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Swaziland:

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

Volume 27: July to September 2017


SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

CONTENTS

Introduction 2
1 Police 3
2 King Mswati III 23
3 Hunger 31
4 Children 36
5 Ten years of Swazi Media Commentary 43
6 Election 2018 48
7 Student protests 53
8 Women 60
9 Reed Dance 63
10 King Mswati III Airport 66
11 Financial crisis 69
12 Independence Day 71
13 Media 74
14 Prisons 77
15 Workers rights 81
16 Human rights 88
17 New research 97
About the author 101
Other publications from Swazi Media Commentary 102
Occasional paper series 103
Previous editions 104
About the author

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

INTRODUCTION

Hunger is sweeping across Swaziland and vital medicines are running out as the Swazi
Government continues to mismanage the kingdoms economy. Universities and colleges are
closed as armed police clear campuses as students protest against unpaid allowances and poor
educational standards.
Meanwhile, the 49-year-old King Mswati, Swazilands absolute monarch, is to take a 19-
year-old as a bride. It is his 14th wife (or his 15th, the Swazi people are not allowed to know).
These are some of the reports in the latest compilation from the Swazi Media Commentary
website, coving the three months from July to September 2017. Police continue to be out of
control using heavy-handed tactics against legitimate protests and spying on all sections of
the community, including parliamentarians. Wardens in jails sexually assault male prisoners
and children at school receive illegal corporal punishment: one boy lost an eye during a
classroom caning.
There are problems ahead in the kingdom which has one of the worst human rights records in
the world. A new Public Order Act allows the state to further clamp down on dissent. Anyone
who defaces a picture of the King could end up in jail for two years.
Swazi Media Commentary is published online, updated most weekdays. It is operated entirely
by volunteers and receives no financial backing from any organisation. It is devoted to
providing information and commentary in support of human rights in Swaziland.

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1 POLICE
Swazi Police praise African despot
4 July 2017

Swaziland Police have applauded King Mswati III, the kingdoms absolute monarch, for a
deal he has done with Equatorial Guinea, a country with one of the worst human rights and
corruption records in the world.
The Police also praised the Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo
for a joint training arrangement of police recruits between the two countries.
Royal Swaziland Police, which has its own poor human rights record will train 30 cadets
from the country. This is the renewal of a deal that dates back to 2012.
This is even though police in Equatorial Guinea use excessive force and torture, according
to a United States report on human rights in the country.
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, reported (23 June 2017)
Swaziland National Commissioner of Police Isaac Magagula saying, We thank His Majesty
King Mswati III and His Excellency President Nguema Mbasogo for their wisdom in
facilitating the sharing of centres and best practice in police for the global growth and
development, as no country can possibly be self-sufficient.
The newspaper added, He said the arrangement is characteristic of the wisdom and foresight
of the two heads of state.
Equatorial Guinea is nominally a multiparty constitutional republic but since a military coup
in 1979, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has dominated all branches of
government in collaboration with his clan and political party, the Democratic Party of
Equatorial Guinea (PDGE), which he founded in 1991, according to a human rights report for
2016 published by the US State Department.
He received a claimed 93.7 percent of the vote in an election in 2016 that was considered
neither free nor fair, the report stated.
It added, The most significant human rights problems in the country were disregard for rule
of law, including police use of excessive force and torture, denial of freedom of speech, and
widespread official corruption.
Reviewing security force activities in 2016, the report said, Police, gendarmes, and military
personnel were ineffective and corrupt, and impunity was a problem. Security force
members, who often were inebriated on the job, extorted money from citizens and foreigners
at police checkpoints and during routine traffic stops. The government did not maintain
effective internal or external mechanisms to investigate security force abuses.
It added, Police raids continued on immigrant communities, who make up 15 percent of the
population. Reliable sources reported that police abused, extorted, or detained many legal as
well as irregular immigrants during such raids. Police occasionally used excessive force to
detain and deport immigrants.

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King Mswati has a long-standing relationship with Equatorial Guinea. In 2012 it was
announced he had done a deal with the President of Equatorial Guinea to import crude oil
into his kingdom. The oil would be refined into consumer products such as petrol, kerosene,
asphalt and chemical reagents.
However, Swaziland had no oil refineries, and still does not.
The Times of Swaziland reported at the time Thembinkosi Mamba, Principal Secretary in the
Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy, saying the Swazi Government had plans to build
its own refinery so that, in future, the crude oil would be brought directly to Swaziland for
refinement and separation, thereby, cutting down on costs.
The King entertained the President of Equatorial Guinea to try to impress upon him that his
kingdom was a place worth investing in.
In September 2011 the presidents son Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue visited Swaziland.
While he stayed at five-star Royal Villas Resort he had his bag stolen containing US$2.5
million in bank notes.
Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue is now (June 2017) on trial in Paris, France, on charges of
embezzlement of public funds and money laundering. CNN reported, (23 June 2017)
Prosecutors say hes amassed a fortune, including an opulent mansion near the Champs-
Elysees, along with Bugattis, Ferraris and an Aston Martin. He also allegedly spent millions
of dollars on pricey European art and jewelry.
He also owns a yacht named Ice, which reportedly costs about US$800,000 a month to
maintain, according to an article in the French newspaper Le Monde.
Obiang, 47, serves as his fathers vice president and earns about US$100,000 a year in that
role, according to his lawyer, Emmanuel Marsigny.
His lawyer told CNN, He is accused of money laundering for investing or spending funds in
France that would come from offenses committed in Equatorial Guinea.
CNN also reported In 2014, the United States agreed to a settlement following allegations
that Obiang used money plundered from his country to amass assets such as a Malibu
mansion, a private jet and Michael Jackson memorabilia.
Under the settlement, the Justice Department allowed Obiang to keep a Gulfstream jet and
most of his Michael Jackson collection, including the white glove from Jacksons Bad
world tour. Those assets were not in the United States, the Justice Department said, but they
could be subject to seizure if they ever come to the country.
At the time, Obiang disputed the US allegations and said the assets, including a US$30
million Malibu mansion, were purchased with proceeds from his businesses. He admitted no
wrongdoing in the settlement.
As part of the settlement, Obiang had to sell the Malibu mansion, a Ferrari and pay US$20
million to a charity that benefits the people of Equatorial Guinea. Under the settlement, the
US government kept about US$10 million.

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See also

VERY CRUDE SWAZI OIL DEAL


HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSER VISITS KINGDOM
SWAZI POLICE AND THE AFRICAN DESPOT
SWAZI COPS TRAIN HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSERS
NEWSPAPERS DO GOVERNMENTS BIDDING

Police traumatise rape victims


7 July 2017

Rape victims in Swaziland say their plight is not being treated seriously by police and often
they are simply dropped off at hospital and made to find their own help.
This comes at a time when there have been 1,082 rapes reported in Swaziland since 2015.
Swaziland is said to have the fourth highest rate of rape in the world.
The trauma associated with reporting a rape case is causing some people to turn back and
deal with their ordeal on their own, local media reported.
A nurse at the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital told the Sunday Observer newspaper in
Swaziland (2 July 2017). Children, even adults, leave after waiting for assistance for hours
and I cannot say I blame them.
The newspaper detailed one rape victim who reported her case to police and was taken to
hospital wo hours later.
The newspaper reported, On arrival, she was dropped off at the emergency gate from
whence she had to find her way through the hospital after the police pointed her to the
general direction.
Not knowing the correct procedure she waited in line to be examined by a nurse. The
Observer reported, In the midst of the patients waiting to see nurses was a schoolgirl, in full
uniform, dirty and beaten up, also an alleged survivor of sexual assault. It was only after
several hours of waiting, in her bloody and mud caked clothes that the survivor was assisted
and taken to the Gender Based Violence (GBV) Unit ,which was recently constructed.
A teacher at a primary school in the outskirts of Manzini told the newspaper she had assisted
a pupil who had been attacked on her way to school and took her to hospital. The process of
getting the rape reported is traumatising the survivors, the teacher said. The confusion and
helplessness that comes with such violation is further confounded by the process that it takes
for one to get
The teacher added, On reaching the hospital, having secured transport on a taxi, we were
told to go to the police station first in order to enable her to be attended as assault and rape
cases only get attention after being reported to the police. She said they were sent from one
police post to another and finally had to wait two hours before being taken to hospital.

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The teacher said, If the experience was this traumatic for me as a person assisting, how much
more those who go to the police without assistance and get haphazard reception?
According to the National Commissioner of Police Isaac Magagula 1,082 rape cases were
reported in Swaziland since 2015. He told a gender based violence campaign organised by
the Catholic Church Commission for Justice and Peace (Caritas) in Hlatikulu on 1 July 2017
rape could be tackled by doing away with apathy and the culture of silence which fuelled
such crimes.
Rape is common in Swaziland and often goes unreported. Rape of a wife by her husband is
legal in Swaziland under Indigenous Swazi Law and Custom. A man can also legally rape his
lover. This is contained in a document called The Indigenous Law and Custom of the
Kingdom of Swaziland (2013) compiled by Professor Frances Pieter Whelpton, a Professor
of Law at the University of South Africa and delivered to King Mswati III.
The Times of Swaziland reported (3 August 2016) , Under Chapter 7, which addresses
offences (emacala) in Swaziland, rape is said to be committed only if the woman forced is not
the mans wife or lover.
In 2015, a report from A US organisation ABCNewspoint stated that Swaziland had the
fourth highest rate of rape in the world. It said there were 77.5 registered cases of rape among
100,000 people.
Rape and sexual abuse of children is common in Swaziland. In 2008, Unicef reported that
one in three girls in Swaziland were sexually abused, usually by a family member and often
by their own fathers - 75 percent of the perpetrators of sexual violence were known to the
victim.
Many men in Swaziland believed was all right to rape children if their own wives were not
giving them enough sex. In 2009, men who were interviewed during the making of the State
of the Swaziland Population report said they salivate over children wearing skimpy dress
codes because they are sexually starved in their homes.

See also

CUSTOM LAW LETS HUSBANDS RAPE WIVES


IN SWAZILAND, CHILD RAPE NOT UNUSUAL
TWISTED SWAZI MEN RAPE CHILDREN

Police criminality probe shelved


13 July 2017

Senators in Swaziland have abandoned an investigation into criminal offences by police


officers because it could put the kingdom in a bad light internationally.
It comes at a time when a United Nations group is demanding answers from Swaziland about
police, torture and human rights.

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A motion by senators had wanted the Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini to investigate what
local media called, the alarming rate of criminal offences allegedly committed by members
of the Royal Swaziland Police service.
The Times of Swaziland reported (30 June 2017) that the PM was to be asked to see if the
presently available disciplinary sanctions against police officers were effective enough to
ensure the force had the publics confidence.
The Times reported, almost all the senators spoke in one voice that it was not the right time
to call for such an investigation. Swaziland had recently been given a seat in the governing
body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and senators felt it would look bad to be
investigating police at such a time.
Meanwhile, a United Nations group is investigating the use of torture by police in
Swaziland.
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.
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.
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.

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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

POLICE STEAL ILLEGAL DRUGS TO SELL


HORROR TALE OF SWAZI POLICE TORTURE
POLICE BRUTALLY ASSUALT WORKERS
MORE POLICE TORTURE IN SWAZILAND

Female cop sat on suspects face


10 August 2017

A security guard told a court in Swaziland a female police officer sat on his face and other
officers assaulted him after they accused him of stealing motor parts.
Vusi Thwala of Mahamba said the officer told him, You will eat what you have never eaten
before.
Thwala was giving evidence before Principal Judge Qinisile Mabuza in Mbabane. He said he
was accused of stealing motor parts and fuel at the Central Transport Administration (CTA)
Depot in Nhlangano where he works.
The Times of Swaziland reported on Friday (4 August 2017) Thwala told the court that he
was taken to a forest by the police in January 2012 where they assaulted him and ordered him
to reveal where the stolen items were kept. He was choked and assaulted with kicks and
stones.
Thwala was arrested but discharged for lack of evidence. He is suing the government for
unlawful arrest, detention and assault. He said because of the assault he still suffers from
chest pains and his left ear still troubles him.
There are numerous reports of police torture in Swaziland. In March 2017, A man accused of
multiple murders told a court he was tortured by police for 11 days to force him to confess.
He said he was suffocated with a tube and assaulted all over his body, resulting in many
serious injuries. The alleged attack was said to have taken place at Lobamba Police Station,
the Manzini Magistrates Court was told.
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.

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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.

See also

HORROR TALE OF SWAZI POLICE TORTURE


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

Police shoot-up drink-drivers car


11 August 2017

At least 15 armed police officers in Swaziland shot at an suspected drink-driver leaving his
car riddled with more than 20 bullet holes, a newspaper in the kingdom reported.
According to the Times of Swaziland (8 August 2017) the police chased a BMW sedan. The
newspaper reported the driver Wandile Bhembe, aged 30, saying he had not seen the traffic
cops because they had the headlights of their cars switched off. It happened in Manzini,
Swazilands main commercial city.
He said he heard gun shots. When I looked back, I saw vehicles being driven without lights
on and people shooting at my car. Realising that my life was in danger, I sped off and the cars
pursued me until I got to the Ngwane Park bridge, the Times reported Bhembe saying.

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A bullet burst one of his tyres, he lost control of the car and it crashed into a tree.
The Times reported, At the time, the team of uniformed police officers parked their vehicles
and allegedly used their pistols to break the vehicle windows.
The Times reported Bhemebe saying, While trying to open the door and preparing to get off,
the cops dragged me into a nearby drainage and severely assaulted me all over the body using
fists, kicks and open hands.
Bhembe ended up in hospital with injuries all over his body, especially to his head, mouth
and chest, the Times reported.
Swazi police have a long history of shooting civilians in the kingdom where King Mswati III
rules as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch.
In November 2015 they shot a man at close range after he overturned rubbish bins and then
ran away from them. The Times of Swaziland, reported at the time that a 21-year-old man had
been suspected of throwing rubbish in the road and pelting vehicles with stones. The
newspaper said, he was shot by police at close range after refusing to board their vehicle.
In October 2015 police fired guns and teargas at workers engaged in a legitimate protest
against employment conditions at the Zheng Yong Garment factory in Nhlangano.
A plain-clothed policeman shot an unarmed man in the back killing him while on a public bus
in February 2014. The man had allegedly stolen some copper wire before boarding the bus,
travelling from Siteki, in eastern Swaziland to Manzini. The Times Sunday newspaper
reported at the time the driver of the bus Majahonke Zikalala said, the man was attempting
to force his way out of the bus, the police officer shot him in the back, near the spine the
man fell on the floor after which he was handcuffed while he bled. He died of his injures at
the scene.
In March 2013, Swaziland police shot a man dead in front of his 11-year-old child as he held
his hands up in an attempt to surrender to them. Thokozani Mngometulu, aged 31, was killed
as he got out of his car at his homestead in Dlakadla, in the Shiselweni region of Swaziland.
Thokozanis family, who also witnessed the killing, say he was shot in the pelvis at close
range by a police officer.
In June 2012, a serial rapist suspect Bhekinkhosi Masina, popularly known as Scarface, was
shot by police as they cornered him for arrest. Police say they only shot him in the thigh and
he unexpectedly died of his injuries. The Times of Swaziland newspaper later revealed he had
been shot six times, including in the head and back.

In July 2012, a mentally ill man, Mduduzi Mngometulu, aged 34, was shot seven times by
police and died of his injuries. He had four holes in his stomach, one in the leg and two bullet
wounds on the left side of his chest.

These are not isolated incidents in Swaziland where police across the kingdom have a
growing record of killing or maiming suspects before arrest. The cases have largely gone
unreported outside of the kingdom itself.

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In one example, police executed a suspect, Thabani Mafutha Dlamini, at Nkwalini in


Hlatikulu in the presence of his colleagues and home boys in what local media called
cowboy style. The Swazi Observer newspaper reported the incident in December 2011
saying, Police had previously warned the mother of the dead man to budget for funeral
expenses as they intended to remove him. He was said to be on a police wanted list.
Dlamini was unarmed.

In a separate case in February 2011, a Swazi policeman shot Mbongeni Masuku, described in
media as a Form IV pupil, in the head in what was later described as an execution-style
killing. The killing happened outside a bar in Matsapha, an industrial town in Swaziland.
Masukus uncle Sigayoyo Maphanga said Mbongeni had been dragged out of his car by
police. He told the Swazi Observer, a policeman whom he named, shot my nephew at the
back of the left ear and he fell on the ground with blood oozing from his mouth and ears. We
were all shocked and angered by such brutality from police officers.
In May 2011, Mathende Matfonsi was shot dead by police while he was attending a field of
dagga (marijuana) inside the remote forests of Lomahasha near the border with Mozambique.
His family accused the police of cold-blooded murder. Matfonsi was shot dead at
Ebhandeni, the same area where Nkosinathi Khathwane had previously been shot dead by
soldiers at night.

In March 2010, police shot a man as he was trying to surrender to them. This time the victim,
Mncedisi Mamba, did not die. His mother Thoko Gamedze said Mamba had his hands up and
was surrendering to police, but they shot him anyway.

It is not only crime suspects who get shot at. In June 2013, police fired live bullets and
teargas as children protested against alleged corruption at Mhubhe High School in Ngculwini
Police were called after school pupils boycotted classes.

See also

POLICE SHOOT SURRENDERING MAN


SWAZI POLICE MURDER SUSPECT
POLICE EXECUTE SUSPECT IN STREET
SWAZI POLICE SHOOT-TO-KILL AGAIN
POLICE SHOOT AND KILL MENTALLY ILL MAN
POLICE SHOT ACCUSED RAPIST IN HEAD
POLICE SHOOT-TO-KILL ON BUS
POLICE KILL SURRENDERING MAN
TEXTILE PROTEST: POLICE FIRE GUNS
SWAZI POLICE SHOOT-TO-KILL
HORROR TALE OF SWAZI POLICE TORTURE

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Police drive against sex workers


12 August 2017

Police have clamped down on sex workers operating on the streets of Swaziland. At least
thirty have been given jail sentences with the option of a fine.
The arrested women say they have to do this work as they are unemployed and will go
hungry.
The move has caused the Swazi police chief to defend his officers action, saying they are
only upholding the law.
Towns including the Swaziland capital Mbabane and the main commercial city Manzini have
been targeted.
The arrested sex workers were give jail sentences of four months with the option of an E400
fine. In Swaziland seven in ten people have incomes less than E26 a day.
Lawyers for Human Rights in Swaziland said the arrests of the women was discriminatory
because only the women and not their male clients were targeted. The arrests contravened the
Swaziland Constitution which stated all people were equal under the law.
The Times of Swaziland reported on Tuesday (8 August 2017), Well-known human rights
lawyer Sipho Gumedze pointed out that the Crimes Act, in terms of which the sex workers
were charged, was a legislation that was enacted during the dark years when black people
were still considered subhuman by the colonial white settlers.
National Commissioner of Police Isaac Magagula responded to media criticism of the police
action. The Swazi Observer on Tuesday quoted him saying, As long as laws prohibiting
prostitute activities in the land are still there, dont blame us when cracking the whip as it is
our mandate to see to it that such laws are enforced.
Manzini South Constituency Member of Parliament Owen Nxumalo who is also the Minister
of Public Services told the Times of Swaziland newspaper that women could be helped away
from prostitution through the Regional Development Fund. We have a fund that is aimed at
alleviating poverty among the constituents and it can be accessible to them instead of
engaging in sex work, which will end up being a drain to the country financially, the
newspaper quoted him saying.

In May 2017 it was reported that poverty-stricken parents of girls as young as fourteen were
giving them to soldiers for sex in exchange for food.
In July 2016 it was reported that women temporary employees at Swazilands Central
Statistics Office (CSO) had been forced to have sex with their bosses to keep their jobs.

See also

SOLDIERS SEX FOR FOOD WITH GIRLS, 14

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Swazi policemen rape sex workers


15 August 2017

Swazilands police chief Isaac Magagula has denied his officers use sex workers without
paying. His comment came when he said prostitutes were an infestation of our cities.

Police have been clamping down against female sex workers across the kingdom. At least 30
have appeared in court and been given jail sentences or fines.
In a statement published in Swazi media on Sunday (13 August 2017) National
Commissioner of Police Isaac Magagula said it was wrong to say that sex workers, are
targeted because of sour grapes that police officers are failing to pay for services rendered.
He did not state that police officers did not use the services of prostitutes. Prostitution is
illegal in Swaziland.
There is a lot of evidence that policeman in Swaziland use prostitutes. One of the few surveys
done on female sex workers listed police officers among their commonest clients.
Separately, in 2010, Alec Lushaba, then editor of the Weekend Observer newspaper in
Swaziland, wrote, In a country known for its skyrocketing HIV and AIDS rates,
conservatism, Christianity and traditional mores, it may come as a surprise that the abuse and
rape of sex workers in Swaziland at the hands of police is a growing and widespread
problem.
Sex work, known as one of the oldest trades, is still illegal in the country, yet sex workers
have reported targeted campaigns of rape and violence at the hands of Swazi police.
In an article published by Gender Links, Lushaba wrote, A recent report by Swaziland
Action Group Against Abuse (SWAAGA), in partnership with other local organisations,
noted: It is not just that they are arrested, to a greater or lesser degree they are forced by
police to comply with demands for free sex or sex in exchange for not being arrested.
27 percent of the sex workers have at some point been arrested by state police for loitering.
60 percent of those arrested end up being sexually and physically abused by the police.

Police execute man cowboy style


22 August 2017

Police in Swaziland executed a suspect cowboy style when they shot him at point blank
range, a local newspaper reported.
Siboniso Door Mdluli, aged 22, of Maseyisini, was gunned down on Friday evening (18
August 2017) but was only found dead the next day.
The Swazi Observer reported on Monday, It is believed he died as a result of excessive
bleeding. It is said police riddled him with bullets as he was fleeing while they were trying to
arrest him.

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It happened when police raided the home of Mdlulis girlfriend. They were searching for him
in connection to an alleged armed robbery and illegal possession of a firearm.
The newspaper reported, It is said the police identified themselves and bulldozed their way
inside and dragging Mdluli out. The mission involved two plain clothed police officers armed
with an R4 rifle and a pistol.
The Observer added, They told him they were acting on a tipoff after he was said to have
pointed a firearm at someone threatening to shoot them, a source said. It was then that the
whole house was ransacked and things turned upside down with the hope of finding the gun.
However, no firearm was found. The police then dragged Mdluli out and proceeded with
him to their vehicle which was parked within the yard. Mdluli resisted and tried to flee.
The Observer reported, Just when he was a short distance away the police opened fire and
hit him on the back just below the buttocks. He is said to have not stopped and continued
running. He disappeared in the thick of the night and with the police chasing after him.
He reportedly crawled until he reached another homestead situated over a kilometre away
from the scene, trying to seek help.
However, he found all houses locked since it was late in the night. He then sprawled behind
one of the houses, where he was found dead [by residents the next morning].
Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Khulani Mamba said
the deceased got shot while he was escaping a lawful arrest, the newspaper reported.

Police spy on pensioners meeting


25 August 2017

Old folk in Swaziland kicked out two police spies from their Pensioners Association
meeting.
In Swaziland, where King Mswati III rules as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch,
public gatherings are strictly monitored.
It happened, according to the Times of Swaziland, the kingdoms only independent daily
newspaper, at the Roman Catholic Church Hall, in Mbabane, the kingdoms capital. The
meeting was for retired civil servants.
Two plain-clothed officers one male and on female were spotted by pensioners attending
the meeting and forced to leave.
Chairman of the association Osvart Sukati was reported by the newspaper on Wednesday (24
August 2017) saying, I bravely kicked them out because even culturally, children are not
supposed to sit among elders when they have a meeting.
The newspaper reported, Former District Commissioner Elliot Mkhatshwa bluntly stated that
the police had sent spies to illegally solicit information from them.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

The Swazi Observer reported the following day, Chief Police Information and
Communication Officer (CPICO) Khulani Mamba said they were surprised to learn that the
police officer was chucked out of the meeting. It is our normal duty to be present in
meetings because we are interested in the safety and security of the state.
We thought the pensioners would educate the police on what the issues they were
deliberating in the meeting and allow him to sit and listen. Its also not correct to say these
people were sent by the commissioner as this is our normal duty, Mamba said.
The Observer also reported that the pensioners had passed a resolution demanding National
Commissioner of Police Isaac Magagula be charged for disrespecting them by sending
informants to their meeting.
Swaziland has a long record for denying freedom of association and assembly in the
kingdom.
In 2016, a report by Human Rights Watch revealed King Mswati had failed to keep a promise
made to the United Nations in 2011 to change repressive laws.
At a United Nations Human Rights Council Working Group on the Universal Periodic
Review of Swaziland, Swaziland had agreed to [a]lign the national legislation with
international standards to guarantee freedom of assembly and association, in particular as
regards the notification of the organization of peaceful assemblies.
In a report to the Working Group in May 2016, Human Rights Watch stated, The [Swazi]
government has yet to repeal, or amend as appropriate, a number of repressive laws that
restrict basic rights guaranteed in Swazilands 2005 constitution, including freedom of
association and assembly. On the contrary the government has intensified restrictions on
these rights over the past four years. The laws in need of amendment include the 2008
Suppression of Terrorism Act (STA), the 1938 Sedition and Subversive Activities Act, and
the 1963 Public Order Act.
Police have sweeping powers under the Public Order Act. The kings 1973 decree banning
political parties remains in force despite repeated calls from local political activists to have it
revoked. The constitution does not address the formation or role of political parties. Section
79 of the constitution provides that Swaziland practices an electoral system based on
individual merit and excludes the participation of political parties in elections.
Traditional leaders and chiefs have powers to restrict access to their territories, and have
often used these powers to bar civil society groups and political groups like the Ngwane
National Liberatory Congress (NNLC) and the Peoples United Democratic Movement
(PUDEMO) from having meetings, recruiting, or any kind of presence in their areas. In 2011
PUDEMO challenged in court the governments refusal to register political parties but the
court said PUDEMO has no legal standing to approach the court as it did not exist as a legal
entity.
The Suppression of Terrorism Act (STA) places severe restrictions on civil society
organizations, religious groups, and the media because it includes in the definition of
terrorist act a wide range of legitimate conduct such as criticism of government, enabling
officials to use the provisions of the Act to target perceived opponents of the government.

15
SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

The government has also misused the STA to target independent organizations by accusing
them of being terrorist groups, and harassed civil society activists through abusive
surveillance and unlawful searches of homes and offices.
Individuals who have been targeted for arrest or prosecution under the STA include the
leaders of Peoples United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) and Swaziland Youth
Congress (SWAYOCO) who were arrested and detained under the STA in 2014. Police
arrested PUDEMO leader Mario Masuku in May 2014, on terrorism charges for criticizing
the government in a speech on May 1. At the time of writing Masuku was out of jail on bail
pending the outcome of his trial. If convicted, he could serve up to 15 years in prison.
Police used violence to halt May Day celebrations organized by trade unions in May 2013.
In March 2015 police beat leaders of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers and
prevented them from hold a meeting ostensibly because the discussions would have included
calls for multi-party democracy.

Police spies back on the streets


25 September 2017

Police in Swaziland disguised as news reporters have been spying on prodemocracy activists,
a newspaper reported.
It is only one incident in a long history of spying in the kingdom that includes members of
parliament, pensioners and journalists as victims.
The Sunday Observer in Swaziland reported (24 September 2017) that plain-clothed
undercover police were at a march of public servants in the Swazi capital Mbabane on
Wednesday.
The newspaper called it spying and said it had happened before at other public
demonstrations, They [police] are always plain clothed and carry traditional journalistic tools
including cameras and notebooks, the newspaper reported.
It added police took video and still photographs of marchers. The newspaper speculated that
these might be used to later track down and intimidate participants. The march was legal.
A police spokesman said they were not spying because the march took place in a public
place.
Swaziland, which is ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch,
has a long history of spying by police, Army and state forces. In Swaziland political parties
are banned from taking part in elections and prodemocracy advocates are prosecuted under
the Suppression of Terrorism Act.
In August 2017 it was reported that police infiltrated a Pensioners Association meeting to
make notes on proceedings.
In June 2017, some senior politicians in Swaziland reported fears their phones were being
tapped. One also thought his car might be bugged.

16
SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

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 had 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.
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. 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.
In 2012, it came to light that the Swaziland Army had attempted to buy cameras and phone
monitoring equipment worth US$1.25 million. 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.
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.

17
SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

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
POLICE SPIES INFILTRATE MEDIA
AFP JOURNALISTS PHONE BUGGED
STATE POLICE SPY ON SWAZI MPs
SECURITY FORCES SPY ON CANDIDATES
POLICE SPIES INFILTRATE MEDIA

Police block democracy meeting


12 September 2017

Police stopped a pro-democracy meeting taking place in Swaziland. They said they had not
given organisers permission to meet.
It happened on Friday (8 September 2017) during a Global Week of Action for democracy in
the kingdom ruled by absolute monarch King Mswati III.
About 100 people reportedly intended to meet at the Mater Dolorosa School (MDS) in the
kingdoms capital, Mbabane. The Observer on Saturday, a newspaper in effect owned by
King Mswati, reported that proscribed pro-democracy groups led by the Swaziland United
Democratic Front tried to meet.
In Swaziland groups advocating for multi-party democracy are banned under the Suppression
of Terrorism Act.
The Observer reported a police spokesperson saying the meeting was unlawful.
Superintendent Khulani Mamba told the newspaper the organisers had not sought permission
to meet from the police and therefore it was illegal.
Meetings on all topics are routinely banned in Swaziland. In 2013,the Open Society Initiative
for Southern Africa (OSISA) reported that Swaziland police and state security forces had

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

shown increasingly violent and abusive behaviour that was leading to the militarization of
the kingdom.
OSISA told the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) meeting in
The Gambia, There are also reliable reports of a general militarization of the country through
the deployment of the Swazi army, police and correctional services to clamp down on any
peaceful protest action by labour or civil society organisations ahead of the countrys
undemocratic elections.
Again in 2013, after police broke up a meeting to discuss the pending election, the meetings
joint organisers, the Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF) and the Swaziland
Democracy Campaign (SDC) said Swaziland no longer had a national police service, but
instead had a private militia with no other purpose but to serve the unjust, dictatorial,
unSwazi and ungodly, semi-feudal royal Tinkhundla system of misrule.
In April 2015, a planned rally to mark the anniversary of the royal decree that turned
Swaziland from a democracy to a kingdom ruled by an autocratic monarch was abandoned
amid fears that police would attack participants. In February of that year In February and
March, large numbers of police disbanded meetings of the Trade Union Congress of
Swaziland (TUCOSWA), injuring at least one union leader.
In 2014, police illegally abducted prodemocracy leaders and drove them up to 30 kilometres
away, and dumped them to prevent them taking part in a meeting calling for freedom in the
kingdom. Police staged roadblocks on all major roads leading to Swazilands main
commercial city, Manzini, where protests were to be held. They also physically blocked halls
to prevent meetings taking place. Earlier in the day police had announced on state radio that
meetings would not be allowed to take place.
In 2012, four days of public protest were planned by trade unions and other prodemocracy
organisations. They were brutally suppressed by police and state forces and had to be
abandoned.
In 2011, a group using Facebook, called for an uprising to depose the King. State forces took
this call seriously and many prodemocracy leaders were arrested. Police and security forces
prevented people from travelling into towns and cities to take part in demonstrations. Again,
the protests were abandoned.

See also

SWAZI POLICE NOW A PRIVATE MILITIA


SWAZILAND BECOMING MILITARY STATE
POLICE THREAT TO DEMOCRATIC STATE

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Police killing: family demand answers


17 September 2017

The family of the man who was killed at point blank range in cowboy style by Swaziland
police are calling for an inquiry.
They say Siboniso Brian Mdluli (22), was assassinated by trigger happy police officers for no
apparent reason, according to a local media report.
On 21 August 2017 a newspaper in Swaziland reported, It is believed he died as a result of
excessive bleeding. It is said police riddled him with bullets as he was fleeing while they
were trying to arrest him.
It happened when police raided the home of Mdlulis girlfriend. They were searching for him
in connection to an alleged armed robbery and illegal possession of a firearm.
The Swazi Observer reported on Tuesday (12 September 2017), The family members have a
strong feeling that their son was not incidentally killed, but he was assassinated by the same
police officers who arrived at the girlfriends rented house.
It added, It is unclear as to why the police opened fire other than claims that Mdluli was
escaping from lawful arrest, but another version was that he was shot at close range.
After the fatal shot, it is said Siboniso died and his body was found the following morning.
The Observer reported, The family also believes the killing of their son was deliberate as
they (police) did not make any attempt to find out what happened after the fatal bullet hit the
target but they decided to leave, only for the deceased to be found by residents at a
neighbours yard.
It added, The deceaseds uncle Thulani Mbuyisa said as a family they need an explanation as
to why the police brutally killed their son.
He said the family was still in pain as they were not expecting such a thing to happen and
such brutality by police was a tip of an iceberg as it was now clear that many innocent lives
have been lost as a result of police being trigger happy.
They (police) assassinated him and that is a fact and we do not want to believe Siboniso,
young as he was, could overcome armed police officers.
The newspaper added, He said even after the body was found, when searched, no firearm or
any live round of ammunition were found except for E15.10 which was found in the pair of
jeans he was wearing.
Swazi police have a long history of shooting civilians in the kingdom where King Mswati III
rules as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch.
In November 2015 they shot a man at close range after he overturned rubbish bins and then
ran away from them. The Times of Swaziland, reported at the time that a 21-year-old man had
been suspected of throwing rubbish in the road and pelting vehicles with stones. The
newspaper said, he was shot by police at close range after refusing to board their vehicle.

20
SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

In October 2015 police fired guns and teargas at workers engaged in a legitimate protest
against employment conditions at the Zheng Yong Garment factory in Nhlangano.
A plain-clothed policeman shot an unarmed man in the back killing him while on a public bus
in February 2014. The man had allegedly stolen some copper wire before boarding the bus,
travelling from Siteki, in eastern Swaziland to Manzini. The Times Sunday newspaper
reported at the time the driver of the bus Majahonke Zikalala said, the man was attempting
to force his way out of the bus, the police officer shot him in the back, near the spine the
man fell on the floor after which he was handcuffed while he bled. He died of his injures at
the scene.
In March 2013, Swaziland police shot a man dead in front of his 11-year-old child as he held
his hands up in an attempt to surrender to them. Thokozani Mngometulu, aged 31, was killed
as he got out of his car at his homestead in Dlakadla, in the Shiselweni region of Swaziland.
Thokozanis family, who also witnessed the killing, say he was shot in the pelvis at close
range by a police officer.
In June 2012, a serial rapist suspect Bhekinkhosi Masina, popularly known as Scarface, was
shot by police as they cornered him for arrest. Police say they only shot him in the thigh and
he unexpectedly died of his injuries. The Times of Swaziland newspaper later revealed he had
been shot six times, including in the head and back.

In July 2012, a mentally ill man, Mduduzi Mngometulu, aged 34, was shot seven times by
police and died of his injuries. He had four holes in his stomach, one in the leg and two bullet
wounds on the left side of his chest.

These are not isolated incidents in Swaziland where police across the kingdom have a
growing record of killing or maiming suspects before arrest. The cases have largely gone
unreported outside of the kingdom itself.

In one example, police executed a suspect, Thabani Mafutha Dlamini, at Nkwalini in


Hlatikulu in the presence of his colleagues and home boys in what local media called
cowboy style. The Swazi Observer newspaper reported the incident in December 2011
saying, Police had previously warned the mother of the dead man to budget for funeral
expenses as they intended to remove him. He was said to be on a police wanted list.
Dlamini was unarmed.

In a separate case in February 2011, a Swazi policeman shot Mbongeni Masuku, described in
media as a Form IV pupil, in the head in what was later described as an execution-style
killing. The killing happened outside a bar in Matsapha, an industrial town in Swaziland.
Masukus uncle Sigayoyo Maphanga said Mbongeni had been dragged out of his car by
police. He told the Swazi Observer, a policeman whom he named, shot my nephew at the
back of the left ear and he fell on the ground with blood oozing from his mouth and ears. We
were all shocked and angered by such brutality from police officers.
In May 2011, Mathende Matfonsi was shot dead by police while he was attending a field of
dagga (marijuana) inside the remote forests of Lomahasha near the border with Mozambique.
His family accused the police of cold-blooded murder. Matfonsi was shot dead at

21
SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Ebhandeni, the same area where Nkosinathi Khathwane had previously been shot dead by
soldiers at night.

In March 2010, police shot a man as he was trying to surrender to them. This time the victim,
Mncedisi Mamba, did not die. His mother Thoko Gamedze said Mamba had his hands up and
was surrendering to police, but they shot him anyway.

It is not only crime suspects who get shot at. In June 2013, police fired live bullets and
teargas as children protested against alleged corruption at Mhubhe High School in Ngculwini
Police were called after school pupils boycotted classes.

22
SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

2 KING MSWATI III

Swazi king wrong on constitution


17 August 2017
King Mswati III, Swazilands absolute monarch, mislead when he told a television reporter
that the constitution in his kingdom was the will of the people.
In fact at the time the 2005 constitution was being drafted, the International Bar Association,
a group invited by King Mswati to make comments, called it flawed and a fraud.
King Mswati said in an interview with the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)
uploaded to the Internet on Monday (14 August 2017), When we created the constitution,
this constitution which went around the people of this country, every Swazi participated...
was invited to come make a submission in terms of how you want to see your constitution of
this country, even when the constitution was drafted before it was actually adopted. It also
was to give back to the nation, to read, and everyone was able to be given a chance to make
submissions and to comment... this was a process that took some years, so we finally have a
product of after nine years of consultation.
He also said Swaziland was a democratic nation in the sense that it is people driven. It is not
a one person state. It is the people saying this is how we want to be governed.
The King and his supporters have maintained for years that the Swazi Constitution is
legitimate and the will of the people. However, the International Bar Association , a group of
experienced lawyers, was called in by King Mswati III in 2003 to comment on the first draft
of the constitution. It called the process flawed and reported that one critic went so far as to
call it a fraud. The resulting report called Striving for Democratic Governance was stark in
its criticism of both the process of consultation on the constitution and the wording of the
document itself.
One of the IBAs main conclusions was that the position and powers of some stakeholders
in Swaziland including the Monarchy are in effect actually placed above the Constitution
and its principles.
The IBA studied what was going on during the drafting process, which was controlled by the
Constitutional Review Commission (CRC).
The CRC did not allow the judiciary or NGOs to contribute to the drafting process and
ensured that individual Swazi people were interviewed in the presence of their chiefs. As a
result the overwhelming majority wanted the King to keep all his powers and wanted the
position of traditional advisers to the King to be strengthened. They also wanted Swazi
customs to have supremacy over any international rights obligations.
The IBA report states, The terms of reference of the Commission did not allow expressly for
group submissions, and as apparently they were not entertained, NGOs per se were
effectively prevented from commenting. The IBA panel considers that, unfortunately, this in
itself deprived the CRC of much valuable input.

23
SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

The IBA report goes on, The CRC also faced a number of practical problems. There were
disputes between local chiefs, collecting views during the rainy season in Swaziland was
difficult, and several Commission members resigned.
The extent to which individual Swazis were consulted has also been questioned. The CRC
did not keep records of the submissions it received and media coverage of submissions was
apparently banned.
There is therefore no formal record of how Swazi citizens presented their views and of what
in fact they said to the CRC.
Furthermore, information was elicited in a highly charged atmosphere. Individuals were
reportedly asked, in the presence of chiefs, whether they wanted to retain the King and
whether they preferred political parties.
The CRC report states that there is a small minority which recommends that the powers of
the monarchy must be limited and continued that an overwhelming majority of the nation
recommends that political parties must be banned.
The report concludes that an overwhelming majority recommends that the system of
Government based on the Tinkhundla must continue and, as well as the ban on political
parties being maintained, that the executive powers of the King should be maintained, the
position of traditional advisers to the King strengthened, and Swazi customs have supremacy
over any contrary international rights obligations.
In November 2007 the Swaziland High Court ruled that documents pertaining to the drafting
process could not be made available for public scrutiny, thereby allowing the ruling elite to
maintain the fiction of full consultation.
Under the constitution the monarchy remains above the law and political parties are banned.
Many organisations have called for Swazilands constitution to be rewritten to make the
kingdom more democratic.
In July 2008 the European Union declined an invitation to monitor the Swaziland national
election later that year because, it said, it was clear the kingdom was not a democracy. Later,
it suggested a wholesale review of the constitution was in order.
In November 2008 the Commonwealth Expert Team, which had monitored the election
called for a review because the elections were not credible since political parties were banned
in Swaziland. It said that the review should be carried out through a process of full
consultation with Swazi political organisations and civil society (possibly with the support of
constitutional experts).
After the most recent national election in 2013, the African Union (AU) mission that
observed it called for fundamental changes in the kingdom to ensure people have freedom of
speech and of assembly. The AU said the Swaziland Constitution guaranteed fundamental
rights and freedoms including the rights to freedom of association, but in practice rights
with regard to political assembly and association are not fully enjoyed. The AU said this was
because political parties were not allowed to contest elections.

24
SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

The AU urged Swaziland to review the Constitution, especially in the areas of freedoms of
conscience, expression, peaceful assembly, association and movement as well as international
principles for free and fair elections and participation in electoral process.
In 2015, following a visit to Swaziland, a Commonwealth mission renewed its call for the
constitution to be reviewed so the kingdom could move toward democracy.
In its report on the 2013 elections, the Commonwealth observers recommended that measures
be put in place to ensure separation of powers between the government, parliament and the
courts so that Swaziland was in line with its international commitments.
They also called on the Swaziland Constitution to be revisited.
The report stated, This should ideally be carried out through a fully inclusive, consultative
process with all Swazi political organisations and civil society (needed, with the help of
constitutional experts), to harmonise those provisions which are in conflict. The aim is to
ensure that Swazilands commitment to political pluralism is unequivocal.
It also recommended that a law be passed to allow for political parties to take part in
elections, so as to give full effect to the letter and spirit of Section 25 of the Constitution, and
in accordance with Swazilands commitment to its regional and international commitments.

See also

POLL OBSERVERS: REWRITE CONSTITUTION


SWAZILAND PM CONSTITUTION LIES
SWAZIS DID NOT CHOOSE POLITICAL SYSTEM

Swazi Kings torrid life with wives


22 September 2017

Confirmation that King Mswati III, aged 49, is to take a teenager as his latest wife shines the
spotlight firmly on the Kings marital history.
His latest choice is Siphelele Mashwama, aged 19, who is the daughter of a Swaziland
Cabinet minister, Jabulile Mashwama. In 2013 the King chose an 18-year-old former beauty
pageant contestant Sindiswa Dlamini as his wife. Both the teenagers are younger than some
of the Kings own children.
There is some confusion as to whether King Mswatis latest bride will be his 14th or 15th. The
confusion is excusable since the number of wives the King has is considered a state secret in
Swaziland and it is un-Swazi to talk openly about the Kings polygamy.

The new bride is reported to be a graduate of Swazilands Waterford Kamhlaba World


University College. She went with the King this week to the United Nations General
Assembly meeting in the United States.

25
SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

She was introduced at the annual Reed Dance where tens of thousands of women described
as virgins danced bare-breasted for the King.

King Mswati has been ridiculed outside of Swaziland for his likening of teenage women.
Media in South Africa nicknamed Sindiswa Dlamini naughty Sindie.

The Sunday Sun newspaper in South Africa in 2014 reported she had affairs with two of King
Mswatis sons, Prince Majaha and Prince Bandzile, who were both in their early twenties.
One unnamed source told the newspaper, Sindi has dated both these boys. Shes a party girl
used to having fun.
Another informant told the Sunday Sun, Sindi is no virgin. She drinks and smokes a lot and
has tattoos on parts of her body I cannot mention.
One source told the newspaper, She is only doing it [marrying the King] because she comes
from a poor background.
The media in Swaziland never report about the King without his permission. This means
people across the world are better informed than the Kings subjects, the Swazi people. Most
media in the kingdom are under direct state control, opposition political parties are banned as
terrorist organisations and any political dissent is quickly crushed by police and the army.

In 2011, the Independent group of newspapers in South Africa reported that three of the
Kings 13 queens had abandoned him since he took the throne in 1986. And more of his
wives were trying to break out of the palace.

The Independent reported, A royal source says some of the queens are frustrated as the King
has allowed many months to pass without visiting them. They accuse him of seeking his
pleasures outside the palace instead.
The Independent added, This comes after revelations about the recent unceremonious
departure from the palace of LaDube, the Kings estranged 12th wife, after she had been
accused of having a relationship with former minister of justice and constitutional affairs
Ndumiso Mamba. To make matters worse, Mamba was the kings business confidant and
friend.
After the affair came to the Kings attention, he denied LaDube conjugal rights, according to
insiders. They say he was trying to make palace life intolerable for her so that she would
leave.
She is officially no longer part of the royal family and has been dumped at her maternal
grandmothers home in Hhohho.
The newspaper reported, LaDube was the third of Mswatis wives to leave the palace. She
followed LaMagwaza and LaHwala, who both now live in South Africa.
LaMagwaza was accused of having a steamy sexual relationship with a South African toy
boy. Sources claimed that she was sex starved, as the King would not visit her.

26
SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

It added, LaHwala was also neglected by the king who would deny her conjugal rights for
six months at a time.

See also

KINGS WIFE THROWN OUT OF PALACE


NO FOOD OR BEDDING FOR KINGS WIFE
SWAZI KINGS WIFE BEGS FOR RESCUE
SEX SCANDAL QUEEN SEEN IN PUBLIC
SWAZI QUEENS SORRY TALE OF ABUSE

King misleads UN on Swazi freedom


23 September 2017

Only days after it was learnt that people who criticise King Mswati of Swaziland face two
years jail, the King misled the UN General Assembly saying that all citizens have the
opportunity to air their views.
King Mswati was speaking at the United Nations in New York on Wednesday (20 September
2017).
The King who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch in a kingdom
where political parties are banned from contesting elections and prodemocracy campaigners
are prosecuted under the Suppression of Terrorism Act, said, The kingdom of eSwatini
[Swaziland] is committed to peace and a decent life for all. We are also firm believers in the
principle of consultative decision-making. This involves a transparent and all-inclusive
undertaking that grants every citizen an opportunity to voice their views in order to
constructively contribute to the social, economic, cultural and political development of the
country.
He did not say that his unelected government had just passed the Public Order Act. This
allows for critics of the King or the Swazi Government to be fined E10,0000 (US$770),
imprisoned for two years or both for inciting hatred or contempt against cultural and
traditional heritage. In Swaziland seven out of ten people have incomes less than US$2 a day.
The Act also targets gatherings of 50 or more people in a public place where policy actions or
criticisms of any government or organisation are made.
The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom where
reporting the activities of King Mswati and his family is severely restricted, reported, These
gatherings could be those which are convened or held to form pressure groups, to hand over
petitions to any person or to mobilise or demonstrate support for or opposition to the views,
principles, policy, actions or omissions of any person, organisation including any government
administration or institution.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

The Act states that to avoid any doubt people who also speak ill or incite hatred against the
cultural and traditional heritage of the country could be those who are involved in a picket or
protest action.
Other acts that carry a similar penalty also include a person who trashes, burns or otherwise
destroys, defaces or defiles or damages any national insignia or emblem. The nation insignia
or other emblem has been defined by the Act as any weaving, embroidery, sewing, drawing,
picture, illustration and painting which represents His Majesty, the Indlovukati [Kings
mother], national flag or Swaziland Coat of Arms.
Swaziland has been criticised by many international groups for its lack of democracy.
The Swazi people are only allowed to select 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 Swaziland Senate are
elected by the people: the King appoints 20 members and the other 10 are appointed by the
House of Assembly.
In 2016, the Southern Africa Litigation Centre reported all opposition to the rule of the King
Mswati is treated as terrorism.
In 2015, the United States withdrew trading benefits under the Africa Growth Opportunities
Act (AGOA) because of Swazilands poor record on human rights.
International human rights organisations Human Rights Watch in its World Report 2016, said
The Suppression of Terrorism Act (STA), 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.
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 September 2016 Swazilands High Court ruled that sections of the Suppression of
Terrorism Act and the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act were unconstitutional. The
Government is appealing the ruling.

See also

JAIL FOR DEFACING PICTURE OF KING


OPPOSITION TO KING IS TERRORISM
SWAZILAND LAST ON POLITICAL FREEDOM
SWAZILAND FAILS ON FREEDOM PROMISE

28
SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Swazi King deals with $18bn bankrupt


29 September 2017

King Mswati III of Swaziland is trying to do a business deal with an American conglomerate
that has been in bankruptcy protection for two years after owing US$18 billion.
He wants Caesars Palace, famous for its casinos, to run the proposed International
Convention Centre (ICC) and hotel in Ezulwini.
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King who is sub-Saharan Africas
last absolute monarch, reported on Thursday (28 September 2017) that he and government
ministers had discussed with Caesars Palace management at the hotel in Las Vegas a plan for
the potential of the proposed ICC.
The Observer reported, The meeting took place after an hours tour of the hotel yesterday
where His Majesty the King was given a full display of what it has to offer by President of
Caesars Palace Gary Selesner. The main attraction is the gaming at the Casinos. The hotel
also has state of the art entertainment facilities and meeting halls.
The newspaper devoted part of its front page to the visit and also published a story with four
photographs of the meeting inside written byThe Kings Office Correspondent. It said the
Caesars Palace management had promised to submit a proposal on what it would cost to
manage the ICC and hotel.
The report said Caesars had grown through development of new resorts, expansions and
acquisitions, and now operates casinos on three continents.
What it did not report (but the information is freely available) was that Caesars Entertainment
Operating Corp (Caesars Palaces main operating unit) filed in the United States for Chapter
11 bankruptcy protection in January 2015 to protect itself from creditors who were owed
US$18 billion. In January 2017 Reuters news agency reported that a deal had been made with
courts to shed US$10 billion of the debt. The company will be reorganised as part of the deal.
In a report on media freedom in Swaziland in 2013, the Media Institute of Southern Africa
described the Swazi Observer as a pure propaganda machine for the royal family.
Members of the Swazi Royal Family are no strangers to Las Vegas. In 2012 it was reported
that three of the Kings wives (who at the time numbered 13) travelled to Las Vegas with an
entourage of about 65 people on a multimillion-dollar spending spree and vacation. They
reportedly stayed in 10 separate villas each costing E20,000 (US$2,400) per night.
The Queens on the trip were named by the Mail and Guardian newspaper in South Africa as
LaNgangaza ne Carol Dlamini, LaMagongo ne Nontsetselo Magongo and LaNkambule ne
Phindile Nkambule.
Reports said the trip would cost the Swazi taxpayers at least E36 million (US$4.6
million). Seven in ten of the Kings subjects live in abject poverty, with incomes of less than
US$2 a day. Political parties are banned in the kingdom and all forms of prodemocracy
protest are quashed by state forces.

29
SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

The Mail and Guardian reported at the time that funding for the trip was supplemented by
money from the national fund Tibiyo which is supposed to be held in trust for the nation. A
large sum of cash was understood to have been withdrawn, it said.
The plan for the E1 billion ICC that includes a five-star hotel is being led by the Government
of Swaziland through the Millennium Projects Management Unit within the Ministry of
Economic Planning and Development. Government has said it will fund the project.
It is proposed the centre will be able to accommodate 4,500 guests at any one time and
include a secure chamber room to take 53 heads of state. Other features include a 3,500-seat
banqueting hall and a 1,500-seat theatre. It is proposed the centre will be completed ahead of
the African Union summit due to be held in Swaziland in 2020.

See also

SWAZI QUEENS OFF ON SHOPPING SPREE


SWAZI QUEENS HISTORY OF EXCESS
QUEENS ON US$10 MILLION VACATION

30
SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

3 HUNGER
Hungry Swazis willingly eat dog food
18 September 2017

Some people in Swaziland are so hungry they willingly eat dog food, a newspaper in the
kingdom reported.
It came after residents looted a van full of dog food that overturned on the Manzini
Mbabane highway.
It was not an isolated incident, Ackel Zwane, an opinion columnist in the Swazi Observer
wrote on Friday (15 September 2017). He wrote, The reasons are simple because people are
so poor and desperate they will consume anything that would not kill them.
Zwane gave an insight into how hungry people in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III as
sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch are. Seven in ten of his 1.1 million subjects live
in abject poverty with incomes of less than US$2 per day.
He wrote that people pretend to be collecting bones or food remains for their dogs back
home when in fact that is a lie, they were collecting the leftovers to feed their loved ones.
Zwane who writes for a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati wrote, This practice is
even common in cocktails, garden parties or state banquets where top government officials
fill the boot and vans of their vehicles with leftover food all in the guise that they are taking
them to their dogs.
Many people attend cultural events in Swaziland because free food is on offer, he wrote.
Just watch the stampede each time the governor of Ludzidzini Royal Residence announces
that the King invites the nation for a meal especially during national events, it is as if people
were having their only meal to last a lifetime.
Hunger is widespread in Swaziland. In a report in May 2017, the World Food Program
estimated 350,000 people in Swaziland 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 Swaziland
are thought to be OVCs.
It reported chronic malnutrition affected 26 percent of all children in Swaziland aged under
five.
Meanwhile, the King lives a lavish lifestyle. At his 49th birthday party in April 2017, media in
Swaziland reported that it took three months to prepare his cake.
The Times of Swaziland the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom where
reporting about the King is severely restricted, said at the time, 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.

31
SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

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.
King Mswati lives a lavish lifestyle with at least 13 palaces, a fleet of top-of-the-range
Mercedes and BMW cars. He is soon to take delivery of a second private jet.
The people of Swaziland have been left hungry for many years and the problem seems to be
getting worse.
In October 2014, the Office of the Swaziland Deputy Prime Minister Paul Dlamini reported
that 223,249 people were estimated to require interventions aimed at maintaining their
livelihood and at least 67,592 of the Swazi population required immediate food assistance.
This was contained in a report from the kingdoms Vulnerability Assessment Committee.
Earlier in 2014, the Global Hunger Index report published by the International Food Policy
Research Institute (IFPRI) revealed the proportion of people who were undernourished more
than doubled in Swaziland since 2004-2006 and in 2011-2013 was 35.8 percent of the
kingdoms population or about 455,000 people.
IFPRI reported that since 1990, life expectancy in Swaziland fell by ten years, amounting to
only 49 years in 2012.
IFPRI defines undernourishment as an inadequate intake of food - in terms of either quantity
or quality.
The reports underscore numerous previous surveys demonstrating the state of hunger in the
kingdom.
In 2012, three separate reports from the World Economic Forum, United Nations and the
Institute for Security Studies all concluded the Swazi Government was largely to blame for
the economic recession and subsequent increasing number of Swazis who had to skip meals.

The reports listed low growth levels, government wastefulness and corruption, and lack of
democracy and accountability as some of the main reasons for the economic downturn that
led to an increasing number of hungry Swazis.
Poverty is so grinding in Swaziland that some people, close to starvation, are forced to eat
cow dung in order to fill their stomachs before they can take ARV drugs to treat their HIV
status. In 2011, newspapers in Swaziland reported the case of a woman who was forced to
take this drastic action. Once the news went global, supporters of King Mswati denounced the
report as lies.
In July 2012, Nkululeko Mbhamali, Member of Parliament for Matsanjeni North, said people
in the Swaziland lowveld area had died of hunger at Tikhuba.

32
SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

See also

SWAZI KING GETS NEW JET AS PEOPLE STARVE


DROUGHT: PEOPLE DIED OF HUNGER
HUNGER INCREASES IN SWAZILAND
GOVT DELIBERATELY STARVING PEOPLE
CORRUPTION LEADS TO STARVATION
FEAR OF MASS HUNGER IN SWAZILAND

SOS sent for starving children


5 July 2017

Schools across Swaziland are pleading with businesses and members of the public to donate
food for starving children because the Swazi Government has failed to pay its bills.
A crisis has been growing over recent months and there are fears that children might die as a
result.
The situation grows worse with each passing day, school principals said. It started at the
beginning of the year when the Government failed to deliver food to schools as part of an
established feeding scheme. It said it did not have the money to buy food.
The hardest hit, according to local media, are primary schools because they completely rely
on government for financial assistance since the introduction of the Free Primary Education
programme.
The Swazi Observer reported (29 June 2017) the Swaziland Principals Association (SWAPA)
met with the Minister of Education and Training Phineas Magagula without any positive
results, because government is facing money problems at the moment.
Magagula confirmed to the newspaper that nothing tangible came out of the meeting to find a
solution to the food crisis.
It quoted SWAPA President Welcome Mhlanga saying schools were asking the nation,
companies and organisations to come to the rescue and save the situation.
He said, The situation on the ground is worsening with each passing day. There are pupils
that kept coming to school because of the food but now that there is no food some are
choosing to stay away.
The newspaper added, Mhlanga said the situation was dire and it was time for all to help.
Last week the Times of Swaziland reported school administrators had sent a number of
requests to government, asking it to act fast on the matter because they feared 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

33
SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

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 in Swaziland aged under
five.
See also

CHILDREN COULD SOON DIE OF HUNGER


BAD FOOD POISONS 200 PUPILS
NO FOOD SO SCHOOLKIDS SENT HOME
HUNGER FORCES SCHOOLS TO CLOSE EARLY

Swazi schools hunger continues


10 August 2017

Members of parliament in Swaziland have accused a government ministry of lying in a report


on severe hunger in the kingdoms schools.
They were told that a crisis that has continued all year was over and that school committees
were stealing food intended for children.
A progress reported tabled to the Swazi House of Assembly by Minister of Education and
Training Phineas Magagula was rejected. The shortage escalated after the government did not
pay its bills to suppliers. The food includes rice, mealie-meal, cooking oil, beans, and peanut
butter.
Magagula said on Monday (7 August 2017) that food had been delivered to about 800
primary and high schools in the kingdom. He said government had failed to reach all schools
because they could only get eight trucks instead of the 20 needed.
The Swazi Observer reported on Wednesday, The ministry also expressed concern in the
manner in which the food was stolen in schools. The report blames school committees for this
but this was something that was not accepted by the MPs. A majority of the MPs rejected the
report presented by the minister. They said no evidence had been given to prove the
accusation.
It was reported that 60 percent of schools had closed early for the second term because of
food shortages.
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 in Swaziland aged under
five.

34
SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Schoolchildren face starvation


14 September 2017

Children in Swaziland must brace themselves for starvation, according to a head teacher as
once again the government has failed to deliver food to schools.
This is part of a long-running problem where government has not paid its bills to suppliers.
The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom ruled by King
Mswati III, reported on Monday (11 September 2017) that as the third school term opened
food promised by the government had not been delivered.
The Times reported there was once again a serious food shortage in most of the learning
institutions.
It added, The emergency food which was delivered before schools closed for the second
term has already been exhausted. The Ministry of Education and Training had promised that
food for the third term would be delivered during the school holidays but none of that has
happened.
Head teacher of Emabheleni Primary School Sibusiso Ndzinisa told the newspaper some
pupils were sick and on medication and depended on the food which was provided at school.
Musa Simelane, the head teacher at Maphalaleni High School, said the pupils should brace
themselves for starvation because there was no available food in the school, the Times
reported.
Food shortages have hit Swazi schools all this year and the government school feeding
scheme known as zondle has collapsed.
In August 2017, members of parliament in Swaziland accused the Ministry of Education and
Training of lying in a report on severe hunger in the kingdoms schools.
They were told that a crisis that has continued all year was over and that school committees
were stealing food intended for children.
A progress reported tabled to the Swazi House of Assembly by Minister of Education and
Training Phineas Magagula was rejected. The shortage escalated after the government did not
pay its bills to suppliers. The food includes rice, mealie-meal, cooking oil, beans, and peanut
butter.
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 in Swaziland aged under
five.

35
SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

4 CHILDREN

Nine in 10 children suffer violence at home


9 August 2017

Nearly nine out of ten children in Swaziland suffer violent discipline in the home, a UNICEF
report reveals.

Nearly four in ten suffer sexual violence and one in three are bullied.
UNICEF (the United Nations Childrens Fund) reports that much of this is kept secret within
the family.
UNICEF says according to national data violent discipline in the home, which includes
physical punishment and psychological aggression, affects more than 88 per cent of all
children in Swaziland. The study findings also reveal that sexual violence and bullying
affects 38 per cent and 32 percent of children in Swaziland, respectively.
Many children suffer more than one kind of violence.
UNICEF reports, One staggering statistic to emerge from the data revealed that for every girl
child known to Social Welfare as having experienced sexual violence, there are an estimated
400 girls who have never received help or assistance for sexual violence.
Orphans and children with disabilities were found to be more vulnerable to all types of
violence. Food insecurity and living with three or more other families during childhood years
was found to be associated with increased risk for violence in girls.
UNICEF says one of the key factors affecting children is the concept of tibi tendlu, which
translates to family secrets. UNICEF says, The widely accepted notion of keeping family
matters private to protect the family or community over the individual was repeatedly cited as
a driver of violence and was also found to be a factor dissuading individuals from intervening
when they suspect a child is abused.
UNICEF says that some people have faced retaliation after reporting childhood violence.
UNICEF calls for an end to corporal punishment in all settings.
In 2016, a global survey found childrens rights in Swaziland were under protected and are in
a difficult situation. The Realization of Childrens Rights Index (RCRI) scored the
kingdom ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch 6.07 out of
ten.
This is a grade between 0 and 10 that shows the level of realization of childrens rights in a
country. The lower the score, the lower is the realisation of rights. The RCRI index classified
rights for children in Swaziland as a difficult situation.
The survey was conducted by Humanium, an international child sponsorship NGO dedicated
to stopping violations of childrens rights throughout the world.

36
SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

It highlighted a number of areas where childrens rights were violated. It said that some
children remain starving while the King leads a lifestyle of luxury.

Campaign to protect Swazi children


24 August 2017

World Vision Swaziland is preparing to launch a national campaign called It takes a world to
end violence against children before the end of 2017.
The Christian organisations Advocacy and Justice for Children Manager Sakhile Malaza told
local media, Well be working with multiple stakeholders, the Government, traditional
leaders, celebrities and other influencers to play a role to end violence.
Malaza said not a week passed by without headlines in Swaziland of missing children,
suicides or abuse cases.
The Swazi Observer reported on Thursday (24 August 2017) that Malaza said, World Vision
continues to raise awareness to all stakeholders that include parents, traditional leaders,
religious leaders, law enforcers and the children themselves to be safe and ensure that their
whereabouts are known at all times.
Earlier this month, a UNICEF report revealed nearly nine out of ten children in Swaziland
suffered violent discipline in the home, nearly four in ten suffered sexual violence and one in
three were bullied. UNICEF (the United Nations Childrens Fund) reported that much of this
was kept secret within the family.
UNICEF said according to national data, violent discipline in the home, which includes
physical punishment and psychological aggression, affected more than 88 percent of all
children in Swaziland. The study findings also revealed that sexual violence and bullying
affected 38 per cent and 32 percent of children in Swaziland, respectively.
In March 2017, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in Swaziland said nearly a half of all
abuse cases reported involved children, And, most abusers were parents or someone well-
known to the victim.
A total of 357 cases were reported in the financial year 2016 / 2017.

A report tabled at the Swazi Senate revealed 71 percent of the victims were females.
The most common abuse with 90 cases was described as emotional / verbal. There were
also 76 cases of physical abuse and 69 of neglect.
A total of 47 percent of the cases involved children aged up to 11.
The abuse of children in Swaziland is not new. Swazi culture condones sex abuse of children,
especially young girls. Child rapists often blame women for their action.
The State of the Swaziland Population report revealed that women who sexually starve their
husbands were blamed for the growing sexual abuse of children.

37
SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Men who were interviewed during the making of the report said they salivate over children
wearing skimpy clothes because their wives refused them sexual intercourse.
According to the Swaziland Action Group against Abuse (SWAGAA), one in three girls and
women between ages 13 and 24 had been a victim of sexual violence. Although rape is
legally defined as a crime, many men regarded it as a minor offense.
The number of reported cases was likely far lower than the actual number of cases, as many
cases were dealt with at the family level. A sense of shame and helplessness often inhibited
women from reporting such crimes, particularly when incest was involved.
See also

CHILDS RIGHTS ABUSED IN SWAZILAND


SICK KIDS HIDDEN TO SAVE IMAGE OF KINGDOM
KIDS FORCED TO WEED KINGS FIELDS
SWAZI CHILD RAPE IS NOT UNUSUAL
INVESTIGATE PRINCE FOR CHILD SEX

Poverty forces girls into sex work


20 September 2017

Poverty is forcing girls in Swaziland to drop out of school and become sex workers,
according to a media report.
The girls cannot afford school fees or uniforms, so some drop out. Others stay at school but
also work as prostitutes, the Times of Swaziland reported on Monday (18 September 2017).
The newspaper featured Gija Emkhuzweni High School at Piggs Peak.
The Times reported, , It has been revealed that even pupils in lower classes at the school are
engaging in such trade, with most of them blaming the high poverty levels as the main
reason.
It said the school was dealing with at least 30 disciplinary cases and that some of these
included alleged sex work.
It added, The Head teacher at the school, Sam Nxumalo said, the driving force for the
alleged sex work was mainly high levels of poverty in that some of the pupils cannot afford
school fees or uniform. They are then forced to resort to sex work.
He said in many cases, affected pupils often live alone or with relatives who are not their
biological parents but only guardians.
Nxumalo not only confirmed the allegations of some pupils engaging in sex work for
survival but said it was a concern because the pupils were dropping out of school, the
Times said.
In August 2017, the Times reported that sex workers in Piggs Peak charged as little as E30
(US$2) for their services.

38
SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

In July 2017, police reported some parents in Swaziland were letting men have sex with their
girl children to determine whether they want to marry them. A police spokesman said parents
were exploiting the children by using them as sex tools for quick marriages.
In May 2017 it was reported that poverty-stricken parents of girls as young as fourteen were
giving them to soldiers for sex in exchange for food.

Parents trade own girls for sex


12 July 2017

Parents in Swaziland are letting men have sex with their girl children to determine whether
they want to marry them, local police reported.

A police spokesman said parents were exploiting the children by using them as sex tools for
quick marriages, the Swazi Observer newspaper reported (26 June 2017).

The newspaper reported Deputy Police Information and Communications Officer Assistant
Superintendent Phindile Vilakati saying that some children were abducted and raped. It
reported, Vilakati said in many of the abduction cases, police have discovered that parents of
the female minors were also involved by allowing the practice to take place right under their
noises.

Vilakati said the number of abduction cases where the parents were involved in exploiting
their own children was increasing.

The newspaper reported Vilakati saying, This worries us because it then means that the girl
child is not safe anywhere she goes, yet a home is where a child is supposed to be safe.
Unfortunately, some parents are so eager to receive dowry that they allow their children to be
exploited by adults who first have sex with the child and then determine if whether or not
they will marry that particular child.

See also

SOLDIERS SEX FOR FOOD WITH GIRLS, 14


POLICE DRIVE AGAINST SEX WORKERS
SWAZI CHILD RAPE IS NOT UNUSUAL

Boy loses eye in illegal school beating


26 September 2017

An 11-year-old boy in Swaziland lost an eye when a cane his schoolteacher was using to
illegally beat other pupils broke and splintered. It is one of a long line of abuses against
children in the kingdom in the name of corporal punishment.

39
SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

The boy from Ekuphakameni Community Primary School in the outskirts of Hlatikhulu was
sitting at his desk in a classroom when it happened.
The Times of Swaziland reported on Tuesday (26 September 2017), The youngster said he
was not among the pupils who were being punished for urinating outside the school toilets.
Instead, he said he got injured in the eye when the stick the teacher was using broke, with the
broken piece flying straight into his eyeball.
The schoolboys father said his son was first taken to Hlatikhulu Government Hospital where
it was discovered that most of the vital parts of the eye were seriously damaged. He was
transferred to the Mbabane Government Hospital where he was eventually operated on and
the eye removed.
This is not the first time a child has been injured in this way. In 2011, a 10-year-old girl at
kaLanga Nazarene Primary school was blinded for life in her left eye after a splinter from a
teachers stick flew and struck it during punishment. She was injured when her teacher was
hitting another pupil, with a stick which broke.
Another pupil in Swaziland was thrashed so hard that he later collapsed unconscious and had
to be rushed to a clinic. Six pupils at Mafucula High school were thrashed with 20 strokes of
a small log because they were singing in class. It was reported that the boy who became
unconscious was not one of those misbehaving, but he was flogged nonetheless.
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 2011, it was reported girls at Mpofu High School were being flogged by teachers on their
bare flesh and if they resisted they were chained down so the beating could continue. They
were said to have been given up to 40 strokes at a time. The Swazi Observer newspaper
reported at the time the children said that when they are beaten, they are made to strip naked
on the lower body so that the teachers can beat them on bare flesh.
One girl told the newspaper, The teachers make us lie on a bench whereby if you are a girl
you lift your skirt so that they can beat you on bare flesh, if you resist you are chained to the
bench.
Also in 2011, Swaziland was told by the United Nations Human Rights Periodic Review held
in Geneva it should stop using corporal punishment in schools, because it violated the rights
of children.
The United Nations Human Rights Periodic Review received a report jointly written by Save
The Children and other groups that corporal punishment in Swazi schools was out of control.
The report highlighted Mhlatane High School in northern Swaziland where it said pupils
were tortured in the name of punishment.
The report stated, Students at this school are also subjected to all forms of inhumane
treatment in the name of punishment. The State has known about the torture of students that

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

go on at Mhlatane High School for a long time, but has not done anything to address this
violation of fundamental rights.
In 2015, corporal punishment was banned in Swazilands schools, but the practice continues.
As recently as August 2017 it was reported that boys at Salesian High, a Catholic school,
were forced to take down their trousers and underwear to be beaten on the naked buttocks.
The Times of Swaziland reported in October 2015 that Phineas Magagula, Minister of
Education and Training, warned that teachers who beat pupils should be reported to the
ministry so that they could be disciplined.

Teachers beat boys on naked buttocks


4 August 2017

Boys at a Swaziland school say they are forced to take down their trousers and underpants to
allow teachers to beat them on the bare bottom.
Corporal punishment was abolished in Swazi schools in 2015.
The pupils at Salesian High, a Catholic school, say they are beaten with a plank.
The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, reported on
Wednesday (2 August 2017) that parents and children had reported the incidents.
The newspaper said, Some of the disgruntled pupils alleged their teachers caned them on
their buttocks using a plank and a piece of piping that is used to connect the big gas cylinders
to stoves.
One parent was reported saying, I saw my child while he was inside the bathroom and he
was badly scarred. When I asked him what had happened, he told me that he had been
whipped at school by one of the teachers. He further advised me not to go to the school as he
feared being victimised or sent home.
The Times said the boys were beaten for various offences including, arriving at school late or
eating sweets.
Corporal punishment in schools was abolished after numerous cases of brutality were
reported across the kingdom.
In 2011, Swaziland was told by the United Nations Human Rights Periodic Review held in
Geneva it should stop using corporal punishment in schools, because it violated the rights of
children.
But the practice of whippings and floggings was so ingrained in Swazi schools at the time
that the top teachers union official said he was surprised that inflicting corporal punishment
was against a childs rights.
The United Nations Human Rights Periodic Review received a report jointly written by Save
The Children and other groups that corporal punishment in Swazi schools was out of control.
The report highlighted Mhlatane High School in northern Swaziland where it said pupils
were tortured in the name of punishment.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

The report stated, Students at this school are also subjected to all forms of inhumane
treatment in the name of punishment. The State has known about the torture of students that
go on at Mhlatane High School for a long time, but has not done anything to address this
violation of fundamental rights.
Sibongile Mazibuko, President of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT),
was quoted in the Times of Swaziland saying as teachers they had been underestimating the
impact corporal punishment had on children rights.
It came as a surprise what impact corporal punishment has in terms of violating childrens
rights. In fact, we were not aware we are violating childrens rights. The submissions by the
countries and the criticism received by the country during the meeting was an eye-opener that
corporal punishment should be abolished, the Times quoted Mazibuko saying.
In a debate in the Swazi Parliament in March 2017 members of parliament called for the cane
to be brought back into schools. The MPs said the positive discipline adopted in schools was
causing problems for teachers because they no longer knew how to deal with wayward
pupils.
The latest incident is not the first time Salesian High School has been in the news for beating
boys on the bared buttocks. In August 2013 headteacher Petross Horton was reported by the
Times of Swaziland saying on rare occasions he had to force boys to lower their trousers so
he could punish them on the flesh. He said he had to deal with cases of smoking and
absconding of classes.

In a separate case, girls at Mpofu High School were flogged by teachers on their bare flesh
and if they resisted they were chained down so the beating could continue. The girls reported
they received up to 40 strokes at a time.

See also

CANE BANNED IN SWAZI SCHOOLS


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

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

5 TEN YEARS OF SWAZI MEDIA COMMENTARY

A decade of news and views


8 July 2017

On Friday 7 July 2017 with no fanfare whatsoever the Swazi Media Commentary website
that brings information and commentary in support of human rights in Swaziland reached its
tenth anniversary.

We thank everyone who has supported the website over the years by supplying articles or
information. We intend to continue the work.

Rather than write a self-aggrandising piece extolling the virtues of the website, we instead
turn to the archives. Here is an article written by Peter Kenworthy and published in
Pambazuka News on 2 February 2011. The words are his alone.

Swazi Media Commentary: Telling the truth about Swaziland

Pambazuka News

Richard Rooneys online Swazi Media Commentary is a rare example of objective,


progressive news and journalism in a country burdened with biased reporting and
censorship, writes Peter Kenworthy.

To read accurate daily analyses of the situation in Swaziland, you must turn not to its self-
censored official newspapers or a foreign media that has no daily presence in Swaziland, but
to a blog written by Richard Rooney, a 54-year-old journalist and former associate professor
at the University of Swaziland (UNISWA). The Swazi media arent very good and there
isnt really a foreign press in Swaziland, Rooney says of the standard of reporting on
Swaziland. Rooneys blog, Swazi Media Commentary, in contrast, is both very outspoken,
comprehensive and widely read. It usually carries articles every day on a wide range of
subjects in relation to the Swazi media, democratisation and human rights which help to
build a loyal readership, as Rooney puts it.

STARTING SWAZI MEDIA COMMENTARY

The site was started in 2007 as a way of informing his UNISWA students about Swazi media
research, of which there was little to be found elsewhere. The website averages over 500 page
views a day, although this doesnt count readers of his articles that are reposted on other
websites and debate forums, including his own mirror of the site, Swaziland Commentary. It
is read in many countries in all the continents of the world, most of the readers coming from
within Swaziland itself and many in South Africa, the US and the UK.

Initially, the site was to be primarily about the Swazi media, which is why it is called Swazi
Media Commentary. It was never intended as a human rights blog, says Rooney. I taught
journalism and mass communication at UNISWA and discovered that there was very little
academic material on the media in Swaziland, so I set about researching and writing it

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

myself. I thought to set up a website with short articles written by myself that would give
examples from the Swazi media of topics that I and colleagues were teaching in class.

Rooney had planned to discontinue the blog after he left UNISWA in 2008, but was asked to
continue it by his many readers. I continue to write it because people continue to read it. I
get a lot of private feedback about posts and also emails with requests for information from
all kinds of people, including journalists who are going to visit Swaziland; from professional
people doing academic research on Swaziland; university students inside and outside
Swaziland; school students inside and outside Swaziland and human rights activists.

ROONEY IS PIVOTAL

The people within the Swazi democratic movement whom I have contacted praised Rooneys
journalism. Swaziland Solidarity Network spokesperson Lucky Lukhele said that Swazi
Media Commentary has been very critical of the censorship in the news, both self-censorship
and that which is imposed by the state. Swazi Media Commentary also tries its level best to
search for and publish news that Swazi newspapers cannot publish due to censorship.

Maxwell Dlamini, president of Swaziland National Union of Students, says that Swazi Media
Commentary has become the voice for the voiceless oppressed people of Swaziland, and
that he is so much grateful to have such a progressive and opening platform.

Sikelela Dlamini, project coordinator of the Swaziland United Democratic Front, speaks of
Rooneys insistence on objective journalism, achieved through systematic gathering of
facts. His concern is that Swazi journalists, on the other hand, take shortcuts by gunning for
quick stories which are not exhaustively investigated, and that Rooney could yet play a
pivotal role in the democratic movement's search for alternative media.

A third source from within the movement, who asked not to be named, called Swazi Media
Commentary an invaluable source of independent and alternative information and a vital
service in continuously keeping the largely hidden political problems of Swaziland on the
international map, and said that Rooney had a deep understanding of media ethics and press
freedom that ordinary Swazi journalists do not normally feel able to practise.

ROLE OF THE SWAZI MEDIA

One of the main reasons for the importance and relevance of Rooneys Swazi Media
Commentary is clearly the disposition of the Swazi mainstream media. The two widely read
daily newspapers in Swaziland, the Swazi Observer, in effect owned by King Mswati, and the
Times of Swaziland, exercise a large degree of self-censorship. The editor of the former has
even vowed not to print anything unfavourable about the monarch. (The small magazine, The
Nation, does live up to its self-proclaimed role as watchdog by challenging the government,
and the government has responded by taking the magazine editor to court in an attempt to
close it down. The Nation, however, has nowhere near the readership of the mainstream
papers).

Many of the articles in the Swazi newspapers also tend to have a sensationalist tinge, and
when they do report on the democratic-, financial- and human rights-related crises that
Swaziland is facing as especially the Times does they tend not to properly analyse why
the country is in such a state. Maybe this is because they fear that the government, who in the

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

case of the Times is a major source of advertisements and thus income, will remove this vital
source of income, maybe because they have been threatened not to print stories unfavourable
to the monarch or prime minister.

That this is the case flies in the face of general journalistic standards and the Swaziland
National Association of Journalists code of conduct. Article 8 states that, under no
circumstances should news or a publication be suppressed unless it borders on issues of
national security. Either national security is defined very broadly in Swaziland, or its
editors or journalists should try harder to observe these standards.

Rooney has himself commented on the lack of quality of the Swazi media on his blog, for
example in 2007, where he wrote that he had found during the three years I have lived in
Swaziland that if I want to really know whats going on in the kingdom, I should not bother
with the Swazi media. This view of the media in Swaziland may not exactly have endeared
him to Swazi newspaper editors or journalists, as I learnt when speaking to the editor of the
Times of Swaziland in September. Nevertheless, Rooney says that they still sometimes use his
material: Both Swazi newspapers have followed up on my blogs in the past, without
attribution mostly.

The foreign press, for its part, doesnt report very regularly on Swaziland, and most of its
stories are written by freelancers, as there are no foreign bureaux in Swaziland. Rooney has
therefore been approached, and has supplied information to, an array of foreign news outlets
from around the world, including Africa Report, the BBC, France 24, PBS and ABC TV in
the US, and Reuters.

HOW TO SOLVE SWAZILANDS PROBLEMS?

So what should the media be reporting on and how should the international community react?
A real problem is that the international community isnt really interested in Swaziland,
according to Rooney. It has no real mineral wealth that industrialised nations need and it has
no strategic ports or airstrips, so is of no military use. Foreign governments and the
multilaterals do therefore not feel compelled to pressure the Swazi regime on its many
wrongdoings or to demand democratisation although strategic interest does not
automatically result in political pressure, of course.

Swazilands democratic movement therefore seems to be in something of a catch 22 situation.


It needs the international community to help it grow, but the international community will
probably not help it before it gets its act together, so to speak. And for this it needs credible
news and analysis about Swaziland. It is therefore perhaps a little sad that both the
international community, and to a large degree people in Swaziland who have an internet
connection (approximately 5 per cent of the population in 2008), must rely to a large degree
on Rooneys blog for in-depth, independent news and analysis on Swaziland. On the other
hand, this should not take anything away from the importance and quality of Rooneys
efforts.

The action or inaction of the international community in regard to Swaziland matters


however, says Rooney. I think organisations like the IMF [International Monetary Fund],
EU [European Union], African Development Bank, should insist on political reform as a
prerequisite for bank loans and aid, he says. And overseas political parties, trade unions etc
could help to build the capacity of individual members of the Swazi opposition groups, for

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

instance PUDEMO [People's United Democratic Movement], so they can develop leadership
skills and also develop practical political policies that can be put forward in opposition to the
present leadership.

An increased professionalism and direction is an important prerequisite to getting both a


larger segment of the people of Swaziland and the international community on board, says
Rooney. The democratic movement tends to mainly focus on activism to get democracy,
but it is less clear what they will do once they get it. For example, as far as I know, none of
the groups has a coherent policy on getting Swaziland out of its economic mess. How will
they eradicate poverty? Whats the plan for creating jobs? If they had a manifesto, as
opposition political parties have in democracies, they might increase their credibility with
Swazi people and also with people/groups/nations in the free world who could perhaps assist
them to meet their ambitions. I dont mean this as a criticism of individual people, but at the
moment these groups come across as political amateurs maybe big on rhetoric, but small on
actual policies.

Certainly, without proper information and direction, the ever-increasing and understandable
anger that many Swazis feel because of their growing economic predicament will not
necessarily be vented at a Swazi regime that is to a large degree responsible for it. People
will get fearful and angry, says Rooney, but might not know how to direct that fear and
anger.

BRINGING ABOUT CHANGE

Rooney is aware that the task of bringing about real democracy in Swaziland is enormous,
however: Real democracy took hundreds of years to come about in Western Europe, the
US etc, so we shouldnt expect much for Swaziland but we can move towards these things.
Unbanning political parties in Swaziland would be a big step forward.

The present financial crisis in Swaziland might help bring about a change that could lead to
democratisation by removing the system of clientelism that keeps the king in power,
especially as this crisis is to a large degree self-inflicted as it started well before the
international financial crisis in 2008. Change will start to come about when those in
Swaziland who presently have a stake in the status quo lose that stake. That could easily
happen in Swaziland, especially when there is increasing evidence that the king doesnt have
real loyalty people around him are in it for what they can get for themselves. They couldnt
give a damn about the king as long as they are getting their graft. Once the opportunity for
graft goes, their loyalty will go too.

It was financial crises that brought down many ex-Soviet states, Rooney reminds us as an
analogy to the situation in Swaziland. The middle class turned against the leaders and the
leaders were out on their ears. As soon as the middle class cant afford their luxuries they will
revolt. Also, if the economy becomes a siege economy and goods are not available, they will
revolt.

Up until now the Swazi regime has relied on a combination of traditionalism, nationalism and
brutal police and armed forces to stay in power. According to Rooney, however, the strength
of the police and armed forces is bound to their supposed loyalty a loyalty that can easily
crumble. I doubt that King Mswatis army commanders have any real loyalty to him or the
monarchy they too are corrupt. Also, the capacity of the army is weak just think of the

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

500 recruits who supposedly went crazy at the end of 2010 because they were possessed by
demons. As for the legitimacy of parliament and Swazilands ministers, this is also rapidly
dissipating. The recent scandals involving e.g. ministers are hugely affecting the
legitimacy because they show that everyone is in it for themselves.

Reflecting on the problems and potential of information dissemination, Rooney argues that
perhaps Swazis should also learn from other conflicts such as the presently unfolding
revolution in Tunisia. I think social networking might be a better way forward by keeping
democracy activists and progressives informed on what is going on. Im presently trying to
do research on how social networking was involved in the recent Tunisia business to see if
there are lessons to be learned for Swaziland, he says.

However the struggle for Swazi democratisation is brought forward, access to proper
information, analysis and reflection is important and blogs such as Rooneys are therefore
vital in that they not only deliver this but also inspire and help mobilise others. But none of
this will bring about change without a strong and purposeful democratic movement within
Swaziland itself.

As Rooney reflects, The more we keep talking about these things the better. In my blog I
constantly refer to the PM [prime minister] as being illegally appointed and that King Mswati
is the last absolute monarch in sub-Saharan Africa, i.e. himself illegitimate and undemocratic.
I see my phrases used by other writers all over the web. All of this keeps telling people that
they are not legitimate. The problem is that the knowledge that they are illegitimate is not
enough. We need to mobilise activity around this and that is why political parties in
Swaziland would be so important and equally why the rulers want to keep them banned.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS

* Peter Kenworthy is Africa Contacts communication and project officer.


* Richard Rooney is a journalist with a PhD in communication and former associate
professor at the University of Swaziland (200508). He has published articles on a variety of
subjects, including media freedom in Swaziland and media ideology.
* You can receive a weekly newsletter containing several of the most interesting weekly
articles from Rooneys Swazi Media Commentary news by mailing Africa Contact at SAK-
Swazinewsletter-subscribe@yahoogroups.co.uk.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

6 ELECTION 2018

Why Swaziland election is bogus


21 July 2017

As Swaziland gears up for the next national election due in 2018 the Elections and
Boundaries Commission which is King Mswati IIIs propaganda machine is working at full
throttle to mislead people inside and outside the kingdom that the vote will be credible.
Top of the propagandists agenda is to try to fool people that the election is to choose a new
government. It is not.
The elections have no real purpose other than to give King Mswati, who rules Swaziland as
sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch, a fig leaf of democracy.

Here are 10 reasons why the election in Swaziland should not be considered credible.

Political parties are banned from taking part in the election so no debate is possible about
alternative policies to those pursued by the outgoing government.
The election is only for 55 of the 65-member House of Assembly. The other ten members are
appointed by King Mswati III. No members of the 30-strong Swaziland Senate are elected; 20
are appointed by the King and 10 are selected by the House of Assembly.
The people do not elect a government. The Prime Minister and Cabinet ministers are
appointed by the King. The present PM Barnabas Dlamini has never been elected to political
office.
The Swazi Parliament has no powers. King Mswati can, and does, overrule decisions he does
not like. This was the case in October 2012 when the king refused to accept a vote of no
confidence passed by the House of Assembly on his government, even though he was obliged
by the constitution to do so.
Nominations for the primary elections at the last election in 2013 were marred by allegations
of interference by local chiefs, who report directly to the King and vet candidates who are
nominated. Some candidates said they were not nominated as they failed to catch their chiefs
eye. Some women were barred by chiefs from taking part in the 2013 nomination process
because they were wearing trousers.
The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) summed up the political system in Swaziland in a 2012
situation report, Tinkhundla elections can essentially be defined as organised certainty,
since they reproduce the prevailing political status quo in Swaziland. The ruling regime
enjoys an unchallenged monopoly over state resources, and elections have increasingly
become arenas for competition over patronage and not policy.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Candidates in the primary election are barred by law from campaigning, so voters have no
way of questioning and challenging candidates about what they would do if elected.
The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) received many complaints following the
2013 primary election. These include the buying of votes; polling stations either open for too
many hours (or not enough) and people being turned away from polling stations.
The 2013 elections were criticised by most international observers. They failed to meet most
of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) principles for conducting
democratic elections. The African Unions (AU) Election Observation Mission said that
Swaziland should change its constitution so that it conforms with international principles for
free and fair elections.
In 2013, the Commonwealth Observer Mission noted the presence of police at polling
stations, compromised privacy in polling booths and identifying factors on ballot papers that
prevented anonymity. The Mission recommended that the constitution should be revisited,
ideally through a fully inclusive, consultative process with all Swazi political organisations
and civil society to harmonise provisions which are in conflict to ensure that Swazilands
commitment to political pluralism is unequivocal.

Richard Rooney

See also

SWAZI KINGS CHIEFS ABOVE ELECTED MPs


NOW, ELECTION MEETINGS ARE SEDITIOUS
SWAZI ELECTION WILL BE A FRAUD
VOTE BUYING AT SWAZI ELECTION
EU TELLS KING: FREE PARTIES
POLICE BREAK UP ELECTION MEETING
CALL TO BOYCOTT ELECTION GROWS
POWER STAYS WITH KING WORLD MEDIA

Women scared to contest election


3 July 2017

Some women in Swaziland are too scared to stand as candidates in the national election
because their husbands would be angry with them.
This emerged during voter education at KaGucuka organised by the Elections and Boundaries
Commission. One women, reported by local media, said most women of the area feared being
nominated for the elections because they would be questioned and even disowned by their
husbands.
The Swazi Observer on Monday (26 June 2017) reported a woman who did not want to be
named saying, To be very honest, the reason why this small area has never had a female

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

nominee for elections is because we fear our husbands who will question us on how we got
nominated to stand for the elections in the first place. We have heard that a successful
nominee requires at least 10 people to nominate them to stand for the elections, unfortunately
for us women our husbands will get angry at us when we get nominated.
King Mswati III rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch. Swaziland is
due to hold its national elections in 2018 but the King has yet to announce an exact date.
Political parties are banned from taking part in the election and the Kings 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.
Women are underrepresented in the Swazi parliament and there was only one woman elected
as member of the Swaziland House of Assembly at the last election in 2013. Other women
were later appointed to the Parliament, including at last two members of the Royal Family.
According to the Swazi Constitution women should make up 30 percent of the total
membership of Parliament.
At present an Election of Women Members to the House of Assembly Bill of 2017 is being
discussed in the kingdom. It aims to put in place a process for electing women to Parliament.

See also

WIDOWS CAN STAND IN SWAZI ELECTION


WOMAN IN PANTS BANNED FROM ELECTION

Election bribery is illegal


6 July 2017

Aspiring members of the Swaziland Parliament have been warned that bribing voters is a
serious offence. It could bring them a two-year jail sentence or a fine of not less than E10,000
(US$760).
This is the message from the kingdoms Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) as it
tours Swaziland holding a series of voter education sessions. Swazis go to the polls in 2018
at a date yet to be announced by King Msawti III who rules Swaziland as an absolute
monarch.
Bribery is rife at election time and takes many forms. In 2013 at the last election Prime
Minister Barnabas Dlamini said it was alright to accept a bribe, as long as people did not then
vote for the person giving it.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

The Times of Swaziland reported at the time (1 July 2013), He said people can accept the
brown envelope (bribe) from those illegally campaigning for the national elections.
He said the electorate should not even turn away free food offered to them, but should eat to
their hearts content. However, when the time to vote comes, they should not choose such
characters.
The PM was responding to concerns raised by senators about some individuals who had
already started campaigning through holding thanksgiving parties and offering food among
other items to members of their communities.
Political parties are banned from taking part in the election and people stand as individuals.
Often their main campaign message is that they can bring much needed development to a
community.
Ahead of the 2013 poll, the Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati,
said in an editorial comment (30 May 2013) that when EBC Chairperson Chief Gija Dlamini
was asked about the sudden proliferation of Good Samaritans countrywide as the elections
beckon, he jocularly answered that it was a boon for the poorest of the poor, who would be
getting free meals and comfy blankets.
The Observer commented that when an MP presented his chief with a brand new second
hand vehicle, Chief Gija also observed that this was a good deed indeed, as that subject had
realised that the father figure in the community was struggling to get from point A to B to
deal with matters only he could, and such a gesture was a genuine display of the reverence
that particular subject held for his leader.
He could not come out clear on the question of the timing of such generosity, in light of the
upcoming polls.
It would seem the floodgates of blatant electioneering cloaked in a veil of newly discovered
generosity had been swung wide open. Soon, the country was awash with Mother Theresas
who were splashing money to vulnerable citizens and doling out cheap-quality
blankets. Others slaughter chickens, pigs, goats and even hard to come by cattle, in a bid to
outdo Jesus Christ as they re-enact a poor imitation of the feeding of the multitudes, all for a
slice of the honourable status cake.
As the madness continues, the world looks on, as the rush for obvious votes stolen off
gullible voters continues, and say; what a farce!
The previous election in 2008 was riddled with bribery. After the poll Swazilands Attorney
General Majahenkhaba Dlamini said that candidates bribed voters to win parliamentary seats.
He was reported saying there had been a lot of mischievous deeds done by the candidates.
Dlamini did not give details but was quoted in the Swazi Observer (25 September 2008)
saying, There are a lot of things that happened but I cannot be specific since that would seem
I am attacking people.
Dlamini said people declared publicly that they were given money to vote. He said that was
not the way to win in an election and added the candidates knew what was expected of them
but they continued to break the law.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Giving people money is against the law and the candidates know that but they continue
defying the law, the Observer quoted him saying.
Despite his own evidence to the contrary, Dlamini said that, all in all, the elections were free
and fair.
Former cabinet minister Mfomfo Nkambule has said it was an open secret that some of the
MPs paid voters to vote for them. At the 2008 election, he said the danger in this was that a
government of people who buy favours was being created.
His assertion was supported by several court applications in which candidates complained
that their competitors had paid voters. In one case, an election winner was said to have
distributed E50 [a weeks income for more than 70 percent of the population] to each voter
whilst in another incident one was alleged to have distributed E10 to voters.
In September 2008 it was reported that one losing candidate Celucolo Dino Dlamini in
Kukhanyeni told voters they would not be getting the kombi (small bus) he promised them,
because they failed to elect him.
As reports emerged about bribery during the 2008 elections. The Times of Swaziland was so
angry about the malpractice it has called many of the new MPs cheats.
In an editorial comment (30 September 2008) the newspaper said, We no longer have an
election; we have a selection of those who were able to buy their way into power.
The Times went on to say that the new MPs would be ripe for bribing. From what we hear,
corrupt MPs are there for the taking as they seek to recoup their expenditure on the election
campaign. None of the MPs we have spoken to wish to come on record for reasons we only
see as putting themselves up for the financial rewards on offer. What a shame. Individuals
have pledged their first salary, plots and other gains to the MPs. The whole process has
simply gone rotten and can best be described as a sham.

See also

BRIBERY RIFE AT SWAZILAND ELECTION


PROBE INTO SWAZILAND POLL BRIBES

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

7 STUDENT PROTESTS
Top cop calls students anarchists
3 August 2017

Swazilands Police Chief Isaac Magagula has labelled students in the kingdom as anarchists
after they campaigned for education for all.
Magagula was commenting on a leaflet from the Swaziland National Union of Students
issued to all potential students seeking government scholarships which said in part, right to
education campaign - free education or death. Magagula who is National Commissioner of
the Royal Swaziland Police interpreted this as a call to violence.
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III who rules Swaziland
as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch, on Tuesday (1 August 2017) reported
Magagula saying, [A]s the state security agency we find the message they seek to propagate
via the pamphlets very disturbing.
The newspaper added, He went on to add that it is discernible that SNUS is all out to hold
the country hostage through sowing fear by stirring up anarchy and lawlessness.
SNUS is not officially recognised by the Swazi Government but it has grown in stature in
recent years. It has been at the forefront of a campaign against education cuts in Swaziland.
In June 2017, media reported SNUS had asked for police brutality to come to an end
whenever students demonstrate. Police routinely beat students and use tear gas when they
protest.
In May 2017, SNUS 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. 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

Protests close university


8 September 2017

The University of Swaziland (UNISWA) has been closed once again after students and police
clashed on Thursday (7 September 2017).

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Students had boycotted classes in protest against unpaid book allowances, high prices and
low quality of food in the university refectories, lack of decent accommodation and unpaid
scholarships.
UNISWA, which is the main university in the kingdom has King Mswati III as its
Chancellor. He is also sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch. Students in Swaziland
have engaged in protests for many years in an attempt to improve the standard of their
education.
The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, reported that
students had informed the universitys administration of the intended boycott and asked that
police not be called to the university, because their presence usually resulted in a chaotic
encounter between the two.
The Times reported, about 20 uniformed but unarmed police officers were deployed to the
institution, something which did not go down well with students who then gathered stones
around the campus in preparation for a fight.
It was gathered that because the first troop of police officers was harmless, the class boycott
went ahead as planned but later on, the students saw heavily armed officers from the
Operational Support Service Unit (OSSU) parking their armoured trucks and Casspirs inside
the campus premises.

This resulted in a confrontation between police and students, the newspaper reported. Police
used batons and students stones, it added.
This is not the first time police have entered UNISWA. In May 2017 police patrolled the
Luyengo campus at examination time because students protested against alleged victimisation
by a lecturer.
In February 2017 police fired 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.
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.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

In February 2012, police fired teargas at students from Swaziland College of Technology
(SCOT) who boycotted classes after the Swazi Government did not pay them their
allowances.
In November 2011, armed police attacked students at the recently-opened private
Limkokwing University. The Swazi Observer said Limkokwing students reported that police
attacked them unprovoked as they were not armed.
The newspaper added, During a visit to the institution about 10 armed officers were found
standing guard by the gate. The Observer said police fired as they tried to disperse the
students.
In January 2010, Swaziland Police reportedly fired bullets at protesting university students,
injuring two of them. They denied it and said they only fired teargas. Students from
UNISWA had attempted to march through the kingdoms capital, Mbabane, to call for an
increase in their allowances.

Swazi student leaders arrested


9 September 2017

About 10 student leaders in Swaziland have been arrested following protests at the kingdoms
principal university.

No charges have been publicly revealed and the students are due to appear at magistrates
court on Saturday (9 September 2017).

The Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) a pro-democracy group banned in Swaziland where
King Mswati III rules as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch, said in a statement,
The Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS) reports that during a student boycott at
the University of Swaziland (UNISWA), particularly at the Luyengo Campus, Sibusiso
Siyaya, SRC President was arrested. This was on Friday 8th September, 2017.

This was when the students leader had gone to the police station to check on about nine of
his colleagues arrested earlier. They are due to appear in court today [Saturday 9th
September, 2017,]. It is not clear what offence they have committed or charged with.

Students are engaged in ongoing protests, the SSN reported.

It said, SSN supports the legitimate demands by the students as stated below:
1. Accommodation for more than 600 students who are still without accommodation,
mostly those doing their first year and others.
2. Release of book allowances currently not accessible at the bookshop. It is unfathomable
that lectures continued whilst some students did not have required books and stationery.
3. Dropping of prices of refectory which were abruptly increased without any communiqu
and engagement of relevant structures such as the SRC.
4. The university never signed a circular which was distributed to all tertiary institutions
which comes with changes in allowance payments to Swaziland Government sponsored

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

students. The arrangement was that these beneficiaries would be paid directly from the
Ministry of Labour. Students need answers from the university administration.
5. Swaziland Government sponsored students need their meal allowances since they are
forced to go to class on an empty stomach. The university opened three weeks ago.
6. Unbanning of student body meetings which were banned by the Vice Chancellor in March
this year.

Police beating threat caught on audio


11 September 2017

Police in Swaziland threatened to beat-up a student leader when he visited a police station to
check on students who had been arrested during a university protest.
The incident was captured on voice recorder and details published in a national newspaper.
It happened on Friday (8 September 2017) at Malkerns police station.
Sibusiso Siyaya, President of the student representative council at the University of
Swaziland, had gone to the station to check on eight students who had been detained after a
class boycott.
Siyaya made a phone call while in the reception area of the police station and the call was
recorded.
The Sunday Observer newspaper reported (10 September 2017) many voices of police
officers can be heard on the tape. At one point a policeman asks Siyaya, Why are you here?
What do you want here? Who called you? We will beat you,
The newspaper reported, [V]oices of a group of people believed to be police officers hurl all
sorts of insults and ridicule him. The upper voice heard is believed to be that of a male police
officer who hurls a vernacular insult directed to Siyaya that cannot be repeated for ethical
reasons.
Siyaya was arrested and charged at the station with obstructing police in the course of their
duty. He appeared at magistrates court the following day and was released on bail of E2,000
(US$150). In Swaziland, seven in ten people are so poor they have incomes of less than US$2
a day.

Police torture students in cells


11 September 2017

Students say they were tortured while in police holding cells after being arrested following a
class boycott at the University of Swaziland (UNISWA).
This was reported by the Sunday Observer newspaper in Swaziland (10 September 2017).
The students were at Malkerns police station.
Eight students had originally been arrested after disturbances at the university on the previous
Thursday. Six were later released without charge. Two were charged with house breaking and
theft charges.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

The Observer reported, Some of the students who were rounded up by police revealed that
they were tortured while inside police holding cells.
It added that Sakhile Ndzimandze, Secretary General of the UNISWA students representative
council, stated that they have also learned that while in police custody, [SRC] President
[Sibusiso] Siyaya was tortured by police officers.
Royal Swaziland Police Service spokesperson Superintendent Khulani Mamba told the
newspaper students who allege they were tortured should report the matter to police.

Students arrested at court house


14 September 2017

Six university students in Swaziland were arrested at a court house when they went to give
support to one of their leaders charged after a protest over poor educational standards.
It happened on Wednesday (13 September 2017) at Malkerns Circuit Court where Sibusiso
Siyaya, the President of the University of Swaziland (UNISWA) student representative
council, faced a charge of obstructing police.
The students were taken for questioning at Malkerns police post, according to the Swazi
Observer on Thursday. The newspaper reported that Siyaya confirmed the incident. Police
would neither confirm nor deny the arrests.
Siyaya appeared in court charged with obstructing a police officer who was trying to arrest
another student. He was bailed until 1 November 2017.
On Sunday the Sunday Observer newspaper in Swaziland reported that Siyaya had been
threatened with a beating and verbally abused on Friday when he went to Malkerns police
post to inquire about the wellbeing of students arrested during protests at UNISWA. The
police action had been recorded on a mobile phone.
Students are protesting a number of issues including:
Lack of accommodation for more than 600 students who are mostly those doing their
first year.
Release of book allowances currently not accessible at the bookshop, although
lectures have begun.
Refectory prices were abruptly increased without any consultation.
The university never signed a circular which was distributed to all tertiary institutions
by the Swazi Government which meant sponsored students would be paid directly
from the Ministry of Labour. Students and not through the university administration.
Government-sponsored students have not received meal allowances, although the
university opened three weeks ago.
Reverse a decision by UNISWA to ban student body meetings.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Armed police halt student vigil


13 September 2017

Armed riot police broke up a peaceful vigil by students in Swaziland seeking to get their
closed university reopened.
The vigil by students of the Swaziland Christian University (SCU) was outside the Ministry
of Education and Training on Thursday (7 September 2017).
Armed police from the Operational Support Services Unit (OSSU) gave the students 10
minutes to disperse. The OSSU is known for its violence and the students led by executives
of the universitys student representative council decided to march away.
SCU was closed in August 2017 following an investigation by the Swaziland Higher
Education Council (SHEC). According to a 40-page report, SCU, a private university in a
joint venture with the Swazi Government, did not have the required funding to continue.
There were also issues among others about the suitability of learning resources such as the
library and the relevance and quality of its courses.
The university which specialises in medical-related courses had an enrolment of 916 students
in the past academic year.
When the university was closed Minister of Education and Training Phineas Magagula said
the ministry would work with SCU to get it reopened as soon as it was practicable.
In 2015, when SCU was in financial crisis and could not pay salaries, the university blamed
the Swazi Government for not giving it money it had promised.
The Observer on Saturday newspaper reported at the time (28 February 2015), This was
disclosed by the universitys bursar Lusekwane Dlamini through an internal memorandum.
The newspaper reported the memo said, This memo serves to inform you that salaries for
this month will be delayed due to the current financial situation faced by the university.
The newspaper added, According to highly placed sources, the school administration is
accusing government of failing to render their salaries. They are alleging that government
promised to give them E27 million [US$2.7 million] which was not met.
It reported the Minister of Education and Training saying there was no money at the moment.
He said the Government had paid the university E3m at the beginning of the year.
In February 2015, it was reported that armed police raided the universitys campus after
students boycotted classes. They were protesting about a shortage of lecturers and inadequate
teaching facilities.
It was also separately reported that 25 female students from the university had been raped in
the previous year. Students blamed the university for not providing them with secure
accommodation.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Armed police end student protest


28 September 2017

Armed police escorted students from a Swaziland college off the campus after they
complained about the quality of their food.

Now, the Swaziland College of Technology (SCOT) has been closed indefinitely after a class
boycott.
The Swazi Observer reported on Wednesday (27 September 2017) that students vandalised
property. The students had entered the kitchen at breakfast time as part of a protest.
The newspaper said the main grievance of the students was shrinking food portions at meal
times and unpaid allowances.
The Times of Swaziland reported, According to students who spoke on condition of
anonymity, it all started during breakfast when they were told that there was no more milk for
their soft porridge.
Other reported irregularities are said to be that some students were served eggs as protein
during lunch while others were dished meat.
They said this had been going on for some time and when they enquired from the college
authorities about the matter, they were told that the institution had no money.

See also

STUDENTS UNDER SIEGE BY ARMED POLICE


STUDENTS 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

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

8 WOMEN

More sex assaults on women


7 September 2017

Nearly 500 women in Swaziland had been sexually assaulted in the period January to July
2017, according to police reports.
But this is nothing new in the kingdom where women are routinely treated as second class
citizens.
In a media release Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Khulani Mamba
said 466 sexual violence cases against women had been reported across Swaziland. Of these
237 were rape cases, 98 statutory rape and there were 24 reported cases of attempted rape.
In 2015 a survey conducted in Swaziland suggested four in 10 women believe that a husband
was justified in beating his wife because he is the head of the household.
The APA news agency said at the time a demographic health survey called the Multiple
Indicator Cluster Survey Comparative Report 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.
It added, Clinical Psychologist Ndo Mdlalose describes this as an abusive mentality where
men also tend to claim they are correcting their women by beating them.
The world famous medical journal, the Lancet in 2009 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 is so
low that they are practically starved at meal times, because men folk eat first and if there is
not enough food for everyone, the women must go without.
Women, who under traditional Swazi law are treated as children and are in effect owned by
their husbands or fathers, were expected to live lives devoted to their men and families. A

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

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.

See also

SWAZI CULTURE LETS WOMEN STARVE


TWISTED SWAZI MEN RAPE CHILDREN
SHOCKING LIVES FOR SWAZI WOMEN

Army strips bus passengers naked


18 July 2017

Soldiers in Swaziland forced a bus-load of passengers to strip naked as they were returning
from a trip to neighbouring Mozambique. Local media reported it happens all the time.

It follows reports of woman being routinely stripped naked at other border posts.

In the latest case, a kombi bus was stopped by soldiers just after it crossed the Mhlumeni
Border Gate.

The Times of Swaziland, the kingdoms only independent daily newspaper, reported they
were ordered to strip stark naked as part of a routine body search.

The newspaper said the passengers had been on vacation in Mozambique.

The Times reported the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force (USDF) the official name of the
Swazi army ordered the passengers to alight from the bus, as per the norm for people
entering the country.

The newspaper reported, The soldiers were in a tent mounted not far from the border gate,
around Lugongolweni, on the junction to Sitsatsaweni. The passengers said they followed
instructions and lay on the ground.

After their bags and vehicle were searched, a female soldier is said to have ordered that
everyone take off their clothes so that they could inspect them for hidden items bought from
Mozambique.

At first, the shocked citizens said they were hesitant to do as ordered but the female soldier
insisted that they comply.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

They said they felt disrespected, embarrassed and reduced to nothing as they were made to
undress in the open whereas it was cold. Also, the fact that they were a mixed gender made
complying with the order quite uncomfortable.

The USDF has been under fire recently after local media revealed that soldiers at the informal
crossing situated next to the Mananga Border Gate with South Africa routinely made women
remove their underwear so they could inspect their private parts with a mirror.

The Times of Swaziland newspaper reported on 7 June 2017 that soldiers were trying to see if
women were carrying illegal objects. 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.

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

See also

SOLDIERS INSPECT WOMANS PRIVATE PARTS


ARMY UNREPENTANT ON STRIP SEARCH

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

9 REED DANCE

Swazilands sinister Reed Dance


23 August 2017

Rehearsals for this years Reed Dance in Swaziland have started and the maidens who dance
bare-breasted in front of King Mswati III have been told by organisers they must wear short
skirts.
The Reed Dance or Umhlanga is an annual event in which tens of thousands of maidens,
some as young as ten, dance for the pleasure of the King. It is widely reported within
Swaziland that the dancers are virgins.
The ceremony has come under criticism in recent years because of its overt political nature.
The maidens are taught songs that decry activists who want democracy in the small kingdom
ruled by King Mswati, who is sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch.
It has also been reported that many maidens are paid to take part in the ceremony or are
threatened with public whippings if they do not.
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King, reported on Wednesday (23
August 2017) that rehearsals for the event are underway. It reported that Princess Gcebile,
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Tinkhundla, told representatives of more than 50
chiefdoms in Shiselweni they needed to maintain tradition and attend the ceremony wearing
short skirts.
International observers have pointed to the sleazy nature of the Reed Dance in which half-
naked children dance for the King who is aged 49.
In 2016, the Guardian newspaper, a respected international publication based in the United
Kingdom, reported, Traditionally, the King is allowed to choose one of the women as a wife,
but in recent years the festival has been more about preserving a cultural heritage.
The newspaper added that many participants were forced to attend the Umhlanga. It quoted a
29-year-old teacher saying, They say we are not forced, but we are. Families who dont send
their daughters to the Umhlanga have to pay a fine, usually a goat or a cow.
She added, The girls sleep in small classrooms or tents without proper sanitation. There are
also many rules you have to adhere to when you attend the Umhlanga. This is the 21st
century. We shouldnt be forced to wear certain clothes.
The Guardian reported for some girls, taking part in the festival was a way to make some
money. It quoted one teenager who said, Its going to be a fun week. We are very excited.
We are given 500 rand each.
Zwane, a mother of six, told the newspaper forcing or bribing young girls to attend the
Umhlanga was a violation of their human rights. Chiefs abuse their power and penalise
families who dont take part. The whole idea is for women to show themselves naked in front
of the King so that he can choose a wife. Its very degrading to women. We dont walk
around bare-breasted at home. Why should we do it at cultural ceremonies?

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Umhlanga, billed as Swazilands foremost cultural day, proved to be anything but in 2013
when 120,000 half-naked maidens reportedly sang a song praising the Kings then-recent
pronouncement about his continued rule over his kingdom.
They praised the King for announcing that henceforth Swaziland would be a Monarchical
Democracy. This was a new name for the already existing Tinkhundla system that puts all
power in the hands of the King.
The King said he had been told in a vision to make this change.
The song included these words (loosely translated from the original), Your Majesty
Swaziland is well governed through the Tinkhundla System of Democracy and will be
victorious through it.
The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, reported at
the time, Royal Swaziland Police Superintendent Wendy Hleta who was the Master [sic] of
Ceremonies together with former Indvuna YeMbali Nothando Ntshangase noted that the
maidens were seemingly pleased with the message conveyed by the new composition.
The sinister nature of the Reed Dance was also exposed in 2012 when about 500 children
were ordered to sing a song vilifying political parties. This was part of a clampdown on
dissent in the kingdom.
The children were taught a song to sing at the dance which had lyrics that when translated
into English said political parties set people against each other and said that if political
parties were allowed to exist in the kingdom the Kings people could start fighting each
other.
Political parties are banned in Swaziland, but there is increasing pressure from pro-democrats
for this to change. Some traditional authorities also believe that support for the present
system that puts them in control is on the wane. In Swaziland pro-democracy demonstrations
have been attacked by police and state security forces.
In 2014, it was reported by media within Swaziland that girls had been told if they did not
attend that years Reed Dance they would be publicly whipped. Girls in the Mbilaneni
chiefdom were told that if they travelled to the event but do not attended the ceremony, they
will be beaten on the buttocks when they returned to their homesteads.
Thami Thikazi, the headman of the Mbilaneni chiefdom, said if parents disagreed with the
punishment they would be forced to wield the lash themselves.
The Swazi Observer, reported at the time Thikazi said, In case parents distance themselves
from such, we are going to order them to be the ones administering the punishment in the
form of strokes on the buttocks should it be found that they (girls) did something intolerable.
The punishment will take place in full view of everyone.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Swazi Reed Dance media ban


30 August 2017

Women taking part in Swazilands annual Reed Dance where they will parade half-naked in
front of King Mswati III have been banned from talking to the news media.
This emerged in a report in the Swazi Observer on Wednesday (30 August 2017), a
newspaper in effect owned by the King who is sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch.
The Reed Dance participants who are generally described as maidens or virgins are
travelling to the Ludzidzini Royal Residence for a ceremony that ends on Monday. The
Observer reported that maidens from the Northern Hhohho region were unable to speak to the
media. The newspaper wanted to know how much they were looking forward to the event.
The newspaper reported, authorities responsible for the maidens said they were not allowed
to conduct interviews with the media because they had not sought permission from their
superiors.
It quoted one saying, Unfortunately, due to the fact that our superiors have not given us the
go ahead to speak to the media we are currently in no position to comment on the
preparations and we cant reveal the number of maidens we currently have here.
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that the maidens will once again sing songs at the
ceremony against democracy in the kingdom where political parties cannot take part in
elections and prodemocracy campaigners are prosecuted under the Suppression of Terrorism
Act.
The Swazi Observer also reported on Wednesday that about 80,000 maidens had registered to
attend the Reed Dance (also known as Umhlanga) and more were expected. It spoke to one
leader Nonduduzo Zubuko. It reported, Zubuko said they would also be tackling issues of
multi-party democracy stating where they stand as a regiment.
We are happy with our system, we dont need multi-parties in our country hence we will
put that out there for everyone to know in song, he said.

See also

DISPUTE OVER REED DANCE SAFETY


SWAZI MAIDENS LEARN POLITICAL SONGS
CULTURAL REED DANCE TURNS POLITICAL
SWAZIS FORCED TO DANCE FOR KING
SWAZI GIRLS FACE PUBLIC WHIPPING

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

10 KING MSWATI III AIRPORT


Confirmed: end of Swazi Airways
1 August 2017

The national airline in Swaziland that was created with fanfares and claims it would serve
routes across Africa has closed down and all 23 employees have been retrenched.
Confirmation of the closure and staff redundancies came through the Ministry of Labour and
Social Security First Quarter (April to June 2017) Performance report, which was tabled in
the House of Assembly.
The airline closed for business in April 2017 when 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 was paid to airline staff
who had no work to do.
Swazi Airways 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 Airways
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
Airways decided to drop its lease on the Boeing, but was left with a E6 million debt to the
company that leased it.

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Will Swazi Kings airport ever fly?


8 August 2017

Just as Swazi Airways closed without once flying, one newspaper in Swaziland is talking up
the prospects for King Mswati III Airport.
The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, reported on
Friday (3 August 2017) a 100 percent Swazi owned company called Ligwalagwala Airways
had secured a lease of a 50-seater aircraft and intends to fly to Maputo in Mozambique.
The newspaper said the company director wanted to remain anonymous.
The whole company seems also to be anonymous as an Internet search for Ligwalagwala
Airways failed to come up with a single hit.
King Mswati Airport formerly known as Sikhuphe was built in the wilderness in south-
east Swaziland and has been described outside the kingdom as a vanity project for King
Mswati and a white elephant. The King rules as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute
monarch.
At present only one airline uses the airport for journeys to Johannesburg.
Last week it was officially declared that Swazi Airways the national airline of Swaziland that
was created with fanfares and claims it would serve routes across Africa had closed down
with all 23 employees retrenched.
There has also been constant misinformation about the prospect of airlines choosing to use
the airport.
In October 2009 King Mswati claimed Etihad Airways from the Gulf State of Abu Dhabi was
showing deep interest in using the airport. Nothing has been heard since.
In May 2011 the Swazi Observer reported Swaziland Civil Aviation Authority (SWACAA)
Marketing and Corporate Affairs Director Sabelo Dlamini saying, We have established
possible routes which we want to market to the operators. Some of the proposed routes from
Sikhuphe are Durban, Cape Town, Lanseria Airport in Sandton, Harare and Mozambique.
Nothing happened.
In June 2012 he told Swazi media that at least three airlines from different countries had
shown interest in using the airport, but he declined to name them. He remained optimistic
about the prospects for the future and said SWACAA was talking to airlines in other
countries as well. Nothing happened.
Then in February 2013 SWACAA Director General Solomon Dube told media in Swaziland,
We are talking to some including Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airline and various Gulf
airlines. Nothing happened.
In March 2013 SWACAA claimed five airlines had signed deals to use the airport when it
eventually opened, but an investigation by Swazi Media Commentary revealed that two of the
airlines named did not exist. It also said Botswana Airways would use the airport, but it has
not.

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In October 2013 SWACAA claimed it had targeted small and medium business travellers to
use the airport. It said low-cost airlines were interested in using it for business travellers who
might want to fly to nearby countries on a daily basis.
In March 2016 Minister of Public Works and Transport Lindiwe Dlamini said Air Mauritius
would fly from the airport.
In January 2016 the Swazi Observer reported Swazi Airways was ready to fly to Dubai, Cape
Town, India and Durban.
KMIII Airport was built on the whim of King Mswati. No research was undertaken to
determine the need for the airport.
Critics of the airport argued for years that there was no potential for the airport. Major
airports already existed less than an hours flying time away in South Africa with connecting
routes to Swaziland and there was no reason to suspect passengers would want to use KMIII
airport as an alternative.
During the 11 years it took to build, the airport was called Sikhuphe, but the name was
changed in honour of the King when it officially opened in March 2014.
The airport cost an estimated E2.5 billion (US$250 million) to build.
In October 2013 a report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said the
airport was widely perceived as a vanity project because of its scale and opulence compared
with the size and nature of the market it seeks to serve.
Since it opened only one commercial passenger airline, Swaziland Airlink, which is part-
owned by the Swazi Government, has used the airport. The airline was forced to move from
the Matsapha Airport, even though an independent business analysis predicted the airline
would go out of business as a result.
Richard Rooney

See also

PROOF: KINGS AIRPORT POINTLESS


AIRLINK FORCED TO USE KINGS AIRPORT
AIRPORT MOVE WILL BANKRUPT AIRLINK

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11 FINANCIAL CRISIS
Swazi Government fuel bills go unpaid
9 August 2017

The Swaziland Government faces a fuel crisis as it has not paid its bills to suppliers. As much
as E32 million (US$2.4 million) might be outstanding.
The news follows revelations of widespread corruption and misuse of fuel.
Minister of Public Works and Transport Lindiwe Dlamini told the House of Assembly there
was now a shortage of fuel, the Times of Swaziland reported on Thursday (3 August 2017). It
said the ministry owes its two suppliers, Engen and Galp, about E16 million each. This is the
cap on the credit that both fuel companies extended to government. Dlamini said Cabinet had
been asked to release the money.
The Swazi Observer newspaper reported Mtfongwaneni MP Mjuluko Dlamini said there was
a problem in all ministries as they did not to have enough fuel to keep their vehicles moving.
In May 2017 it was revealed in a report to the Swazi parliament that as single government
vehicle used 608 litres of diesel in one day and another 743 the day after. 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 Public Accounts
Committee (PAC), which investigates how government ministries spend state funds, heard.
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.

See also

SWAZILAND RIDDLED WITH CORRUPTION


MINISTER LIFTS LID ON CURRUPTION

Nurses strike over drug shortages


27 September 2017

Nurses in Swaziland intend to strike in protest against the shortage of drugs in the kingdom.
They will march the streets of the capital Mbabane on Friday (29 September 2017) to deliver
a petition to the Swazi Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini.
Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union (SWADNU) President Bheki Mamba said there were
also a number of other grievances and health workers felt the government was ignoring them.

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The Sunday Observer newspaper in Swaziland reported (24 September 2017) there were
shortages of drugs for a range of illnesses and conditions including epilepsy, hypertension,
diabetes, ulcers and treatments for HIV positive people.
It added, Not only have the hospitals and clinics run out of drugs, they also do not have of
alcohols and spirits used in disinfecting apparatus, bandages and gloves as supplies have also
hit an all-time low.
The Ministry of Health denied there were shortages.
The shortage of drugs has been ongoing in Swaziland for years. The government which is
handpicked by King Mswati III, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute
monarch, often fails to pay its bills to suppliers.
In June 2017, Swazi Senator Prince Kekela told parliament that at least five people had died
as a result of the shortage of medicines in Swaziland.
At the time it was reported that about US$18 million was owed to drug companies in May
2017 and they had suspended delivery of medicines until bills were paid.
As ordinary people died in the health crisis Prime Minister Dlamini revealed that King
Mswati and his mother paid for him to travel to Taiwan for his own medical treatment.
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.
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.
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

DRUG SHORTAGE CRISIS DEEPENS


SWAZI GOVT KILLING ITS OWN PEOPLE
KINGDOM BOTTOM IN WORLD HEALTH RANKING

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12 INDEPENDENCE DAY
Independence: what's to celebrate?
6 September 2017

It was 49 years ago on 6 September 1968 that Swaziland gained independence from Great
Britain at a time of great optimism for the kingdom.
But that optimism was misplaced. What exactly does Swaziland have to celebrate today? The
kingdom has the highest rate of HIV infection in the world, seven out of ten people are so
abjectly poor they earn less than US$2 a day, six out of ten people need food aid from
overseas and four in ten are so hungry they face starvation. Add to this the news from Forbes
that that King Mswati III has a net wealth at one time estimated at US$ 200 million and you
can see my point.
The King rules by decree (despite the introduction in 2006 of a new constitution), political
parties are banned, the parliament has no real powers, the Prime Minister is selected by the
King and not elected by the people.
Any legitimate protest against these conditions by the people is met by state force. Police
routinely teargas protesters or fire water canon or rubber bullets at them.
Back in 1968, people hoped for so much more (no, expected so much more from
independence).
The New York Times reported (6 September 1968), Swaziland achieves independence today
with much brighter immediate prospects than the other two former British High Commission
territories in south Africa. It is smaller (area 6,705 sq miles: population 400,000) than
Botswana or Lesotho, but commands far greater natural resources and a robust foreign trade
and payments surplus.
This is not to suggest that the Swazis lack problems. Their position as almost an island
within South Africa would by itself insure long-range headaches. They currently enjoy
political stability under the shrewd if traditional leadership of King Sobhuza II and the
royalist Imbokodvo party of Prime Minister Mahkosini Dlamini.
Swaziland was seen as a stable, peaceful country. Much of the credit for this was put at the
feet of the then king, Sobhuza II.
The New York Times reported. The 69-year-old King has been on the throne since 1921. He
personifies his country: one foot in the past and the other in the future.
The king of the Swazis, once one of Africas great warring tribes, is equally at home in
formal Western clothes or Mahia, the colourful national costume. He is reported to have
about 170 wives and platoons of children. Statistics are sketchy, but the records do show that
the king took his 50th bride in 1933.
The Financial Times, London, UK, reported, If, then, today [1968] the King reigns supreme
in this tiny country ... it is very largely because it was he, and not some populist movement,
that provided the impetus, back in 1960, which set his country on the road to independence.

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This is important, for it meant that the King and his men were able to a large extent to call
the tune in their negotiations with the British Government the one attempt to impose a
Whitehall-inspired constitution in 1964 was very short lived. Furthermore, by being
identified from the start with the struggle for independence in the minds of the people, the
Imbokodvo has been able to stay one jump ahead of any local opposition notably the Pan-
Africanist Ngwane National Liberatory Congress and in the end to annihilate it.
It was the control exerted over Swaziland by King Sobhuza that for many was the key to the
stability in Swaziland.
The Financial Times pointed out that it is arguable that the Whites in Swaziland would not
have been willing to abandon their demand for an entrenched representation in parliament
without the influence of Sobhuza.
There can be little doubt that Swazilands Whites draw great comfort from the knowledge
that a conservative monarch who makes little secret of his appreciation for the Whites
continuing economic contribution to the country is in charge.
It was generally recognised internationally that democracy in Swaziland in 1968 had
shortcomings.
The Financial Times put it like this, In theory, he [King Sobhuza II] is only a constitutional
monarch, and as Head of State he will have to live with a Parliament consisting of a 12 man
Senate and a 30-man House of Assembly. But, in practice, it is very difficult to see the
legislature going against the kings wishes; for in practically every sense it is the Kings
Parliament. To start with, all 24 elected members in the Assembly belong to the Royalist
Imbokodvo National Movement, founded in early 1964, and headed by Prince Makhosini
Dlamini, a member of the Royal family and now Swazilands first Prime Minister.
Secondly, the King has the power to appoint six Senate members with the remainder being
elected by the House of Assembly.
Thirdly, there is his influence in the Swazi National Council, the body of chiefs and elders
through which kings have traditionally governed the Swazi nation. And as long as Swaziland
retains its unitary tribal structure, the SNC is likely to remain an important body for it is here
that the vast majority of the people will make their grievances immediately felt, which will
then be transmitted via the king to parliament, rather than the other way round...
History tells us that this confidence in Sobhuza was misplaced. In 1973, after the people of
Swaziland freely elected members of parliament of whom he disapproved, the King
abandoned the parliament, tore up the constitution and ruled by decree. Swaziland is still
(technically, at least) ruled by this decree.
The total lack of democracy in Swaziland, the banning of political parties and the stripping of
power from Parliament dates from 1973. Most of the kingdoms present day shortcomings
can be directly attributed to the crushing lack of democracy that stifled debate and penalised
those who dare to have a view contrary to those of the ruling elite.
The lack of political sophistication in Swaziland was noted by the Financial Times, the very
lack of political sophistication in the country no small reason for the Kings strong hold
over its affairs is likely to bolster this stability in the short term.

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Even in 1968 there were concerns about whether the people of Swaziland were being truly
represented in Parliament. Elections in 1967 had seen the Ngwane National Liberatory
Congress (NNLC) get 20 percent of the vote, but no seats.
The Financial Times reported with more foresight than it probably realised at the time,
Votes came mainly from the tiny, but growing, white-collar urban working class.
Moreover, with hindsight it is now apparent that the vote was not so much for the NNLC but
against the Establishment, so that even if Dr Zwane [the NNLC leader] disappears from the
scene, the forces which had been channelled through his party, will remain.
Richard Rooney

See also

HISTORY
40/40 CELEBRATION

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13 MEDIA
No chance of open broadcasts
2 August 2017

A call by the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) for the Swazi Government
to open up television and radio to critical voices will certainly fall on deaf ears.
TUCOSWA said this would allow important issues affecting the kingdom to be addressed.
Radio and television in Swaziland, where King Mswati rules as sub-Saharan Africas last
absolute monarch, is highly censored.
In June 2015, a report tabled at the Swaziland Parliament revealed that censorship at Swazi
Television was so tight that every month the Swaziland Government issued directives to the
station about what events it should cover.
And, the Government had also banned ordinary members of parliament from appearing on
the news programmes of Swazi TV.
At the time, Bongani Sgcokosiyancinca Dlamini, the Chief Executive of Swazi TV said the
instructions had been given to the station in advance of the 2013 national elections by then
Minister of Information, Communication and Technology Winnie Magagula.
His revelation was contained in a report tabled by Hhukwini MP Saladin Magagula,
chairperson of the House of Assembly select committee investigating the media ban imposed
on MPs on state-owned media.
According to a report in the Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati,
Dlamini said, It was communicated to the station that any activity outside of governments
calendar cannot be featured as news and that governments calendar is sent monthly by the
press officer in Cabinet and it is normally updated in between.
Swazi TV is one of only two television stations in Swaziland and is under state control. The
other station, Channel S is privately-owned, but has a stated editorial policy to always support
King Mswati.
Censorship of radio and television in Swaziland is not new. In August 2014 Minister of
Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Dumisani Ndlangamandla said the
Swaziland Government would not let up on its control of state radio, He said state media
existed primarily to serve the interests of the state.

In August 2012 the government announced that in advance of the national election in
September 2013 radio would be banned from broadcasting news and information that did not
support the governments own agenda.
All radio in the kingdom, except one Christian station that does not broadcast news, is state-
controlled.
New guidelines also barred public service announcements unless they were in line with
government policy or had been authorised by the chiefs through the regional administrators
or deputy prime ministers office.

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The guidelines said the radio stations could not be used for purposes of campaigning by
individuals or groups, or to advance an agenda for political, financial popularity gains for
individuals or groups.
There is a long history of censorship on state broadcasting in Swaziland. Strikes and anti-
government demonstrations are usually ignored by broadcasters. Sometimes live radio
programmes are censored on air. In July 2011, the plug was pulled on a phone-in programme
when listeners started criticising the government for its handling of the economy. Percy
Simelane, who was then the boss of SBIS, and went on to become the governments official
spokesperson, personally stormed the radio studio and cut the programme.
In April 2011, Welile Dlamini, a long-time news editor at SBIS, challenged the Prime
Minister Barnabas Dlamini at an editors forum meeting on why the state radio station was
told by the government what and what not to broadcast. Welile Dlamini said that at the
station they were instructed to spike certain stories such as those about demonstrations by
progressives and strike action by workers. The PM responded by saying editors should resign
if they were not happy with the editorial policies they are expected to work with.
In March 2011, SBIS stopped broadcasting the BBC World Service Focus on Africa
programme after it carried reports critical of King Mswati III. In the same month, SBIS failed
to cover the march by nurses that forced the Swazi Government into paying them overdue
allowances.
In 2010, Swazi police told SBIS it must stop allowing people to broadcast information about
future meetings unless the police had given permission. Jerome Dlamini, Deputy Director of
the SBIS said this was to stop the radio station airing an announcement for a meeting that was
prohibited.
He said, Its the stations policy not to make announcements without police permission.
In 2006, the minister for public service and information, Themba Msibi, warned the Swazi
broadcasters against criticising the King.
MISA reported at the time, The ministers threats followed a live radio programme of news
and current affairs in which a human rights lawyer criticised the Kings sweeping
constitutional powers.

Human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko, had been asked to comment on a visit by an African
Union (AU) human rights team which was on a fact-finding mission to Swaziland.

In response, Maseko said that, as human rights activists, they had concerns about the Kings
sweeping constitutional powers and the fact that he the King was wrongfully placed above
the Constitution. He said they were going to bring this and other human rights violations to
the attention of the AU delegation.
Not pleased with the broadcast, the government was quick to respond. Msibi spoke on air the
following day to sternly warn the media against criticising the King. He said the media
should exercise respect and avoid issues that seek to question the King or his powers.

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The minister said his message was not directed only to radio but to all media, both private
and government-owned. He said that in government they had noticed that there was growing
trend in the media to criticise the King when he should be above criticism and public
scrutiny, MISA reported.
Maseko, a long-time campaigner for human rights, was jailed for two years along with Nation
Magazine editor Bheki Makhubu in July 2014 for writing articles critical of the Swazi
judiciary.
Richard Rooney

See also

NO LET UP ON SWAZI MEDIA CENSORSHIP


BILL LETS KING CONTROL BROADCASTING
MOVE TO MERGE STATE BROADCASTERS
BROADCASTING IS NOT FOR THE PEOPLE
GOVT TIGHTENS GRIP ON CENSORSHIP
KINGS PAPER BACKS RADIO CENSORSHIP
GOVT BANS MPS FROM THE RADIO
NEW RADIO CENSORSHIP RULES RELEASED

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14 PRISONS
Womens jail booze cover-up
17 July 2017

A newspaper in Swaziland is alleging there has been a cover-up at a womens jail where a
senior officer has been illegally supplying alcohol.
It has been going on at Sidwashini for at least a month the Sunday Observer reported (16 July
2017). It said it had been, kept under wraps by high ranking officers within the correctional
facility.
Unnamed junior officers interviewed by the newspaper said the drinking had been discovered
after, the tell-tale stench of stale alcohol gave the prisoners away resulting in a search for the
person who allegedly brought it in.
The newspaper reported, The handful of female prisoners who are remanded in custody
while awaiting trial are said to have been thoroughly searched and threatened with assault.
The inmates named a prisoner.
The newspaper reported, The prisoners further pointed a finger at a high ranking female
officer who they alleged was instrumental in breaching security and bringing in the prized
alcohol.
Following the discovery that alcohol was freely available, we assumed that something
would be done, but we are shocked that this matter was swept under the carpet, a junior
officer said.
Further alleging that money could have exchanged hands thus enabling the liquor to be
brought into the institution, the officer said they suspected that more could have been spread
around for the matter to be silenced the way it had.
The newspaper added, Concerning the alleged boozing incident, the junior officer said it was
easy to take in prohibited substances as junior officers are usually stationed as gate keepers
of the establishment.
Would you thoroughly search your superior and question them on what they are taking in,
he asked rhetorically.
The Sunday Observer reported, the matter has been hushed so well that only junior officers
are willing to talk about it, albeit in anonymity.
Several senior officers not connected to the alleged incident, but who were said to be privy
to it, declined to comment stating that they would never talk about anything that would put
their institution in bad light.

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Probe into corruption at Swazi jail


29 July 2017

Prison warders at a womens jail in Swaziland were investigated after a newspaper alleged
they were supplying alcohol to inmates.
It happened at Sidwashini Correctional Services where one unnamed senior officer was
reportedly at the centre of the corruption. Senior officers from His Majestys Correctional
Services (HMCS) have been investigating.
The Sunday Observer newspaper in Swaziland (23 July 2017) reported, a night of alleged
bingeing was discovered one morning due to a tell-tale stench of stale alcohol. Junior
officers at the jail spoke to the press about it and claimed a senior ranking officer was
supplying the alcohol.
Officers and inmates at Sidwashini were questioned.
The Sunday Observer reported, According to sources at the correctional facility, officers
could not determine how long this had been going on.
The newspaper quoted a junior officer saying, It makes me sick to my stomach knowing how
easy it is to break the law, and serves as reminder that I can easily swop my green uniform for
the prisoners grey.

See also

PROBE INTO INHUMANE JAIL CONDITIONS


WARDERS DECRY MARRIED SEX IN PRISONS

Jail warders sell prisoners drugs


31 July 2017

New allegations have surfaced about corruption in Swazilands jails. Warders are reportedly
selling drugs to inmates. This comes after a report that warders also smuggled alcohol into
jail for prisoners.
The latest claim was reported by the Swazi Observer on Thursday (27 July 2017). The
newspaper said dagga (marijuana) was sold at Bhalekane Correctional Centre.
It quoted a former inmate it called Mkhonta who said there was a dagga field close to the
correctional facility and it was easy to get the drug. He said, You can even get dagga that
weighs 5kg if you have the money for it.
The Observer reported, According to Mkhonta there is a smoke that fills the Bhalekane
facility cells daily produced by the dagga that is being smoked inside the dorms.

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To most it seems like there is fire being burning from outside, I am sure the first thought
that comes to a passer-bys mind when they see it, is that the prison is on fire yet it is from
smoking, he said.
Correctional Services spokesperson Superintendent Gugulethu Dlamini told the newspaper it
was impossible for officers to sneak drugs into the facility. She added, Even if the officers
can follow the smell of the dagga being smoked, it can be hard to tell exactly who was
smoking.
The allegation came only weeks after a report that there had been a cover-up at Sidwashini
womens jail where a senior officer had allegedly been illegally supplying alcohol to
inmates.

Prisoners stripped naked, assaulted


7 August 2017

Prison warders in Swaziland assaulted inmates by stripping them naked and squeezing their
testicles, a local newspaper reported.
It allegedly happened at Bhalekane Correctional Services.
The Swazi Observer reported (27 July 2017) a former inmate who it called Bhekani Mkhonta
(not his real name) said an entire dormitory of prisoners was ordered to strip naked.
The newspaper reported, The officers proceeded to search their dorms for narcotics (dagga)
and money. They were wearing surgical gloves, ordered us to strip naked and face the wall
as they wanted to do a strip search and they wanted things like dagga, cigarettes and money;
which we thought was normal, he said. However they then started to smack us on our
buttocks, Mkhonta said, adding how this was closely followed by the use of fists.
I had my private parts squeezed like one does when milking a cow, he said.
The newspaper said the alleged attack happened in early July 2017. The Observer said, He
said he had decided to tell his story to disclose the kind of inhumane treatment inmates are
subjected to, revealing that on this incident alone, some of the officers even went as far as
using their own belts to lash the inmates, while demanding them to produce the narcotics they
had in their possession.
It reported Mkhonta saying, That lasted for about 30 minutes, we were all crying in pain, as
most of us had genitals squeezed in that manner, what hurts the most is that not all of the
inmates smoke, be it cigarettes or dagga yet we were all tortured.
Mkhonta said that a week after the alleged attack, another cell was invaded in the same
manner.
According to Mkhonta there was no money or narcotics found.
Correctional Services Public Relations Officer (PRO) Superintendent Gugulethu Dlamini
disputed the allegations but confirmed that strip searches were normal in all correctional
facilities.

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It has also been alleged that warders at the jail sell drugs to inmates.

Jailers sex assault on male inmates


28 August 2017

More former male inmates at a jail in Swaziland say they were sexually assaulted by warders.
They say they were stripped and had their genitals groped. One said a warder pulled the pubic
hair on his testicles.
The Sunday Observer newspaper in Swaziland reported (27 August 2017) that three former
inmates at Bhalekane said the jail created monsters out of them.
It said, One of them who had been with the facility for two years before he was released
recently indicated that the torture he endured at Bhalekane has made him a hostile animal.
One former inmate whom it did not name said, They [warders] were doing their usual strip
search, where they went on to touch me and some other inmates on our private parts, very
intimately, which destroyed our manhood.
Another former inmate said, One day they returned straight from their gym and did a strip
search, they would smash our hands on the floor with the soccer boots, squeeze our genitals.
The Sunday Observer reported, He further added that one of the officers even went as far as
pulling the pubic hair in his testicles.
Warders were searching inmates for illegal drugs, the newspaper said.
One of the former inmates told the newspaper, Our sentence might have ended but we are
definitely not the same people that went in there, we are worse and I would not be shocked if
one of the inmates committed murder or any related offence because we are the animals that
they are trying to build at Bhalekane.
Another former inmate told the newspaper he had been kicked in the head by one of the
officers. He kept on banging my defenceless head on the ground with his soccer boot. I
begged for mercy and he told me that I do not deserve mercy since I was there (jail) to pay
for the crimes I committed, he said.
He further alleged that he was made to work in the fields with a gun pointing on his head.
Bhalekane was in the news in late July 2017 when a former inmate told local media an entire
dormitory of prisoners was ordered to strip naked before warders searched them and smacked
them on their buttocks.

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15 WORKERS RIGHTS

Swazi textile workers exploited


21 September 2017

A trade union drive is underway in Swaziland to recruit workers in the kingdoms notorious
textile industry.
The Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland (ATUSWA) has visited several factories across
the kingdom.
ATUSWAs Bongani Ndzinisa told local media that workers in the textile industry had been
neglected. The Swazi Observer reported (11 September 2017), He disclosed that the union
had already conducted an assessment which indicated that the workers were faced with
numerous challenges which affected their livelihood.
Ndzinisa said they were in the process of encouraging workers to join the union, after which
they will be writing to the various factories to demand recognition.
The textile industry in Swaziland which is mainly owned by Taiwanese interests has a long
history of exploitation.
In July 2014 a survey of the Swaziland textile industry undertaken by the Trades Union
Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) revealed workers were subjected to harsh and
sometimes abusive conditions, many of the kingdoms labour laws were routinely violated by
employers, and union activists were targeted by employers for punishment.
More than 90 percent of workers surveyed reported being punished by management for
making errors, not meeting quotas or missing shifts. More than 70 percent of survey
respondents reported witnessing verbal and physical abuse in their workplace by supervisors.
Commenting on the survey, the American labour federation AFL-CIO said, Some workers
reported that supervisors slap or hit workers with impunity. In one example, a worker
knocked to the ground by a line manager was suspended during an investigation of the
incident while the line manager continued in her job.
Women reported instances of sexual harassment, as well. Several workers said they or other
contract (temporary) workers were offered a permanent job in exchange for sex.
Mistreatment of workers in the textile industry in Swaziland has been known for many years
and workers have staged strikes and other protests to draw attention to the situation.
In its report on human rights in Swaziland in 2013, the US State Department said wage
arrears, particularly in the garment industry, were a problem. It said, workers complained
that wages were low and that procedures for getting sick leave approved were cumbersome in
some factories. The minimum monthly wage for a skilled employee in the industry -
including sewing machinists and quality checkers - was E1,128 (US$113). Minimum wage
laws did not apply to the informal sector, where many workers were employed.

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The garment sector also has a standard 48-hour workweek, but workers alleged that working
overtime was compulsory because they had to meet unattainable daily and monthly
production quotas.
A damning report on Swazilands textile industry called Footloose Investors, Investing in the
Garment Industry in Africa, was published in 2007 by SOMO Centre for Research on
Multinational Corporations, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
It said the Swaziland Government gave companies a large number of incentives such as tax
exemptions and duty free importation of raw materials. The Government also allowed
companies to take all profits and dividends outside of Swaziland, which in effect meant that
there was little or no investment within Swaziland from the companies.
With a change of world trading conditions, Swaziland became less attractive to foreign
companies. In order to maintain profits the companies began to lobby the Government for
changes in the law. The companies especially wanted laws and regulations regarding labour
loosened.
SOMO concluded, It seems that the public spending on building shells and infrastructure
aimed at attracting foreign investment in the garment industry has not brought about much
economic benefit so far.
The report stated, Companies have been asking for certain incentives in exchange for their
continued production in the country, implying that the country owes them something for their
presence.
One of the companies in Swaziland, for example, Tex Ray, announced its willingness to set
up a textile mill but asked in return for less stringent labour laws and laws on the
environment, and for the prices of electricity and water to be halved. They also felt that
government should subsidise the wages.
In September 2014 hundreds of workers at Tex Ray were affected by poisonous chemical
fumes at the factory in Matsapha. Many needed hospital treatment and the factory was closed
for several days. The Swazi Observer newspaper reported allegations from workers that
retrenchment was a way for the company to avoid liability. The newspaper reported that other
textile factories, including Kartat Investments, Kasumi and Union Industrial Washing,
continued to operate.
In May 2015, it was estimated 3,000 people in the textile industry lost their jobs when the
United States withdrew trading benefits under the Africa Growth Opportunities Act (AGOA)
because of Swazilands poor record on human rights which included workers rights.

See also

EXPLOITATION BY TAIWAN TEXTILES


SWAZI TEXTILE PAY STRIKE ILLEGAL
SWAZI GOVT AIDS TAIWAN EXPLOITATION
SWAZI HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD KILLS AGOA

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Public servants to march for more pay


16 September 2017

Public servants in Swaziland are to march and petition the government on Wednesday (20
September 2017) as part of a campaign for a cost of living salary adjustment.
They want a 9.15 percent increase, but the Swazi Government has offered them zero.
Unions who are set to participate in the march to the Ministry of Public Service are the
Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT), Swaziland Nurses Association,
National Public Services and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU) and the Swaziland
National Association of Government Accounting Personnel (SNAGAP).
The decision comes after negotiations between government and unions reached deadlock on
Wednesday (13 September 2017).
In January 2017, public servants said they wanted a minimum 70 percent pay increase and
they were prepared to take to the streets to achieve it. They have been at loggerheads with the
Swazi Government for years over pay and conditions. Many international groups such as the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) say Swaziland already devotes too much of its overall
public spending to public servant salaries.
In 2016, the Voice of America reported public sector workers in Swaziland had called for
increased pay for the past 10 years. The government had often said the global economic
downturn had made it difficult to meet these demands.
In 2016, public servants received a 17 percent increase. Members of Parliament got a 32
percent increase in salaries.
In September 2016, the Times of Swaziland reported that the Swazi Government had been
exposed making empty promises to the IMF that it would control public spending. The
Government, which is hand-picked by King Mswati III, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan
Africas last absolute monarch, had promised only to increase public sector salaries in line
with the cost of living. Instead salaries rose 17 percent adding an estimated E300 million
(US$22.14 million) to government spending.

See also

SWAZI POLICE HALT PAY PROTEST


SWAZI UNIONS STRIKE FOR MORE PAY
TENSION OVER SWAZI PAY PROTEST

Court blocks sympathy strike


21 August 2017

The Industrial Court in Swaziland has blocked an intended sympathy strike in support of
Nedbank workers.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Swaziland Union of Financial Institution and Allied Workers (SUFIAW) had asked members
in all banks across the kingdom to strike on Friday (18 August 2017) in support of a long-
running dispute over pay.
In Swaziland, which is ruled by King Mswati III, the last absolute monarch in sub-Saharan
Africa, secondary or sympathy strikes are illegal.
The strike at Nedbank over a 10 percent cost of living adjustment continues.
In 2015 Swaziland was named as one of the ten worst countries for working people in the
world, in a report from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
The kingdom was grouped alongside some of the worst human rights violators in the world,
including Belarus, China, Colombia, Egypt, Guatemala, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and
United Arab Emirates.
The report called The Worlds Worst Countries for Workers, reviewed the conditions
workers faced during the previous year.
Among the worst cases in Swaziland the ITUC reported on the strike at the Maloma Mine
which is partly owned by King Mswati.
It reported, Some 250 workers went on strike on 24 November [2014], after the mine
management refused to negotiate over a US$72 housing allowance with the Amalgamated
Trade Unions of Swaziland (ATUSWA). All legal requirements were observed by the
striking workers, and even though the strike was peaceful, the workers were surrounded by
police equipped with riot shields, protective headgear, guns and teargas.
During the strike, management refused the workers access to water, toilets and medical
facilities. Chancellor House, the investment arm of the ANC, owns 75% of the Maloma mine,
with the remaining 25% owned by the Tibiyo Taka Ngwane, a fund controlled by King
Mswati III, who is one of the worlds last remaining absolute monarchs.
ITUC also reported that the Swazi Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini, publicly threatened
Sipho Gumedze from the Lawyers for Human Rights and TUCOSWA [Trade Union
Congress of Swaziland] General Secretary Vincent Ncongwane because of their participation
in the US Africa Leaders Summit in Washington DC.
Prime Minister Dlamini made the following statement during a speech in Parliament: They
leave your constituencies and do not even inform you where they are going and once they
come back and you find out that they are from your constituency you must strangle them.
A week after that report was issued, the International Labour Organization (ILO) told
Swaziland it must stop interfering in the activities of trade unions; ensure workers
organizations are fully assured of their rights and ensure they have the autonomy and
independence they need to represent workers.
The ILO placed Swaziland in a special paragraph in its annual report to highlight the
deficiencies in the kingdoms commitment to freedom of association.

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Worker union barred from college


17 September 2017

Administration staff at Swazilands Institute of Development Management say they have


been victimised because they want to join a trade union.
It came after they failed to resolve continuing issues with management and decided to join
the Swaziland Union of Non-Academic Staff for Higher Institutions (SUNASHI).
According to a report in the Sunday Observer (10 September 2017), However, their decision
has landed the members of staff on a collision course with management, who have instituted
disciplinary hearings against 10 of the members who have attempted to join the union.
The newspaper said according to one of the employees at IDM, staff members tried three
times to get the union to address them before management called them to a disciplinary
hearing, and threatened to fire them for joining and holding meetings with the said union.
He said, The actions of IDM intimidate the employees to continue working in harsh,
unfavourable and oppressing conditions. At this point they are between a rock and a stone,
management refuses to hear them and refuses to allow them representation.
In 2015, Swaziland was named as one of the ten worst countries for working people in the
world, in a report from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
The kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III, the last absolute monarch in sub-Saharan Africa,
was grouped alongside some of the worst human rights violators in the world, including
Belarus, China, Colombia, Egypt, Guatemala, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United
Arab Emirates.
The report called The Worlds Worst Countries for Workers, reviewed the conditions
workers faced during the previous year. Among the worst cases in Swaziland the ITUC
reported on the strike at the Maloma Mine which is partly owned by King Mswati.
It reported, Some 250 workers went on strike on 24 November [2014], after the mine
management refused to negotiate over a US$72 housing allowance with the Amalgamated
Trade Unions of Swaziland (ATUSWA). All legal requirements were observed by the
striking workers, and even though the strike was peaceful, the workers were surrounded by
police equipped with riot shields, protective headgear, guns and teargas.
During the strike, management refused the workers access to water, toilets and medical
facilities. Chancellor House, the investment arm of the ANC, owns 75 percent of the Maloma
mine, with the remaining 25 percent owned by the Tibiyo Taka Ngwane, a fund controlled by
King Mswati III, who is one of the worlds last remaining absolute monarchs.
Separately in 2015, the International Labour Organization (ILO) told Swaziland it must stop
interfering in the activities of trade unions; ensure workers organizations were fully assured
of their rights and ensure they had the autonomy and independence they needed to represent
workers.
The ILO urged the Swaziland Government without further delay among other matters to:

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Ensure all workers and employers organizations in the country are fully assured their
freedom of association rights.
Ensure organizations are given the autonomy and independence they need and fulfil their
mandate and represent their constituents. The Government should refrain from all acts of
interference in the activities of trade unions;
Investigate arbitrary interference by police in lawful, peaceful and legitimate trade union
activities and hold accountable those responsible.

See also

SWAZILAND IN TOP TEN WORST FOR WORKERS


ILO URGES SWAZI WORKERS REFORM

Bosses demand sex from workers


16 September 2017

Male bosses in Swaziland demand sexual favours from their domestic workers, a new report
reveals.
Many women quit their jobs rather than give themselves up for sex.
The information comes from Women and Law in Southern Africa - Swaziland (WLSA)
where these cases were reported.
The Swazi Observer reported on Thursday (14 September 2017), 43 cases of exploitation
against domestic workers had been reported to WLSA in the past three months.
The reported cases include sexual abuse, not being released on off-days, working extremely
hard with no specific time to knock off and being called names.
The Observer reported, Late last month, a domestic worker, Gugu Hlatjwako endured five
hours of torture allegedly by her employer who is said to have used a live electric cable while
interrogating her for alleged theft.
Sexual abuse of women by employers is not uncommon in Swaziland.
In July 2016 it was reported that women temporary employees at Swazilands Central
Statistics Office (CSO) had allegedly been forced to have sex with their bosses to keep their
jobs.
The women were engaged in the Swaziland Population and Housing Census and the
Swaziland Household Income and Expenditure Surveys, according to a report in the Observer
on Saturday newspaper (2 July 2016). It said senior employees who were employed on a
permanent basis demanded sexual favours from the temporary workers if they wanted to keep
their jobs.

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An unnamed source told the newspaper, The CSO bosses are taking advantage of the female
staff. They have wives yet they use their power to have sex with the defenceless young girls
so they can keep their jobs.
Physical and sexual abuse has been prevalent in Swazilands textile industry for years. In July
2014 a survey of the Swaziland textile industry undertaken by the Trades Union Congress of
Swaziland (TUCOSWA) revealed workers were subjected to harsh and sometimes abusive
conditions, many of the kingdoms labour laws were routinely violated by employers, and
union activists were targeted by employers for punishment.
More than 90 percent of workers surveyed reported being punished by management for
making errors, not meeting quotas or missing shifts. More than 70 percent of survey
respondents reported witnessing verbal and physical abuse in their workplace by supervisors.
Commenting on the survey, the American labour federation AFL-CIO said, Some workers
reported that supervisors slap or hit workers with impunity. In one example, a worker
knocked to the ground by a line manager was suspended during an investigation of the
incident while the line manager continued in her job.
Women reported instances of sexual harassment, as well. Several workers said they or other
contract (temporary) workers were offered a permanent job in exchange for sex.
University students are also not immune from sexual abuse. In November 2012 it was
reported at a Colloquium on Sexual Harassment in Higher Learning Institutions held at the
University of Swaziland that some male lecturers demanded sex in return for good grades.

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16 HUMAN RIGHTS

Jail for defacing picture of King


15 September 2017

Critics of Swaziland King Mswati III or his unelected government face jail for two years
under a new law.
The offences are classed as showing contempt against the cultural and traditional heritage of
the Swazi nation and are contained in the Public Order Act 2017. Contempt includes
defacing a picture of King Mswati who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute
monarch.
The Public Order Act allows for a E10,0000 (US$770) fine, two years imprisonment or both
for inciting hatred or contempt against cultural and traditional heritage. In Swaziland seven
out of ten people have incomes less than US$2 a day.
The Act also targets gatherings of 50 or more people in a public place where policy actions or
criticisms of any government or organisation are made.
The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom where
reporting the activities of King Mswati and his family is severely restricted, reported, These
gatherings could be those which are convened or held to form pressure groups, to hand over
petitions to any person or to mobilise or demonstrate support for or opposition to the views,
principles, policy, actions or omissions of any person, organisation including any government
administration or institution.
The Act states that to avoid any doubt people who also speak ill or incite hatred against the
cultural and traditional heritage of the country could be those who are involved in a picket or
protest action.
Other acts that carry a similar penalty also include a person who trashes, burns or otherwise
destroys, defaces or defiles or damages any national insignia or emblem. The nation insignia
or other emblem has been defined by the Act as any weaving, embroidery, sewing, drawing,
picture, illustration and painting which represents His Majesty, the Indlovukati [Kings
mother], national flag or Swaziland Coat of Arms.
Earlier in 2017, Swaziland came 142nd out of 167 countries in an international survey on
democracy called the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Democracy Index. It labelled
Swaziland an authoritarian country.
It said In these states [authoritarian], state political pluralism is absent or heavily
circumscribed. Many countries in this category are outright dictatorships. Some formal
institutions of democracy may exist, but these have little substance. Elections, if they do
occur, are not free and fair. There is disregard for abuses and infringements of civil liberties.
Media are typically state-owned or controlled by groups connected to the ruling regime.
There is repression of criticism of the government and pervasive censorship. There is no
independent judiciary.

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In Swaziland, political parties are not allowed to take part in elections and most of the
political groupings in Swaziland that advocate for democracy have been banned under the
Suppression of Terrorism Act 2008.
The Swazi people are only allowed to select 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 Swaziland Senate are
elected by the people: the King appoints 20 members and the other 10 are appointed by the
House of Assembly.
One of only two national newspapers in Swaziland is in effect owned by the King. The state
controls one of only two television stations and all radio, except for a small Christian-
orientated channel.
The EIU scored Swaziland 3.3 out of ten on the Democracy Index, lower than Iraq.
Swaziland scored 0.92 on electoral process and pluralism and 3.53 on civil liberties.
The report followed one published in December 2016 by Afrobarometer. In that, Swaziland
came last out of 36 countries in Africa in a survey on political freedom.
Also in 2016, an analysis on the legal system in Swaziland published by the Southern Africa
Litigation Centre (SALC) concluded all opposition to the rule of the King was treated as
terrorism and the courts had often been seen to do the Kings bidding.

See also

OPPOSITION TO KING IS TERRORISM


SWAZILAND LAST ON POLITICAL FREEDOM
SWAZILAND FAILS ON FREEDOM PROMISE
REPORT TELLS UN OF RIGHTS ABUSES

Africa should help liberate kingdom


29 July 2017

One of Swazilands foremost pro-democracy groups has called on governments and activists
across Africa to support the campaign for freedom in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III.
The Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) made the call ahead of a Mobilising International
Solidarity for the Democratisation of Swaziland conference in Johannesburg on Saturday (29
July 2017).
SSN spokesperson Lucky Lukhele told News 24 Africa needed to be leading the fight for
democracy in Swaziland where King Mswati rules as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute
monarch.
Lukhele told the news station, Before we go to Europe, Africa must take its part in liberating
the people of Swaziland. We are dealing with a monarch system in Swaziland, therefore,
democracy is not going to be given on a silver platter. Its not going to be easy to achieve

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democracy in that country we need solidarity.

Swaziland has been condemned for many years by international freedom watchdogs. Political
parties cannot contest elections and all groups, including SSN, that advocate for democracy
are banned under the Suppression of Terrorism Act (STA).
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.
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 the STA and the Sedition and Subversive
Activities Act (SSAA) 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.
The one-day conference is hosted by the Peoples United Democratic Movement
(PUDEMO), probably the best-known of the pro-democracy organisations in Swaziland. It is
also banned under the STA. PUDEMO invited a number of organizations based in South
Africa and internationally, among others the South Africa Communist Party, the trade union
federation, COSATU, and the African National Congress (ANC).

See also

TERROR ACT CHANGES STALL AT SENATE


COURT: SWAZI TERROR ACT UNCONSTITUTIONAL
SWAZI TERROR DECISION TO BE APPEALED

ANC wants SADC Swazi rights probe


19 July 2017

South Africas African National Congress has called for Swaziland to be investigated by
SADC for abuse of human rights.
King Mswati III rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch. Political
parties are banned from taking part in elections and political dissent is crushed by the

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Suppression of Terrorism Act (STA), even though the Swazi High Court has declared it
unconstitutional.
Reporting on the outcomes of the international relations commission at the ANC national
policy conference, chairperson Miriam Segabutla said the people of Swaziland were suffering
gross human rights violation.
The African News Agency reported Segabutla saying, The commission reflected on the
nature of the Swazi monarchy, where the King wields executive, judicial and legislative
power.
The commission recommended that the ANC explore mechanisms of strengthening its
solidarity campaign on Swaziland and formalise the party-to-party relations with the Peoples
United Democratic Movement (Pudemo), Swazilands best-known political party.
Segabutla added the commission also supported the call by the people of Swaziland for the
unbanning of political parties and the release of all political prisoners, and that the issue of
Swaziland be placed before the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) for
intervention.

No rule of law in Swaziland


14 August 2017

The European Union Ambassador to Swaziland Nicola Bellomo has severely criticised the
legal system in the kingdom ruled by autocratic monarch King Mswati III. He said even a
child could be made a judge.
Bellomo who is soon to leave Swaziland told the Nation Magazine the rule of law did not
prevail in Swaziland.
The Nation, an independent magazine of comment in a kingdom where censorship and self-
censorship is rife, reported (August 2017), The judiciary in this country has yet to find its
footing and earn the respect it once had. It is a mess, right now. But, at least, theres an
acknowledgement that there is still a lot of work to do to get the country's judicial system on
the right track. A country that has the kind of judicial system we have, where even a child can
become a judge, cannot attract investment.
The Nation called Bellomos comments a scathing attack at the judiciary.
The magazine reported Bellomo saying, On the rule of law, there are structural problems
beyond the political issues. If you have courts with ten judges who can hardly meet the
expectations of the country, then you have structural issues.
Then of course you have issues with the judges, like the one who was allowed to sit on the
bench and yet did not qualify. That is something shocking for a rule of law country.
Bellomo is not the first to draw attention to Swazilands broken legal system. In February
2016, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) reported King Mswati IIIs absolute
monarchy in Swaziland ultimately is incompatible with a society based on the rule of law

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

The report, Justice Locked Out: Swazilands Rule of Law Crisis, called on Swazilands
Constitution to be amended to bring it in line with regional and universal international law
and standards, in particular on the separation of powers and respect for judicial
independence.
An international mission investigated Swaziland following the attempted arrest and the
impeachment of former Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi and the arrest of the Minister of
Justice Sibusiso Shongwe, two High Court judges Mpendulo Simelane and Jacobus
Annandale and High Court Registrar Fikile Nhlabatsi in April 2015.
The report stated the judicial crisis was part of a worrying trend of repeated interference by
the Executive and of the Judiciarys inability to defend its independence, exacerbated by
apparent strife within the ruling authorities of Swaziland.
Swazilands Constitution, while providing for judicial independence in principle, does not
contain the necessary safeguards to guarantee it. Overall, the legislative and regulatory
framework falls short of international law and standards, including African regional
standards.
It added, The mission found that some members of the Judiciary have exercised their
mandate with a lack of integrity and professionalism. In particular, former Chief Justice
Ramodibedi failed to protect and defend the institutional independence of the Judiciary, and
played a reprehensible role in undermining both the institutional independence of the
Judiciary and that of individual judges in Swaziland.
He also presided over, or was involved in the case allocation of, legal proceedings in which
he had a personal interest or in which he acted at the apparent behest of members of the
Executive, further undermining the independence and impartiality of the Judiciary.
Based upon its independent research, including its consultations with various stakeholders,
the fact-finding mission determined that this latest crisis has served to expose already existing
divisions within and between the Judiciary and the Executive. The consequence has been an
abuse of the justice system to settle political scores, further damaging the independence of the
Judiciary in the process.
Overall, the events that triggered the international fact-finding mission are both a reflection
of a systemic crisis and potentially a contributing factor to its deepening further. In light of its
findings, this report includes the fact-finding missions recommendations for reform to the
Crown, Executive and Legislature, the Judiciary, the legal profession, the international
community and civil society, which it considers will strengthen the rule of law, respect for
human rights and access to justice and effective remedies in the Kingdom of Swaziland.

See also

JURISTS: DEEP FLAWS IN LEGAL SYSTEM


SWAZI JUDICIAL CRISIS: KINGS WORD IS LAW
SWAZI JUDICIAL CRISIS: FULL CHARGES

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School fees unconstitutional


29 August 2017

The short-lived era of free primary school education in Swaziland has officially come to an
end. The move contravenes the kingdoms constitution.
The Swazi Government has approved a circular allowing the Ministry of Education and
Training to charge additional educational fees over and above the Free Primary Education
(FPE) grant and Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC) grant from government.
The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom rules by King
Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch, reported on Monday (28 August
2017), The signing and endorsing of the circulars brings to an end the impasse that seems to
have existed between the ministry and school administrators.
Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Education Pat Muir advised all primary schools,
with effect from January 2017 to forward applications for charging additional fees over and
above the stipulated free primary education, the newspaper reported.
The directive goes against S29 of the Swaziland Constitution.
The Swazi Government pays E580 per child but this is supported by the European Union.
School principals complained that the money given to them was inadequate. Local media
reported that some schools had declared bankruptcy.
The news of the scrapping of free schooling came in March 2017 when Dr Phineas
Magagula, Minister of Education, told a budget debate in parliament that top-up fees had
been authorised. No additional money would be given by the Government.
Up until December 2016, the EU had spent a total amount of E110 million (US$8 million) to
fund the Free Primary Education Programme in Swaziland. In 2015, it reportedly sponsored
34,012 learners in 591 schools. The EU plans to continue paying for the school fees until the
end of 2018.
The EU started funding FPE for first grade pupils in the whole country in 2011.
The decision to charge fees contravenes S29 of the Swaziland Constitution which states,
Every Swazi child shall within three years of the commencement of this Constitution [2005]
have the right to free education in public schools at least up to the end of primary school,
beginning with the first grade.
In February 2017, nearly E2.7 billion (US$216 million) was allocated in the national budget
for the kingdoms security forces that comprise the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force
(USDF), Royal Swaziland Police Service (RSPS) and His Majestys Correctional Services
(HMCS).
Security will take up 12.4 percent of Swazilands total budget of E21.7 bn ($US1.66 bn), up
11 percent from last year.
Education was allocated E3.5 billion.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Following the latest announcement, Zwelithini Mndzebele, Secretary of the Swaziland


National Association of Teachers (SNAT), criticised the move. The Times of Swaziland
reported on Tuesday (29 August 2017) he said there was no need for top-up fees at primary
school level given that this was a human right enshrined in the Constitution of the land.
Government has the obligation to offer Free Primary Education with no option of top-ups as
that affects parents, he said.
He called on government to increase the FPE grant instead of seeking an easy way out. He
further said this was the same case with secondary or high schools.
He noted that there was a commission set to view the issue of top-up fees in schools and it
had offered recommendations. The educator said it would be best if government revisited
those recommendations.
The task team, in its recommendations, had noted that top-up fees in schools were the reason
many Swazi pupils attended schools in South Africa. The task team compiled the report on
the issue of top-up fees in fulfilment of the dictates of legal notice No. 125 of 2014. This,
according to concerns raised by head teachers and school committees, depreciated the quality
of education as the funds were insufficient to run schools, the Times reported.

See also

KINGS ROLE IN SCHOOLS CHAOS IGNORED


SWAZILAND: MASSIVE SECURITY SPENDING

Foreigners barred from businesses


20 July 2017

Foreigners will be barred from operating 31 types of businesses in Swaziland if the unelected
government in the kingdom gets its way.
The acting Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Phiwayinkhosi Mabuza introduced a
proposed Reservation of Certain Trades and Businesses for Swazi Citizens Regulations 2017
to the Swazi Parliament.
The businesses listed in the regulations include a dealer in household and proprietary,
grocery, produce and handwork, private investigator, dealer or speculator in livestock, debt
collector, street vendor and funeral parlour, among others.
The APA news agency reported that foreigners who were already in these businesses would
not be affected, but only new entrants would not be granted licenses.
The Federation of the Swazi Business Community (FESBC) welcomed the move.
It comes as antagonism to Asians in Swaziland grows. The kingdom of 1.3 million people
is ruled by King Mswati III as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch. The King
appoints the Prime Minister and his Cabinet. The kingdoms economy has been in the

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doldrums for years but immigrants have managed to create small businesses throughout
Swaziland.
Newspapers in Swaziland have been reporting scare stories against Asians for months. In
November 2016, the Observer on Saturday reported Swazilands Director of Public
Prosecutions Nkosinathi Maseko saying, most nationals of Asian origin were associated with
terrorist activities.
It reported he told this to a parliamentary select committee set up to investigate what the
newspaper called an influx of illegal immigrants into the kingdom.
The newspaper reported Maseko had said, it was public information that most nationals of
Asian origin were associated with terrorist activities; and their continued entry illegally put
the country and its citizens at high risk of being a nucleus for terrorist activities.
Maseko and the Observer gave no evidence to support this.
In October 2016,the Times of Swaziland reported traditional authorities in the Ngcina
Chiefdom in Swaziland had ordered a man to close his grocery business and leave the area
because he is Asian.

See also

SWAZI DPP CALLS ASIANS TERRORISTS


ANTI-ASIAN FEELINGS SPREADING
ALL ASIANS BANNED FROM SWAZILAND
ASIANS EVICTED FROM HOME

Swazi Prince halts bridge building


10 July 2017

A new bridge costing E11 million (US$820,000) might not be built because members of the
Swaziland Royal Family say it is too close to their home.
The Lusushwana River Bridge is planned to be built near the residence of Senior Prince
Mahlaba and his family.
The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom where King
Mswati III rules as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch, reported, It has been
gathered that the construction has had to be halted following that the family of Prince
Mahlaba does not want it built next to their home but at another area, not far from the one
that was approved.
The home is situated a few metres from the Lusushwana River and the family has argued
that constructing a main road and a bridge next to their home would cause noise.
Construction work has been halted because of the dispute, the newspaper said. A tractor
driver was allegedly threatened by one of the Princes family.

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The Times reported, One of Prince Mahlabas sons, Sibhimbi Dlamini, told this newspaper
in no uncertain terms that there was no way the bridge would be built next to his home.
It added, Sibhimbi mentioned that they were not against the construction per ser but that they
were opposed to the approved area as it was too close to their homes.

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17 NEW RESEARCH

Swazilands failed democratisation


By Kenworthy News Media, 17 September 2017

The reason for the lack of democracy in the tiny absolute monarchy of Swaziland is an
authoritarian reinvention of tradition, and a lack of both internal and external pressure on the
regime, writes Swazi activist Bheki Dlamini.
If you are looking for books on political solutions in Swaziland in your local or university
library, or in bookstores or on Amazon, you wont find much to enlighten you.
A young Swazi activist and student of Public Administration at the University of Bergen,
President of the Swaziland Youth Congress Bheki Dlamini, has tried to fill this void by
writing his Masters Thesis about Democratization in Swaziland.
When doing the research for this thesis, I realized the huge void that exists in the literature
about the political situation in Swaziland. Most of the writings about the political situation in
Swaziland have focused on the domestic actors, Dlamini tells me.
My motivation was based on the ultimate legitimacy and support that the Swazi regime has
received internationally, even from those external actors (USA, EU, SADC, AU) who claim
to pursue democracy and human rights beyond their own borders, because I understood that
the Swazi struggle cannot be isolated from the regional, continental and global trends.
Failed to democratize
Amongst other things, the thesis focuses on the failure of Swaziland to democratize, while its
neighbours, with their one-party states and others non-democratic systems, did so in the early
nineties.
Unlike other African countries, whose regimes are or were based on one-party authority,
military rule, or religion, Swaziland is an absolute monarchy.
Many other countries in Africa and elsewhere repealed their independence constitution and
established an absolute and centralized power, Dlamini argues. The main difference was that
Swaziland banned all political parties, centralized and based its regime around culture and
tradition, and failed to subsequently democratize.
The thesis also focuses on the role of external and internal forces in ensuring that Swaziland
will become a democracy in the future according to Dlamini, because especially the study
of the external dimension of regime transition in regard to Swaziland has been neglected.
This fact is important in properly diagnosing the struggle for democratic change in
Swaziland, Dlamini writes. Because the present understanding leads those who wish to
understand or help the democratic movement in Swaziland to emphasize the weakness of this
movement, and not the lack of international support, in explaining why Swaziland has failed
to democratize.
Divide and rule
British colonialist and settlers changed the social and political fabric of Swazi society, with

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an apartheid-like rural-urban divide, a land-partition that kept most of the arable land in the
hands of British settlers, and a two-tier governance model. They thereby enabled the Swazi
monarchy to create a royal supremacy that is at the centre of the undemocratic nature of the
regime, Dlamini emphasises.
This was a traditional system, based on a superficial culture carefully created by both
colonialism and King Sobhuza [father of the present king Mswati], as a form of political
control and for capital accumulation, in a more classic divide and rule-strategy, which was
employed throughout much of Africa.
The shortage of land, because of the 1907 Land Appropriation Act, meant that land became
a scarce resource, says Dlamini. Suddenly, chiefs, who were previously judged on whether
they could distribute land fairly and abundantly, realised that control over land allocation
meant power.
The alliance between traditional leaders and the colonial administration left the masses
helpless, as they were now exploited by both the traditional leaders and the white settlers.
This situation has not changed.
An absolute monarchy
Today, King Mswati controls Swazi society. He appoints the Prime Minister, the government,
ten MPs and most of the senate, the Chief Justice and judges, and members of the Public
Service Commission, who are responsible for recruiting civil servants. And he controls over
half of Swazilands economy, which is based to a large extent on Swazilands lucrative sugar
industry and mineral rights.
This he does, Dlamini points out, through the Tibiyo taka Ngwane fund, which was
established to buy back land for resettlement of ordinary Swazis, in trust for the Swazi
people. It is currently being used by the King on prestige projects, in partnership with foreign
companies, and to finance his extravagant life style, however.
And there is seemingly no united opposition to challenge his rule.
Political parties are banned and divided amongst themselves, and most of the middle class in
Swaziland, including some members of the democratic forces and trade union movement,
rely on the state or political networks to maintain its privilege, and is thus compromised
by its proximity to the regime, according to Dlamini.
Swazis living in the rural areas amount to about two thirds of the population, who are mostly
subsistence farmers struggling to survive. They are controlled by a system that amongst other
things enables chiefs, who act on behalf of the king, to evict them from their land if they
cause any trouble.
Foreign friends and foes
But the fact that King Mswati pretty much runs Swaziland as a 17th century feudal manor is
not only due to matters internal to Swaziland, or colonial issues from 50 years ago or more,
Bheki Dlamini insists in his thesis.
The regime is partly reproduced by the support it receives from the external actors,
politically and financially. The proliferation of foreign capital into the country, and their
dealings with Tibiyo and the king, helps in the reproduction of the regime, Dlamini writes.

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He names several external actors as being particularly important, and able to influence
Swazilands stagnant democratisation process.
85 percent of Swazilands imports and 60 percent of its exports come from neighbouring
South Africa, whose ruling party have historical economic interests in Swaziland, including a
partnership with Mswati in the mining industry. The ANC government may be supportive of
democracy in Swaziland, and pass resolutions to this extent, but has not done anything to
pressurize Swaziland.
The Southern African Customs Union, which Swaziland has relied on since independence in
1968, for a large part of its revenues, the Southern African Development Community, which
Mswati chaired last year, and the African Union have not done much to pressurize the regime
either.
The EU, one of Swaziland biggest trading partners, has publically condemned the
authoritarian regime in Swaziland but this does not transcend into action through e.g.
demands that Swaziland live up to the dictates of the Cotonou Trade Agreement with the EU,
that includes matters of human rights observance and good governance.
Our task is to engage, put pressure is not the right word I believe in constructive
engagement from all levels in order to promote dialogue on democracy the Swazi
people should not think that the EU is here to solve their problems, as the EU ambassador
interviewed by Dlamini put it.
The UK, Swazilands former colonial power, is not doing much in Swaziland since it closed
its High Commission office in 2005 for economic reasons.
Besides trying to broker negotiations between the democratic movement and Mswati, the
Commonwealth, of which Swaziland is a member, has done nothing to promote democracy
in Swaziland.
The USA, a big donor and trade partner, has condemned Swazilands lack of democracy and
poor human rights record and actually acted on this in removing Swaziland from the list of
beneficiaries of the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) in 2015 for human rights
abuses. The USA has also supported arrested pro-democracy activists.
Observer mission reports from the African Union, EU and the Commonwealth have declared
Swazi elections not free and fair, unlike SADC.
Walk the walk
But the fact that Swazilands trade partners and other external actors may play a positive role
in the democratisation of Swaziland by pressurising Mswatis regime through trade and aid is
clear, just look at Malawi and Zambia in the early 1990s, and Swaziland to a degree 20-odd
years later, says Dlamini.
The wave of protests in 2011 and 2012 in Swaziland [calling for democratic change] was a
direct response to the reduction of government revenue coming from SACU and only last
year, Swaziland lost preferential trade (through AGOA) with the USA for failure to respect
human rights.

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Swaziland subsequently unbanned trade union federation TUCOSWA, is now looking into
amending one of the main offending laws in regard to AGOA, the Suppression of Terrorism
Act an act that Amnesty International has called inherently repressive.
Political pressure would compel the regime to consider democratisation, especially if the
international community focused more squarely on the critical questions of unbanning
political parties and multi-party democracy, although the external actors need to coordinate
their actions better, to be effective, says Bheki Dlamini.
For this political pressure to materialise, solidarity movements around the world will have to
pressurize governments and companies that prop up Mswatis regime, as well as mobilise
financial resources for the democratic movement in Swaziland.
Like solidarity organisations Afrika Kontakt in ACTSA, who support civic education and
advocacy work in Swaziland, or the Danish International Development Agency, who support
political parties PUDEMO and SWADEPA.
Democracy begins at home
Because however much external forces can and may help democratise Swaziland, the main
push must come from Swazilands democratic movement and mass mobilisation.
Democracy cannot be embedded without the democratic forces growing strong inside the
country. External forces cannot create these forces where they do not exist. Democracy
cannot be imported from abroad, but the internal actors need solidarity from the external in
pursuit of democracy, as Dlamini writes.
And here, Bheki Dlamini who has himself been tortured, imprisoned and exiled by the
regime for his role in Swazilands democratic movement has a message for his colleagues
and comrades in Swazilands democratic movement: stop the disunity, infights and
antagonism, and bring people in the rural areas on board, if you want to defeat the regime and
bring about democracy.
Presently, the democratic forces and divided amongst themselves. Their power base is
mainly in the urban areas, and they are weak in the rural areas where the great majority of the
people reside. The rural people take the brunt of the repression and exploitation of the
regime. It is therefore central to mobilize these magnitudes if the building of democracy from
below is to be realized.
Download the thesis here

See also

POLL OBSERVERS: REWRITE CONSTITUTION


SWAZILAND PM CONSTITUTION LIES
SWAZIS DID NOT CHOOSE POLITICAL SYSTEM
COMMONWEALTH CALLS FOR DEMOCRACY

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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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


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