a population of 1.3
million need assistance with food following the drought. Chronic malnutrition is a main
concern in Swaziland: stunting affects 26 percent of children aged under five years.

Children could soon die of hunger


28 June 2017

School administrators in Swaziland are imploring poverty-stricken parents to send their


children to school with food as hunger grips the kingdom. They say children could soon die.

Parents should at least give the children sweet potatoes to suppress hunger pains, they say.
The call comes after the Swazi Government failed to pay for food for the children as the
economy slumps.

Food shortages have hit schools all this year and the government school feeding scheme
known as zondle has collapsed.

The Times of Swaziland reported, As the food shortage situation in schools worsens, the
Swaziland Association of Schools Administrators (SASA) has pleaded with parents to at least
put sweet potatoes, tindlubu (jugo beans) or umbhonyo (boiled peanuts) in their childrens
lunch boxes so that they could have something to eat during break time.

The administrators were of the view that this would enable the pupils to at least concentrate
during lessons.

The newspaper added, Sphasha Dlamini, the Secretary General (SG) of SASA said the
situation in schools was getting worse by the day.

The Times reported, The head teachers said hunger was written all over the faces of the
pupils, something that made teachers jobs difficult.

The school administrators have sent a number of requests to government, asking it to act fast
on the matter because they fear that they would soon start losing lives due to hunger in
schools.

In a report in May 2017, the World Food Program estimated 350,000 people of Swazilands
1.1 million population were in need of food assistance. WFP helped 65,473 of them. It said it
was regularly feeding 52,000 orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) aged under eight
years at neighbourhood care points. About 45 percent of all children in thought to be OVCs.

It reported chronic malnutrition affected 26 percent of all children aged under five.

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Pupils beaten unlawfully at school


1 June 2017

Pupils at a primary school in Swaziland were thrashed because they did not bring enough
empty milk cartons to class.

It happened at Lubombo Central Primary School in Siteki, according to a report in the Times
of Swaziland on Tuesday (20 May 2017).

After years of physical abuse of children, in 2015 corporal punishment in schools was
abolished, but teachers across the kingdom still use it.

According to the Times, Lubombo Central Primary is participating in a waste collection and
recycling competition initiated by dairy products manufacturing company, Parmalat
Swaziland. Schools are required to collect empty containers of Umcenge Milk, which are
then collected by Parmalat. The school which collects the most containers will be awarded
with E20,000 (US$1,520).

The Times reported that all pupils at the school, have been instructed to collect at least 10
empty containers of Umcenge Milk per day.

It said, Pupils who fail to bring to school the containers are punished by the head teacher.

It quoted a source saying, Last week, the head teacher visited all classes and beat pupils who
did not bring with them the containers. Some pupils tried explaining that they couldnt find
the containers but the head teacher continued punishing them.

Swaziland has a long history of atrocities committed by teachers against their pupils in the
name of discipline. Even when it was permitted, there were rules about how corporal
punishment could be administered, these were largely ignored.

As recently as March 2017, children at Masundvwini Primary School boycotted classes


because they live in fear of the illegal corporal punishment they are made to suffer. Local
media reported that children are hit with a stick, which in at least one case is said to have left
a child bleeding from the head.

In August 2016, an eight-year-old schoolboy at Siyendle Primary School, near Gege was
thrashed so hard in class he vomited. His teacher reportedly forced classmates to hold the boy
down while he whipped him with a stick. It happened after a group of schoolboys had been
inflating condoms when they were discovered by the teacher.

In June 2016, the school principal at the Herefords High School was reported to police after
allegedly giving a 20-year-old female student nine strokes of the cane on the buttocks. The

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Swazi Observer reported at the time, She was given nine strokes on the buttocks by the
principal while the deputy helped her by holding the pupils hands as she was made to lie
down, said the source.

In 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-year-
old 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.

See also

SCHOOLBOY, 8, FLOGGED SO HARD HE VOMITS


SWAZI SCHOOL TORTURES STUDENTS
CHILDREN CHAINED AND FLOGGED BARE
PROBE VICIOUS SCHOOL BEATINGS
SCHOOL FLOGGINGS OUT OF CONTROL
SCHOOL HEAD PUBLICLY FLOGS ADULTS

Probe into Swazi child exploitation


8 May 2017

Swaziland is being put under the spotlight by a United Nations group following fears that
child sexual abuse and forced labour is rife in the kingdom.

The Swazi Government has failed to account for its actions in protecting children.
Swaziland ratified the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR) in 2004 and its initial report on progress was due by 2005, but 13 years later it has
failed to report. After such a long delay, the Human Rights Committee (HRC) has scheduled
a review of the kingdom in the absence of report. This review will take place in July 2017.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

The HRC has tabled a list of questions for the Swazi Government to answer. It believes
Swaziland is a country of origin, transit and destination for men, women and children
trafficked for sex and forced labour. It also says forced and child labour are prevalent in the
country and that orphans are particularly affected.

In the past, King Mswati III, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute
monarch, has been criticised by human rights groups for exploiting forced child labour.
A report from the US State Department on Trafficking in Persons in 2013 investigated
Swaziland and found children in Swaziland were being used as forced labour to tend the
fields of King Mswati III.

Chiefs in rural areas who represent the monarch, may coerce children and adultsthrough
threats and intimidationto work for the king, the report revealed.

The report also said, Swazi girls, particularly orphans, are subjected to sex trafficking and
domestic servitude in the cities of Mbabane and Manzini, as well as in South Africa,
Mozambique, and the United States.

The Trafficking in Persons Report 2013 also revealed, Swazi boys and foreign children are
forced to labor in commercial agriculture and market vending within the country.

The report said, The Government of Swaziland does not fully comply with the minimum
standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so.

An earlier report in 2009 from the US State Department reported that women and children in
the kingdom were bought and sold for sex, domestic servitude and forced labour.

Mbabane and Manzini were again identified as the centres of trafficking of girls, particularly
orphans, for sex.

In 2009, the The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) reported that a form of
serfdom existed in the kingdom. The report said Swazis were forced to work without pay on
projects determined by local chiefs (who are appointed by the King). These included
agricultural work, soil erosion and construction and maintenance.

Swazis, seven in ten who live in abject poverty and earn less than two US dollars a day, are
forced to work under the Swazi Administration Order, No. 6 of 1998, which makes it a duty
of Swazis to obey orders and participate in compulsory works; participation is enforceable
with severe penalties for those who refuse.

In October 2013 it was reported there were an estimated 1,302 people living in slavery in
Swaziland.

The report called the Global Slavery Index 2013 and published by the Walk Free

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Foundation stated, Modern slavery includes slavery, slavery-like practices (such as debt
bondage, forced marriage, and sale or exploitation of children), human trafficking and forced
labour.

See also

SLAVE LABOUR RIFE IN SWAZILAND


US EXPOSES CHILD SEX TRADE

Shame of autistic Swazi children


10 April 2017

Children with autism in Swaziland are often locked and hidden away at home because their
parents think they are a bad omen.

People with autism are considered mentally retarded, which means they do not get proper
medical, psychological and physiological help.

Autism Swaziland Director Tryphinah Mvubu said this meant people with Autism were often
excluded from social services and kept away from the public by their parents in fear of
embarrassment.

The Swazi Observer newspaper (5 April 2017) reported her saying, Some parents refuse to
accept children with this condition as this disorder is considered to be a bad omen, hence they
are locked in the house day in and day out so they cannot be seen by members of the
community. They are so stigmatised to an extent that in some cases they are not even counted
as members of the family.

In July 2016, it was reported in local media that two disabled orphan children in Swaziland
had been hidden from the world after a government official told their family it would harm
the image of the kingdom if people knew of their condition.

It was reported that the two children aged 16 and eight might be suffering from polio. It was
said they had not walked since they were born and had shrunk muscles and could only crawl.
They both cannot talk.

The abandonment of the children is one of many examples of poor treatment of people with
disabilities in Swaziland.

A report published by SINTEF Technology and Society, Global Health and Welfare in 2011
that studied living conditions among people with disabilities in Swaziland, found, There is a
general belief that those who have a disability are bewitched or inflicted by bad spirits.

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Many believe that being around people with disabilities can bring bad luck. As a result,
many people with disabilities are hidden in their homesteads and are not given an opportunity
to participate and contribute to society.

It also found that people with disabilities had been abandoned by the Swazi Government. The
report stated, The absence of any comprehensive laws and policies to address people with
disabilities access to equal opportunities reflect a lack of political will and a failure to
recognize disability as a human right issue contributes to the devaluing and dehumanising of
people with disabilities.

People with disabilities have the same rights as able-bodied people and they are entitled to
enjoy all citizenry rights.

See also
DISABLED PEOPLE TREATED LIKE ANIMALS

Unethical HIV tests on children


18 April 2017

The Swaziland Ministry of Health is to investigate a report that a Manzini-based non-


governmental organisation (NGO) is allegedly testing children under the age of 12 for HIV
without parental consent in order to reach their quotas.

The Sunday Observer newspaper in Swaziland reported (16 April 2017) that employees of
the organisation which it did not name were upset at having to test young children to reach
their monthly quotas.

The newspaper said it was alleged to have happened over the past weeks in Nhlambeni,
Madvuma, Mkhweli, Mpumakudze and Ngewini.

It quoted one unnamed employee saying, We get away with this because these are rural
communities. With the area being rural, most people are ignorant of their rights and relent
after we plead with them to assist us with bringing random children into our confidence to be
tested.

The source said employees feared for their jobs if they did not do this. The director of the
organisation denied the claims.

The Swazi Director of Health Vusi Magagula told the newspaper, These are serious
allegations that need investigation.

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7 JUVIE JAIL AND PRISONS

Juvenile centre Hell on earth


10 May 2017

A former pupil convict at Vulamasango, a school for juvenile offenders in Swaziland, has
described it as being like hell on earth.

The Observer on Saturday newspaper (6 May 2017) in Swaziland reported, While there he
has experienced, first hand, brutal deaths, stabbings, tortures that remain irascible in his
memory and is most likely to carry to his final resting place. In the case of the learner who
died in the cells called dormitories he had been subjected to severe beatings two days earlier
and when he died on the third day his death was dissociated from the beatings.

The newspaper reported, Corporal punishment is nothing closer to rehabilitation, says the
pupil. Hordes of warders descend on their victim like a swarm of vultures, beating the
daylights out of their captive as though themselves relieving themselves of their many
stresses. They beat the victim until some even soil and urinate themselves. At times the
uniform is removed to inflict the injuries on bear flesh, adds the pupil.

The newspaper did not name the former pupil.

Vulamasango was until August 2015 known as Malkerns Industrial School. In March 2014 an
inspection report called Malkerns Industrial School Students Violence Probe was leaked to
the Observer on Saturday.

The report said warders at the juvenile jail stripped naked, handcuffed and beat children in
their care. They inserted fingers into girls private parts and forced one boy to drink his own
urine. The revelations followed reports in 2013 that warders at the same juvenile jail
assaulted children systematically for more than five hours.

The Observer reported there was violence at Malkerns Industrial School on 18 June 2013,
when one of the boys fought and stabbed another offender with a sharpened toothbrush.
The newspaper reported, The aggressor was instantly beaten without a hearing and all boys
known to be his friends were handcuffed and beaten in the still of the night.

It added, The next morning all teachers were ordered to conduct a strip search, apparently an
order coming from the commissioner himself who is alleged to have said uma kufanele,
isende lomntwana alibanjwe (squeeze their testicles).

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

The Observer said the investigation reported there was sporadic use of force at the juvenile
industrial school dormitories, which is protected by the head-teacher and remains unreported
mainly because the administration also participates in the violence.

The Observer reported that female correction officers, inserted their fingers into the girls
private parts using one glove on all the students, exposing them to risks of contracting
infectious diseases.

The newspaper also reported that one child, was beaten such that he urinated and was later
forced to drink his urine.

I drank it because of the beatings I received, the boy reportedly said.

Another child said, My hands and testicles were pressed by the officers who were wearing
their boots I thought they were killing me. My only sin was that they found tattoos on my
body.

The Observer reported another child said, I was bleeding from the ears after I was kicked all
over the body by the officers.

This was not the first time violent behaviour by warders hit the headlines. In 2013 it was
reported that children at the industrial school were systematically assaulted for more than five
hours by warders.

Some of the children were forced to strip naked for beatings by the officers who used belts,
sneakers, open hands and feet to assault them all over their bodies.

The Swazi News newspaper reported at the time that 15 officers were involved and more than
two thirds of the 430 pupils at the school were assaulted from 8.30 am until after 2.00 pm,
during one day.

One child interviewed by the newspaper said, They were using belts, open hands and an All-
Star (sneaker). We were ordered to strip naked before being assaulted all over the body,
indiscriminately.

The attack was also described by another as being worse than police torture known as
lishubhu. Another said, Besi bulawa (we were being murdered).

When asked why they were assaulted, one pupil responded, Watsi lomunye thishela basi
faka luvalo (one of the teachers told us that they were instilling fear).

The pupils said they did not report the matter to the police because they feared being
victimised.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Innocent kids locked in juvie jail


18 May 2017

Parents in Swaziland are paying up to E10,000 a year to have their children locked up in
juvenile jail even though they have committed no offence.

They are incarcerated at Vulamasango School, with the hope they might develop desirable
attitudes and behaviour towards society and the environment, the Observer on Saturday
newspaper reported (13 May 2017).

The children who are at both primary and high school level are, mixed with hard core
criminals, some held for serious crimes and are members of different notorious prison gangs,
the newspaper said.

It reported, The children are surrounded by guards everywhere, every time of their lives in
that prison school even during lessons and also in the cells called dormitories. They are
reportedly forced to remain within the correctional facilities with none allowed to commute
like it used to happen.

The girls are accommodated at the Mawelawela Women Correctional Services whilst the
boys are accommodated within the school.

Child rights NGO Save The Children told the newspaper that a number of children have been
committed to correctional facilities without being convicted, of a crime.

The Observer on Saturday reported, the institution allegedly charges these children at
primary school E7,500 and E10,000 (US$760) at high school, annually and respectively.

This latest report is one of many from Swaziland about innocent children being locked up. In
June 2016, it was reported that children as young as eleven were incarnated in juvenile
correction facilities in Swaziland for up to ten years, even though they had committed no
crimes.

And, the trend to lock innocent children up was increasing, a United Nations group
examining human rights in Swaziland was told. Parents collaborate with the Commissioner of
Correctional Services in what was described as the best interests of the child.

A report submitted jointly to the United Nations Human Rights Council Universal Periodic
Review of Swaziland April-May 2016 by SOS-Swaziland, Super Buddies, Prison Fellowship
and Luvatsi Swaziland Youth Empowerment Organisation, gave the example of one child
aged 11.

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Their report stated, There is a growing trend of child and youth abuse done by the state and
the parents purportedly in the best interests of the child. Children and youths are illegal
incarcerated in prison centres by parents in collaboration with the Commissioner of
Correctional Services who claims that the children are unruly.

In one incident, Grace (not her real name) who is a single parent to John (not his real name)
wrote a request letter to the Commissioner of Correctional Services requesting that John be
incarcerated for unruly behaviour. In the letter, Grace states her concerns that eleven years
old John might not finish school; hence her reason for wanting him incarcerated and
attending the juvenile school at Malkerns Industrial School for Rehabilitation.

Responding to the same letter of request by Grace, the Commissioner of Correctional


Services stated that under normal circumstances, they do not admit persons who have not
been sentenced by the courts and directed therein through committal warrants.

However, the Commissioner agreed to rehabilitate John under the stated conditions; that the
11 years old John is institutionalised at the juvenile school for 10 years; there is an order from
a presiding officer giving him a custodial order of ten years without remission; and that he
will cooperate with His Majestys Correctional Services while under its care.

With that response, Grace [sic] the letter to a presiding officer who then wrote a custodial
order for the stipulated time and John was admitted to the juvenile school in 2013. The 11
years old John lodges with other juveniles who have been charged by the court of law for
various crimes they have committed. Grace pays tuition fees and up-keep fees for John, and
she will continue doing so for the next ten years until 11 years old John is 21 years.

This case is one of many, and the children are of different ages and varying backgrounds. It
is only recently that a joint task team comprising of UNICEF, Prison Fellowship Swaziland,
Lawyers for Human Rights-Swaziland, Save the Children Swaziland working together with
the department of home affairs are exploring means to curb this situation and probably
provide solutions for both the parents and children.

In 2012, the Times Sunday newspaper in Swaziland reported that Isaiah Mzuthini Ntshangase,
Swazilands Correctional Services Commissioner, was encouraging parents to send their
unruly children to the facility if they thought they were badly behaved.

Ntshangase was speaking at the open day of the Juvenile Industrial School at the Mdutshane
Correctional Institution. He told the newspaper, Noticing the strife that parents go through
when raising some of their children who are unruly, we decided to open our doors to assist
them.

The school not only corrected offenders but assisted in the fight against crime by rooting out
elements from a tender age, the newspaper reported him saying. The children will be locked
up, rehabilitated and integrated back to society, the Times reported.

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The school accommodates pupils who were both in conflict with the law as well as
delinquents, the Times said. There were 279 children locked up at the time of the interview.

The Times interviewed some of the inmates and found a 15-year-old girl locked up by her
guardian because she had developed a relationship with a boyfriend that the guardian did not
like.

Another girl interviewed was an orphan who lived a town life. She was reported saying, In
our dormitories which we share, we are deprived all the nice and good things.

She added the rules at the institution were tough, This place is not for the faint-hearted
because you lose a lot of privileges that are freely accessible outside. There is neither
clubbing, drinking nor time for boys.

One unemployed father of an 11-year-old boy said he put his son in the facility because he
did not have money to pay school fees. I am grateful that my son is in school. I cannot afford
his education because I am old. My wish is that he finishes school to earn a decent living, he
said.

The guardian of one girl said before she was admitted at the school, she had not been able to
contain her behaviour. My biggest problem was that I had lost her. She dropped out of
school together with my niece (sisters daughter) who is an orphan, she said.

Children reported that they were not beaten but they were badly fed, getting their supper at
around 3pm, which meant they went to bed hungry.

This was not the first time the Swazi juvenile correction facility had been under the spotlight.

In August 2010, it was revealed that a 12-year-old boy was serving one year in Mdutshane
because he insulted his grandmother. He had been sentenced to an E300 fine (about US$30 at
the then exchange rate), but was too poor to pay so was jailed instead.

See also

KIDS WHO COMMIT NO CRIME LOCKED UP


BOY, 12, JAILED FOR INSULTING GRANNY
INNOCENT BOY, 11, LOCKED UP FOR 10 YEARS

Probe into inhumane jail condition


22 May 2017

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

A United Nations group is investigating prison conditions in Swaziland amid reports of


inhumane conditions.

They include food shortages, inadequate sanitary conditions and medical care.

Swaziland ratified the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR) in 2004 and its initial report on progress was due by 2005, but 13 years later it has
failed to report. After such a long delay, the Human Rights Committee (HRC) has scheduled
a review of the kingdom in the absence of report. This review will take place in July 2017.

In a wide-ranging document the HRC poses a number of questions to the Swazi Government
which was not elected by the people but hand-picked by King Mswati III who rules
Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch.

The report says, Please respond to reports of inhumane prison conditions, including in terms
of food shortages and inadequate sanitary conditions and medical care.

Please also comment on the allegations that the president of the (outlawed) political party
Peoples United Democratic Movement of Swaziland, Mario Masuku, was denied access to
adequate and independent medical care for complications relating to diabetes throughout the
14 months he spent in pretrial detention at Zakhele Remand centre and Matsapha Central
Prison.

The HRC is also asking for detailed information about the number of existing prisons in the
kingdom, prison capacity and the number of inmates and whether there are separate facilities
for adults and children. It also asks what plans Swaziland has to ratify the Convention against
Torture and Other, Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

In 2014 it was reported that more than 1,000 people were in jail in Swaziland because they
were too poor to pay fines for offences such as traffic violations, theft by false pretences,
malicious injury to property and fraud.

The figures revealed that in Swaziland, where seven in ten people live in abject poverty with
incomes less than US$2 per day, 1,053 of 3,615 inmates in Swazi jails were there because
they did not have the money to pay a fine option. This was 29.1 percent of the entire prison
population.

In February 2017, the Times Sunday newspaper in Swaziland reported shortages of food and
toilet paper in jails throughout the kingdom. This was due to the governments financial
crisis, it said.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

See also

PROBE INTO SWAZI CHILD EXPLOITATION


KINGDOM FACES LGBTI RIGHTS REVIEW

Warders decry married sex in prisons


13 April 2017

Prison officers in Swaziland are against allowing prisoners to enjoy conjugal rights with
their married partners.

One staff association leader said it could end with them killing one another prisoner killing
his wife.

The Correctional Services Staff Association told a Swazi Senate meeting that officers cannot
bear the thought of watching prisoners enjoying passionate moments with their spouses.

The Times of Swaziland, the only independent newspaper in the kingdom, reported on
Wednesday (12 April 2017) that prison officers rejected a provision of the Correctional
Services Bill No.2 of 2015.

The associations Secretary General Mzwandile Dlamini told the Senate Portfolio Committee
workshop that warders had a duty of ensuring security at local rehabilitation facilities and
could not allow prisoners to have passionate fun with their spouses.

The Times reported Dlamini saying, Since our job is to ensure security, we normally monitor
and watch when relatives visit and chat with prisoners. But we cannot then watch them when
they have sexual intercourse because this would be invading their privacy.

He added, Imagine allowing a couple to enjoy themselves and then you come back and
discover that things ended badly with one killing the other. It is possible that while you think
they are enjoying themselves they could be actually fighting, which would leave one dead.

Senator Chief Mvimbi told the meeting it did not make sense that a man would spend over 20
years in prison without being allowed the opportunity to make babies with his wife.

The Times reported him saying, Some prisoners even have more than three wives and it is
their duty to satisfy them sexually and make babies with them.

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8 POLITICIANS

Top Swazi politicians phones bugged


6 June 2017

Some senior politicians in Swaziland think their phones are being tapped, a local newspaper
has reported. One also thinks his car might be bugged.

The Sunday Observer reported (4 June 2017) that it contacted a number of politicians and
found some suspected phones were tapped but they had no proof.

The newspaper reported, House of Assembly Speaker Themba Msibi, when interviewed
about the possibility of hearing devices and phones being tapped, said, I too have concerns
as at times calls sound hollow, making one suspect that a third party could be listening in.

Minister of Economic Planning Prince Hlangusemphi said he had heard rumours with nothing
official and concrete to substantiate them.

The newspaper reported, Minister of Natural Resources Jabulile Mashwama said rumours of
bugging have been around since time immemorial.

In July 2013 it was reported that police in Swaziland were spying on the kingdoms members
of parliament. One officer disguised in plain clothes was thrown out of a workshop for MPs
and one MP reported his phone has been bugged.

Ntondozi MP Peter Ngwenya told the House of Assembly at the time that MPs lived in fear
because there was constant police presence, in particular from officers in the Intelligence
Unit.

The Times of Swaziland newspaper reported at the time that at the same sitting of the House
Lobamba MP Majahodvwa Khumalo said his cellphone had been bugged ever since he
started being vocal against some people.

The House was told that MPs were attending a workshop on the Elections Expenses Bill
when they discovered a plain-clothed police officer taking notes of the MPs comments. He
was ejected from the meeting.

The Times reported that Ngwenya said as MPs they were now afraid to do anything because
there was too much police presence in their midst. We know of the police who ensure our
safety and they are normally in uniform, we do not know what is happening now, he said.

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This was not the first example of police spying. In May 2013, the Media Institute of Southern
Africa reported that police spies had infiltrated journalism newsrooms in Swaziland, which
had led to a heightened climate of fear.

It is legal in certain circumstances to tap phones in Swaziland where King Mswati III rules as
sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch. The Suppression of Terrorism Act gives police
the right to listen in on peoples conversations if they have the permission of the Attorney
General.

When the Act came into law in 2008 Attorney General Majahenkhaba Dlamini said that
anyone who criticised the government could be considered a terrorist sympathiser.

In 2011, a journalist working in Swaziland for the AFP international news agency reported on
her blog that her phone calls were being listened in to.

See also

POLICE SPIES INFILTRATE MEDIA


AFP JOURNALISTS PHONE BUGGED
STATE POLICE SPY ON SWAZI MPs

Swazi MPs ignorant on protocols


3 May 2017

Members of parliament and senators in Swaziland have admitted publicly that they do not
understand much of the work they do and have signed at least 20 international conventions
without scrutinising them.

This emerged during a workshop aimed at educating lawmakers about the importance of the
international protocols and how they come into being.

International protocols include conventions, treaties, charters and declarations. Once they
have been ratified, the King would then sign them so that they form part of the laws of the
country.

The Swazi Observer reported (27 April 2017) that MPs admitted that they did not know what
they were doing when they passed 20 international protocols last year.

It added, The lawmakers blamed this all on the fact that they were never educated on what
the international protocols were. They also could not understand the importance of such
instruments to the people of the country.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

In Swaziland political parties are not allowed to contest elections. The government is picked
by King Mswati III, who rules as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch None of the 30
members of the Swazi Senate are elected by the people.

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9 PM PROFILE

Swazi PM Dlaminis dubious record


16 May 2017

Swazilands Prime Minster Barnabas Dlamini turned 75 on Monday (15 May 2017) and the
Swazi Observer newspaper published a front page tribute and four pages inside to the man
who was never elected to office and owes his position to the patronage of King Mswati III.

King Mswati rules Swaziland as an absolute monarch. He appointed Dlamini Prime Minister
and he chooses all the government and top judges in his kingdom. He also in effect owns the
Swazi Observer.

The newspaper failed to remind its readers that Dlamini has been involved in a questionable
business deal that netted him millions of emalangeni. He was also involved in a dubious land
deal and was only saved from a formal inquiry by the personal intervention of the King.

Barnabas Dlamini was also humiliated on the world stage in 2010 when he accepted an
international award for his humanitarian work from a known con-man.

And, he has a record as an anti-democrat who has advocated that his opponents be tortured.

In 2015, the Times Sunday reported (10 May 2015) that Fusini Investments (Proprietary)
Limited, directed by the Prime Minister and two others, bought land for E93,120 from
government in 2005, which by then had generated a profit of E7.4 million (US$740,000 at the
then exchange rate): a profit of more than 800 percent.

The PMs company sold the land to the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF), a public
organisation that was established in 1993 for the management and administration of pensions
for government (public sector) employees.

Prime Minister Dlamini has a history of involvement in questionable land deals. In 2011, he
and others escaped scrutiny on land deals after the direct intervention of King Mswati.

They had bought Swazi nation land for themselves at what a select committee report later
called ridiculously cheap prices and tantamount to theft of State property.

In late December 2010 it was revealed that Dlamini, his deputy, and four cabinet ministers
were at the centre of a land purchase scandal.

Dlamini, who constantly claims he wants to stamp out corruption in the kingdom, was
allowed to buy government-controlled land at half price, netting himself a E304,000
(US$43,000 at the then exchange rate) saving. Themba Masuku, the then Deputy PM and

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four ministers each received discounts of between 30 and 50 percent on their purchases. None
of these people were elected to the Swazi Parliament all were appointed by the King.

The politicians were allowed to purchase the so-called crown land (which is owned by the
King on behalf of the Swazi nation) in the Swazi capital Mbabane without having to compete
with other would-be buyers. They were given the land at below market value, in effect
cheating the Swazi people out of the money.

Two of the ministers who took advantage of this scam were members of the Swazi Royal
Family, which is headed by King Mswati, sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch.

The ministers involved were Minister of Natural Resources and Energy, Princess Tsandzile;
Minister of Economic Planning and Development, Prince Hlangusemphi; Minister of Home
Affairs, Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze; and the Minister of Agriculture, Clement Dlamini.

The Times of Swaziland, the kingdoms only independent daily newspaper, reported at the
time that the Prime Minister made the biggest killing. He was allocated a portion of land
measuring 6,084 square metres. He paid E304,000 for the land after it was discounted from
the initial price of E608,000. Effectively, he was granted a 50 percent discount.

In total the land was sold at about E1 million less than it was worth, the Times estimated.

Former government ministers also benefited from the land purchase scandal. They included
two members of the Swazi Royal Family. Prince David received a 50 percent discount on
land worth E97,000 allocated to him. Prince Mbilini also received land, but the exact details
of his windfall were not known, the Times reported.

It was believed that at least nine former ministers were also given land at discounted prices.

It later emerged that the Swazi Cabinet, which was hand-picked by the King, approved the
land purchase. This, in effect, meant they approved a plan that allowed themselves to save
hundreds of thousands of emalangeni on the land scam.

It was later revealed that the Prime Minister and the others were not eligible for discounts on
the land because such discounts were only available to poor people. In Swaziland seven in ten
people have incomes of less than US$2 per day.

Prince Guduza, Speaker of the Swaziland House of Assembly, rebuked Barnabas Dlamini,
the Prime Minister, for interference of the highest order, after the Swazi Parliament decided
to set up a seven-member select committee to investigate the land deals and he called MPs in
to see him one-by-one to try to get them on his side.

The whole land deal scandal reached a climax in May 2011 when Dlamini took Prince
Guduza, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, to court to stop a debate about the PMs
irregular land deals taking place.

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He succeeded in getting a High Court order to stop parliament debating the land issue and
publication of a select committee report into the affair. The House of Assembly ignored the
court and debated anyway.

The select committee report described the conduct of Lindiwe Dlamini, Minister of Housing
and Urban Development, in the deals as corrupt and treasonous.

The report stated that the authority for land deals was unconstitutionally taken away from the
Kings Office, by Lindiwe Dlamini.

The act of the minister was not only unconstitutional but also seriously undermined the
authority and sovereignty of the office of the Ingwenyama [the King] and was therefore
treasonous, the report stated.

The report made more than 20 findings, including:

That the Minister for Housing and Urban Development [Lindiwe Dlamini] acted
unconstitutionally and with total disregard of the Crown Land Disposal regulations of 2003,
which were promulgated in line with the provisions of the Crown Land Disposal Act of 1911.

That the cabinet ministers concerned used their positions to gain unfair advantage over other
Swazis who had applied for the land many years ago, by-passing the Crown Land Disposal
Committee in the process.

The Prime Minister and the Minister for Natural Resources and Energy [Princess Tsandzile]
bought the land at ridiculously low prices. The most disturbing aspect is that the Prime
Minister was awarded the certificate to develop his portion and designs approved without
having paid for the plot and records show that he only did so on February, 22 2011, long
after the Select Committee was appointed.

That the current administration has no respect for the constitution, as there are many laws
that deal with land issues and until now they have not been aligned with the constitution.

That the Attorney General was never consulted on this land deal.

That the allocation of land to ministers through a cabinet decision was unlawful and it
smacks of an element of personal aggrandisement since such action is not supported by any
legal instrument. Receiving a housing allowance on the one hand and on the other hand
apportioning crown land to oneself, is tantamount to theft of State property.

That, as a custodian of State assets and property, by virtue of its position in government,
cabinet had no legal right to take a collective decision on the allocation of land to ministers,
even worse, that in the process it violated the Constitution, 2005.

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In June 2011, King Mswati confirmed his status as an absolute monarch when he ordered the
House of Assembly and the Senate to stop discussing the land scandal. He said he would
decide what would happen to the land.

The Kings decision to intervene was kept private and the media were excluded from a joint
meeting of the House of Assembly and Senate at which the Kings dictate was given.

Dlamini then instructed the media in Swaziland to stop discussing the land deal. He said, His
Majesty said the issue should be put to rest. It means the matter has been concluded because
the Kings word is a command and the law. I take it that it is over and I hope journalists will
take it as having been concluded. There is no need for journalists to keep bringing this matter
up and spicing it. It has to be taken out of the news,

Parliament was informed by both its presiding officers (Speaker Prince Guduza and Senate
President Gelane Zwane) that the King had ordered the PM to withdraw his court action
regarding the land issue and that the land in question would be returned to government
ownership.

Dlamini is a human rights abuser

Dlamini has a poor human rights record going back more than a decade, but he is known to
be close to King Mswati. In October 2012, the House of Assembly passed a vote of no-
confidence in Dlamini and his government and according to the Swaziland Constitution the
King was obliged (he had no discretion in the matter) to sack the PM and government.

King Mswati did not do so and instead put pressure on the House of Assembly to reverse its
vote.
Dlamini has been appointed four times by the King to be PM of Swaziland. His record shows
him as a hard man with little regard for human rights. He supports the King in his desire to
stop all dissent and brand oppositions as terrorists.

When introducing Dlamini as the PM in 2008, King Mwsati told him publicly to get the
terrorists and all who supported them. Dlamini set about his task with zeal. He banned four
prodemocracy organisations.

His Attorney General Majahenkhaba Dlamini told Swazis affiliated with the political
formations to resign with immediate effect or feel the full force of the law. Under the
Suppression of Terrorism Act (STA), enacted the same year Dlamini came to power,
members and supporters of these groups could face up to 25 years in jail.

Under the draconian provisions of the STA, anyone who disagrees with the ruling elite faces
being branded a terrorist supporter.

The Attorney General stressed that the government was after supporters of the banned
organisations. Supporting an organisation, he said, includes associating with such banned

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formations or aiding materialistic through provision of commodities such as food and


weapons.

This happened at a time when the call for democracy in Swaziland was being heard loudly
both inside the kingdom and in the international community.

The Dlamini-led Government clamped down on dissent. In 2011, Amnesty International


reported the ill-treatment, house searches and surveillance of communications and meetings
of civil society and political activists. Armed police conducted raids and prolonged searches
in the homes of dozens of high profile human rights defenders, trade unionists and political
activists while investigating a spate of petrol bombings. Some of the searches, particularly of
political activists, were done without search warrants.

In 2010, Dlamini publicly threatened to use torture against dissidents and foreigners who
campaigned for democracy in his kingdom. He said the use of bastinado, the flogging of the
bare soles of the feet, was his preferred method.

Dlamini told the Times of Swaziland newspaper he wanted, to punish dissidents and
foreigners who come to the country and disturb the peace.

But Dlaminis abuse of human rights did not start with his appointment in 2008. He was a
former PM and held office for seven and a half years until 2003. While in office he gained a
reputation as someone who ignored the rule of law.

In 2003, he refused to recognise two court judgements that challenged the kings right to rule
by decree. This led to the resignation of all six judges in the Appeal Court. The court had
ruled that the king had no constitutional mandate to override parliament by issuing his own
decrees.

In a report running for more than 50,000 words, Amnesty International looked back to the
years 2002 and 2003 and identified activities of Dlamini that, included the repeated ignoring
of court rulings, interference in court proceedings, intimidating judicial officers, manipulating
terms and conditions of employment to undermine the independence of the judiciary, the
effective replacement of the Judicial Services Commission with an unaccountable and
secretive body (officially known as the Special Committee on Justice but popularly called the
Thursday Committee), and the harassment of individuals whose rights had been upheld by the
courts.

Barnabas Dlamini falls for Humanitarian Award con-trick

In October 2010, Barnabas Dlamini travelled to the Bahamas to receive an international


award for his humanitarian work, even though it had been revealed to be a con-trick.

He received a medal from a known con-artist called Rudy King. At the centre of the scandal
was an organisation called World Citizen Awards (WCA) headed by King. The Swazi

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Government had put out a press release saying WCA was to honour Dlamini for the work he
was doing for human rights.

The Swazi Media Commentary (SMC) website went to the Internet and found the website for
WCA. On there was a list of trustees who were said to be the backbone of the organisation.
Each person listed had a reputation as advocates for human rights and it seemed odd that they
would vote to give Dlamini a medal.

SMC emailed each of the trustees and within hours received a reply from one of them that
said he was the victim of a hoax. It turned out that none of the trustees had ever heard of
WCA and certainly were not supporters.

The Associated Press (AP) news agency took up the story and realised that the WCA was a
sham organisation consisting only of a website and an accommodation address.

Once the AP story hit the Internet, journalists in the Bahamas who knew Rudy King of old
ran reports about his background as a con artist.

But Barnabas Dlamini still flew at Swazi taxpayers expense across the world to collect his
medal.
Later, he defended accepting the award by saying Rudy King was respected in Swaziland and
had been in and out of the country since the century began.

He told a news conference that the media had sung his praises when he wanted to open an
office in Swaziland.

Dlamini also said King had previously awarded his medal to other Swazi luminaries.

He said, In 2005 he gave an award to a prince (David), gave a medal to Prince Guduza in
2007 and to the prime minister in 2008, so what is the difference now in 2010? His history in
Swaziland is rich. This is the fourth medal he has presented to Swazis but now the focus is on
2010.

See also

SWAZILAND PM IN LAND SALE SCANDAL


PM SAYS GOD SUPPORTS LAND SCAM
CABINET APPROVED ITS LAND SCAM
PM STOLE FROM POOR IN LAND SCAM
LAND SCAM: TREASONOUS AND CORRUPT
PM ORDERS MEDIA SILENCE ON LAND
SWAZI PM UNDER THE COSH
SWAZI PM FACES NO-CONFIDENCE VOTE
SWAZILANDS BULLY PM MUST GO
KING SHOWS HE IS ABSOLUTE MONARCH
SWAZILAND PM IS A BOGUS DOCTOR

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

10 HEALTH

Threat to life as govt doesnt pay bills


4 April 2017

Swaziland is running out of insulin and people with diabetes could die, because the Swazi
Government cannot pay suppliers.

The Times of Swaziland, the kingdoms only independent daily newspaper, reported on
Thursday (30 March 2017), Information from reliable sources is that the shortage is caused
by governments failure to pay the supplier who was awarded the tender to supply the
injection. The sources said the relevant ministry was waiting for its budget allocation to pay
the supplier.

The newspaper reported a source saying, The supplier has stopped supplying us, so right
now there is no stock because the hospitals have depleted even the buffer stock that was left.
The suppliers who were awarded the tenders cannot deliver if they are not paid, so it is a big
problem especially because there are other departments that are facing the same problem.

The Times, reported diabetics faced a life-threatening situation. It reported, There is no


insulin injection at public hospitals because the Ministry of Health has allegedly been unable
to pay suppliers. Health experts say a prolonged absence of the drug could lead to death.
Most pharmacies reported running out of the injection due to the high demand by those who
can afford to buy it while the Ministry of Health cannot say when it would be made
available.

It is reported that in 2015 more than 1,000 people died of diabetes in Swaziland.
While people might die because of unpaid Government bills, the Swazi Prime Minister
Barnabas Dlamini is insisting the people of Swaziland pay E5.5 million for him to have a
house in retirement. The same Government has also sanctioned US$20 million to be paid for
another jet airplane for the King.

Swaziland regularly fails to pay for life-saving drugs for ordinary people. In 2014, at least 44
children died and many hundreds were hospitalised during an outbreak of diarrhoea. The
Ministry of Health said it could not afford readily-available drugs. Then, the Government
spent US$1.7 million on top of the range BMW cars for itself.

About 680,000 doses of life-saving rotavirus vaccine could have been purchased for the cost
of the 20 new BMW X5 sports utility vehicles, which would be enough to treat every child in
the kingdom. The cars were for government ministers and top officials.

The purchase was one of many example of irresponsible spending in the kingdom.

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In March 2014, US$600,000 was spent on the opening ceremony for the Sikhuphe Airport
which was renamed King Mswati III Airport. The airport has been widely criticised outside
of Swaziland as a vanity project for the King.

See also

SWAZI KING PARTIES WHILE CHILDREN DIE

Swazi Govt killing its own people


17 May 2017

The kingdoms only independent newspaper has accused the Swaziland Government of
killing its people with a shortage of medicines in hospitals.

The Government, handpicked by King Mswati III who rules Swaziland as an absolute
monarch, has admitted it has not paid drug companies for past deliveries and supplies have
dried up.

Under the heading Government now killing its people a Times of Swaziland editorial
comment on Monday (15 May 2017) asked, What value does our government place on the
life of an ordinary citizen when it allows our hospitals and clinics to run short of essential
drugs?

It added that people, are now the ones suffering to death.

The government says it does not have money to pay its bills. The Times commented, The
Health Ministry is too scared to say just how much is being owed and seems helpless with
regards to coming up with a solution that ensures people go to the hospital today to find the
drugs they need to stay alive.

Principal Secretary (PS) at the Ministry of Health Dr Simon Zwane had told the Swazi
parliament Public Accounts Committee (PAC), We have not paid our suppliers.

The Swazi News reported on Saturday (13 May 2017), Dr Zwane said it was true that the
country did not have various medication and offered to write a report on how the country had
found itself in this particular position.

He said this was not a matter of whether tablets for the epileptic or those with diabetes was
short, but across the board the problem was financial, noting that there was a problem with
the release of money.

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He said when the tenders for the delivery of drugs were awarded government and the
suppliers entered into contracts, which had schedules on when they would be delivered and
when they would be paid.

Medicines currently unavailable in the kingdoms health facilities include drugs for sexual
transmitted infections, epilepsy, hypertension and diabetes.

The Swazi Observer reported on Monday (15 May 2017) that a majority of health facilities in
the Lubombo region did not have supplies of Nevirapine syrup, a lifesaving medication for
new-born babies. The medication is mainly used to prevent HIV transmission from mother-
to-child during birth or breastfeeding.

A nationwide two-day strike by nurses in protest against drug shortages and other issues was
cancelled following an Industrial Court order. Nurses will instead engage in a go-slow.

Swazi drug shortage crisis deepens


23 May 2017

Parliamentarians in Swaziland have given the government seven days to sort out the drugs
shortage crisis crippling public health facilities in the kingdom.

E236 million (US$18 million) is reportedly owed and drug companies have suspended
delivery of medicines until bills are paid.

The House of Assembly debated the crisis on Thursday (18 May 2017) and agreed a motion
compelling Minister for Health Sibongile Simelane to ensure the availability of drugs in
hospitals within seven days.

The Swazi Observer reported members of parliament wanted to know what had happened to
the E1 billion allocated to health in the national budget in February 2017. They wanted to
know if the money they passed was real money or it was just numbers, the newspaper
reported.

The Times of Swaziland reported the House of Assembly, called for the suspension of all
other projects while this matter was being sorted, wondering what benefit would be achieved
if the country had beautiful roads or buildings yet had a dying nation.

Principal Secretary (PS) at the Ministry of Health Dr Simon Zwane had previously told the
Swazi parliament Public Accounts Committee (PAC), We have not paid our suppliers.

Medicines currently unavailable in the kingdoms health facilities include drugs for sexual
transmitted infections, epilepsy, hypertension and diabetes.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Swaziland, where King Mswati III rules as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch, came
last in a study of the healthiest nations in the world in 2015.

It came bottom out of 145 countries in the Worlds Healthiest Countries report published by
Bloomberg. Data for the report was compiled from the United Nations, the World Bank and
the World Health Organisation.

The Bloomberg rankings gave each country with a population of 1 million or more a health
score and a health-risk score.

Each countrys place was calculated by subtracting their risk score from their health score.
The health score is based on factors such as life expectancy from birth and causes of death,
while health-risk is based on factors which could impede health such as the proportion of
young people who smoke, the number of people with raised cholesterol and the number of
immunisations.

Swaziland medicine shortage: five die


14 June 2017

At least five people have died as a result of the shortage of medicines gripping Swaziland, a
Swazi senator has reported.

Senator Prince Kekela told parliament that the five people he knew about were related to him.

Kekela called on the Swazi Government to spend more money on stocking the kingdoms
hospitals with medicines instead of applying to Kuwait for a loan of E20.1 million (US$1.56
million) to build a new referral hospital.

Swaziland which is ruled by King Mswati III sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch has
been in the grip of a crisis for a number of weeks. About US$18 million was reportedly owed
to drug companies last month (May 2017) and they suspended delivery of medicines until
bills were paid.

The Times of Swaziland reported at that time the House of Assembly, called for the
suspension of all other projects while this matter was being sorted, wondering what benefit
would be achieved if the country had beautiful roads or buildings yet had a dying nation.

The Times of Swaziland reported on Thursday (8 June 2017), The princes observation was
that Swaziland was not ready for the construction of a referral hospital but instead it should
be using the loan on stocking medication, which reached crisis state a couple of months ago.

As ordinary people die in the health crisis the Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini revealed that
King Mswati and his mother paid for him to travel to Taiwan for his own medical treatment.

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Dlamini was not elected PM by the people of Swaziland. He was personally appointed by the
King, as were all other government ministers and top judges in the kingdom. None of
Swazilands senators are elected by the people.

Dlamini recently celebrated his 75th birthday. The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect
owned by King Mswati, reported (5 June 2017), The Prime Minister said he was grateful
that when Their Majesties were informed about his ailment in April, they responded hastily
and ordered that he be taken to the best doctors in Taiwan, Taipei.

Their Majesties gave orders that I go to the best and well experienced doctors in Taiwan. I
am now looking forward to turning 76 years and I thank God for keeping me safe, he said.

The nature of his illness has not been publicly revealed.

See also

See also

KINGDOM BOTTOM IN WORLD HEALTH RANKING


NURSES PICKET FOR HEALTH SUPPLIES
KING PARTIES AS SICK GO UNTREATED

Swazi health crisis: blood runs out


21 June 2017

In another twist in the ongoing health crisis in Swaziland, the kingdoms blood bank has run
dry, putting at risk patients who are suffering from leukaemia, cancer of the blood, skin and
lung cancer.

The APA news agency reported on Friday (16 June 2017) chief laboratory technologist at the
Blood Bank, Gugu Maphalala said the demand of blood had gone up in recent years due to
increases in diseases and blood was flowing out of the bank quicker than it came in.

The Ministry of Health has turned to inmates in correctional facilities for blood but APA
reported some people were against this as they said it was against certain standards.

There has been a health crisis in Swaziland for several months as medicines in public
hospitals and health clinics ran out because the Swazi Government failed to pay suppliers.

Minister of Health Sibongile Ndlela-Simelane in a paper presented to the Swaziland Senate


last Monday (12 June 2017) said, This has reduced the quantity of commodities that
suppliers are able to deliver before payment.

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The Swazi Observer newspaper reported, Substantiating her point, Simelane said the
suppliers had decried governments failure to pay on time, stating that they also had suppliers
that they too had to pay and this act by government was destroying their relationship.

The Minister said more drugs were now being delivered.

Swazi circumcision drive failing


21 April 2017

As the discredited campaign to circumcise men in Swaziland to prevent HIV infection


continues to fail, two government ministries are now targeting schoolboys.

A Back to School 2017 campaign has been launched in by the Ministry of Health and the
Ministry of Education in partnership. It aims to help get 80 percent of Swazi males
circumcised by 2022. Schoolboys will be sensitised to the supposed-need to have their
foreskins cut off to prevent HIV infection.

The target that 80 percent of Swazi males between ages 15 and 49 should be circumcised was
made in 2010 when the Accelerated Saturation Initiative (ASI) was introduced into the
kingdom with the aim of reaching the goal within a year.

The programme, a partnership between the Swazi Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and
the US-based Futures Group, was then extended to March 2012 when initial efforts failed to
achieve the targeted results and only about 20 percent - or 32,000 - people were circumcised
through the programme. The figure for the number of males in the targeted age range is not
easily available but there are estimated to be 384,171 males aged between 15 and 65 in
Swaziland. US$15.5 million was spent on the programme, or US$484 per circumcised male.

In 2015, the deadline to reach the target was extended to 2018. Now, that deadline has been
extended further to 2022. The Swazi Ministry of Health reported 96,487 males had been
circumcised since 2009.

The male medical circumcision programme which has been introduced in a number of
countries in Africa, but not in developed countries such as the United States or in Europe, is
based on a claim that removing the foreskin helps to prevent the spread of HIV. However,
evidence does not support this.

A report called Levels and spread of HIV seroprevalence and associated factors:
evidence from national household surveys published by USAID, for example, which
studied 22 developing countries, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, found, There appears no
clear pattern of association between male circumcision and HIV prevalence - in 8 of 18

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countries with data, HIV prevalence is lower among circumcised men, while in the remaining
10 countries it is higher.

In Swaziland, even before the ASI was started in 2010, the Government of Swaziland knew
circumcision had no effect on the rate of HIV in the kingdom. The Swaziland Demographic
and Health Survey (SDHS) of 2007 reported the infection rate for circumcised males was 22
percent while for those uncircumcised it was 20 percent, which suggested that circumcision
did not prevent HIV spreading.

The Swaziland Government has signed up for circumcision in a big way since 2010, even
announcing that newly born babies, who have no say in the matter, were expected to be cut.

People in Swaziland are being misled into believing that circumcision can help, when the
international medical community continues to debate whether there is any evidence that it
can. An internationally-based organisation called Doctors Opposing Circumcision (DOC)
published a lengthy report in which it urged that Both the public and the medical community
must guard against being overwhelmed by the hyperbolic promotion of male circumcision.

DOC reported that there is no clear evidence as to the effects of circumcision.

See also

HAS SWAZI KING BEEN CIRCUMCISED?


CIRCUMCISION AND HIV PREVENTION

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11 CORRUPTION

Swaziland riddled with corruption


26 June 2017

Swaziland is riddled with corruption in both private and public places, according to a new
report. Public officials take bribes to avoid regulations and the law, it states.

The results of grand corruption are there for all to see in the ever increasing wealth of high-
level civil servants and officers of state, the report from the Open Society Initiative for
Southern Africa (OSISA) states.

It adds, For a long time the police, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Commerce,
Industry and Trade as well as the Department of Customs and Excise have often been
implicated in corrupt practices.

It gives many examples including the case of the government propaganda organisation
Swaziland Broadcasting and Information Service (SBIS) where E 1.6 million (US$120,000)
was paid to service providers for the maintenance of a machine that was neither broken nor in
use. The officer who authorised the bogus job cards has since been promoted and transferred
to another government department.

The report called The effectiveness of anti-corruption agencies in Southern Africa states,
This type of behaviour is common albeit covert and therefore difficult to monitor as goods
and services are undersupplied or rerouted for personal use. The results of grand corruption
are there for all to see in the ever increasing wealth of high-level civil servants and officers of
state.

It adds, It has been suggested that Swaziland has no less than 31 millionaires who are junior
government officials. In 2005, the then minister of finance Majozi Sithole estimated that
corruption was costing the Swazi economy approximately E40 million a month.

The report authored by Maxine Langwenya states, Poor people who suffer as a result of
corruption took the ministers statement as confirmation of the extent to which the country
was being driven to bankruptcy through corrupt activities. The corrupt public officials
thought the minister was exaggerating the extent of corruption while academics were
sceptical of the statement as the minister did not provide a basis for his assertion.

The ministers statement was significant in so far as it highlighted the fact that the economy
of the country was being undermined by corrupt activities.

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The report states, In the past, ministers have been found by a parliamentary select committee
to have acted in a manner that is tantamount to theft of state property. The ministers had
allocated themselves and subsequently bought land belonging to the state at ridiculously
low prices without competing with other would-be buyers. The land was given to the
ministers at below market value.

The matter was never pursued by the Anti-Corruption Commission.

The report goes on, In 2015 Judge Mpendulo Simelane stated that he had been approached
by the former Minister of Justice Sibusiso Shongwe and told that judges could and should
make money from cases over which they presided. The then Minister of Justice is then said to
have asked the Judge to preside in a case of wealthy business people who were suing the
Swaziland Revenue Authority for goods they had imported. The then Minister is said to have
told the Judge that the business people were willing to pay about E2 million for help in
winning the case.

Shongwe suggested that Simelane should preside in the case and explained how the E2
million would be shared between the parties. Simelane and Shongwe were subsequently
arrested by the Anti-Corruption Commission and charged with corruption but charges were
subsequently dropped against Simelane. Simelane remains on suspension while Shongwe is
presently out on bail. This case illustrates how the Swazi justice system was abused to settle
political scores and make it complicit with the actions of corrupt public officials.

See also

EX-JUSTICE MINISTER ARRESTED AGAIN


SWAZI EX-JUSTICE MINISTER TOOK BRIBE
ANTI-CORRUPTION DEPUTY CHARGED

Civil servants misuse poverty funds


20 June 2017

Public servants in Swaziland have been accused of using funds meant to alleviate poverty for
themselves. More than E16 million (US$1.1 million) may have been misspent.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was told the money was meant for the Community
Poverty Reduction Fund (CPRF) but more than 40 workers including teachers, police
officers, soldiers and government officials had siphoned off funds for their own purposes.

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The Swazi News reported on Saturday (17 June 2017), even officials from the Ministry of
Tinkhundla Administration and Development who were the custodians of the fund, had
taken a piece of the pie.

The fund was set up in 2010 and as soon as it was established each of them applied for loans,
and seven years later, a majority of them have not paid even a cent back.

The newspaper reported, Instead of starting business projects, some of the officers used the
funds to pay for their childrens university fees in South Africa.

Two thirds of the people in Swaziland continued to live below the poverty line, Amnesty
International reported in February 2017. Around half the population said they often went
without food and water, and over a third said that medical care was inadequate.

In Swaziland, nearly seven in 10 of the kingdoms 1.3 million people have incomes of less
than $US2 a day. Meanwhile, King Mswati III, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas
last absolute monarch lives a lavish lifestyle, with at least 13 palaces, fleets of top-of-the-
range Mercedes Benz and BMW cars and at least one Rolls Royce. He has a private jet
airplane and is soon to get a second.

See also

NO LET UP IN SWAZI POVERTY


GOVT SELLS MAIZE DONATED FOR HUNGRY

Swazi Government fuel scandal


9 May 2017

A government vehicle in Swaziland used 608 litres of diesel in one day and another 743 litres
the day after.

This was one of the scandals unearthed in a report to the Swazi parliament. The Isuzu Double
cab 4x4 was said to have been filled up with at least 500 litres a day on many other occasions.
About 50 vehicles are said to have been filled up in the same way, the Swazi Observer
reported on Thursday (4 May 2017).

This was revealed in Parliament during a sitting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC),
which investigates how government ministries spend state funds.

The Isuzu was under the control of the Ministry for Tinkhundla Administration.

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The committee was also told that the Ministry of National Defence and Security had spent
E143 million (US$10.6 million) on fuel during the 2015/2016 financial year when it was
budgeted for E58 million.

PAC Chairperson Thuli Dladla said there was something grossly wrong with the control of
government vehicles. She said this was happening in almost all the government ministries.

See also

MINISTER LIFTS LID ON CURRUPTION


SWAZI PMs LAND SCAM RESURFACES

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12 ELECTION 2018

Widows can stand in Swazi election


12 April 2017

Widows in Swaziland are allowed to stand in the 2018 nation elections but if they are elected
they must stay away from King Mswati III.

In the past, widows have been discriminated against at election time because Swazi custom
dictates women in mourning are not allowed to hold public office.

Elections and Boundaries Commission commissioner Ncumbi Maziya told a voter education
meeting at Bulandzeni Chiefdom that women in mourning had a constitutional right to stand
for election.

However, the Swazi Observer (3 April 2017) reported, He said a person wearing a mourning
gown was not allowed to be near His Majesty the King. If a certain constituency elected a
person in such a situation, it was highly possible that the woman could not attend the
Parliament opening event, where the King would also be in attendance. Maziya said that was
when a woman would have to exercise conscience by at least standing by the gate of
Parliament, to avoid being near the King.

There was a major row at the election in 2013 when Dumisani Dlamini a chiefs headman in
Ludzibini, an area ruled by Chief Magudvulela a former Swazi Senator, threatened people
would be banished from their homes if they nominated Jennifer du Pont, a widow, for the
upcoming election.

The Times Sunday reported at the time, [Dlamini] warned that those who would nominate
her should be prepared to relocate to areas as distant as five chiefdoms away. Her sin was that
she attended the nominations only a few months after her husband died.

The newspaper reported, He said she should still be mourning her husband.

The Times reported Du Pont did not wear standard black mourning gowns and was dressed in
a blue wrap-around dress known as sidvwashi.

Enough people in the chiefdom defied Dlamini and Ms du Pont was duly nominated.

Elsewhere, during the primary elections nomination held in August 2013, an 18-year-old
woman was denied the chance to be nominated to stand for parliament because she attended
the nomination centre dressed in jeans and a t-shirt.

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In another case a woman was not allowed to nominate a candidate because she was wearing
cargo pants.

See also

WOMAN IN PANTS BANNED FROM ELECTION

Ritual murders rise at election time


29 June 2017

Swazilands Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) has called for an end to ritual
killings around voting time.

The EBC is concerned about reports of people mysteriously disappearing across the kingdom.
There has been evidence of ritual murders in past elections.

Voters go to the polls for the national election in 2018 at a date yet to be set by King Mswati
III who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch. The EBC is touring
the kingdom in a series of voter education meetings.

At KaLanga in the Lugongolweni constituency EBC educator Cynthia Dlamini said ritual
murder reports increased during election time.

The Swazi Observer reported on Monday (26 June 2017), Dlamini said this was one belief
driven by lunacy which, tarnishes the image of the country in the process. She said the
commission condemns such beliefs and called for intensive investigations against those who
would be suspected of ritual killings.

At the last election in 2013, The Swaziland Epilepsy Association warned that cases of the
abduction of epileptic people always increased during elections.

Mbuso Mahlalela from the association told the Swazi Observer at the time it was common
that during the time of elections the vulnerable were targeted and abducted. He spoke after a
report that a 13-year-old epileptic boy might have been abducted for ritual purposes.

The number of ritual murders increases during election year. Before the previous election in
2008 a march by civil society groups to draw attention to the problem was banned by the
government amid fears that it would bring bad publicity to Swaziland and might embarrass
King Mswati, who had spoken out against the practice.

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The Times of Swaziland reported at the time the march had been motivated by the mystery
disappearances and murders of women. Some of these had been found mutilated fuelling
speculating that they were related to rituals.

Some Swazi people believe body parts can be used as muti which is used to bring good
fortune to candidates at the election and help them to win seats in parliament.

In 2008, it was strongly rumoured in Swaziland that the reason why members of the
government wanted to ban discussion on the ritual murders was that some of them had
themselves used muti to get elected.

See also

ELECTION: RITUAL MURDERS WILL RISE


SWAZI GOVT BANS MURDERS MARCH
FURY AT SWAZI MURDER MARCH BAN
MORE ANGER OVER SWAZI MARCH BAN

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13 LGBTI

Kingdom faces LGBTI rights review


1 May 2017

Swazilands discrimination against LGBTI people is being put under scrutiny by a United
Nations group.

Swaziland, which is ruled by King Mswati III, as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch,
signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in 2004, which
protects the rights of LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) people among
others.

Now, after making no progress, Swaziland has been given a series of questions to answer by
the ICCPR Human Rights Committee ahead of a review in July 2017.

ICCPR wants to know what measures in law and practice are in place to protect persons
from discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity, including
in housing and employment, and to promote tolerance.

It added, Please provide information on complaints regarding violence against lesbian, gay,
bisexual, transgender and intersex persons and any investigations and prosecutions pursued,
punishments imposed on offenders and reparations to victims.

It also wants to know when same-sex relationships between men will be legalised in
Swaziland.

Discrimination against LGBTI people in Swaziland is rife. In May 2016, Rock of Hope,
which campaigns for LGBTI equality in Swaziland, reported to the United Nations Universal
Periodic Review on Swaziland that laws, social stigma and prejudice prevented LGBTI
organisations from operating freely.

It stated, As a result, the few organisations that seek to advance the rights and welfare of
LGBTI people, such as House of Our Pride and Rock of Hope, are forced to operate under a
fiscal sponsor, usually a larger organisation dealing with HIV/AIDS or gender issues to avoid
official scrutiny. Rock of Hope which has been successful at acquiring formal registration did
so under a cloud of fear to fully disclose their full mandate and nature of their beneficiaries
being LGBTI persons whose existence is denied and prohibited by the state.

The report to the UNUPR was presented by Rock of Hope jointly with three South African-
based organisations.

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The report added, In Swaziland sexual health rights of LGBTI are not protected. There is
inequality in the access to general health care, gender affirming health care as opposed to sex
affirming health care and sexual reproductive health care and rights of these persons. HIV
prevention, testing, treatment and care services continue to be hetero-normative in nature
only providing for specific care for men born as male and women born as female, thereby
leaving out trans men and women as an unprotected population which continues to render the
states efforts at addressing the spread and incidence of HIV within general society futile.

The report added, There is no legislation recognizing LGBTIs or protecting the right to a
non-heterosexual orientation and gender identity and as a result LGBTI cannot be open about
their orientation or gender identity for fear of rejection and discrimination. For example, the
Marriage Act, only recognizes a marriage or a union between a man and a woman. Because
of the absence of a law allowing homosexuals to conclude neither marriage nor civil unions,
same-sex partners cannot adopt children in Swaziland.

In 2011, HOOP (House of Our Pride), a support group for LGBTI people in Swaziland,
reported to the United Nations that discrimination against LGBTI people in the kingdom was
rife and extended to workplaces, the churches and even on to the streets.

In a submission to the United Nations Universal Review on human rights in Swaziland,


HOOP said, It is a common scene for LGBTI to be verbally insulted by by-passers in public
places. [There is] defamatory name calling and people yelling out to see a LGBTI persons
reproductive part are some of the issues facing LGBTI in Swaziland.

Faith houses have been known to discriminate against LGBTI, advocating for the alienation
of LGBTI in the family and society, while maintaining that these LGBTI are possessed by
demons.

In one of the first reports of its kind detailing sexual orientation discrimination in Swaziland,
HOOP revealed, LGBTI are hugely discriminated against in the community, as they are not
recognized at community meetings and their points are often not minuted at these meetings
nor are they allowed to take part in community services.

Police often ridicule LGBTI people if they report they have been victims of violent crime.

In its 2016 report to the United Nations Universal Periodic Review, Rock of Hope made
seven recommendations to the Swazi Government, including to review laws that undermine
LGBTI persons rights in particular and human rights in general especially as they conflict
with the Constitution; and to ensure prosecution of State agents who commit human rights
violations against LGBTI individuals and their organizations.

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See also

LESBIAN AND GAY MURDERS IN SWAZILAND


SWAZI MINISTER LIES TO UN ON GAYS
GAY PREJUDICE RIFE IN SWAZILAND
COMMUNITY POLICE BANISH GAY MEN
NO RIGHTS FOR GAYS: JUSTICE MINISTER
PRESS VILIFIED OVER LESBIANS DEATH

Senate snubs LGBTI health report


15 June 2017

Senators in Swaziland threw out a motion to make a report on access to health facilities for
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and/or intersexual (LGBTI) people because it was
discrimination in favour of them.

The Swazi Observer reported, on Tuesday (13 June 2017), Senator Phumelela, who was very
critical of the motion, said she wanted to know from the mover if people of the LGBTI
community suffered sicknesses different from heterosexual people.

Is their flu different from our flu, because I dont understand why they would need special
treatment if they get sick the same way that we do, she said. She further urged senators to be
wary of this motion because it would come back to haunt the nation one day.

It added, When throwing out the motion the senators said it was discriminatory from where
they were standing as the mover was calling for the special treatment of the LGBTI
community in health facilities.

Senator Lindiwe Ngwenya, who moved the motion for a report, said LGBTI people were,
met with resistance when visiting health facilities as nurses and doctors had an attitude
towards them.
The Observer reported, She further stated that it was important that they also get appropriate
access to health facilities like heterosexual people if the country was serious about fighting
illnesses like cancer and HIV.

Ngwenya further substantiated that LGBTI people were also normal human beings who had
to be afforded equal rights as enshrined in the constitution of the land and one of such was
access to health facilities.

The Times of Swaziland reported the debate threw the Senate into chaos. It said, As they
made their submissions, the senators turned the House into a place of laughter as they would
use examples to describe how LGBTIs engaged in sexual games, which they said was wrong

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and put them at risk of infections. The senators were also agitated by Ngwenyas submission
that LGBTIs were a creation of God.

It added, The statement turned the debate away from its initial focus on access to health,
with Ngwenyas colleagues demanding to know the Bible verse which talked about sexual
orientation as Gods creation, while there was also a question on whether it was procedural to
use the name of the Almighty when debating in Parliament. I heard the mover saying that
these people were created by God, which means that even their sexual orientation is Gods
creation, which according to me is a big mistake. Akasikhombise leli-verse (she must show us
the verse), submitted Senator Prince Fipha.

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14 HUMAN RIGHTS ROUND UP

UN probes Swaziland on human rights


27 April 2017

Swaziland signed a major international agreement on human rights in the kingdom 13 years
ago, but since has not reported on progress.

Swaziland ratified the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR) in 2004 and its initial report on progress was due by 2005. After such a long delay,
the Human Rights Committee has scheduled the review of the kingdom in the absence of
report. This review will take place in July 2017.

Swaziland is ruled by King Mswati III as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch.
Political parties are banned from taking part in elections and the King choses the government,
the top judges and major public servants.

Andrea Meraz, Programme Manager at Covenant on Civil and Political Rights-Centre, said,
Few countries are reviewed by the Human Rights Committee in absence of State report.
Swaziland will be one of these. Hopefully this review will foster Swazilands engagement
with the treaty bodies.

Swaziland has been presented with a list of 24 issues, including the relationship between
King Mswati III and the Swazi Constitution, the 1973 State of Emergency decree that took
power for the monarch, and the banning of political parties from elections.

Questions are also asked about protection from all forms of discrimination in the public and
private sectors in areas such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other
opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, disability, sexual orientation, gender
identity, and to ensure the application of those measures in customary law.

The document states, Please comment on the information before the Committee that the
State party [Swaziland] is a country of origin, transit and destination for men, women and
children trafficked for sex and forced labour, that forced and child labour are prevalent in the
country and that orphans are particularly affected.

Swaziland is asked to explain Chapter 4 of the Constitution which provides for different
treatment between men and women regarding the acquisition and transfer of Swazi
citizenship. One questions states, Please specify the measures taken to ensure that
discrimination against women is prohibited under customary law, both in law and practice.

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It asks for information and statistics on deaths in police custody and by security forces and on
the Game Act 1991, which gives conservation police personnel (game rangers) immunity
from prosecution for killing any person suspected of having poached.

It wants to know whether torture is specifically criminalised in Swaziland and what rights a
person taken into police custody has, including the maximum period of detention before an
individual is brought before a judge.

Ahead of the review, CCPR-Centre visited Swaziland from 4 to 8 April to facilitate a


consultation with civil society organisations and to meet with key stakeholders, including the
Permanent Secretary of the Minister of Justice, Executive Director of the National Human
Rights Commission, the UN resident coordinator and the United States and European Union
Ambassadors.

In a statement, CCPR-Centre said the Permanent Secretary of the Minister of Justice had
agreed to provide answers to the 24 issues.

See also

SADC URGED TO ACT ON SWAZI RIGHTS


SWAZI HUMAN RIGHTS WORSEN: AMNESTY
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH ON SWAZILAND
SWAZI HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD KILLS AGOA

Swazi court orders wife to have sex


7 April 2017

A woman has been ordered by a magistrate in Swaziland to have sex with her husband within
seven days or face divorce.

Her husband had gone to court to seek a divorce on the grounds his wife was no longer giving
him his conjugal rights.

The Manzini Magistrate Phathaphatha Mdluli ordered her to have sex with her husband or the
divorce would be granted, the Swazi Observer newspaper reported last Wednesday (29 March
2017).

In 2013, King Mswati III who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute
monarch, told his subjects that divorces were not permitted in marriages made under Swazi
Law and Custom. Only death, the King said, could bring a customary marriage to an end.

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The King also said married women should seek the consent of their husbands in everything
they did.

The Times of Swaziland, the kingdoms only independent daily newspaper reported (12
August 2013), The King said he was aware that there were complaints from some quarters
who argue that the country was being taken backwards by instances where women were
turned back by certain institutions because they came seeking help without the involvement
of their husbands.

It is not a problem to involve your husband in everything you do. Instead, this is meant to
show cooperation between the two of you. If a woman is allowed to do things all by herself,
that would create disharmony within the family, said the monarch.

More workers join sugarcane union


19 May 2017

More workers in Swazilands sugarcane industry are joining a trade union, following
international condemnation of their working conditions.

The Swaziland Agricultural and Plantations Workers Union (SAPAWU) is reported to have
made a positive impact to the workers. In one case at a farm with 70 employees, 50 have
joined the union, the Swazi Observer newspaper reported on Friday (12 May 2017).

In 2016, the International Trade Union Congress (ITUC) published a report called, King
Mswatis gold: Workers rights and land confiscation in Swazilands sugar sector.
The ITUC said King Mswati III, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute
monarch, was one of the chief exploiters of workers. It said sugarcane production had
brought about more human suffering than development in Swaziland. Many people had been
evicted from land and the general conditions in the sugar industry were atrocious.

The opening sentences of the ITUC report said, On 12 April 1973, King Sobhuza II decreed
a national state of emergency thereby assuming total control over all aspects of Swazi public
life. Political parties were banned and political activism was criminalised. Though the state of
emergency was lifted in 2005, little has changed. The royal family has used Tibiyo Taka
Ngwane, established in 1968 as a development fund, as the means to control the Swazi
economy and to amass a large fortune.

Tibiyo Taka Ngwane controls the sugar industry in Swaziland.

The ITUC report added, The King is the sole trustee of Tibiyo and the fund is immune from
all judicial review. As such, Tibiyo is able to compete unfairly in the economy, undermining
local business and discouraging much-needed foreign investment (FDI).

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It added, However, for workers employed in the sugar industry, the sector has no such lustre;
instead, workers live in extreme poverty despite long hours and hard work generating wealth
for the King. Trade union activities are highly repressed, and laws such as the Sedition and
Subversive Activities Act, 1938, Public Order Act of 1963 and the Suppression of Terrorism
Act of 2008 are used to suppress trade union activity.

On trade union recruitment, SAPAWU Secretary General Mancoba Dlamini, told the Swazi
Observer, Workers have realised how much they benefit from joining hard unions as their
voices are heard, they can either work in the sugar fields or offices, as they are affected in the
same way.

He added that most of the workers were adamant about joining unions especially because
their managers threatened and victimised them.

See also

HUMAN SUFFERING AND SWAZI SUGAR


KING EXPLOITS SUGAR WORKERS

Firefighters ordered to church


24 May 2017

Firefighters in Swaziland are angry that they are being forced by their bosses to attend
Christian church services.

A memo has been issued to stations across the kingdom advising that staff should attend
Tuesday fellowship services.

The Observer on Saturday newspaper in Swaziland reported (20 May 2017) the memo from
Chief Fire Officer Dumisani Khumalo read in part, Officers-in-Charge are commanded to
give support to these services by motivating officers under their command to attend these
services. Such services headquarters consider them playing a major role such as counselling
in various social problems encountered by officers. It also promotes unity among the
workforce fraternity. However, headquarters is compelled to request for your support towards
the success of these fellowship services.

The newspaper reported that some firefighters felt they were being forced to follow the
Christian religion and this was against their constitutional rights.

One firefighter was reported by the newspaper saying, We cannot, therefore, have someone
forcing down Christianity to us. It would have been better if the fellowship was conducted in

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such a way that all the religions are followed so that we also have the Muslims, the Bahais
and those that believe in ancestors all accommodated, he said.

Forcing people to follow Christianity is contentious in Swaziland where King Mswati III
rules as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch. In January 2017 a directive was issued
by the Swazi Government which is handpicked by the King that Christianity was to be the
only religion taught in schools.

The move was considered to be against the spirit, if not the letter, of the Swazi Constitution.
When the 2005 Constitution was being drafted, it was decided not to insist that Swaziland
was a Christian country. This was to encourage freedom of religion.

Lawyers for Human Rights spokesperson Sabelo Masuku said although Swaziland was
predominantly Christian, the Government had to consider the Swazi Constitution which made
it clear there was freedom of religious choice.

See also

SCHOOLS RELIGIOUS TEACHING SHAKE-UP


SCHOOLS RELIGION BAN PROTESTS GROW

Boost for pro-democracy campaign


19 June 2017

Officials of Swazilands best known prodemocracy party PUDEMO have met with the
Economic Freedom Fighters in South Africa to try to reignite the campaign for democracy in
the kingdom.

The Times of Swaziland, the kingdoms only independent daily newspaper, reported on
Friday (16 June 2017) the campaign would be coordinated under the hashtag
#FreeSwaziland.

The Times which does not support the movement for democracy in Swaziland where King
Mswati III rules as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch reported, In the past, a
similar campaign had been characterised with marches that sometimes resulted in violent
confrontations with the police.

International human rights organisations such as Human Rights Watch take a different view.
In its World Report 2016, it said 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.

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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.

The STA was regularly used by the police to interfere in trade union activities, Action for
Southern Africa (ACTSA) said in a submission to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action
Group (CMAG) in 2015.

Amnesty International has criticised of Swaziland for the continued persecution of peaceful
political opponents and critics by the King and his authorities. 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 Swaziland political parties are not allowed to contest elections. The people are only
allowed to select 55 of the 65 members of the House of Assembly, with the King appointing
the others. No members of the 30-strong Swaziland Senate are elected by the people.

PUDEMO the Peoples United Democratic Movement along with all other prodemocracy
groups is banned in Swaziland under the Suppression of Terrorism Act

Mlungisi Makhanya, the Secretary General of PUDEMO, confirmed to the newspaper that a
meeting had taken place.

See also

SWAZI TRIALS POLITICALLY MOTIVATED: AMNESTY

Chief threat to ban single mothers


22 June 2017

A chief in Swaziland has threatened too banish all single mothers from the area he rules over.

This was to ease the burden to the community of children born out of wedlock, local media
reported.

The Observer on Saturday (17 June 2017) said Chief Somtsewu Motsa of Lushishikishini
called a meeting of all single mothers, pastors and those known to have impregnated girls
without marrying them.

The newspaper reported, Reliable sources said the traditional authorities were threatening to
evict anyone to be seen to defy the chiefs order.

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It added, The traditional leadership is said to have issued the order for all single mothers and
pastors to attend without fail the meeting and failure to do so meant eviction from
Lushikishini.

The newspaper could not get a comment from the chief.

Chiefs in Swaziland are the representative of King Mswati III who rules the kingdom as sub-
Saharan Africas last absolute monarch. Swazi chiefs have enormous power and it is through
chieftaincies that the King maintains control of his people and chiefs do his bidding at a local
level. People know not to get on the wrong side of the chief because their livelihood depends
on his goodwill. In some parts of Swaziland the chiefs are given the power to decide who gets
food that has been donated by international agencies. The chiefs quite literally have power of
life and death in such cases with about a third of the population of Swaziland receiving food
aid each year.

Chiefs can and do take revenge on their subjects who disobey them. There is a catalogue of
cases in Swaziland. For example, Chief Dambuza Lukhele of Ngobelweni in the Shiselweni
region banned his subjects from ploughing their fields because some of them defied his order
to build a hut for one of his wives.

Nhlonipho Nkamane Mkhatswa, chief of Lwandle in Manzini, the main commercial city in
Swaziland, reportedly stripped a woman of her clothing in the middle of a street in full view
of the public because she was wearing trousers.

In November 2013, the newly-appointed Chief Ndlovula of Motshane threatened to evict


nearly 1,000 of his subjects from grazing land if they did not pay him a E5,000 (about
US$500 at the time) fine, the equivalent of more than six months income for many.

Chiefs are given stipends by the national treasury, but not salaries, and community members
pay their allegiance to chiefs by weeding and harvesting their fields, and constructing the
traditional mud and thatch huts usually found at chiefs homesteads.

See also

KINGS DEFIANT SUBJECTS WILL BURN


CHIEF FORCES SUBJECTS TO GREET KING
CHIEFS THREAT TO EVICT 1,000 PEOPLE
BULLYING CHIEFS RULE IN SWAZILAND
CHIEF MAKES WOMAN IN PANTS STRIP

Students want scholarships for all

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11 May 2017

Students in Swaziland have launched a campaign for scholarships for all. They want the
Swazi Government to reverse a decision taken seven years ago to prioritise courses and cut
scholarships by 60 percent.

Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS) President Brian Sangweni told a Workers
Day celebration students needed support from workers who were the taxpayers in this
campaign.

Students want all students admitted to higher learning institutions to have scholarships,
regardless of the programme they are doing or the institution they are in.

See also

GOVERNMENT CHASES STUDENTS BEYOND GRAVE


ACTIVIST STUDENT DENIED SCHOLARSHIP

Swazi Govt fails on poverty: Oxfam


5 May 2017

Swaziland has just been named as the most unequal country in the world, in a report from the
globally-renowned charity Oxfam.

The analysis was published to coincide with the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa in
Cape Town, South Africa, attended by King Mswati III who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan
Africas last absolute monarch.

The report called Starting With People, a human economy approach to inclusive growth
in Africa detailed the differences in countries between the top most earners and those at the
bottom.

The report stated that getting an accurate picture of inequality in developing countries where
data collection is poor is extremely difficult as big earners do not fully report their earnings.

It reported that the Brookings Institute recalculated the Gini coefficient, which is a way that
inequalities in wealth is measured, to take into account some of this previously-missing
wealth. The new calculation put Swaziland as the most unequal country in the world.

The government, which is handpicked by King Mswati, had failed, the Oxfam report stated. It
said it failed to put measures in place to tackle inequality, with poor scores for social
spending and progressive taxation, and a poor record on labour rights.

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The extent of poverty in Swaziland has been reported extensively outside of the kingdom. In
its annual report on human rights in the kingdom, published in March 2017, Amnesty
International said two thirds of the people in Swaziland continued to live below the poverty
line and that around half the population said they often went without food and water, and
over a third said that medical care was inadequate.

In Swaziland, nearly seven in 10 of the kingdoms 1.3 million people have incomes of less
than $US2 a day. Meanwhile, King Mswati III lives a lavish lifestyle, with at least 13 palaces,
fleets of top-of-the-range Mercedes Benz and BMW cars and at least one Rolls Royce. He
has a private jet airplane and is soon to get a second.

Amnesty reported that Swazilands human rights record was examined under the UN
Universal Periodic Review process and a number of concerns were raised.

They included the need to address barriers in access to primary education; the reintegration
of girls into the education system after giving birth; non-discriminatory access to health and
education services irrespective of perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity;
and the need for measures to be taken to combat and eradicate forced labour.

See also

PM GETS IT WRONG ON POVERTY


ECONOMY: IMPOSSIBLE TO CUT POVERTY
GOVERNMENT MISLEADS ON POVERTY
SWAZI POVERTY: MINISTERS LIE TO UN
HUGE RISE IN SWAZI KINGS BUDGET
KING GETS NEW JET AS PEOPLE STARVE
SWAZIS AMONG HUNGRIEST IN THE WORLD
KING PARTIES, HIS SUBJECTS GO HUNGRY

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15 NATIONAL AIRLINE
End of Swazilands national airline
6 April 2017

A grand plan by Swaziland to create a national airline has crashed after it became clear the
tiny kingdom could not afford a single aircraft.

Even so, E20 million had been spent on leasing a 29-year-old Boeing 737-300 that never
once flew commercially. In addition, an estimated E750,000 a month continues to be paid to
airline staff who have no work to do.

Swazi Airline was intended to replace the already defunct Royal Swaziland National
Airways. The plan to launch the new airline came after the opening of King Mswati III
(KM3) Airport. The airport, built in the wilderness in southeast Swaziland about 70 km from
a major city, was the brainchild of the King, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas
last absolute monarch.

The airport that was originally named Sikhuphe was dubbed a white elephant and vanity
project by critics outside the kingdom. The cost of building the airport will never be known,
but estimates are that it cost at least E300 million.

The airport officially opened in March 2014 and since then the only passenger-carrying
airline to use it has been Swazi Airlink, which is part-owned by the Swazi Government.
Despite repeated promises from the Swaziland Civil Aviation Authority (SWACAA) that
there was interest from major international airlines to fly into KM3, none have down so.

In December 2015, the Sunday Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, and
described by the Media Institute of Southern Africa in a review on media freedom in the
kingdom, as a pure propaganda machine for the royal family reported, that Swazi Airway
would fly to 10 countries once it had become fully operational. The destinations were the
United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Ethiopia, Zambia, Rwanda, South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania,
Uganda and Botswana.

At the end of March 2017 it became clear that the kingdom could not afford the airline. Swazi
Airlines decided to drop its lease on the Boeing, but was left with a E6 million debt to the
company that leased it.

During a debate on the Swaziland budget senators decided to freeze an allocation of E16
million for the airline, amid accusations of bad management and corruption. Members of the
House of Assembly called for a progress report on the airline after three months.

See also
PROOF: KINGS AIRPORT POINTLESS
AIRLINK FORCED TO USE KINGS AIRPORT
AIRPORT MOVE WILL BANKRUPT AIRLINK

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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 taught in universities in Africa, Europe and the Pacific for more than 25 years. 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 now works as an independent researcher and writer.

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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 free of charge here.

Volume 20: October to December 2015 is available free of charge here.

Volume 21: January to March 2016 is available free of charge here.

Volume 22: April to June 2016 is available free of charge here.

Volume 23: July to September 2016 is available free of charge here.

Volume 24: October to December 2016 is available free of charge here.

Volume 25: January to March 2017 is available free of charge 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

Volume 11, November 2013, is available free of charge here

Volume 12, December 2013, is available free of charge here

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Swazi Media Commentary

Containing information and commentary about


human rights in Swaziland

Click Here

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