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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

As seen through the pages of Swazi Media Commentary
Vol. 32. October – December 2018
Compiled by
Richard Rooney
SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

CONTENTS

Introduction 2
1 Election aftermath 3
2 Government financial crisis 17
3 Corruption 20
4 Army 26
5 LGBTI 31
6 Media 35
7 Police 41
8 Schools 47
9 Students 53
10 Royal Family 56
11 King Sobhuza II 58
12 Barnabas Dlamini 61
13 And the rest … 65
About the editor 74
Past publications 75

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INTRODUCTION

King Mswati III demonstrated how powerful he is as the absolute monarch of Swaziland /
eSwatini by ignoring provisions in the constitution when he selected a Prime Minister and
other members of parliament following the September 2018 election. He also appointed eight
members of his Royal Family to the kingdom’s Senate and six to the House of Assembly.
Full results of the elections, which were widely recognised outside the kingdom to be
illegitimate because political parties are banned from taking part, have still not been released.
There were also reports of bribery and other voting irregularities.
These were some of the stories that appeared on the Swazi Media Commentary website in the
final three months of 2018 and compiled in Swaziland: Striving for Freedom, Volume 32.
Swaziland faces a period of continued unrest because the elections were unable to change
anything, according to global analysts Fitch Solutions. Risks to stability in the kingdom are
growing, it said. The Government – handpicked by King Mswati – continued to lurch from
one financial crisis to another and pensions were not paid to the elderly.
On a more positive note a church in Swaziland openly welcomed LGBTI people but
discrimination against this group of people remains rife. A ground-breaking documentary on
life as an LGBTI person in Swaziland was released on YouTube and focussed on the first
ever Pride event that took place in June 2018.
Workers continued to be oppressed and riot police invaded a hospital during a peaceful
nurses’ protest. Police were sent into schools to invigilate exams during a teachers’ pay
dispute. A conference revealed four in ten sex workers in Swaziland had been raped by
uniformed police officers.
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 ELECTION AFTERMATH

Swaziland King appoints six of his own family to House of Assembly and more expected
in Senate House
3 October 2018

King Mswati III, Swaziland’s absolute monarch, has appointed six members of his own
family to the kingdom’s House of Assembly.

This follows elections held in Swaziland (the kingdom he renamed Eswatini on his 50th
birthday) on 21 September 2018.
In Swaziland the people are only allowed to elect 59 members of the House of Assembly; the
King appoints another 10. On Tuesday (2 October 2018) the Elections and Boundaries
Commission announced that six of these would be Princes and Princesses from the Royal
Family.
None of the 30 members of the Swazi Senate are elected by the people. The King will appoint
20 members at a later date and 10 will be elected by the House of Assembly. The King also
appoints the Prime Minister and government as well as top civil servants and judges.
The move to appoint members of his own family is nothing new in Swaziland. At the
previous election in 2013, King Mswati named two princes, a princess and three members of
his own Dlamini clan among his 10 appointees to the House of Assembly. He also appointed
six members of his family to the Senate. He then appointed another 16 members of his Royal
Family to top political jobs; effectively carving up public life in the kingdom in his favour.
There were nine princess and princesses and a further seven from the family Dlamini in the
24-strong Liqoqo (the Swaziland National Council), the most powerful of the committees that
advises the King. There were four princes and princesses and four Dlaminis in the
Ludzidzimi Council, which advises the Queen Mother. The Border Restoration Committee
which exists to try to get South Africa to give some of its territory to King Mswati had three
princes and princesses and five Dlaminis among its 14 members.

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The official announcement of the appointments to the House of Assembly

See also
Swazi King keeps it in the family
King’s family get top political jobs
King appoints six of his family to Senate

Swaziland House Speaker election in confusion as absolute King said to have preferred
choice
11 October 2018

Swaziland is getting ready to elect a Speaker to the House of Assembly amid rumours that
King Mswati III, the kingdom’s absolute monarch, has a preferred choice. It seems history
might be about to repeat itself.

If true, this raises a problem for the members of parliament who vote because they have to
defer to the King. In Swaziland, (recently renamed Eswatini by the King on his 50th birthday)
the House of Assembly and the Senate exist only to do the King’s will.
Political parties are banned from taking part in elections. At the most recent poll on 21
September 2018 the people were only allowed to chose 59 members of the House of
Assembly. The King has since appointed a further ten members, including six from his own
Royal Family. None of the 30 members of the Swazi Senate are elected by the people. The
King appoints 20 and the House of Assembly elects 10.

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In theory the election of the Speaker of the House of Assembly is an open contest.
Nominations for the post closed on Wednesday (10 October 2018). In practice, this does not
always happened. After the previous election in 2013 Themba Msibi was elected unopposed
after all other candidates stood down. He was not even on the list of candidates.
He was the King’s preferred candidate. Once news of this spread all other candidates
withdrew. It was reported at the time that the House of Assembly was ready to elect a
Speaker but it was adjourned for three days to allow Msibi time to get his nomination papers
entered.
The adjournment was forced by Clerk of Parliament Ndvuna Dlamini.
The adjournment caused confusion in the Swazi Parliament because the kingdom’s
Constitution suggests the election of Speaker had to take place at the first sitting of
Parliament following a national election.
Among those withdrawing was Prince Guduza, the Speaker of the previous Parliament. He
was widely thought of as the first choice of Parliamentarians and until the King’s
intervention, was expected to be elected. He withdrew hours before the election took place.
Former minister and dissident journalist Mfomfo Nkhambule and Mangcongco MP Patrick
‘Pha’ Motsa, the only other candidates, had previously withdrawn.
King Mswati III had a week earlier appointed Msibi to the House of Assembly. Msibi did not
stand as a candidate in the national election held on 20 September 2013.
The intervention of King Mswati was not reported in local media, but the Times of Swaziland,
the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, reported, ‘Complete gloom enveloped the
House of Assembly when Themba Msibi was pronounced Speaker unopposed yesterday.’
In an editorial comment, the Times said, ‘Parliament’s credibility, status and integrity have
been shaken by the preceding chaos over the election of the Speaker and the nation
desperately needs the reassurance that we have actually chosen the best people for the job –
and that they will do the best for the nation.’
Msibi became a controversial Speaker. In June 2016 MPs decided to close parliament in
protest about what they saw as Msibi’s poor performance of his job. They asked King Mswati
to intervene. To their surprise, the King instructed Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini (a man
appointed to his job by the King) to tell them to get back to work. They did.
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King, reported at the time, ‘“I
[Dlamini] have been sent by the King to inform you that he has heard that there are issues
affecting parliament. But he says parliamentarians must continue working, especially on
government business and other matters relating to government regulations. Bayethe!’’ he
shouted the royal cry signifying that the massage was directly from the King.’
The newspaper added, ‘The few MPs who were present responded with the royal Bayethe cry
as well. Soon after delivering the message, the PM hit the exit door.’
The House was then adjourned because not enough MPs were present to form a quorum.

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The Observer reported at the time, ‘Parliamentary business has been grounded for the past
two months following a decision by the members of the House of Assembly to get rid of
Msibi. The decision to remove Msibi from the position of Speaker was triggered by his
refusal to allow members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Swaziland
Branch to elect a new executive committee to replace one that was chaired by Dvokodvweni
MP Musa Sitezi Dlamini, whom some MPs considered a puppet for the Speaker.
‘The manner in which Msibi handled the matter did not help the situation either, instead, it
revealed his other side-being authoritative.
‘Most of the MPs felt they could not stand his alleged boastful character. They also accused
him of arrogance, selective treatment of members and flouting of parliamentary procedures.
‘Attempts by members of the House of Assembly to remove Msibi from his position have
previously been unsuccessful.
‘A recent attempt before this one was through a parliamentary process that involved
investigating his alleged immoral and unethical activities, which led to his subsequent
suspension. The suspension was to be enforced pending tabling of the investigation report.
‘Msibi ran to the country’s courts to seek legal redress. While challenging the decision by his
colleagues and before the court process was concluded, Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini
delivered a message from the King informing House members the squabbles should be put to
a dead stop.
‘Msibi was reportedly instructed to abandon the court process and those legislators
investigating him also ordered to bring to a halt the whole investigation process. All parties
concerned obliged.’
The Observer reported that the House was divided into two rival factions, ‘with a few mainly
royal appointees on the side of Msibi and the other section largely composed of elected
members directly representing the 55 constituencies.’
See also
Swaziland (Eswatini) Election 2018: links to information and analysis from Swazi
Media Commentary
Organised Certainty, why elections in Swaziland are not democratic
‘King’s man’ stands for Speaker job
Confusion as Speaker not elected
Dissident stands as House Speaker

Swaziland King appoints eight of his family to Senate amid reports of widespread vote
buying elsewhere
20 October 2018

King Mswati III the absolute monarch of Swaziland / Eswatini has appointed eight members
of his Royal Family to the kingdom’s Senate. This is in addition to the six he previously
appointed to the House of Assembly.

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In an unexplained move, the King appointed Prince Hlangabeza to both the House and the
Senate.
The announcement came on Thursday (18 October 2018) and follows national elections that
are widely discredited outside of Swaziland as undemocratic. No member of the Swazi
Senate are elected by the people; the King appoints 20 and members of the House of
Assembly elect 10.
The King’s appointments underline the lack of democracy in Swaziland. Elections for the
House of Assembly were held on 21 September 2018. Political parties are banned from
taking part and people are only allowed to select 59 members; the King appoints a further 10.
Ten members of the Senate were elected by members of the House of Assembly on Tuesday
amid reports of widespread bribery. The Times of Swaziland reported on Thursday that police
were investigating after votes were said to have been sold for between E20,000 and E40,000.
In Swaziland seven in ten of the estimated 1.1 million population have incomes less than the
equivalent of US$2 (about E30) a day.
The Times said the bribery allegations came to light after one unsuccessful Senate candidate
whom it did not name demanded her money back from members of the House of Assembly.
The Observer on Sunday newspaper, which is in effect owned by King Mswati, said in an
editorial comment (14 October 2018), ‘It is now an open secret that the 10 seats available for
Senate, to be chosen by the MPs, are now sold to the highest bidder.’
Vusi Kunene, a columnist for the Times of Swaziland, criticised Swaziland’s Elections and
Boundaries Commission for not taking action. He wrote, ‘That it is no longer a secret that
there is a lot of vote buying and the institution, which is supposed to guard against such, is
silent, is worrying.’
The buying of Senate seats in Swaziland is common. In the run-up to the election Ncumbi
Maziya, a Commissioner at the EBC, told a workshop for election candidates that members
of parliament charged E60,000 for their vote.
The Swazi Observer newspaper reported in August 2018, ‘He said parliamentarians are the
most corrupt people. He said he has since gathered that parliamentarians are swindling money
from people who want to make it into Senate.
It added, ‘Maziya said he learnt that people are made to fork out money amounting to
E60,000 if they want to get a vote to be elected into Senate. “If you have no money you
won’t make it into Senate,” Maziya stated.’
In a separate development, the Times of Swaziland reported on Friday two unnamed
candidates for the Senate election had secretly been disqualified because they had failed
police vetting. It reported, ‘their past was found wanting’. It gave no further details.
It added, ‘Vetting is the process of performing a background check on someone before
offering them employment, conferring an award, or doing fact checking prior to making any
decision.’

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It said, ‘To save face, some of the MPs [Members of Parliament] continued to elect the
candidates who had not passed the vetting stage, although it was clear from the counting of
the votes that they did not stand a chance to win.’
It added, ‘Chief Police Information and Communications Officer (PICO) Superintendent
Phindile Vilakati, said as the police they could not divulge any information on the vetting of
individuals.
‘“The process that is undertaken is highly confidential and therefore, for security reasons, one
cannot state what happens,” said Vilakati.’
See also
Swaziland Election Officer Reveals MPs Sell Their Votes When Electing Kingdom’s
Senators

Results of Swaziland election not published one month after poll questioning kingdom’s
claim to democracy
22 October 2018

The results of the House of Assembly election in Swaziland / Eswatini have still not been
published one month after the vote took place.

It is further evidence that the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III as sub-Saharan Africa’s last
absolute monarch is not a democracy.

The election took place on 21 September 2018. The kingdom’s Elections and Boundaries
Commission (EBC) promptly announced the winners at the 59 constituencies (known as
tinkhundla) but no break-down giving the number of votes cast for each candidate has been
released.

This is not new in Swaziland: the full results of the previous election held in 2013 have never
been published.
In Swaziland, political parties are banned from taking part in elections and the people are
only allowed to select 59 members of the House of Assembly; the King appoints a further 10.
No members of the 30-strong Swazi Senate are elected by the people; the King appoints 20
members and the House of Assembly elects 10. Following the election King Mswati
appointed six members of his Royal Family to the House of Assembly and eight members to
the Senate.
The EBC has not released the results of the House of Assembly election, although they are
known. The two national newspapers in Swaziland published some results from individual
tinkhundla as they were announced on the night of the election.
The EBC has the capacity to publish the results. After the first round of the election (known
as the Primary Election) on 24 August 2018, the EBC uploaded on its website all the results.
At the time the Swazi Media Commentary (SMC) blogsite analysed the data and found a total

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of 156,973 people voted for members of the House of Assembly at the Primary Election;
28.83 percent of those who had registered.
In June 2018 after revising the figure the EBC announced that 544,310 people had registered
to vote. It said earlier that 600,000 people in the kingdom were eligible to register. This
meant, according to EBC figures, that 90.7 percent of eligible people had done so. The EBC
figure was questioned after allegations were made of election law breaking. No copy of the
national electoral roll was made public.
SMC reported that the size of the turnout in the Primary Election was important as voting was
the only way people in Swaziland had of demonstrating their support (or lack of it) for the
political system. In 1973, King Sobhuza II tore up the constitution, banned political parties
and began to rule by decree. Although a new constitution came into effect in 2006, little has
changed and King Sobhuza’s son King Mswati III continues to rule as an absolute monarch.
Political opposition is banned in Swaziland and those who campaign for democracy are
charged under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.
The voting figures for the Primary Election suggested a lack of support for the political
process. The results of the primary Election have since been removed from the EBC website.
The final round of the election (known as the Secondary Election) was marred by accusations
of bribery, vote-rigging and other malpractice. There were also outbreaks of violence. Police
fired gunshots, stun grenades and rubber bullets as voters at Sigwe protested against
completed ballot papers being taken away from a polling centre. In Ndzingeni polling stations
voters were dispersed using teargas during counting as voters threatened to enter the polling
station where counting was taking place. APA news agency reported outbursts of violence
started as early as noontime on election day and intensified in the evening when the counting
of votes was about to resume.
Some journalists and official independent election observers were barred from entering
voting counting centres and told they must sign a declaration of secrecy form.
Following the election official complaints were made to the EBC about malpractice.
Residents at Ntfonjeni said people were bussed in and allowed to vote after the election had
closed. At Ndzingeni residents complained of vote-rigging.

See also
Swaziland Police fire gunshots, set off grenades and rubber bullets as voters protest
during election
Violence, corruption, vote-buying reported in Swaziland election. Journalists barred
from entering counting centres

Swaziland King says angels told him whom to appoint as new Prime Minister, but he
won’t yet reveal the name
26 October 2018

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King Mswati III, the absolute monarch of Swaziland / Eswatini, told a meeting of the
kingdom’s ‘People’s Parliament’ he had been visited by angels whom told him who he
should appoint as the kingdom’s new Prime Minister.
In the past the King has said he received messages directly from God.
He told his story at the Ludzidzini Royal Residence on Wednesday (24 October 2018) during
a meeting of Sibaya. The Sibaya is where the King summons his 1.1 million subjects to the
royal cattle byre to discuss pressing issues.
When he called Sibaya people expected he would reveal who he had chosen to be Prime
Minister, following the recent national elections.
Instead of revealing his choice the King said he had prayed hard for guidance and had been
visited by angels. The Times of Swaziland reported he said, ‘The angels did eventually come
and told me who it was.’
The Times added, ‘He said it became apparent as he was continuously in prayer that the
angels and ancestors (tingilozi nemadloti) would appear to him and show him the right man
for the job.
‘He said the angels and ancestors would show him the man who was given the authority to
run the country.’
The said he would not reveal the name until at least Saturday (27 October 2018) after the
Sibaya had given its views on who should be the PM.
King Mswati and his supporters have in the past said the King has a direct line to God.
In 2013, African Eye News Service reported King Mswati’s elder brother, Prince Masitsela
Dlamini, said that God had given the royal family authority to rule over other Swazi clans.
‘The Dlaminis are closer to God,’ said Dlamini.
In 2011, the King said God spoke to him through a TV remote control. It happened at the
Lozitha Palace, near Mbabane. At the time the King told his subjects about his ‘miraculous
experience’.
The Times of Swaziland reported in October 2011, ‘His Majesty saw a miracle yesterday
when he was preparing a sermon [to preach to a group of evangelical Christians.] The King
said a remote control lay at the centre of a coffee table but something mysteriously brought it
down.

‘He said there was no person or wind that could have brought it down. The King said he
realised that God was with him. It was Him who brought the remote control down.’
In September 2013, the King told his subjects he had received a vision during a thunderstorm
and was told that the political system in Swaziland that puts the King at the head and bans
political parties should from then on be called ‘Monarchical Democracy.’
On 21 October 2009, the Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King, told its
readers King Mswati was ‘ordained by God to lead his people’. Musa Ndlangamandla, the
Observer chief editor at the time, reported that Lutfo Dlamini, then Swaziland’s Minister of

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Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, wrote a poem to the King that included the line, ‘You are
living proof that Kings and Monarchs are ordained by God to lead his people’.

Following this, the most senior ‘traditionalist’ leader in Swaziland Timothy Velabo Mtsetfwa
was reported in the Observer saying ‘Royalty was a gift from God’. He said this while urging
the Swazi nation ‘to respect the Royalty because it cares for the needy’.
Mtsetfwa also spoke about how multi-parties which are banned in Swaziland, ‘were a
monster to which many countries had succumbed and fell’. He then went on to say, ‘in other
countries, especially those under multi-party democracy, the leaders only think of themselves
and their immediate families and forget about the needy people’.
Following the latest election on 21 September 2018 the King appointed six members of his
own family to the House of Assembly and eight to the Senate.
The King rules as an absolute monarch and chooses the PM and government. People are only
allowed to select 59 members of the House of Assembly; the King appoints a further 10. No
members of the Swazi Senate are elected, the House of Assembly elects 20 and the King
appoints 10.
See also
Swazi King’s private line to God
Fears over King’s mental health

Swaziland King chooses new PM with no political experience, but together they have
close business ties
28 October 2018

King Mswati III, the absolute monarch of Swaziland / Eswatini has chosen a businessman
with no political experience as his new Prime Minister.
Ambrose Dlamini is best known as the chief executive officer (CEO) of MTN Swaziland, the
mobile phone service provider. The King receives millions of dollars a year in dividends
from MTN. He was given 10 percent of MTN Swaziland when he granted it the licence to
operate as the only mobile phone service provider in his kingdom.
Swaziland is not a democracy; the King chooses the Prime Minister and government
members. The King appointed six members of his own family to the House of Assembly and
eight to the Senate earlier in October 2018. Political parties are banned from taking part in
elections. No members of the Swazi Senate are elected by the people.
The King announced his choice of PM on Saturday (27 October 2018). He had previously
said he had been told whom to appoint by an angel that had appeared to him in a prayer.
King Mswati at one time was estimated by Forbes to have a personal net worth (assets minus
liabilities) of US$200 million. Seven in ten of the people in Swaziland live on incomes less
than the equivalent of US$2 per day.

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In 2014, The Sunday Times newspaper in South Africa reported that MTN ‘brokered [a] cosy
relationships with the monarchy’.
It reported that the King held 10 percent of the shares in MTN in Swaziland and was referred
to by the company as an ‘esteemed shareholder’. It said MTN had paid R114 million
(US$11.4 million) to the King over the five years up to 2014. The payments have continued
since then but the total amount the King has received is not publicly known.
The Sunday Times reported in 2014 that MTN had a monopoly in Swaziland and was used by
57 percent of the population. It said MTN was able to keep prices high, citing the cost of 300
megabytes of data in Swaziland as E149, while in South Africa the same amount of data cost
E79.
In 2009, Earl Irvine, then US Ambassador to Swaziland, wrote a confidential cable (later
published by Wikileaks) in which he said the King operated in his own financial interest. Part
of the cable said, ‘Royal politics and King Mswati’s business interests appear to have caused
the ouster of Mobile Telephone Network (MTN) CEO Tebogo Mogapi and halted parastatal
Swaziland Post and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC) from selling the MTN shares it
owns to raise money for a Next Generation Networks (NGN) cell phone project.
‘Industry and press observers privately indicated that the King, who already owns many
MTN shares, had wanted to purchase the MTN shares himself at a cheaper price than the
buyer, MTN, was offering SPTC.
He went on, ‘Government officials later prevented the sale, and recently did not renew the
work permit for CEO Mogapi, a South African citizen, apparently in retaliation for his role in
the transaction, as well as the CEO’s reported decision to oppose government efforts to use
the MTN network for electronic surveillance on political dissidents.’
Ambrose Dlamani later became CEO of MTN.
The US Ambassador’s cable went on, ‘Government officials would likely prefer a more
malleable Swazi CEO at MTN who would cooperate more fully with royal and government
wishes.’
See also
Swazi election – sponsored by MTN
Does PM have a fortune from MTN?
US decries Swazi King on MTN deal
Phones cut as Swaziland protests

Swaziland King appoints new Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini in violation of
Constitution
31 October 2018

King Mswati III, the absolute monarch of Swaziland/ Eswatini, chose his new Prime Minister
Ambrose Dlamini in violation of the kingdom’s Constitution.

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Section 67 of the Constitution says the King must appoint the PM ‘from among members of
the House [of Assembly]’ but Dlamini is not a member. He was not elected by the people.
The King also appoints ten members of the House of Assembly but did not give Dlamini a
place.
The appointment is a clear breach of the Constitution and it highlights how the document that
came into effect in 2006 is generally meaningless. King Mswati rules Swaziland as sub-
Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch and this is allowed for in S65(4) of the Constitution
which states, ‘Where the King is required by the Constitution to exercise any function after
consultation with any person or authority, the King may or may not exercise that function
following the consultation.’
Put in simple language, ‘The King is permitted to do what he likes.’
King Mswati has a firm grip on power in his kingdom. At the election on 21 September 2018
his subjects were only allowed to select 59 members of the House of Assembly, the King
appointed a further 10. Political parties were banned from taking part.
None of the 30 members of the Swazi Senate are elected by the people; the House elects 10
and the King appoints 20. After the election the King appointed six members of his own
family to the House of Assembly and eight to the Senate.
The King also chooses the PM, government ministers and top civil servants and judges.
Lisa Peterson, the United States Ambassador to Swaziland, criticised the King for not
following the constitution when making appointments after the election. In an article that
appeared in both of Swaziland’s two national daily newspapers she wrote, ‘I am
disappointed, disheartened and disturbed that parliamentary appointments made by the Palace
disregard explicit provisions of the country’s Constitution.
‘The terms are quite simple: among the members of the House of Assembly appointed by the
King, at least half shall be women: among the 20 for the Senate, at least eight shall be
women. Out of 10 appointees to the House, only three were women. In the Senate, only seven
women were appointed. These shortfalls show that gender equity is not a priority for the
country’s most senior officials, which means that it will not be a priority for many others in
Eswatini’s male-dominated leadership.’
She warned failure to stick by the Constitution ‘will likely’ affect the amount of development
aid Swaziland receives in future from the US.
She wrote, ‘This failure to abide by the terms of the Constitution has an impact not only on
women’s economic, political and social participation, but on all aspects of the rule of law in
this country. If senior leaders do not need to follow the rules laid out and agreed to, why
should anyone else in the country have to abide by any rules? Failure to uphold the rule of
law has ramifications far beyond Parliament.’
‘As Eswatini faces a critical fiscal crisis, foreign investment will be an important component
of a multifaceted economic recovery and growth strategy. Foreign investors are attracted to or
deterred by a range of factors, but rule of law is a major consideration. If the Constitution
itself is treated as an optional guide or a collection of recommendations, this provides little

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comfort to investors who seek assurance that contractual matters will be addressed
transparently in accordance with the law.
‘Beyond the potential impact on foreign direct investment, violation of the basic framework
of governance will likely also have an impact on prospective foreign assistance mechanisms
from the United States.’
Richard Rooney

Swaziland King demonstrates how he is an absolute monarch by picks for government
and parliament
12 November 2018

King Mswati III, the absolute monarch of Swaziland / Eswatini, ignored the kingdom’s
constitution across the board as he appointed his Prime Minister, government and members of
the House of assembly and Senate.
His actions highlight the complete control he has in the kingdom.
Swaziland held a national election in September 2018 under the political system that the King
calls ‘Monarchical Democracy’ and is widely known as tinkhundla. Political parties are
banned from taking part in elections and people only elect 59 members of the House of
Assembly, a further 10 are appointed by the King. None of the 30 members of the Swazi
Senate are elected by the people; the House of Assembly elects 10 and the King appoints 20.
Following the election which is held every five years the King appoints a Prime Minister and
Cabinet.
The King rules under a Royal Proclamation of 1973 that abolished political parties and
allowed the then King, Sobhuza II to rule as an absolute monarch. A Constitution came into
effect in 2006, but the King largely ignores its provisions.
The Constitution requires the King to ensure that at least half of the cabinet of ministers are
people who were directly elected by the people into the House of Assembly. Only eight of the
20 members of the Cabinet he appointed were elected.
The Constitution also requires King Mswat to choose his Prime Minister from within the
House of Assembly. His choice of Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini was not in the House.
He was not elected by the people nor was he one of the ten members of the House appointed
by the King.
Lisa Peterson, the US Ambassador to Swaziland, drew attention to another breach of the
Constitution in an article published by both of Swaziland’s daily newspapers.
She wrote, ‘I am disappointed, disheartened and disturbed that parliamentary appointments
made by the Palace disregard explicit provisions of the country’s Constitution.
‘The terms are quite simple: among the members of the House of Assembly appointed by the
King, at least half shall be women: among the 20 for the Senate, at least eight shall be
women. Out of 10 appointees to the House, only three were women. In the Senate, only seven
women were appointed. These shortfalls show that gender equity is not a priority for the

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

country’s most senior officials, which means that it will not be a priority for many others in
Eswatini’s male-dominated leadership.’
The appointments by the King are in clear breach of the Constitution and highlight how the
document is generally meaningless. King Mswati rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s
last absolute monarch and this is allowed for in S65(4) of the Constitution which states,
‘Where the King is required by the Constitution to exercise any function after consultation
with any person or authority, the King may or may not exercise that function following the
consultation.’
Richard Rooney
See also
U.S. Ambassador calls for repeal of decree that makes Swaziland an absolute
monarchy

Legitimacy and credibility of Swaziland election hampered by political parties ban, UN
group reports
16 November 2018

The ‘legitimacy and credibility’ of the recent national election in Swaziland / Eswatini was
‘significantly hampered’ because political parties are banned in the kingdom ruled by
absolute monarch King Mswati III, according to a United Nations group.
The King has ‘excessive powers’ in the appointment of the Government, Parliament and the
judiciary, the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) said in a report just published.
It follows a visit to Swaziland on 6 to 8 November 2018 to review a number of human rights
issues outlined in the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR).
The HRC reported, ‘According to the Constitution of Eswatini (Swaziland), the system of
Government is based on the Tinkhundla, in which individual merit is a basis for election and
appointment into public office. In practice, this translates in a system where the King has
excessive powers appointment over the Government, Parliament and the judiciary,
incompatible with article 25 of the ICCPR.’
Elections for the House of Assembly took place on 21 September 2018. Political parties were
banned from taking part. The people were only allowed to elect 59 members of the House, a
further 10 were appointed by the King. None of the 30 members of the Swazi Senate were
elected by the people; 10 were elected by the House of assembly and 20 appointed by the
King.
Following the election the King appointed a Prime Minister and Cabinet in contravention of
the Swaziland Constitution. He also appointed six members of his Royal Family to the House
of Assembly and eight to the Senate.
In its report the Human Rights Committee said, ‘The legitimacy and credibility of the
elections was significantly hampered by the design of the electoral mechanisms as a culture

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

of political pluralism is lacking. There is no freedom of genuine and pluralistic political
debate, political parties are unable to register, contest elections, field candidates or otherwise
participate in the formation of a Government.
‘Political organisations have tried to challenge the Government to allow at least individual
candidates to express their affiliation to political parties during the election campaigning
period in order to promote steps towards political plurality. On 20 July 2018, the High Court
of Eswatini dismissed an application brought by SWADEPA for an interim order allowing
individual candidates to express their affiliation to political parties during the election
campaign period.’
Swaziland ratified the ICCPR in 2004 and its initial report on progress was due by 2005, but
by 2017 it had failed to report. After such a long delay the HRC reviewed of the kingdom in
the absence of report. The November visit was an attempt to review progress since then.
See also
Swaziland quizzed on terror law

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

2 GOVT FINANCIAL CRISIS

Swaziland faces continued unrest, risk to stability growing, Govt broke, says global
analyst Fitch
4 October 2018

Swaziland faces a period of continued unrest because the recent election was unable to
change anything, according to global analysts Fitch Solutions. Risks to stability in the
kingdom are growing, it said.
This is because King Mswati III rules as an absolute monarch and the parliament has no
powers.
In an analysis following the election on 21 September 2018 in Swaziland (recently renamed
Eswatini by the King) Fitch said it was ‘unlikely to defuse tensions that have led to clashes
between protestors and security services over recent weeks, as elected parliamentary officials
have very little real power.’
It said, ‘We therefore expect continued incidents of unrest as citizens vent their frustrations,
with these protests likely to be met with a heavy-handed response by the government.
It added, ‘We retain the view that unrest is unlikely to escalate into a complete breakdown of
law and order, as the king will continue to enjoy the support of the security services and of
regional leaders.

‘That said, we believe that risks to stability are growing, and we have decreased our short-
term political risk index score for Eswatini as a result.’
People in Swaziland are only allowed to elect 59 members of the House of Assembly, the
King appoints a further 10. None of the 30 members of the Swazi Senate are elected by the
people; the King appoints 20 and 10 are elected by the House of Assembly.
Fitch said the two houses of parliament, ‘are merely advisory bodies that have little influence
over King Mswati III and his handpicked cabinet. Furthermore, political parties are banned in
Eswatini with all elected officials standing independently. The small amount of power that
elected representatives hold is therefore rarely unified to achieve specific policy goals.
‘Indeed, preliminary figures suggest that only around a quarter of registered voters cast their
ballots, demonstrating the public's lack of faith in the electoral process as an expression of
popular will.’
Fitch in its analysis of the immediate future of Swaziland said, ‘We believe that there are
likely to be further clashes between protestors and the Eswatini authorities over the coming
quarters. Economic growth is likely to remain extremely weak amid faltering growth in
neighbouring South Africa and this will weigh on fiscal revenues, limiting the government’s
ability to meet trade union demands for a 7.0 percent increase in public sector pay.
‘Fiscal revenues rely heavily on income from the Southern African Customs Union, which in
turn is dependent on South African demand that looks set to remain weak over the coming

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

quarters.

‘The Eswatini government is essentially broke and is relying on the domestic banking sector
to finance spending. Against this backdrop, we see little prospect of the authorities ceding to
public workers' demands for higher wages.’
Fitch reported, ‘Frustrations are likely to be fanned by King Mswati and senior figures in his
government continuing to live extravagantly. The king reportedly wore a diamond encrusted
suit and a US$1.6m watch at independence celebrations in April, which came shortly after the
delivery of his second private jet, costing a reported US$30m.
‘Public sector workers conducted a three-day strike and protested against the government's
refusal to increase salaries in mid-September. The police met these protests with a heavy
hand, using rubber bullets and tear gas, and reportedly fired live rounds into the air to
disperse protestors. The authorities have since banned further strikes, a move that will further
fuel public anger, in our view.
‘At this stage, we do not believe that unrest will escalate to a breakdown in law and order or
force a significant alteration to the country's political structure. The security services remain
loyal to the king and his government, and will continue to respond aggressively to signs of
dissent, which will help to prevent unrest from gathering momentum.
‘Additionally, regional governments and South Africa in particular, are unlikely to be keen to
see a complete breakdown of law and order in their “backyard” and will therefore continue to
provide political support to the king and his government.’
See also
Police turn Swaziland city into ‘warzone’ as national strike enters second day

Swaziland has no cash to pay elderly pensions, Prime Minister says he will fly business
class to save money
23 November 2018

Swaziland / Eswatini is so broke that pensions for the elderly are not being paid. State-
controlled radio has been broadcasting the news over the past few days.
It is another example of how the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III has been mismanaged.
The pensions for people aged 60 and over, known locally as elderly grants, are for E400
(US$30) per month.
About 70,000 people receive the grants which often are the only income a family has.
A year ago it was reported more than 80 percent of women aged 60 and over and 70 percent
of men in Swaziland lived in poverty. The figures were contained in the National Strategy
and Action Plan to End Violence in Swaziland: 2017 to 2022.
About seven in ten of Swaziland’s 1.1 million population live in abject poverty defined as
having incomes less than the equivalent of US$2 per day. The report said poverty among
people aged 60 or over was highest compared to other age groups.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

News that elderly grants cannot be paid comes as the new government in Swaziland
announced ‘cost-saving’ measures. At a press conference on Thursday (22 November 2018)
Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini announced that senior government officials would no
longer fly first class when they travelled abroad on official business. In future they would go
by business class.
He also shelved a plan to buy new top-of-the-range vehicles for himself and the Deputy
Prime Minister. Cars recently rented for the use of Cabinet ministers will be returned.
Swaziland is broke and as of 30 June 2018 owed a total of E12.9 billion, the equivalent of
20.8 percent of the kingdom’s GDP. Of that nearly E3 billion is owed to suppliers of goods
and services.
Hospitals and health centres across Swaziland have run out of medicines, including vaccines
against polio and tuberculosis, because drug suppliers had not been paid.
In June 2018 it was reported that children collapsed with hunger in their school because the
government had not paid for food for them. The kingdom had previously been warned to
expect children to starve because the government had not paid its suppliers for the food that is
distributed free of charge at schools. The shortage was reported to be widespread across the
kingdom.
Meanwhile, King Mswati III who rules Swaziland as one of the world’s last absolute
monarchs, wore a watch worth US$1.6 million and a suit beaded with diamonds weighing 6
kg, at his 50th birthday party in April. Days earlier he took delivery of his second private jet, a
A340 Airbus, that after VIP upgrades reportedly cost US$30 million. He received E15
million (US$1.2 million) in cheques, a gold dining room suite and a gold lounge suite among
his birthday gifts. He now has two private planes, 13 palaces and fleets of top-of-the-range
BMW and Mercedes cars.
See also
Swazi Govt fails to pay elderly grants

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

3 CORRUPTION
New drive against corruption in Swaziland leaves out King Mswati, the biggest drain on
the public purse
7 November 2018
Ambrose Dlamini, the newly unconstitutionally-appointed Prime Minister of Swaziland /
Eswatini, said he will have zero tolerance on corruption in the kingdom ruled by absolute
monarch King Mswati III.
He said, ‘His Majesty and the nation spoke in one voice at Sibaya [the so-called People’s
Parliament], calling for immediate action against all found to have purged the national purse
fraudulently. The net will close in for all the corrupt, and we will adopt a zero tolerance to
corruption at all levels.’
He said this during the swearing-in of his Cabinet ministers on Tuesday (6 November 2018),
according to a report in the Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King.
Dlamini did not point out that the biggest drain on the public purse in Swaziland is King
Mswati himself.
The King rules as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. He appointed Dlamini, who
has never been elected by the people, PM last week in contravention of the Swazi
Constitution. The King also appointed six members of his Royal Family to the House of
Assembly and eight to the Swaziland Senate.
The King is not shy in displaying his wealth. In April 2018 at his 50th birthday celebration he
wore a watch worth US$1.6 million and a suit beaded with diamonds. He did this while
children in his kingdom continue to be on the verge of starvation and are only kept alive by
food donated from abroad.
Days before his birthday King Mswati took delivery of his second private jet plane. This one,
an A340-300 Airbus had a purchase price of US$13.2 million, but with VIP upgrades it
reportedly cost about US$30 million.
The King has 13 palaces and fleets of top-of-the-range Mercedes and BMW cars. Meanwhile
seven in ten of his subjects estimated to number 1.1 million live in abject poverty with
incomes less than the equivalent of US$2 per day.

In 2017, the global charity Oxfam named Swaziland as the most unequal country in the world
in a report called Starting With People, a human economy approach to inclusive growth
in Africa detailing the differences in countries between the top most earners and those at the
bottom. The Oxfam report stated the government, which is handpicked by King Mswati,
‘failed to put measures in place to tackle inequality, with poor scores for social spending and
progressive taxation, and a poor record on labour rights’.
In the March 2018, the budget for the Royal Family spending (the civil list) was increased by
E1 million to E394 million. At the same time value added tax (VAT) was increased by 1
percent. Local media did not comment on the King’s increase but did report the budget as an
attack on the poor.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

King Mswati’s personal spending also diverts money away from much-needed development.

Between 2011 and 2015 Swaziland took US$507 million (E6.24 billion) in external
assistance from other countries. Of this, US$140 million came from the United States (28
percent of the total) and US$123 million from the European Union (24 percent of the total).
Other main donors were Taiwan (US$74 million) and the United Nations (US$59 million).
Combined, the total external assistance accounted for 17.6 percent of Swaziland’s domestic
revenue. The EU’s assistance covers a range of areas, including education, health, water and
sanitation among others. The US only assists in areas of health. The health sector receives the
largest amount of aid, followed by agriculture and infrastructure.
A report written by Klaus Stig Kristensen and published by Afrika Kontakt (Africa Contact)
in 2017 stated, ‘The EU and US finance these sectors, freeing up funds for the government of
Swaziland to spend on an unnecessary defence/security sector that consumes an increasing
amount of the national budget.
‘They thereby alleviate funds for the government of Swaziland to be spent on vanity capital
projects [such as the King Mswati III International Airport] and unnecessary defence that
consumes an increasing amount of the national budget.
‘If sustainable socio-economic development is to take place in Swaziland, it is essential that
the government of Swaziland takes the lion’s share of the responsibility and prioritizes its
budget accordingly.’
The report stated that in Swaziland almost 6 percent of the national budget is spent on the
Royal Family and 12.4 percent on the security sector, while only 3.3 percent is spent on
agriculture, ‘the engine that is supposed to pull the rural population out of poverty’. It added,
‘This is a strange budget prioritization considering that the majority of Swazis live below the
poverty line.
The sources of the King’s income are kept secret from the Swazi people. In 2009, Forbes
magazine estimated that the King himself had a personal net fortune worth US$200 million.
Forbes also said King Mswati was the beneficiary of two funds created by his father Sobhuza
II in trust for the Swazi nation. During his reign, he has absolute discretion over use of the
income. The trust has been estimated to be worth US$10 billion.
The King also holds 25 percent of all mining royalties in Swaziland ‘in trust’ for the Swazi
nation.

In August 2014 the Sunday Times newspaper in South Africa reported King Mswati
personally received millions of dollars from international companies such as phone giant
MTN; sugar conglomerates Illovo and Remgro; Sun International hotels and beverages firm
SAB Millerto.
It reported that MTN, which had a monopoly of the cell phone business in Swaziland at the
time, paid dividends directly to the King. He holds 10 percent of the shares in MTN in
Swaziland and is referred to by the company as an ‘esteemed shareholder’. It said MTN had
paid E114 million (US$11.4 million at the then exchange rate) to the King over the previous
five years.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

The newspaper also reported that the King was receiving income from Tibiyo Taka Ngwane,
a conglomerate he controls ‘in trust for the Swazi nation’, which paid dividends in 2013 of
E218.1 million. The newspaper reported ‘several sources’ who said it was ‘an open secret’
that although money generated by Tibiyo was meant to be used for the benefit of the nation,
Tibiyo in fact channelled money directly to the Royal Family.
In 2016, Tibiyo paid dividends of E188.5 million and had assets valued at E1.8 billion.
Tibiyo TakaNgwane investments include Dalcrue Agricultural Holdings, Inyoni Yami
Swaziland Insurance, Royal Swaziland Sugar Corporation, Ubombo Sugar Limited, Bhunu
Mall, Nedbank Swaziland, Simunye Plaza, The Swazi Observer, Tibiyo Properties, Maloma
Colliery, Parmalat Swaziland, Swaziland Beverages and Swazi Spa Holdings.
Earlier in May 2018, Lucky Ndlovu, the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office Director of Children
Services, revealed that Neighbourhood Care Points (NCP) that feed the hungry across
Swaziland were short of food because donations were drying up.
The Sunday Observer reported Ndlovu saying, ‘There is a lack of support from those who
used to supply the food. Most of the support was from international donors who are now
focussing on other countries which are not classified as middle income countries.’
He added, donors believed Swaziland had enough money but it was not being directed
towards the poor.
‘Government must come up with programmes that are pro-poor because the international
community is now not willing to support us,’ he said.
Richard Rooney
See also
King takes $10m from iron mine
Swazi King and queens of bling
King wears watch worth $1.6-million
King wears suit beaded with diamonds
Swazi Royals spend, spend, spend

Tens of millions lost to banking fraud in Swaziland, but outstripped by Government
corruption
13 November 2018

Swaziland / Eswatini lost E30 million from the economy because of fraud during the past
year, the kingdom’s national police Deputy Commissioner Mumcy Dlamini said.
She told an event for International Fraud Awareness week on Monday (12 November 2018)
this was mainly connected to ‘banking sector business’.
She said fraudulent activities involve electronic fund transfers and false banking instructions.
However, she did not reveal the extent of fraud within the public sector which far outstrips
that in private business. Earlier this year the Swaziland Auditor General exposed widespread
financial irregularities across many government ministries.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Acting Auditor General Muziwandile Dlamini said in an annual report that financial accounts
were incomplete, billions of emalangeni were unaccounted for and laid-down rules,
guidelines and procedures were ignored. The offices of the Prime Minister, National
Commissioner of Police, Defence Department and Correctional Services were among a string
of government departments and agencies that broke the law by spending tens of millions of
emalangeni on vehicles and transport running costs without authority
The report covered the financial year to 31 March 2017.
Muziwandile Dlamini said, ‘Bank balances were misstated by E7,528,772,278.72 due to non-
reconciliation between the government cash books and bank statements. Some bank balances
were overstated by E2,285,935,191.93 and other bank account balances were understated by
E5,242,837,086.79 thus reflecting an incorrect cash flow position of the Government of
Swaziland at year end.’
The report detailed inconsistencies throughout government, including:
DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OFFICE
Disability payments went to people who did not qualify and those who were entitled were not
getting them because the DPM’s Office had not developed guidelines on how to distribute
grants. During the three years 2014 to 2016 disability grants amounting to E12.4 million were
disbursed in the absence of guidelines which should have been created in line with the
National Disability Policy of 2013. Eligibility assessment and screening of disabled citizens
was conducted by social workers. The Auditor General’s report identified non-deserving
people from across Swaziland who received a total of at least E228,720 without proper
approval.
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING
More than E3 million was unaccounted for by the Ministry of Education and Training. The
report stated that the money was part of E23 million allocated to the ministry for
rehabilitation of schools that were damaged by storms. Only E20 million was used for the
project, an under-expenditure of 13 percent. Under expenditures, according to the report,
were as serious as over-expenditures because if funds were not used, development would be
retarded and economic growth negatively affected.
The Ministry also underspent on a project to supply water to schools. E2 million was
approved and released but expenditure only amounted to E247,000, an under-expenditure of
88 percent.
MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS
Government had lost E1.04 million paying salaries for four immigration officers who had
been suspended from work, three of them on full pay since June 2014. No information was
forthcoming about their cases and whether criminal proceedings had taken place against
them. In another case the salary of an officer had been paid for three months after his death.
MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY
A conveyancer defrauded the ministry of E3.29 million by submitting false information
relating to the transfer of legal titles on two properties in 2014. The two properties were

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

valued at E34 million and E21 million but the Registrar of Deeds was told they were valued
at E2 million and E1 million. The conveyancer who was not named in the report should have
paid transfer duty of E3.29 million but only E20,000 has been recovered. The Auditor
General could not find transfer duty certificates when auditing the revenue collections by the
Deeds Registry.
STRATEGIC OIL RESERVE FUND: An amount of E35.82 million was transferred from the
Strategic Oil Reserve Fund without following proper procedures. The money was transferred
on 25 August 2016 and based on a 3 percent interest rate it had earned an interest amounting
to E1,077,571 by six months later. The Auditor General was not given any evidence
supporting or explaining the transfer of the funds even though the public accounts committee
(PAC) had ordered that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy should provide
documentation that the withdrawal and transfer was done with the permission of the Ministry
of Finance. The Auditor General concluded the money was taken illegally.
MINISTRY FOR TINKHUNDLA ADMINISTRATION AND DEVELOPMENT
Water project material amounting to E432,033 had gone missing at Mangcongco Inkhundla.
The auditors discovered that water project materials amounting to E221,033 had remained
unused for seven years. The material was kept at an Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force
(USDF) camp situated in Mangcongco. This, according to the auditors, indicated that bills of
quantities were not used at every stage of the water project to give appropriate quantities and
to correctly define the extent of work based on drawings and specifications of the project.
The bills of quantities, according to the report, should have been prepared by an expert such
as a water engineer.
According to delivery notes, the material was acknowledged to have been delivered.
Therefore, the material could have been stolen after delivery. The report expressed a concern
on the weak controls which existed within the ministry, whereby funds were released without
ensuring that technical experts were involved when the material was quantified and released.
The ministry also displayed a care-free attitude by not designing a follow-up mechanism of
the project to ensure that the project was executed and completed properly. The ministry was
negligent in taking care of scarce public funds.
EMPOWERMENT FUND: An amount of E3.67 million for the Empowerment Fund was
used by the Ministry for Tinkhundla Administration and Development without rules and
regulations or any documented control. The report concluded there was a risk that the fund
could be used for purposes not intended.
Swaziland’s lack of financial prudence has been noted internationally. Each year the United
States reviews governments that receive its assistance help ensure US taxpayer money is used
appropriately and to provide opportunities to dialogue with governments on the importance of
fiscal transparency.
The Fiscal Transparency Report on Swaziland for 2017 stated, ‘During the review period,
budget documents were available to the general public, including online. While budget
documents provided a general picture of government revenues and expenditures, revenues
from natural resources and land leases were not included in the budget.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

‘Expenditures to support the royal family were included in the budget but lacked specific
detail and were not subject to the same oversight as the rest of the budget. Information in the
budget was considered generally reliable, and the supreme audit institution’s reports of the
government’s annual financial statements were published within a reasonable period of time,
but some budget items were not subject to audit.
‘The criteria and procedures for awarding natural resource extraction licenses and contracts
were outlined in law, but the opacity of the procedures, which involve submitting
applications for licenses directly to the king, cast doubt on whether the government actually
followed the law in practice. Basic information on natural resource extraction awards was not
always publicly available.
‘Swaziland’s fiscal transparency would be improved by: providing more detail on
expenditures and revenues in the budget, particularly for off-budget accounts, natural
resource revenues, and royal family expenditures; subjecting the entire budget to audit and
oversight; demonstrating applicable laws are followed in practice for awarding natural
resource extraction contracts and licenses; and making basic information on natural resource
extraction awards publicly available.’
See also
Fraud at Deputy Prime Minister’s Office
Govt ministries broke law on spending
Swaziland ‘riddled with corruption’

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

4 ARMY
Swaziland soldiers accused of ‘torturing’ farmers searching for their stray cattle
23 October 2018

Soldiers in Swaziland / Eswatini have been accused of ‘torturing’ farmers who crossed the
border with South Africa to retrieve their straying cattle.
It is the latest in a long line of reports of soldiers physically abusing innocent civilians.
The latest report involves cattle farmers at Dwalile, which is close to the Malutha Border Post
between the two countries.
Residents told the Sunday Observer newspaper in Swaziland (21 October 2018) they were
abused each time they crossed a collapsed fence dividing the two countries to collect their
livestock, which often stray into South Africa.
The newspaper reported the farmers said when they are found driving cattle from South
Africa the Swaziland soldiers who are members of the Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force
(UEDF) ‘would dip them in a nearby swamp’ in their clothes.
It added, ‘They are also made to do frog jumps, rolled on the ground and some are assaulted
and kicked by the soldiers. Most of the abuse lasts for over an hour and had left some of the
farmers sick.’

The Observer said complaints have been made to the UEDF and community leaders. ‘Some
of the people who have suffered brutality at the hands of these uncompromising soldiers have
threatened to lay charges against government,’ it added.
The newspaper called the Army’s behaviour ‘torture’ and said residents ‘had suffered
intolerable abuse at the hands of the soldiers’.
UEDF Public Relations Officer Lieutenant Nkosinathi Dlamini told the newspaper the
farmers made ‘false accusations’.
Reports of Army abuse of civilians are common in Swaziland. In June 2018, three soldiers
were charged with assault for burying a man alive after they accused him of stealing a phone
from them at Mbekelweni.
In December 2017 soldiers were accused of routinely sexually assaulting women as they
crossed border posts with South Africa. The Observer on Saturday reported at the time, ‘The
army troops have been accused by women of abusing their powers by touching them
inappropriately as they lay their hands on their buttocks just to allow to cross either to South
Africa or into Swaziland.
‘Some women when being searched for illegal goods alleged that they are touched almost
everywhere by the male army officers and these informal crossings.’
The newspaper said the inappropriate behaviour took place ‘almost every day’ around the
Ngwenya informal crossing.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

In July 2017 soldiers reportedly forced a bus-load of passengers to strip naked after it crossed
the Mhlumeni Border Gate into Mozambique. Local media reported it happened all the time.
The Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s 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.
In June 2017 it was reported women at the informal crossing situated next to the Mananga
Border Gate with South Africa were made to remove their underwear so soldiers could
inspect their private parts with a mirror. The Swazi Army said it happened all the time.

Soldiers were said to be searching for ‘illegal objects’ using a mirror similar to that used to
inspect the underside of cars.
Once the practice became public knowledge, the Army said it would continue to strip people
and if people did not like it they should stop crossing the border.
In September 2015, the Swazi Parliament heard that soldiers beat up old ladies so badly they
had to be taken to their homes in wheelbarrows. Member of Parliament Titus Thwala said
that the women were among the local residents who were regularly beaten by soldiers at
informal crossing points between Swaziland and South Africa.

The assaults are not confined to border areas. In 2011, a man was reportedly beaten with guns
and tortured for three hours by soldiers at Maphiveni who accused him of showing them
disrespect. He was ordered to do press ups, frog jumps and told to run across a very busy road
and was beaten with guns every time he tried to resist.
In July 2011, three armed soldiers left a man for dead after he tried to help a woman they
were beating up. And in a separate incident, a woman was beaten by two soldiers after she
tried to stop them talking to her sister.
He said that he did more than 50 press ups and he was beaten with guns every time he asked
to rest.
See also
Army tortures recruitment cheats
Army sexual assaults at border posts
Soldiers inspect woman’s private parts

Remembering Black Wednesday, the day armed forces invaded the University of
Swaziland
14 November 2018

The fourteenth of November marks the anniversary of the time Swaziland soldiers invaded
the University of Swaziland and according to independent witnesses beat students with
sickening brutality.
It happened in 1990 and each year on or about this day students and others commemorate the
events.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Dr. Joshua Mzizi, a theology lecturer at UNISWA at the time (and now deceased), called the
event which became known as Black Wednesday a ‘sceptic sore’ in the history of UNISWA.
In an account that appears in the book Religion and Politics in Swaziland he recounts that ‘a
combined army of young soldiers and the police were ordered to flog students at the
Kwaluseni campus.
‘The students were beaten under the pretext that they had refused to vacate the campus after
the Senate had ordered that it be closed.’
Students had begun boycotting classes on 12 November in protest of a lack of faculty
lecturers, poor food conditions, and the suspension of a popular young sociology lecturer for
promoting democracy in Swaziland, according to another eyewitness, Michael Prosser, a
professor from the United States who was working at UNISWA.
In Mzizi’s account, ‘A great number of students had assembled in the library where they
thought no one in their right senses would disturb their peace. But their action was perceived
as potentially volatile; hence the safety of the library and the entire campus could not be
assured.’
Mzizi writes one version of events was that students threatened to burn the library down but
another was that they were peaceful and non-threatening.
Mzizi personally witnessed events. He wrote, ‘The brutality of the armed forces was
sickening to say the least. There was blood and torn limbs, all inflicted on defenceless and
fleeing students.
‘Students were chased from the library via the front of the administration building to the main
car park where another bunch of blood-thirsty soldiers kicked them with boots, batons and
guns to escort them to the gate.’
Prosser also witnessed brutality He wrote an account on his own webpage, ‘The young
soldiers broke into the library and the student hostels, dragging students out, beating both
men and women with their night sticks on their arms and legs, and forcing them to run a
gauntlet toward the front gate while the soldiers gave them sharp blows.
‘The soldiers taunted the students: “We’ll beat the English out of you.” They were especially
vicious toward the women. The soldiers had been stationed that day at the high school next
door to the campus and drank lots of beer before they attacked the campus, making them
even more violent than otherwise so likely.
‘A neighbor warned us that at 10pm, soldiers would search our houses and arrest any students
found there or on campus. Two Canadian families and I, in a caravan of three autos, took 11
frightened Swazi students in the three cars to the front gate to take them to safety.
‘With a gun pointed at the first driver’s cheek, he got permission from the guard to leave the
campus with the students. In the swirling rain, lightening, and thunderstorm, we took the
students to safe shelters. When we returned to campus late in the evening, two soldiers were
posted all night in the back and in the front of our houses.
‘With some students, I drove to the nearby hospital where more than 120 students had
received emergency treatment. We visited more than a dozen badly injured students. We

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

learned that soldiers possibly had injured as many as 300-400 and had killed perhaps as many
as two-four students.’
In 1999 the Inter Press Service (IPS) looked back at the events. It called the student action a
‘rebellion’ that ‘became a seminal event that signalled a new generation’s political
consciousness’. It was, IPS said, ‘a dawning political awareness born from a confluence of
historical forces then sweeping the world and the Southern African region’.
The IPS report quoted Manzini lawyer Lindiwe Khumalo-Matse, a university student at the
time, saying, ‘The reason why soldiers were called in was because government saw our
protest as a political uprising.’
In 1990, one of the Swazi Government’s most draconian measures, a 60-Day Detention Law,
was still in force, permitting authorities to lock up anyone they saw as a threat to public
order. All political protestors were designated as such threats.
The violence that ensued after soldiers swept through campus has been a sensitive subject
with government ever since. A commission of enquiry had its report secreted away for years,
with a bowdlerized version finally released to the public in 1997.
People in Swaziland were shocked by the brutality. Particularly offensive was one newspaper
photo depicting a young woman carried out of the library between soldiers ‘like a slaughtered
pig’, according to a letter writer to the Times of Swaziland.
The Times Higher Education Supplement, a newspaper in the UK, later reported, ‘In the
ensuing melee several students were crippled for life, hundreds injured and one woman
successfully sued the government for an out-of-court settlement of E225,000 for the loss of
an eye.’
Mzizi wrote, ‘The painful part is that the children of the nation were brutally beaten by the
security forces, they very people who were supposed to protect them.’
He added, ‘Since we know that security forces are under the state, we still wonder who
exactly ordered them to pounce on defenceless students.’
Mzizi concluded, ‘The memories of 14 November 1990 will never be wiped away. They will
linger on until Domesday.’
See also
Black Wednesday at Swaziland University

Swaziland soldiers on military training in Russia say they face ‘racism’ – want to return
home
14 December 2018

Soldiers from Swaziland / Eswatini who are receiving military training in Russia want to go
home because they are ill-treated and suffer racism.
Also, they say, the Swazi Government is slow in sending them their allowances and this
makes it difficult for them to live.

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The Swazi Observer reported on Monday (10 December 2018) the soldiers from the Army,
officially known as the Eswatini Umbutfo Defence Force (UEDF), were threatening to leave
Russia and return to Swaziland. It reported the soldiers were ‘ill-treated in Russia because of
the colour of their skin. Russia is one of the countries in the world that records high cases
associated with racism.’
It added, ‘According to sources closer to the matter the Swazi government is not making
things better for them. Amongst other things, it is said that their allowances take a significant
time to be deposited into their accounts.’
It quoted an unnamed source saying, ‘Imagine living in a foreign country without money,
with no relatives to help you. Russia is not just a country next door of which you can just take
a bus home.’
The number of Swazi soldiers in Russia was not disclosed for security reasons.
The Observer reported soldiers were afraid to voice their concerns because they feared they
would be sacked.
The source said, ‘The last time one newspaper reported such information, those who
communicated with the newspaper were brought back home and were also fired.’
UEDF Communications and Information Officer Lieutenant Officer Tengetile Khumalo
denied the claim.
The Observer reported on Wednesday a ‘concerned UEDF member’ said, ‘It is a pity that our
grievances are “censored” by those in senior positions in the army. Last year alone, two
soldiers returned to Eswatini but they are afraid to talk about it in fear of losing their jobs.’
It quoted Khumalo confirming three soldiers returned without completing the course in
Russia, ‘because of their personal problems’. Khumalo added soldiers faced no ill-treatment
and hardship.
In 2010, a contract was signed between the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Swaziland
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation providing Swazi military personnel
to be educated in Russia on a number of military disciplines that include medicine, artillery
and engineering.
See also
Why so much military training?

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

5 LGBTI

LGBT Pride film shows what it’s like to live with prejudice and ignorance in Swaziland
15 November 2018

A ground-breaking documentary on life in Swaziland / Eswatini as an LGBT person has been
released. It focusses on the first ever Pride event that took place in the absolute monarchy in
June 2018.
Homosexuality is illegal in Swaziland and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual) people
are routinely discriminated against in the kingdom ruled since 1986 by King Mswati III. He
has reportedly described homosexuality as being ‘satanic’

Riyadh Khalaf made a documentary Fighting For Pride: Swaziland with the assistance of
YouTube’s Creators For Change project. It can be viewed on YouTube.
In an interview with Gay Times, he said there were three main contributors in the film, ‘A
gay guy named Mlando, a lesbian called Alex, and a trans woman called Polycarp, and it was
amazing to see that each of them had their own struggle, but their struggles were very
individual.
‘So the gay guy, Mlando, actually fled Swaziland to neighbouring South Africa to have a
somewhat free and open life. He just couldn’t live as his true self in his home country, and it
was devastating that he had to leave. But he made that journey back to his homeland for this
Pride, which was a huge moment for him. There were tears in the interview, and he couldn’t
believe it was finally happening in Swaziland, talking about his father beating him as a kid
for not being masculine enough.
‘Then we had the lesbian side which was fascinating, because they’re not believed to be
lesbians, the men think that these women just haven’t seen the light, and that they need to
basically just get their shit together and realise they actually fancy men. That’s why in
Swaziland there have been corrective rapes of women, to try and snap them out of it, and if
you say you’re a lesbian, what you’ll often hear is that the men will be really offended, like,
“How dare you not be attracted to me?”
‘And then for the trans woman, Polycarp, that’s the most difficult story. She’s essentially
terrified for her life every time she leaves her house. She doesn’t always “pass” when she’s
out in public, so she speaks of being afraid of people coming up to her, grabbing her hair,
pulling her into a ditch, and she said that her auntie tried to send her to a pastor to rid her of
her possessions because she believes she has a demon. Her parents understand that she’s trans
but beg her to present as a man for the sake of the family. So it’s multi-level and it’s just a
constant battle with your identity and society and trying to find this middle ground where you
can be who you are without offending everyone else.’
There is a great deal of prejudice against LGBT people in Swaziland. In May 2016, Rock of
Hope, which campaigns for LGBTI equality in Swaziland and organised the Pride event,
reported to the United Nations Universal Periodic Review on Swaziland that laws, social
stigma and prejudice prevented LGBTI organisations from operating freely.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

The report, presented jointly with three South African-based organisations, stated, ‘In
Swaziland sexual health rights of LGBT are not protected. There is inequality in the access to
general health care, gender affirming health care as opposed to sex affirming health care and
sexual reproductive health care and rights of these persons. HIV prevention, testing,
treatment and care services continue to be hetero-normative in nature only providing for
specific care for men born as male and women born as female, thereby leaving out trans men
and women as an unprotected population which continues to render the state’s efforts at
addressing the spread and incidence of HIV within general society futile.’
The report added, ‘LGBTs are discriminated and condemned openly by society. This is
manifest in negative statements uttered by influential people in society e.g., religious,
traditional and political leaders. Traditionalists and conservative Christians view LGBTs as
against Swazi tradition and religion. There have been several incidents where traditionalists
and religious leaders have issued negative statements about lesbians.
‘Human rights abuses and violations against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender and intersex population continue to go undocumented, unreported, unprosecuted
and not addressed.’
It added, ‘There is no legislation recognizing LGBTs or protecting the right to a non-
heterosexual orientation and gender identity and as a result LGBT cannot be open about their
orientation or gender identity for fear of rejection and discrimination. For example, the
Marriage Act, only recognizes a marriage or a union between a man and a woman. Because
of the absence of a law allowing homosexuals to conclude neither marriage nor civil unions,
same-sex partners cannot adopt children in Swaziland.’
See also
LGBTI Pride gets global attention
Kingdom’s first LGBTI Pride takes place
‘Observer’ steps up LGBTI hate campaign

Church in Swaziland welcoming LGBTI people reopens, but no let-up on
discrimination in the kingdom
13 December 2018

A church in Swaziland / Eswatini that welcomes and supports LGBTIQ people has reopened.
Homosexual acts are illegal in the kingdom and LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender,
intersex, queer) people face daily discrimination.
The branch of the Ark of Joy International Ministry was relaunched in Coates Valley. The
Sunday edition of the Swazi Observer reported the church in Swaziland had closed some
years ago after ‘membership tapered off’.
The news of the relaunch was welcomed by the Rock of Hope which campaigns for LGBTI
equality in Swaziland. Spokesperson Melusi Simelane said, ‘It is worth noting that many in
the religious circles, continue to spew hate speech and show utter disregard for the deeds of
the Lord, by being judgmental and expelling some of the LGBTI community from their

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

places of worship. It is for that reason, we welcome the opening of such churches as those
that show the love of God, and preach the spirit of oneness and togetherness.’
Meanwhile, Gender Links, an advocacy group based in Johannesburg, South Africa, reported
LGBTI people in Swaziland expressed concern about the lack of respect shown to them
because of their sexual orientation.
Sifiso Nhlabatsi, writing on the Gender Links website, said LGBTI people had tried to
engage churches to sensitize them about their rights but had little success.
Nhlabatsi wrote about a meeting held between pastors and members of the LGBTI
community in August 2018. ‘During the meeting which was attended by over 20 pastors and I
was also part of, pastors made it clear that they cannot allow gay people to “flaunt” their
behaviour in front of congregants. Pastors said what is being done by LGBTI community is
“demonic” and through prayer maybe can be healed.’
Nhlabatsi added, ‘The meeting which started off on a good note ended on a sour note as the
two parties had a clash of opinions. Senior Pastors in the country did not even bother to
attend the dialogue.’
Swaziland held its first LGBTI Pride parade on 30 June 2018. Swaziland police went on
record to state it did not support the march. Separately, Superintendent Khulani Mamba, the
official spokesperson for the police and a self-proclaimed prophet, preached from the pulpit,
‘We say no to homosexuality, this country will not tolerate the LGBTI community.’
One of the kingdom’s best-known NGO rights activist groups the Swaziland Action Group
Against Abuse (SWAGAA) snubbed the Pride festival saying it was against Biblical
teaching.
Swaziland is a tiny landlocked kingdom with a population of about 1.1 million people, mostly
living in rural communities. It is ruled by King Mswati III who is one of the world’s last
absolute monarchs who reportedly described homosexuality as being ‘satanic’.

In the run up to the event, the Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King, ran
three articles calling LGBTI people ‘a curse’ and ‘evil’ and likening them to child sex
molesters and people who had sex with animals.
There is a great deal of prejudice against LGBTI people in Swaziland. In May 2016, Rock of
Hope, which organised the Pride event, reported to the United Nations Universal Periodic
Review on Swaziland that laws, social stigma and prejudice prevented LGBTI organisations
from operating freely.
The report, presented jointly with three South African-based organisations, stated, ‘In
Swaziland sexual health rights of LGBT[I] are not protected. There is inequality in the access
to general health care, gender affirming health care as opposed to sex affirming health care
and sexual reproductive health care and rights of these persons. HIV prevention, testing,
treatment and care services continue to be hetero-normative in nature only providing for
specific care for men born as male and women born as female, thereby leaving out trans men
and women as an unprotected population which continues to render the state’s efforts at
addressing the spread and incidence of HIV within general society futile.’

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

The report added, ‘LGBT[I]s are discriminated and condemned openly by society. This is
manifest in negative statements uttered by influential people in society e.g., religious,
traditional and political leaders. Traditionalists and conservative Christians view LGBT[I]s as
against Swazi tradition and religion. There have been several incidents where traditionalists
and religious leaders have issued negative statements about lesbians.
‘Human rights abuses and violations against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender and intersex population continue to go undocumented, unreported, unprosecuted
and not addressed.’

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

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

6 MEDIA

Qatar embassy in Swaziland briefly detains two journalists
Committee to Protect Journalists, 25 October 2018

Security staff detained two Times of Swaziland journalists for more than an hour at the Qatar
Embassy in Swaziland's capital, Mbabane, on October 5, 2018, according to a statement by
the local chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA). The journalists were
detained after a senior diplomat tried to make them sign a statement barring them from
publishing a report about his alleged involvement in an assault, according to The Times of
Swaziland.

The paper's business editor Kwanele Dhladhla and investigative journalist Welcome Dlamini
were at the embassy to interview Qatar's Charge d' Affaires and acting ambassador Yaqoub
Yousuf al-Mulla about an incident in which the diplomat allegedly pointed a firearm at a
street vendor, according to The Times of Swaziland Sunday and a Swazi journalist with
knowledge of the case, who spoke with CPJ but asked not to be named for fear of reprisal.

Al-Mulla agreed to speak to the journalists, but then tried to force Dhladhla and Dlamini to
sign a written acknowledgement they would not publish the article, according to a Times of
Swaziland report.
A document on an Embassy of Qatar letterhead, dated October 5 and published by the Times
of Swaziland, stated, “We, the employees of The Times newspaper, are committed not to
publish any information of the embassy of the state of Qatar without an order or written
permission from the embassy. In case of anything, the newspaper and the responsible persons
will be prosecuted.”
Dhladhla and Dlamini refused to sign, saying the story was in the public interest, according to
the Zimbabwe chapter of MISA, who also issued a statement, and the Times of Swaziland.
The pair recorded the interview, according to the journalist with whom CPJ spoke.
According to MISA-Zimbabwe, the diplomat ordered embassy security staff to detain the
journalists until they signed the agreement. The diplomat allegedly threatened to report the
journalists to senior member of the Swazi Royal House, according to MISA and the Times of
Swaziland article.
Al-Mulla called the Swazi police and reported that the journalists had broken into the
embassy because they did not have an appointment or permission to be there, MISA-
Zimbabwe said.
After Dhladhla and Dlamini were released, they went to the police and laid a charge of
kidnapping against the diplomat, according to MISA-Zimbabwe. Neither journalist signed the
document, according to the journalist with whom CPJ spoke.
The Times of Swaziland article about the incident, published on October 6, 2018, quoted
Assistant Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Inspector Nosipho Mnguni

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

as saying that “an enquiry pertaining to trespassing was being pursued against the
journalists.”
Swazi police spokeswoman Phindile Vilakati referred CPJ to Swaziland's Ministry of Foreign
Affairs for comment. As of October 24, 2018, Joel Nhleko, the ministry's principal secretary,
had not responded to CPJ's WhatsApp messages seeking comment.
The paper published the article about al-Mulla's alleged assault of a street vendor on October
7, 2018. The report said that the diplomat admitted having a gun but disputed allegations that
he threatened the vendor.
Times of Swaziland editor Martin Dlamini told CPJ, “We are shocked that our journalists
could be subjected to such treatment by an ambassador. This is not just a serious attack on the
local media but displays disrespect toward the country. We will follow this matter until
justice is served.”
A senior official in the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs told CPJ in an emailed statement
that al-Mulla had agreed to an off-the-record briefing on October 5, but that Dlamini and
Dhladhla had “misunderstood the agreed ground rules as the Acting Ambassador was
surprised to find that he had been recorded throughout”, the official said. The official denied
that the journalists were held against their will and said that if any evidence of a violation
from a Qatari diplomat toward a journalist is found, “the necessary steps will be taken.”
See also
Two more human rights groups condemn Swaziland Police attack on journalist
Media freedom group calls on SADC to investigate Swaziland for ‘state-sponsored’
attacks on journalists

Exiled editor Zweli Martin Dlamini to return to Swaziland
Kenworthy News Media, 1 November 2018

Editor Zweli Martin Dlamini is set to return to the tiny absolute monarchy of Swaziland. He
had fled to neighbouring South Africa in January [2018] after he had received death threats
from a local businessman and his newspaper was shut down by the government.
“My decision to return to Swaziland has been influenced by minor changes in the political
landscape and the fact that two of the powerful people who wanted to kill me are now dead –
businessman Victor Gamedze [who was murdered at a petrol station in Mbabane in January]
and late Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini”, says Zweli Martin Dlamini, who is the
editor of Swaziland News.
I will not be going to Swaziland alone, but with an “influential member of the African
National Congress”, who has promised to accompany me to ensure my safety, Dlamini adds.
Fled in fear of his life
In June 2017, Zweli Martin Dlamini had written and published a story about Swazi Mobile, a
new telecommunications company that is owned by Swaziland’s absolute monarch King
Mswati III and was run by Victor Gamedze, for the paper he edited at the time, Swaziland
Shopping.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

According to Dlamini’s story, Mswati and Gamedze had forced Swaziland’s government to
side-line rival government parastatal company SPTC from competing with Swazi Mobile – a
company that the Prime Minister Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini owned shares in.
“Shortly after publishing the story, I received a threatening call from Gamedze that lasted for
twenty minutes where he vowed to ‘deal with me’. Later, Communications Minister Dumsani
Ndlangamandla summoned me to a meeting and told me that the King was not happy with the
story and had ordered that the newspaper should be closed”, Zweli Martin Dlamini told me in
January.
After Swaziland Shopping was closed, Dlamini heard that the police had a warrant for his
arrest and that he would be poisoned in prison because he had revealed secrets about Swazi
Mobile. He fled to South Africa in fear of his life.
Hopes he’s not next Khashoggi
Zweli Martin Dlamini received support and help with security measures from the Committee
to Protect Journalists whilst in exile, he says.
And although he believes that the situation is “not yet conductive for the media to operate
freely”, he does believe that the threats to his life have been reduced enough for him to be
able to return to Swaziland. He cites the appointment of a new Prime Minister, whom he
believes will respect media reform, as one reason for his decision.
“But I am also going back to Swaziland while the world is shocked by the murder of Saudi
Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi. I hope this will not happen to me”, Dlamini says.
He will be contacting the government of neighbouring South Africa and international media
organisations to ensure that this will not be the case, he adds.
Swaziland is ranked 152th of the 180 ranked nations in Reporters Without Borders’ 2018
World Press Freedom Index, which mentions the ordeal of Zweli Martin Dlamini.
“Swaziland is an absolute monarchy that prevents journalists from working freely and
obstructs access to information”, and there is therefore “no media freedom”, the NGO
concludes.
See also
‘Editor flees after death threat’
Swazi Government forces newspaper to close
Journalists ‘scared to do their jobs’

Former newspaper editor questioned by Swaziland police for talking to banned political
parties
8 November 2018

Musa Ndlangamandla, a former editor-in-chief of the Swazi Observer and a writer for South
Africa’s Mail & Guardian newspaper, has been questioned by police in Swaziland / Eswatini
over articles he wrote in 2011.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Ndlangamandla, who was sacked from the Swazi Observer in 2012 and fled to South
Africa but later returned, reported on Wednesday (7 November 2018) he had been summoned
by Tingculungculu, which is the kingdom’s organised crime unit.
He wrote on his Facebook page, ‘They told me they are building a case against me for
interacting (they actually called it advertising) PUDEMO, Umbane and other entities they
described as proscribed.’
Political parties are banned in Swaziland and the kingdom is ruled by King Mswati III as sub-
Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
Ndlangamandla wrote, ‘They referred to an incident in 2011 where they raided my office at
the Swazi Observer where I was Chief Editor.’ Ndlangamandla said, ‘They asked me if I had
talked to political leaders of the country’s opposition groups.’
He added, ‘I told them that in my 20 and some years as a journalist I have, and continue to
speak to all Swazi people regardless of their political affiliation.’
Ndlangamandla said he was told police were preparing a statement for the Director of Public
Prosecutions. He was told to report back to police on Thursday 8 November 2018.
During 12 years as editor of the Observer, which is in effect owned by King
Mswati,Ndlangamandla was a staunch supporter of the King. He was the King’s speechwriter
and also travelled the world with him as his official praise singer.
The Swazi Observer was described by the Media Institute of Southern Africa, a media
freedom watchdog, as a ‘pure propaganda machine for the royal family’.
During his time at the Observer Ndlangamandla wrote that the ‘collective stand’ of the
newspaper was ‘that the integrity of Swaziland as a democratic State and His Majesty King
Mswati III as the legitimate leader of the Swazi nation, must never be compromised in any
way.’
During Ndlangamandla’s time in control many stories about King Mswati were censored.
These included the calculation from Forbes that King Mswati has a personal wealth of about
US$200 million; that in 2011 the King received a huge increase in his budget while all public
spending elsewhere in the kingdom was slashed to the bone; and a sex scandal involving the
King’s 12th wife and a cabinet minister. All these reports appeared in media outside of
Swaziland.
The Observer also failed to report criticisms the King was receiving in the international arena
for his attack on freedoms in Swaziland and his lavish personal spending; while as many as
60 percent of his subjects had to rely on international food aid to avoid starvation during the
past five years.
After he was sacked Ndlangamandla accused the then Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini, a
man the King personally appointed, as the key mover in his dismissal.
He wrote on Facebook at the time (19 January 2012) that Dlamini turned against him after
the Observer reported allegations that he had bought nation land for himself at a fraction of
its true price. ‘We pushed the land theft scandal by Barnabas and cabinet colleagues whilst I

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

was still a speechwriter for the King and whilst I was still travelling with the King and not
after.
‘That’s when Barnabas hatched the lie that I was mastermind behind April 12 uprising.’ This
was a failed attempt in 2012 to bring democratic change to Swaziland.
Ndlangamandla said at the time he also gave space in the newspaper to a number of pro-
democracy advocates. He wrote ‘I knew that this would get me in trouble with the King, the
PM and other powerfuls. But we had to do it because that was the right thing to do.’
Ndlangamandla concluded, ‘I will never work for this regime again even if I may be asked to.
I’d rather eat grass.’
See also
King’s paper sacks editor-in-chief
Sacked editor is no hero

Death of Swaziland newspaper editor puts spotlight on kingdom’s health crisis
9 November 2018

Thulani Thwala the editor of the Swazi Observer died in hospital after collapsing in a
toilet. When he was taken to a public hospital there were no doctors immediately available to
treat him.
The Times of Swaziland reported on Friday (9 November 2018) that paramedics took him to
Mbabane Government Hospital.
It reported, ‘However, when they arrived at the hospital later on the night, he said they found
that there were no doctors.
‘Attempts were made to call doctors and one of them responded promptly.’
Thwala was unconscious and the doctor ordered that he should be rushed to the Intensive
Care Unit (ICU).
A family member told the Times, ‘However, the ICU was full and unfortunately, he died
while being taken to another ward to receive further treatment.’
Thwala, aged 45, had been a journalist in Swaziland / Eswatini for 23 years and worked in
senior positions on both of the kingdom’s daily newspapers.
Health services in Swaziland are in crisis and in August 2018 the Times of
Swaziland reported, ‘If you are in a critical condition and want help, you will not get it at the
Mbabane Government Hospital. This is due to the shortage of vital drugs and working
equipment, which could result in the death of some of the patients.’
Nurses at the time were picketing health facilities to draw attention to drug and staff
shortages caused by the government-induced financial crisis.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

The Times reported the Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) unit at the hospital
had also run out of Unigold Testing Kits, which are used to confirm an HIV positive status.
Also, more than 10 drugs were not available at the hospital.
The Times reported, ‘All this is happening at a time when government is facing serious
financial challenges. It was established from sources that the crisis within the health sector
was due to the financial catastrophe faced by government.’
The Times reported ‘“It’s a serious matter. Patients will die if these issues are not addressed,”
some of the nurses said.’
The Swazi Observer reported in August 2018, ‘The shortage of common drugs are hitting
even other government health institutions across the country, including Mankayane,
Dvokolwako, Pigg’s Peak Hospitals and other clinics, putting the health of patients at risk.’
See also
Swaziland nurses picket, drugs run out, lives put at risk as Government fails to pay
suppliers

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

7 POLICE

Swaziland riot police invade hospital during peaceful nurses’ protest. Latest in long line
of attacks on workers
13 October 2018

Armed riot police invaded the Hlatikhulu Government Hospital in Swaziland and it ‘almost
turned into a battleground’ during a legal protest by nurses.
It was another attack by police against workers in recent weeks.
The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom recently
renamed Eswatini by absolute monarch King Mswati III, reported on Friday (12 October
2018), ‘The Hlatikhulu Government Hospital was almost turned into a battleground after riot
police invaded the facility, while nurses were engaged in a protest action.’
It said police with guns patrolled the hospital. They had entered the premises on Thursday
after nurses started singing and chanting slogans, ‘in protest over what they described as
unfair treatment by their management’.
It added, ‘Sparking the anger was the abusive language that was allegedly employed by the
over 10 officers, who were sent to the hospital.’
The Times reported, ‘Angry nurses who were demonstrating around the hospital premises
confronted the police after the latter became aggressive and ordered them to halt their action.’
Police in Swaziland have an written policy to use violence against protestors. In the week up
to the kingdom’s national election on 21 September 2018 workers organised by the Trade
Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) took part in three days of strikes and protests in
Mbabane, Manzini, Nhlangano and Siteki.
Armed police were deployed across Swaziland. Videos and photographs of brutal police
attacks were uploaded on social media.
The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) in a statement said, the videos circulated on
social media indicated ‘unlawful police actions, and require urgent investigation’.
It added, ‘Several workers were wounded after police fired stun grenades to disperse the
crowd in Manzini. These police officers then unleashed a wave of assaults against striking
workers in an effort to quell the protests.’
The strike came after a series of protests and rallies which saw police violence in attempts to
suppress the protestors. Police shot and wounded a schoolteacher at a vigil protesting their
salaries in late August. Nurses in the kingdom’s capital city of Mbabane were tasered during
a pay protest.
See also
Vicious attack by Swaziland Police on defenceless workers captured on video
Police in Swaziland attack nurses with taser during peaceful protest over pay

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Reported attempt to re-form Swaziland Police Union rekindles memories of fight for
workers’ rights
16 October 2018

Police leaders in Swaziland / Eswatini are playing down reports that a trade union for junior
officers has been re-formed in the kingdom.
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, the kingdom’s
absolute monarch, which has a long history of anti-trade unionism, was so keen to support the
police management that it published the same comments from its spokesperson in separate
editions more than two weeks apart.
Reports that the Swaziland Police Union (SWAPU) might be back in operation spread on
social media during the kingdom’s discredited House of Assembly elections in September
2018. SWAPU was banned in 2008 after the High Court and the Supreme Court ruled it to be
illegal.
The Swazi Observer (27 September 2018) and also its Saturday edition (13 October 2018)
reported on a hurried press conference called by the police on 26 September 2018. Both
stories used the same quote from Chief Information and Communications Officer
Superintendent Phindile Vilakati, ‘We have been able to trace the source and origin of the
circulating information. Our investigations have unravelled that the whole story, in particular
the contents therein, were fake news creatively made up as a figment of someone’s fertile
imagination in furtherance of ulterior political motives, in particular as cheap propaganda
strategy to promote anarchy and put a damper on the national elections.’
No evidence to support her assertions were given.
SWAPU was formed in 2005 and failed after a struggle for recognition when both the
Swaziland High Court and the Supreme Court dismissed it as illegal. The Police Union
became incorporated to the legally-recognised Royal Swaziland Police Staff Association.
In September 2007, the then Police Commissioner Edgar Hillary applied for a court order to
arrest Khanyakwezwe Mhlanga the Secretary General of the Police Union because Mhlanga
was illegally mobilising officers.
This was part of a bitter fight that continued for many months. Swazi police officers
disobeyed their commander when instructed to arrest fellow police officers who were trying
to hold a trade union meeting. So, the senior officers themselves had to try to break up the
meeting. As they tried to arrest trade union leaders their fellow unionists freed them and they
escaped to safety.
Swaziland police Deputy Commissioner of Police Isaac Magagula had warned the unionist
against holding the meeting. The Swazi Observer had the previous week quoted Magagula
saying, ‘It is only with the expressed approval of the commissioner that police officers can
convene or attend any meeting.’

Many believed the commissioner did not have this power since the Swaziland Constitution
allows for freedom of assembly so the meeting was protected and should have been allowed
to go ahead.

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A video of Royal Swazi Police breaking up the meeting in October 2007 is still on YouTube.
It shows police dragging people from the meeting and trying to arrest them.

A senior police officer is videoed saying that the meeting cannot go ahead because the
organiser’s do not have a permit. He says he is only following his orders.
The video then shows police dragging people from the meeting hall to a waiting police van.
Three policemen attack one man who is dragged by his feet on his back and as he tries to
struggle free he cries out ‘Where are you taking me? What have I done?’

As police try to put him in the back of a van his comrades come and rescue him and the
police appear to give up on him.

Later in the video police drag off another man. He desperately clings to a pole to stop them
taking him further. Again, his comrades come to his rescue and he escapes.

The video, which lasts eight minutes, has no commentary, but it does have the sound of the
confusion. The camera operator gets close to the action and most of the time is right in the
thick of it. Naturally, the police are aware that they are being videoed.

The level of violence used by the police was much less than witnessed in September 2018
when police turned the city of Manzini into a ‘battlefield’ and ‘warzone’ on the second day of
a national strike in the kingdom when stun grenades, teargas, teasers and rubber bullets were
used.
The Times of Swaziland reported in 2007, ‘The Regional Commander Senior Superintendent
Caiphas Mbhamali, instructed the junior officers to arrest the defiant SWAPU members, but
they did not take his orders as they stood and watched.

‘The senior officers took it upon themselves to effect the arrest, but SWAPU members
resisted and the scuffle continued.

‘During the scuffle, the shirt of a senior officer’s uniform got torn, SWAPU member
Thandukwazi Zwane’s T-shirt was also ripped apart.

‘A member of SWAPU quickly jumped inside his car parked close by, reversed at high speed
towards the crowd and ordered his colleagues to jump inside.

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

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The judge said Swaziland needed, ‘to conform to modern trends in a democratic society in
meeting the [union’s] expectations and fulfilling their constitutional rights’.
The judge said that denying officers their ‘fundamental rights’ to form a union were,
‘repugnant to good governance and the rule of law, and particularly that the sanction for
forming a union is dismissal, which is a disciplinary measure’.
She called the existing laws banning the union ‘old discriminatory and oppressive’. She went
on, ‘They are inconsistent with Chapter III of the constitution. They should be declared null
and void. They have no place in a democratic society.’
See also
Swazi police chief snubs union

Four in ten sex workers in Swaziland ‘raped by uniformed police officers’
1 November 2018

Four in ten sex workers in Swaziland / Eswatini say they have been raped by uniformed
police officers.
They were also raped by soldiers and security officers, the Sex Workers National Indaba was
told on Tuesday (30 October 2018).
National Key Populations and Vulnerable Groups Officer Khanyisile Lukhele from the
Swaziland National AIDS Programme (SNAP) revealed the statistics. Lukhele also said 44
per cent of those who were raped were afraid to report the attack for fear of being
stigmatised.
The Swazi Observer reported she said half the sex workers who took part in a survey said
they were refused police protection and some had been blackmailed and physically harassed.
Sex workers from across Swaziland gave testimony at the workshop. The Observer reported,
‘The sex workers said they do not get any police protection and every time they are attacked
and call the police they are simply told to go to sleep.
‘They said the sad part was that some of the attacks are done by the same police officers who
should be protecting them.’
Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Phindile Vilakati disputed the sex
workers’ accounts. The Observer reported, ‘She said [police] view such accusations as a way
to tarnish their name.’
This was not the first time police in Swaziland had been said to rape sex workers. In August
2017 Swaziland’s police chief Isaac Magagula denied his officers used sex workers without
paying. His comment came when he said prostitutes were an ‘infestation of our cities’.

Police had been clamping down against female sex workers across the kingdom. In a
statement published in Swazi media National Commissioner of Police 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’.

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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. A survey published by
the Swaziland Government in 2007 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.”’
See also
Poverty forces girls into sex work
Parents trade own girls for sex
Soldiers sex for food with girls, 14
Police drive against sex workers

Man close to death following ‘assault’ by officers at Swaziland police station
29 November 2018

A man is reportedly fighting for life in hospital after being allegedly assaulted by two officers
at a police station in Swaziland/ Eswatini.
He is suffering from severe internal bleeding, heart seizures, the swelling of his kidneys and
nerve damage on both his arms and legs.
The Swazi Observer reported on Thursday (29 November 2018) that the man whom it did not
name was from Mangwaneni. It said police accused him of having stolen items from a house,
which he denied.
It reported him saying, ‘[Police] assaulted me by first tying a piece of cloth around my mouth
so that I cannot scream. They then hit me multiple times with fists and kicks in the stomach. I
fell to the floor and the police stood on my stomach while laughing. They then put a plastic
bag over may face and thereafter sank my head into water until I passed out.’
It reportedly happened on Saturday. Since then the alleged victim has been in hospital.
The Observer reported, ‘Currently, the assault victim is still in critical condition with medical
practitioners saying he might lose his life due to the multiple internal injuries he allegedly
suffered during the assault.’

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Police said they were investigating the alleged incident.
There are numerous reports in Swaziland of assault and brutality at police stations. In
September 2018, four women were reportedly beaten with sjamboks [whips] and pipes and
scalded with boiling water at Siteki police station. Two of them needed hospital treatment for
burns and blisters. They were accused of stealing from shops.
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 at Ngwenya police station with a sjambok, to make him confess to stealing a
mobile phone.
In June 2016, a United Nations review panel looking into human rights in Swaziland was told
in a joint report by four organisations, ‘In Mbabane [the Swazi capital], police tortured a 15-
year-old boy after his mother had reported him for stealing E85.00 (US$6). The boy alleges
that he was beaten with a slasher (metal blade tool for cutting grass) and knobkerrie [club] for
five hours. While enduring the pain, he alleges that he was made to count the strokes aloud
for the police to hear. Instead of being charged, the boy was physically assaulted and made to
sit in a chair for thirty minutes before he was sent back home.’
The report was submitted to the United Human Rights Council Working Group on the
Universal Periodic Review of Swaziland by the Swaziland Multi-Media Community
Network, Swaziland Concerned Church Leaders, Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic
Organisations and Constituent Assembly – Swaziland.
See also
Police must not beat suspects: Court

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8 SCHOOLS
Swaziland Police ready to invigilate school exams during teachers’ pay dispute
1 October 2018

Police officers in Swaziland are being prepared so they can go into schools and invigilate
exams if teachers who are campaigning for a pay rise refuse to do the job.

More than 500 police officers are being trained, a report in the Observer on Saturday
newspaper in Swaziland reported (29 September 2018).
Training has taken place at the Police Academy in Matsapha.
Members of the Swaziland National Association of teachers (SNAT) are seeking a 6.55 per
cent cost of living pay rise, but the government has offered zero.
The industrial Court in Swaziland (recently renamed Eswatini by absolute monarch King
Mswati III) forced SNAT to postpone a three-day strike due to start on 25 September 2018.
SNAT has since said its members will attend school but will not work normally.
The Observer reported, ‘A visit by the Observer on Saturday team to the institution
uncovered government officials from the Ministry of Education and Training and other
ministries training over 500 police officers in readiness for the examinations on Monday.
‘The officials took the police officers through instructions that should be given to the pupils
throughout the examinations. Teaching Service Commission (TSC) Chairman Simanga
Mamba, in his own words yesterday, said government will not condone any unlawful conduct
by teachers and took the opportunity to assure the nation that all steps would be taken to
ensure that the final examinations for schools proceed uninterrupted from Monday 1st
October, 2018.’
The newspaper added, ‘The academy was yesterday littered with a number of high ranking
government officials including Principal Secretaries (PSs) from the Prime Minister’s office
Victor Nxumalo, Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy Winnie Stewart, Ministry of
Agriculture Bongani Masuku and that of Public Works and Transport Makhosini Mndawe.
The place was also littered with top police officers as well officers from the ministry of
education that included Regional Education Officers (REOs) from the various regions.’
It added, ‘Sources at the Police Academy confirmed that yesterday’s move was a clandestine
plan that should be put into motion in the event teachers stick to their plan not to administer
the examinations to the pupils.’
The police denied training was taking place, but the Observer published photographs it said
showed police officers undergoing training at the college.

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The Observer on Saturday reports police are being trained to invigilate school exams

See also
Swaziland teachers want U.S. to tell absolute monarch to stop wasting public
money on himself
Swaziland court forces teachers to postpone strike, bans public servants’
action
Swaziland Police shoot, wound teacher during protest over pay, tensions high
on eve of national election

Armed police deployed in schools across Swaziland to ensure exams take place during
teacher pay dispute
2 October 2018

Armed police were deployed at schools across Swaziland to make sure exams took place
during a teachers’ pay dispute.
They went to ‘almost all schools’ in the kingdom on Monday (1 October 2018), the first day
of national school examinations, according to a media report. Prison warders from the
kingdom’s correctional services were also deployed.
Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) Secretary General Zweli Mndzebele
‘alleged that police officers forcefully took over the invigilation job in some of the schools,’
the Times of Swaziland reported.
The Peoples United Democratic Party (PUDEMO), a banned political party in Swaziland
(recently renamed Eswatini by absolute monarch King Mswati III), called the police
deployment a ‘militarization of schools’.
In a statement it said, ‘We have learnt with shock this crazy move by the royal regime, which
is hell-bent at creating an environment of fear in response to the legitimate and reasonable
demands of teachers and other civil servants.’

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PUDEMO added, ‘a police state’ had been extended to schools.
The Times reported pupils were ‘shocked’. It added, ‘Head teachers in schools around
Lubombo had to calm pupils and allay any fears when armed police officers arrived for the
commencement of examinations.’
It added, ‘However, despite the attempts by headteachers, most pupils could not understand
what armed officers were doing in the premises of their schools.’
The Times reported, ‘At Malindza High School, pupils were reportedly shocked by the arrival
of the police.
‘As such, Headteacher Makhosazane Mkhonta had to explain what the officers were doing
within the school premises.
‘“I told them police we here to monitor the examination and not to arrest them for any petty
offences they may have committed,” said Mkhonta.’
The Swazi Observer reported plain clothes police ‘disguised as officers from the Examination
Council of Eswatini’ entered examination rooms. ‘The uniformed ones spent most of their
time at the gates of the schools,’ it added.
It added, ‘In most of the schools that were visited by this publication, uniformed officers
were manning the gates while others were patrolling the premises.’
Teachers are campaigning for a 6.55 percent cost of living pay rise, the government says it is
broke and has offered zero percent. The industrial Court in Swaziland forced SNAT to
postpone a three-day strike due to start on 25 September 2018. SNAT has since said its
members would attend school but not work normally.
PUDMO in its statement said the Swazi Government had ‘increased by 28 percent the
salaries of the police as an act of “greasing them up” in readiness for creating a militarized
environment in the country’.

Swaziland police investigate report children illegally beaten to encourage them to do
well in exams
6 November 2018

Police in Swaziland / Eswatini are investigating a report that teachers whipped primary
school children to make them do better in their exams.
Beating is officially banned in schools in the kingdom but continues to be widely used.
The latest case happened at St Theresa’s Primary School, Manzini, according to the Times of
Swaziland on Tuesday (6 November 2018).
It reported, ‘According to statements recorded with the police by a parent of one of the
pupils, the main reason for the whipping was to instil fear among the scholars so that they
could concentrate on their external examinations and do well.’

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One parent told the newspaper his 14-year-old daughter had been afraid to go to school
because pupils had been told they would be beaten.
The Times quoted him saying, ‘To my surprise, my daughter came back home at around
4:30pm and she had bruises all over her body, especially on her arms and thighs.’ She needed
hospital treatment. A medical report was sent to the police.
The Times added he said seven teachers beat a number of children with sticks. He said his
daughter reported teachers said, ‘the beating was a warm-up, which will help them excel in
their examination and it will make them focus.’
Police confirmed they were investigating.
Corporal punishment in schools in Swaziland was banned in 2015 but it is still used widely.
In June 2018 teachers reportedly caned every pupil at Mbuluzi High School for poor
performance.
In September 2017 it was reported that an 11-year-old boy from Ekuphakameni Community
Primary School in the outskirts of Hlatikhulu lost an eye when a cane his schoolteacher was
using to illegally beat other pupils broke and splintered.
In 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.
In May 2017 pupils at Lubombo Central Primary School in Siteki were thrashed because they
did not bring enough empty milk cartons to class.
In March 2017 children at Masundvwini Primary School boycotted classes because they lived
in fear of the illegal corporal punishment they were made to suffer. Local media reported that
children were hit with a stick, which in at least one case was said to have left a child
‘bleeding from the head’.
In August 2016 an eight-year-old schoolboy at Siyendle Primary School, near Gege, was
thrashed so hard in class he vomited. His teacher reportedly forced classmates to hold the boy
down while he whipped him with a stick. It happened after a group of schoolboys had been
inflating condoms when they were discovered by the teacher.
In June 2016 the school principal at the Herefords High School was reported to police after
allegedly giving a 20-year-old female student nine strokes of the cane on the buttocks. The
Swazi Observer reported at the time, ‘She was given nine strokes on the buttocks by the
principal while the deputy helped her by holding the pupil’s hands as she was made to lie
down.’
In September 2015 the Times reported a 17-year-old school pupil died after allegedly being
beaten at school. The pupil reportedly had a seizure.
In March 2015 a primary school teacher at the Florence Christian Academy was charged with
causing grievous bodily harm after allegedly giving 200 strokes of the cane to a 12-year-old
pupil on her buttocks and all over her body.
In February 2015 the headteacher of Mayiwane High School Anderson Mkhonta reportedly
admitted giving 15 strokes to a form 1 pupil for not wearing a neck tie properly.

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In April 2015, parents reportedly complained to the Ndlalane Primary School after a teacher
beat pupils for not following his instruction and shaving their hair.
See also
Cane banned in Swazi schools
Children fear beatings, miss school
Children chained and flogged bare

Education Ministry reminds Swaziland schools beating of children is banned - but it is
still widespread
12 December 2018

Teachers in Swaziland / Eswatini have been reminded in a new government policy statement
that corporal punishment of children in schools is outlawed.
It was banned in 2015, but children continue to be beaten, sometimes brutally.
The reminder comes in the National Education and Training Sector Policy from the Ministry
of Education and Training (MoET) which comes into force in January 2019. It said children
should be taught self-discipline and respect for others without fear. All forms of corporal
punishment should be replaced by non-violent ‘positive discipline’.
Despite the ban beating is rife in Swaziland schools. As recently as November 2018 it was
reported police were investigating St Theresa’s Primary School, Manzini, following an
allegation that teachers whipped children to make them do better in their exams. In June 2018
teachers reportedly caned every pupil at Mbuluzi High School for poor performance.
In August 2017 it was reported boys Salesian High, a Catholic school, were forced to take
down their trousers and underpants to allow teachers to beat them on the bare buttocks.
In 2011, Save the Children made a submission on corporal punishment in schools to the
United Nations review on human rights in Swaziland. It said punishments at Mhlatane High
School in northern Swaziland amounted to ‘torture’.
In an overview of the situation in Swaziland schools Save the Children reported ‘The hitting
of students by teachers in schools is not limited to strokes of the cane, but includes such
methods as a slap with the open hand, kicks and fists.
‘In one case in a school in the south of Swaziland, a young girl was kicked in the groin by her
teacher after she refused to lift up her leg during physical education classes. She had told the
teacher she cannot lift her leg up because she was wearing nothing underneath. This angered
the teacher and earned the girl a kick in the groin.
‘The damage occasioned led to paralysis as the girl walks with difficulty today, and her
menstrual cycle was disturbed since then. Although initially protected by the principal and
other Ministry of Education officials in Nhlangano, the teacher was eventually arrested after
intervention by the girl’s elder sister.’

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In a debate in the Swazi Parliament in March 2017 members 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.

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9 STUDENTS

Swaziland students in Taiwan forced to work ‘like slaves’ in frozen chicken factory
20 November 2018

Students from Swaziland / Eswatini studying in Taiwan are being made to work in a frozen
chicken factory for 40 hours a week to pay for tuition and accommodation. If they try to leave
their university will punish them and their condition has been likened to slavery.
More than 40 Swazi students are said to be involved, according to the Swazi Observer
newspaper. It said they only attend studies for two days a week.
The Observer reported on Monday (19 November 2018) the students went to Taiwan in
September 2018 to study for a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) at the private
MingDao University in Pitou.
The Observer reported, ‘According to several sources who are based in Taiwan, and familiar
with the situation, these students are forced to work in the chicken factory where they are
made to peel chickens under freezing temperatures to pay for their tuition fees and
accommodation at the university.
‘They work for 40 hours in a week, which is ten hours per day. The conditions are so
unfavourable that two of the students are reportedly back in the country after failing to keep
up with the situation.’ It added the students only have one full day and a half day of studies
and they work for five days.
It quoted a source saying, ‘The institution is making a profit out of the students because they
get only two per cent of their earnings and the rest is forfeited for tuition fees and
accommodation but the forfeited sum is way more than the fees of the two. This is a case of
slavery and the students all want to come back home due to the unfavourable conditions they
are exposed to in Taiwan.’
It reported one student likened the situation to ‘slavery’ because ‘the students cannot just
leave, as the university will punish those remaining behind’.
The source said, ‘If you run away, the ones left behind will be made to suffer.’
Swaziland makes a lot of its relationship with Taiwan. The kingdom ruled by King Mswati
III as an absolute monarch is the only nation in Africa that officially recognises Taiwan. In
2018 Taiwan gave the King US$1.3 million towards the cost of his 50th birthday celebration.
In April 2018 the King called on the United Nations to admit Taiwan to the organisation.
Taiwan, which calls itself the Republic of China on Taiwan, is not recognised by the UN
because the People’s Republic of China claims the territory as its own.
Taiwan has a history of exploitation in Swaziland. Taiwanese textile firms operate in
Swaziland and have a poor record on workers’ rights.
In July 2014 a survey of the Swazi textile industry undertaken by the Trade Union Congress
of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) revealed workers were subjected to harsh and sometimes abusive
conditions, many of the kingdom’s labour laws were routinely violated by employers, and

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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.
Taiwan also donates aid to Swaziland. It regularly supplies tens of thousands of pairs of
sneakers to women who participate in the annual Reed Dance where ‘maidens’ dance topless
in front of the King. It is also spending E260 million (US$21 million) over five years to
rebuild the out-patient department of Mbabane Government Hospital.
See also
‘Slave labour’ at textile factory
Taiwan first guest at King’s party

Swaziland students sell themselves for sex because scholarships have not been paid
26 November 2018

Students in Swaziland / Eswatini are selling themselves for sex to raise cash for food because
the government has not paid their allowances.
A trade in young women has developed with businessmen ‘pimping’ students to affluent
tourists from neighbouring South Africa, the Sunday edition of the Swazi Observer reported
(5 November 2018).
According to the newspaper the students are taken from the Kwaluseni campus of the
University of Eswatini (formerly UNISWA), ‘for purposes of pimping them to affluent
tourists flooding a popular hangout spot in Matsapha’.
The Observer reported, ‘These businessmen take advantage of the girls’ financial situation
on campus and select “top of the grade” individuals for purposes of promoting their business
into hosting upmarket guests. They also take advantage of the girl’s academic statuses to
market them to guests who arrive solely for purposes of whetting their sexual appetites.’
The newspaper reported, ‘delayed payments of allowances which themselves are meagre
force girl students into availing themselves for sexual favours in exchange for food, drinks
and other goodies’.

It said the businessmen target the youngest first-year students.

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

It quoted one student saying, ‘They become virtual call girls.’ The student added the men
spend fortunes on them and then demand sex.
There is an ongoing dispute between students and the government over the payment of
scholarships and allowances that cover fees, living expenses and items such as books. In May
2017, the Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS) launched a campaign for
scholarships for all. They want the Swazi Government to reverse a decision taken eight 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.
Meanwhile, the outgoing President of SNUS Brian Sangweni told its 11th National General
Congress that thousands of high school graduates with good grades remained idle at home
because the government would not pay them scholarships to study.
He said, ‘Those who are lucky to make it and enrol into the institutions are also not off the
hook of suffering due to lack of living allowances to enable them to live a healthy and
dignified period of study and to realise their optimal potential.’
He added students were finding it hard to concentrate to their studies and some dropped out
or committed suicide because of the pressure.
See also
In full public view, on hand and knees, student begs Swaziland King for scholarship

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10 ROYAL FAMILY

Swaziland King’s newspaper reports ‘assassination attempt’ on Prince Sicelo
19 November 2018

A newspaper in Swaziland / Eswatini has reported what it calls an ‘assassination’ attempt
against Prince Sicelo, a prominent member of the Swazi Royal Family.
The Sunday edition of the Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III
the absolute ruler in Swaziland, reported Sicelo was the victim of a drive-by shooting.
In the headline to its story the Observer said he had been ‘left for dead’.
The Observer reported (18 November 2018) Prince Sicelo was driving a white seven-seater
vehicle at Malagwane Hill near Mbabane when he was pursued by another vehicle that
flashed its lights.

It reported he slowed down ‘ready to engage his pursuers’.
It added, ‘Just as the vehicle reached his side, he is said to have heard a loud banging sound
which left him disoriented.
‘Seeing as he was slowing down, he is said to have involuntarily continued pressing his foot
on the brakes as he moved further to the side of the road.
‘While in shock at the occurrence, still not aware that he had been shot, he is said to have
heard two people approach the vehicle.’
The Observer said the attack happened on 20 September 2018 but details had only just
emerged. It reported he lost consciousness for a while but later woke up and drove himself to
the Mbabane Clinic where he was admitted for a week while being treated.
It reported he was ‘left for dead’ but added only one shot was fired and this lodged in his
thigh.
It reported the attack as an ‘assassination attempt’ and said police later found a gun that it
believed was used in the shooting.
Prince Sicelo is a controversial member of the Swazi Royal Family. Alleged exploits in his
personal life are widely reported on social media.
Swaziland is an absolute monarchy. Political parties are banned from taking part in national
elections and the King appoints the Prime Minister and Cabinet members. The attack on
Prince Sicelo happened on the day before the national election in September 2018.
See also
PM speaks of ‘assassination threat’

Campaign growing for arrest of Swaziland Prince over kidnapping and rape allegation
21 November 2018

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A campaign is gaining momentum in Swaziland / Eswatini to have a member of the Royal
Family arrested on a rape charge.
One newspaper reported the prince whose name has been widely circulated on social media
tried to bribe the victim to drop the allegation by offering her a scholarship to leave the
kingdom and study abroad.
It reported the prince and a friend allegedly kidnapped, drugged and raped a university
student at a guest house on the outskirts of Manzini.
The Times Sunday newspaper in Swaziland (18 November 2018) said police had been
informed of the alleged rape in early September 2018 but had made no arrest. The alleged
rapist is a prince in the Royal Family that has King Mswati III, the absolute monarch of the
kingdom, at its head.
Later, an online petition was launched calling on the chief of police to arrest the prince. More
than 2,100 people had signed as of Wednesday morning (21 November 2018). Part of the
petition reads, ‘A prince and his friend are accused of allegedly kidnapping, drugging and
raping a teenage UNESWA [University of Eswatini] student. She has reported the matter to
the police and despite this, neither the prince nor his friend have been arrested. There are
allegations that the victim has recently been harassed and intimidated by the perpetrators. The
victim has also been offered an overseas scholarship if she drops the charges. Section 20 of
the Constitution of the Kingdom of Eswatini provides for equality before the all. The prince,
like all other accused persons, must be arrested prosecuted and let the courts of law decide his
fate. The law must not have eyes!’
Also, a group of people marched on the Manzini regional police headquarters calling for the
arrest of the prince and his friend. The Swazi Observer reported on Wednesday (21
November 2018).

It said their concerns were ‘fuelled by what they said was deafening silence over this incident
which occurred two months ago. They further expressed sheer frustration with the fact that no
one has been arrested after the alleged student’s rape.’
In an interview in the Times of Swaziland (21 November 2018) the prince said he had nothing
to hide and would cooperate with a police investigation.

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11 KING SOBHUZA II

Swaziland King tore up Constitution in fear educated people might challenge his power,
CIA report suggests
8 October 2018

King Sobhuza II of Swaziland may have torn up the country’s constitution, banned political
parties and started to rule as an absolute monarch in 1973 because he feared people were
becoming educated and would mount a serious threat to his power, a secret CIA report
suggests.
The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in a report called Africa Review,
marked ‘secret’ and dated 19 January 1979 evaluates the time between Swaziland gaining its
independence from Great Britain in 1968 and King Sobhuza’s Proclamation on 12 April 1973
that allowed him to rule as an absolute monarch.
His son King Mswati III continues as an absolute monarch today even though a new
constitution came into effect in 2006. As a demonstration of his power King Mswati changed
the name of Swaziland to Eswatini on his 50th birthday in April 2018.
In 1968 Swaziland had what the CIA called a ‘British-imposed’ constitution with a formal
‘Western style’ parliament working alongside the Swazi National Council (SNC), ‘a group of
chiefs and headmen dominated by the King’.
The secret report which has since been declassified stated, ‘In theory the SNC only dealt with
tribal matters but it always maintained a strong voice in governmental affairs.’
It added, ‘The veneer provided by the British-imposed constitution and parliamentary form of
government left the King a great deal of room for exercising political power but it also left
room for a substantial degree of political manoeuvring by non-traditional oriented political
parties.
‘King Sobhuza staked his prestige on the formation of his own political party [the Imbkodvo
National Movement] and won an overwhelming victory, sweeping 24 seats, during the
country’s first post-independence election in 1967. During the next election in 1973,
however, Sobhuza’s party lost three of the 24 parliamentary seats [to the Ngwane National
Liberatory Congress] and the King dissolved Parliament, suspended the Constitution, and
assumed power by decree.’
The CIA report added, ‘Most of the vote against Sobhuza’s party in 1973 came from an area
that contained the capital city [Mbabane], much of the country’s developed industry, the civil
servants, and almost half of Swaziland’s urban population.
‘While many observers did not feel that the loss of three parliamentary seats represented a
serious threat to the King and his party, the King probably interpreted the vote as the initial
stages of the breakdown of tribal authority.’
The CIA report that was published in 1979, six years after the King’s Proclamation, stated,
‘As the Swazi people and the economy become more sophisticated, Sobhuza’s autocratic
style is being viewed as an anachronism by growing numbers of educated Swaziland.’

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A confidential cable (later declassified) from the US Embassy in Swaziland to the State
Department in Washington dated 13 April 1973, the day after King Sobhuza’s proclamation,
read in part, ‘King Sobhuza stated he had taken drastic action to prevent breakdown of law
and order and to reverse process of disharmony, bitterness and division which existed in
country. Prince Sifuba [head of the Swazi National Council], on behalf Swazi nation, had
stated that nation wished King to know it had never been so divided as at present. King laid
blame for present “very serious situation” in country directly to constitution which introduced
“undesirable political activities” into country bringing bitterness and threats to peace, law and
order.’
It added, ‘Extent of action surprised Western observers who perceive no serious threat to law
and order. Non-Swazis and even some Swazis profess belief King yielded to pressures and
over-reacted to insignificant opposition.’
The cable said the King repealed the Swaziland constitution, dismissed parliament and
assumed personal control of the country as King-in-Council. ‘He took the action after an
unanimous resolution of both houses of parliament stating present constitution was
unworkable and appealing to King to find ways and means to resolve present “constitutional
crisis” with members placing themselves entirely at disposal of King-in-Council.’
He added, ‘King took extreme measure of assuming personal rule and issued series of decrees
giving him wide-ranging powers, including that of preventive detention. Royal Proclamation
stated that King was decreeing preventive detention powers for six- month period.
‘But there was no repeat no other mention of time for which King proposes hold personal
rule nor was there any announcement of plans for drawing up new constitution or substituting
revised parliamentary system.’
In the event a new constitution did not come into effect until 2006, more than 30 years after
the Royal Proclamation, and it confirmed the King (now Sobhuza’s son Mswati III) as an
absolute monarch. Political parties remain banned and the people are only allowed to elect 59
members of the House of Assembly; the King appoints another 10. None of the 30 members
of the Swazi Senate are elected by the people. The King chooses the Prime Minister and
members of the government.
The cable listed what he called some ‘fairly tame’ activities that had taken place in the
previous months that traditionalists and monarchists said was disruptive. They included brief
work stoppages at the Havelock and Ngwenya mines; some civil servants requested a
meeting of all civil servants in December 1972 because they were dissatisfied with wage
increases; modernization and proliferation of commerce and industry in Swaziland had led to
attempts to organize unions; students had voiced complaints and grievances and there had
been growing pressure in the rural areas for different rules for land tenure which, the cable
said, implied a reduction in the real power of the local chief.
It added that the tactics of the opposition NNLC party were, ‘Basically negative, involving
direct criticism of the predominance of the Dlamini clan in Swaziland. There is also some
evidence that very recently NNLC members were initiating and spreading rumors that
prominent figures, including the Prime Minister, were directly involved in ritual murders.’

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It added, ‘Accusations that members of his family and clan had practiced ritual murder and
cannibalism shocked and disgusted him.’
See also
The day democracy died in Swaziland
Swazi history repeats itself
Secret CIA report reveals Swaziland King Sobhuza’s support for Apartheid South
Africa

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12 BARNABAS DLAMINI, DECEASED PM

Deceased Swaziland Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini had life embroiled in allegations
of corruption
15 October 2018

Barnabas Dlamini the former Prime Minister of Swaziland whose funeral was on Saturday
(13 October 2018) had a life embroiled in allegations of corruption.
While PM he amassed a personal fortune including property, livestock, cash and company
shares. He was involved in a scandal starting in 2010 that involved his purchase of Swazi
Nation land at half its true value.
Even in the weeks before his death he was entangled in an allegation that his retirement home
which was to be built at taxpayers’ expense would be on land he owned himself with his
youngest daughter, Busisiwe.
The Times Sunday newspaper in Swaziland reported on 16 September 2018 that the E3
million (US$310,000) house would belong to the owners of the property on which it was
built. It reported there was concern he could turn the house into a business venture by either
renting it out or turning it into a guest house.
Dlamini was Prime Minister until the September 2018 national election. He was never elected
by the people but appointed by King Mswati III, the kingdom’s absolute monarch. He held
office for seven-and-a-half years until 2003. He was reappointed in 2008. He leaves behind a
trail of misdeeds. In July 2017, Dlamini was made to return E200,000 in travel expenses he
had claimed for a medical trip to Taiwan after it was revealed the Government of Taiwan had
paid for it, the Sunday Observer newspaper in Swaziland reported.
Dlamini managed to amass a personal fortune, estimated in 2012 to be E12 million (US$1.56
million at the time). In Swaziland (recently renamed Eswatini by King Mswati) seven in ten
people have incomes less than the equivalent of US$2 per day. Among his assets was
E392,000 worth of shares in Swazi Empowerment (Pty) Limited (SEL), a company that in
turn had a 19 per cent shareholding with MTN Swaziland, the then-monopoly mobile phone
operator in the kingdom.
Dlamini was the man in charge of the government-controlled parastatal, Swaziland Posts and
Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC) and was therefore a key decision maker in the
affairs of Swaziland’s national posts and telecommunication. But the fact that at the same
time he had a major shareholding in MTN, Swaziland (the only competitor for SPTC) raised
questions about Dlamini’s impartiality when making decisions about SPTC.
Details of Dlamini’s fortune were contained in a statement of assets and liabilities that was
submitted by him to the Swazi Integrity Commission and leaked to the Times of Swaziland.
It reported Dlamini’s assets included buildings, furniture, equipment, motor vehicles,
livestock, cash at banks, insurance policies, shares in private companies, listed shares and
unit trusts.

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Dlamini, while Prime Minister was embroiled in dubious deals. In May 2015, the Times
Sunday reported that Fusini Investments (Proprietary) Limited, directed by the Prime
Minister and two others, bought land for E93,120 from government in 2005, which by then
had generated a profit of E7.4 million: a profit of more than 800 percent.
The PM’s company sold the land to the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF), a public
organisation that was established in 1993 for the management and administration of pensions
for government (public sector) employees.
Dlamini had a history of involvement in questionable deals. In 2011, he and others escaped
scrutiny on land deals after the direct intervention of King Mswati.
They had bought Swazi nation land for themselves at what a select committee report later
called ‘ridiculously cheap’ prices and ‘tantamount to theft of State property’.
In late December 2010 it was revealed that Dlamini, his deputy, and four cabinet ministers
were at the centre of the land purchase scandal.
Dlamini, who constantly claimed he wanted to stamp out corruption in the kingdom, was
allowed to buy government-controlled land at half price, netting himself a E304,000 saving.
Themba Masuku, the then Deputy PM and four ministers each received discounts of between
30 and 50 percent on their purchases. None of these people were elected to the Swazi
Parliament – all were appointed by the King.
The politicians were allowed to purchase the so-called ‘crown land’ (which is owned by the
King on behalf of the Swazi nation) in the Swazi capital Mbabane without having to compete
with other would-be buyers. They were given the land at below market value, in effect
cheating the Swazi people out of the money.
Two of the ministers who took advantage of this scam were members of the Swazi Royal
Family.
The ministers involved were Minister of Natural Resources and Energy, Princess Tsandzile;
Minister of Economic Planning and Development, Prince Hlangusemphi; Minister of Home
Affairs, Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze; and the Minister of Agriculture, Clement Dlamini.
The Times of Swaziland reported at the time that the Prime Minister made the biggest killing.
He was allocated ‘a portion of land measuring 6,084 square metres. He paid E304,000 for the
land after it was discounted from the initial price of E608,000. Effectively, he was granted a
50 percent discount.’
In total the land was sold at about E1 million less than it was worth, the Times estimated.
Former government ministers also benefited from the land purchase scandal. They included
two members of the Swazi Royal Family. Prince David received a 50 percent discount on
land worth E97,000 allocated to him. Prince Mbilini also received land, but the exact details
of his windfall were not known, the Times reported.
It was believed that at least nine former ministers were also given land at discounted prices.

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It later emerged that the Swazi Cabinet, headed by the PM and hand-picked by the King,
approved the land purchase. This, in effect, meant they approved a plan that allowed
themselves to save hundreds of thousands of emalangeni on the land scam.
It was later revealed that the Prime Minister and the others were not eligible for discounts on
the land because such discounts were only available to poor people.
Prince Guduza, Speaker of the Swaziland House of Assembly, rebuked Dlamini for
‘interference of the highest order’, after the Swazi Parliament decided to set up a seven-
member select committee to investigate the land deals and he called MPs in to see him ‘one-
by-one’ to try to get them on his side.

The whole land deal scandal reached a climax in May 2011 when Dlamini took Prince
Guduza, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, to court to stop a debate about the PM’s
irregular land deals taking place.
He succeeded in getting a High Court order to stop parliament debating the land issue and
publication of a select committee report into the affair. The House of Assembly ignored the
court and debated anyway.
The select committee report described the conduct of Lindiwe Dlamini, Minister of Housing
and Urban Development, in the deals as corrupt and treasonous.
The report stated that the authority for land deals was unconstitutionally taken away from the
King’s Office, by Lindiwe Dlamini.
‘The act of the minister was not only unconstitutional but also seriously undermined the
authority and sovereignty of the office of the Ingwenyama [the King] and was therefore
treasonous,’ the report stated.
The report made more than 20 findings, including:
That the Minister for Housing and Urban Development [Lindiwe Dlamini] acted
unconstitutionally and with total disregard of the Crown Land Disposal regulations of 2003,
which were promulgated in line with the provisions of the Crown Land Disposal Act of 1911.
That the cabinet ministers concerned used their positions to gain unfair advantage over other
Swazis who had applied for the land many years ago, by-passing the Crown Land Disposal
Committee in the process.
The Prime Minister and the Minister for Natural Resources and Energy [Princess Tsandzile]
bought the land at ridiculously low prices. The most disturbing aspect is that the Prime
Minister was awarded the certificate to develop his portion and designs approved without
having paid for the plot and records show that he only did so on February, 22 2011, long
after the Select Committee was appointed.
That the current administration has no respect for the constitution, as there are many laws
that deal with land issues and until now they have not been aligned with the constitution.
That the Attorney General was never consulted on this land deal.

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That the allocation of land to ministers through a cabinet decision was unlawful and it
smacks of an element of personal aggrandisement since such action is not supported by any
legal instrument.
Receiving a housing allowance on the one hand and on the other hand apportioning crown
land to oneself, is tantamount to theft of State property.
That, as a custodian of State assets and property, by virtue of its position in government,
cabinet had no legal right to take a collective decision on the allocation of land to ministers,
even worse, that in the process it violated the Constitution, 2005.
In June 2011, King Mswati confirmed his position as an absolute monarch when he ordered
the House of Assembly and the Senate to stop discussing the land scandal. He said he would
decide what would happen to the land.
The King’s decision to intervene was kept private and the media were excluded from a joint
meeting of the House of Assembly and Senate at which the King’s dictate was given.
Dlamini then instructed the media in Swaziland to stop discussing the land deal. He said, ‘His
Majesty said the issue should be put to rest. It means the matter has been concluded because
the King’s word is a command and the law. I take it that it is over and I hope journalists will
take it as having been concluded. There is no need for journalists to keep bringing this matter
up and spicing it. It has to be taken out of the news,’
Parliament was informed by both its presiding officers (Speaker Prince Guduza and Senate
President Gelane Zwane) that the King had ordered the PM to withdraw his court action
regarding the land issue and that the land in question would be returned to government
ownership.
Richard Rooney
See also
Swaziland former Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini dies. known as serial abuser of
human rights

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13 AND THE REST …

Despite record inequality, UK and EU won’t challenge Swaziland’s monarch
12 October 2018

The UK and EU are ignoring Swaziland’s threats to human rights and civic space, refusing to
hold the monarchy to account.
By: Sunit Bagree, Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA)
Swaziland held national elections on 21 September, but they were nothing more than a
charade. As a recent study by journalist and former associate professor at the University of
Swaziland, Richard Rooney, asserted before the election: “We can already name the
winner—it will be the absolute monarch King Mswati III”.
In Swaziland, political parties are banned from taking part in elections. The People’s United
Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), widely recognised as the country’s largest opposition
party, is proscribed under anti-terrorism legislation. Mswati III has huge influence over
elections to the House of Assembly through his network of local chiefs, and the king directly
appoints two-thirds of the Senate. Mswati III also appoints the prime minister and cabinet, as
well as senior judges and civil servants. The king can veto legislation and criticising the
monarch is against the law.
In addition to this lack of any political competition, Swazi political activists and human rights
defenders regularly endure harassment, threats and violence. For example, meetings of the
Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) were disrupted in February and March,
and peaceful demonstrations organised by TUCOSWA were brutally suppressed by state
security forces in April and June. The situation has become so bleak that the Mo Ibrahim
Foundation Index of African Governance places Swaziland 50th out of 54 countries for
“participation and human rights”. Women in particular suffer from marginalisation and
human rights violations.
In addition to repression of civil society space, inequality in Swaziland is alarmingly high.
The gap between the royal family and the tiny elite around them on the one hand, and the vast
majority of Swazis on the other, was brought to light last year when research by the
Brookings Institution named Swaziland the most unequal country in the world in terms of
income distribution. For example, Swaziland’s political system has allowed Mswati III to
amass a personal fortune estimated to be as much as $200 million. This, along with the
enormous annual royal budget (extracted from the public purse), enables his eye-watering
expenditure on luxuries ranging from a suit studded with diamonds to private jets. Meanwhile
63% of Swazis live below the poverty line. On top of this, the country has the world’s highest
adult HIV prevalence and over 15% of citizens require food assistance in the lean season.
Despite these failings and the resulting risks to the majority of Swazis, the response by the
international community has been incredibly weak. Swaziland is small, but its people are as
deserving of a legitimate, inclusive and effective government as people in any other part of
the world. And there are moral, legal and practical reasons for more action from the EU and
UK in particular. First, the UK governed Swaziland until the country became independent in

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1968, which occurred only after the British government conceded to massive public pressure
for political change. Thus, the UK’s legacy and influence in the Swazi government is still
relatively recent, and arguably the UK holds some responsibility for the current state of
affairs. Second, the EU is legally bound to act through the Cotonou Agreement, which calls
for increased engagement between the EU and 79 African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) countries,
including provisions on human rights and democracy. If Swaziland continues on its
downward spiral, then the costs to the region and beyond could be significant. The pragmatic
approach is to act now.
Yet both the UK government and the EU have failed to meaningfully challenge Swaziland’s
absolute monarch. At best, their criticisms of the King’s regime have been muted. On
occasion, they have even given the appearance of endorsing the King’s autocratic rule. For
example, in the UK, Mswati III was invited to the wedding of Prince William and Kate
Middleton in 2011 and the Queen’s diamond jubilee celebratory lunch in 2012. As for the
EU, its current Ambassador to Swaziland, Esmeralda Hernandez Aragones, has praised the
king’s “wise and strong leadership”.
British and EU officials make three excuses when civil society actors in Swaziland and in
Europe object to their approach. First, they say that European actors need to be wary of
looking like they are acting in a neo-imperial manner, especially as the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) and African Union (AU) are reluctant to take action on
Swaziland. Second, they insist that quiet diplomacy is the best way to apply pressure on the
Government of Swaziland. These two arguments are often made in relation to other African
countries, thus they are of wider relevance. Third, they argue that the Swazi pro-democracy
movement is fragmented and this limits what can be done by external actors. All of these
excuses are deeply flawed.
The first excuse is riddled with poor logic. It is true that neither SADC nor the AU have taken
human rights abuses, autocracy and corruption in Swaziland seriously. This is due to a
combination of authoritarian governments in Africa protecting each other from criticism and
democratic governments on the continent possessing a misguided fear of “embarrassing”
their peers. Yet this does not mean that the rest of the world should just follow suit. Instead,
the UK and EU should strive to act as a shining example to SADC and the AU. There is
nothing neo-imperial in holding Swaziland to account for violating its obligations under
international law. The second excuse, championing the quiet diplomacy approach, ignores the
fact that Mswati III has consistently blocked efforts for genuine political transformation since
1986. Many Swazis struggling for freedom say that the situation in their country is worse
now than it was a decade ago. The third excuse is merely a complaint. There are certainly
some divisions in the pro-democracy movement in Swaziland. Yet Swazis have been able to
agree on some key demands. Instead of simply lamenting the lack of unity on the part of pro-
democracy forces in Swaziland, why not help them to be become a more cohesive force for
positive change?
The time for quiet diplomacy has long passed. The UK and EU should regularly and robustly
publicly criticise Mswati III and his government. The EU should only give aid (the UK does
not have a bilateral aid programme) in a way that does not allow the Swazi state to divert
expenditure away from key sectors, and it should encourage other donors (such as the US and
World Bank) to adopt a similar approach. The EU should also withdraw trade preferences

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(and the UK should do the same post-Brexit). In addition, the UK and EU should call for
Swaziland to be subject to international monitoring and accountability mechanisms, such as
the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group and the Special Procedures of the United
Nations Human Rights Council.
All of these measures should continue until the king commits to genuine political
transformation. In the meantime, the UK and EU should offer greater financial, technical and
diplomatic support to those within the country who are seeking to build a strong and united
movement to transform their society in favour of democracy and human rights.
Sunit Bagree is Senior Campaigns Officer at Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), the
successor organisation to the Anti-Apartheid Movement. He is based in the UK.

See also
Chorus against Swazi election grows
Pressurise Swaziland to change

Communists to launch campaign of ‘maximum defiance’ against Swaziland’s absolute
monarch King Mswati
24 October 2018

Communists in Swaziland / Eswatini are to launch a campaign of opposition to the absolute
monarch King Mswati III urging ‘maximum defiance’. It is one of several ongoing
campaigns in the kingdom, mostly organised by trade unions.
The Communist Party of Swaziland’s ‘Red October’ campaign starts on Saturday (27
October 2018). In a statement it said, ‘The aim is to up the pressure on the dictatorship, which
is increasingly showing signs of cracking under popular pressure.’
It is targeting policing and police stations; structures of the Tinkhundla ‘traditional’ authority;
royal owned places of business, leisure and livelihood; Parliament and government
ministries; government e-communications and the electricity supply to key regime sites of
power.
It said, ‘Ideas for blocking, thwarting and sabotaging the regime’s governance and running
will be developed in a coordinated way to affect a maximum number of sites of the regime’s
operations. The regime will learn that there is no space within society where it can relax or be
sure of popular compliance and support.’
It added, ‘The aim is to make the regime unable to function as broadly as possible, to make it
unable to govern the country in key areas. Maximum Defiance aims to allow our people to
adopt a flexible approach to how they resist the regime. We are not calling for an immediate
shutdown of everything, but we are urging labour unions, civil society, communities and
party organisations to find the best ways to defy the regime in as many areas of their work
and life as possible.’

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It said, ‘The overriding aim of the Maximum Defiance campaign is to push the regime to
accepting the will of the people by unbanning all political formations, ensuring complete
freedom of assembly and media, and disbanding itself as an initial step towards free and fair
multi-party elections.’
There is at present an ongoing campaign by trade unions under the Trade Union Congress of
Swaziland (TUCOSWA). Workers want a national minimum wage of E3,500 (US$ 234.27) a
month, and an increase in elderly grants (pensions) to E1,500. Public sector workers also
want a 6.5 percent cost of living salary adjustment. The Government says it is broke and has
offered zero percent.
Many workers also want the legalisation of solidarity strikes, an increase in health and
education funding and an end to arbitrary evictions especially on the working class and poor.
Teachers are presently boycotting overseeing school examinations as part of their own
dispute over pay.
On 23 September 2018 the Industrial Court forced the Swaziland National Association of
Teachers to postpone a three-day strike until 23 November 2018. Police attacked workers
during three days of protest in September 2018.
See also
Widespread condemnation of Swaziland Police brutal attacks on workers
Vicious attack by Swaziland Police on defenceless workers captured on video
Swaziland Police fire gunshots during textiles dispute, third attack on workers in a
week
Swaziland teacher who stopped police chief shooting into unarmed crowd appears in
court
Police in Swaziland attack nurses with taser during peaceful protest over pay

U.S. Ambassador calls for repeal of decree that makes Swaziland an absolute monarchy
5 November 2018

Lisa Peterson, the United States Ambassador to Swaziland (Eswatini), has renewed her call
for political parties to be allowed to operate in kingdom.
She also called for the 1973 Decree that turned Swaziland from a parliamentary democracy
into an absolute monarchy to be repealed. It banned political parties and put all powers in the
hands of the King.
Peterson said this in an article she wrote that appeared in both of Swaziland’s national daily
newspapers.
Peterson was reacting to the recent decision by the King to make appointments to the House
off Assembly and the Swazi Senate, following September’s national elections. People can
only choose 59 members of the House, the King appoints another 10. No members of the
Swazi Senate are elected by the people, the King appoints 20 and the House elects 10.
Peterson said that the King failed to follow the 2005 Swaziland Constitution when he made
the appointments. She said he did not appoint the required number of women.

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She also wrote, ‘Former Minister of Justice Edgar Hillary went to Geneva in 2017 and told
the United Nations Human Rights Commission that the 1973 Decree had been repealed by
the Constitution. If this can be said to the outside world, why can it not be explicitly stated to
the Swati nation? And if the Decree has truly been repealed, why do officials act as if it is
still in place?
‘The Constitution’s language on ‘individual merit as a basis for election or appointment to
public office’ does not actually exclude the possibility of political parties.’
She said if political parties were allowed to exist they would help women to organise.
She wrote, ‘[P]arties are critical to enabling individuals to join forces around common issues
and pool their resources – intellectual, financial and organizational – to advance policies and
candidates they believe will best serve their communities. In this moment of severe financial
adversity, emaSwati need such collective community advocacy more than ever. It is time to
start a dialogue on this issue and plot a way forward.’
This was not the first time the US Ambassador had called for political parties to be allowed in
Swaziland.
In February 2018 she told a meeting of editors that polling suggested people in Swaziland did
not support political parties. She said, ‘For me that speaks to people not seeing what a
political party can do for them. You need to build understanding and policy of advocacy at
the grass root level so that you can get a number of people thinking in a similar manner.’
She said political entities that supported parties in Swaziland needed to work on the ground to
change people’s minds about the value of political parties. ‘Each party or grouping needs to
go about it in the way that works best,’ she said.
She added, ‘That plays a part in getting every average Swazi to understand why a political
parties might be useful.’
Again in March 2018 she told a meeting on multiparty democracy, good governance and
human rights at the Happy Valley Hotel, Ezulwini, many people in Swaziland did not support
political parties, ‘in part because they lack experience with what parties can accomplish and
how advocacy can succeed.’
She added, ‘In addition to the various efforts the parties have underway, they need to be
paying particular attention to this part of the equation. Because if a person living in a small
village does not understand how a party can help him approach local leaders on an issue such
as youth unemployment, the answer to that poll question is going to continue to go against
the multiparty option.
‘You also should not fall into the trap of thinking that simply explaining to people why
parties are important, or holding a march to rally public opinion, will move the needle more
in your direction.

‘People need to experience policy advocacy in order to appreciate the advantages of a
coalition. Otherwise, they will carry on doing things the way they always have, perhaps
believing that no action can really make a difference.

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‘People have a tendency to want to stay with something they know, even if it’s not working
well, because they fear that a change will bring something worse. This is as true in the
United States as it is here. But if you show them how advocacy is done, if you highlight for
them their civic potential, you will have made an incredible investment in the country’s
future. And through this investment, attitudes toward the multiparty question are sure to
improve.’
She is not alone in advocating for political parties in Swaziland. In 2013 the EU which is a
major donor of aid to Swaziland told King Mswati he must allow political parties to operate
in his kingdom as it was important that international principles of democracy were upheld in
Swaziland.
In October 2012, the United Kingdom also called for political parties to be un-banned in
Swaziland.
See also
U.S. Ambassador supports parties
Parties still banned from election
One in three want political parties
Swazis want democracy - survey
EU tells King: ‘free parties’
UK calls for parties to be un-banned

Poverty in Swaziland getting worse, new survey suggests. More than half forced to go
without food
11 December 2018

Poverty in Swaziland / Eswatini got worse over the past three years, according to a survey
just published.
More than half the people interviewed reported going without enough food and without
needed medical care.
The numbers going without food was 56 percent (up from 51 percent from a similar survey
taken in 2015). Those going without medical care was 53 percent (up from 33 percent).
The survey of people in Swaziland was undertaken by Afrobarometer and published on 4
December 2018. Interviews took place in March 2018.
Afrobarometer, a pan-African non-partisan research network that works in 37 African
countries, identified what it called ‘lived poverty’ (a lack of basic life necessities).
It reported, ‘Afrobarometer assesses the prevalence of “lived poverty” by asking respondents
how often, over the previous year, they or their family members went without enough food,
enough clean water, needed medicine or medical care, enough cooking fuel, and a cash
income.’
It added, ‘While lived poverty had been declining in eSwatini between the years 2013 and
2015, there has been an increase since then. The share of citizens who went without enough
to eat at least once during the previous 12 months increased by 5 percentage points between

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2015 and 2018, from 51 percent to 56 percent, while those who experienced a lack of clean
water grew by 7 points, from 47 per cent to 54 percent.
‘The largest increases were observed among those who experienced shortages of medical care
(from 33 percent to 53 percent) and cooking fuel (from 30 percent to 49 percent).
‘More than seven in 10 respondents (71 percent) say they went without a cash income at least
once during the previous year, up from 68 percent in 2015.
‘High lived poverty (or frequently going without basic necessities) was experienced by one in
four citizens and is twice as common in rural areas as in cities (27 percent vs. 14 percent). It
declines steeply as respondents’ education level increases: 62 percent of people without
formal education experienced high lived poverty, compared to 34 percent of those with
primary education, 20 percent of those with secondary schooling, and 11 percent of those
with post-secondary qualifications.
‘And lived poverty increases with age, ranging from 16 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds to 39
percent of those who are 56 or older.’
Afrobarometer gave figures from a 2018 World Bank report on Swaziland. Afrobarometer
said, ‘Six in 10 citizens (60.3 percent) live in poverty, including 38 percent in extreme
poverty, which disproportionately affects children, the elderly, the unemployed, as well as
female-headed and single-headed households.’
Afrobarometer is not the first organisation to identify the state of poverty in Swaziland where
King Mswati III rules as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. In 2017, the global
charity Oxfam named Swaziland as the most unequal country in the world in a report called
Starting With People, a human economy approach to inclusive growth in Africa
detailing the differences in countries between the top most earners and those at the bottom.
The Oxfam report stated the government, which is handpicked by King Mswati, ‘failed to put
measures in place to tackle inequality, with poor scores for social spending and progressive
taxation, and a poor record on labour rights’.
Despite the extreme poverty, the Swazi Government still found US$30 million to buy the
King a private jet plane in 2018. King Mswati now has two private planes, 13 palaces and
fleets of top-of-the-range BMW and Mercedes cars. He wore a watch worth US$1.6 million
and a suit beaded with diamonds weighing 6 kg, at his 50th birthday party in April 2018. He
received E15 million (US$1.2 million) in cheques, a gold dining room suite and a gold
lounge suite among his birthday gifts.

Meanwhile, the World Food Program has said it cannot raise the US$1.1 million it needs to
feed starving children in the kingdom.
Last week it was reported that elderly people in Swaziland had not been receiving their state
pensions (known as elderly grants) for the past six months because the Swazi Government
did not have the money to pay them.
See also
Seven in ten Swazis go hungry

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COSATU to help evicted Swaziland sugar cane farmers regain control of land from
King
Kenworthy News Media, 8 December 2018

The President of South African trade federation COSATU met with Swazi sugar cane
farmers. She promised to help them regain control of their land from Swaziland’s absolute
monarch King Mswati III.
COSATU President Zingiswa Losi met with sugar cane farmers from Vuvulane, Mafucula
and Shewula in Manzini, Swaziland on Tuesday (4 December 2018). Here she got first-hand
information on the ongoing evictions and harassment of the farmers by the Royal Swaziland
Sugar Company and the Swaziland Sugar Association, both organisations controlled by King
Mswati III.
According to Secretary General of the Media Workers Union of Swaziland, Sicelo Vilane,
who was at the meeting, the COSATU President promised the farmers that her organisation
will meet with the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland to look at how the farmers could be
helped.
“She expressed and offered the solidarity of COSATU and the Southern African Trade Union
Co-ordination Council to all the communities who are being subjected to such inhuman
treatment”, Vilane says.
Democracy or sanctions
In September, Zingiswa Losi became COSATU’s first ever woman President unopposed. She
serves on the ANC national executive committee, but lost out to Jessie Duarte in her bid to
become the ANC’s deputy secretary-general last year.
She has advocated for democracy in Swaziland on several occasions as well as calling for
economic sanctions against the small landlocked country. In 2012, she told South African
newspapers that COSATU “shall be with you [Swaziland] however long it takes, wherever
you are and however painful it feels”.
In 2011, Losi was arrested and deported from Swaziland during pro-democracy protests. At
the time, COSATU condemned “in the strongest possible terms the brutal crackdown on
peaceful protests in Swaziland”.
Given land in 1963
Mpisi Dlamini, a leading member of the Vuvulane Farmers Association, told the COSATU
President how he and hundreds of other farmers had been given their land in Vuvulane in
1963 by the Colonial (now Commonwealth) Development Corporation (CDC), says Sicelo
Vilane.
“They had produced sugar cane which was milled by the Mhlume Sugar Mill until 1981
when CDC resolved to transfer the land ownership to them. CDC approached [King Mswati
III’s father] King Sobhuza II to hand over the title deeds to the farmers, but unfortunately the
king passed away before the process was finalised”, according to VIlane.
A few years later, the government had forced the farmers to sign a document that effectively
handed over the rights to the land to a company controlled by the royal family. Swaziland’s

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High Court had ruled in their favour, Dlamini told Losi, but they didn’t get their land back
because “the king has taken sides in the matter”.
Losi was also told about forceful evictions and forceful relocations of farmers in Vuvulane,
Mafucula and Shewula.
Regular evictions
The Swazi government and Swaziland’s sugar corporations have been harassing, evicting and
forcefully relocating sugar cane farmers for many years without compensation to make way
for sugar-cane fields controlled by King Mswati.
In 2013 for example, Freedom House reported several “unlawful arrests and detentions
carried out by the police” against sugar cane farmers in the Vuvulane area. “Police are
increasing pressure on farmers resisting their unlawful evictions from land that they have
occupied for generations”, Freedom House stated.
In February 2016, 22 Vuvulane farmers were evicted from lands that they and their families
had tended since 1963 by Vuvulane Irrigated Farms and the Swaziland Sugar Corporation.
And an Amnesty International report from September described two cases of forced and
unlawful evictions without warning: One in the Malkers, where 60 people were evicted in
April, and one in Nokwane, where 180 people were evicted in October 2014.
According to the report, the government “failed to provide essential services to those affected
by the forced eviction: food, potable water and sanitation, basic shelter and housing,
appropriate clothing or means of livelihood”. The forced evictions were a symptom of “a
deeper, underlying problem” that violates international and regional human rights law,
Amnesty said.
The more recent evictions have happened amongst other things because the king and his
mother wish to use land in Vuvulane to construct a new town, the sugar cane famers say.
‘Swazi gold’
Sugar – known in Swaziland as ‘Swazi gold’ – is Swaziland’s main export commodity. With
a population of only 1.3 million people, Swaziland is the 4th largest sugar producer in Africa.
Sugar production accounts for over half of Swaziland’s agricultural output and nearly one
fifth of Swaziland’s GDP.
According to a 2016 report from the International Trade Union Confederation, Mswati uses
sugar profits to sweeten his own life, leaving sugar-cane farmers and the majority of the
population bitterly impoverished. And a 2017 report by Danish solidarity organisation Afrika
Kontakt revealed how smallholder growers are also left vulnerable by sugar price fluctuations
and transport costs, as well as by the corruption and undermining of the fight for democracy,
that EU-support for Swaziland’s sugar industry, healthcare and education systems allows.
See also
EU money pays for lavish Swazi King
Human suffering and Swazi sugar

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ABOUT THE EDITOR

Richard Rooney was associate professor at the University of Swaziland 2005 – 2008, where
he was also the founding head of the Journalism and Mass Communication Department.

He has taught in universities in Africa, Europe and the Pacific. His academic research which
specialises in media and their relationships to democracy, governance and human rights has
appeared in books and journals across the world.

His writing regularly appears in newspapers, magazines and on websites. He was a full-time
journalist in his native United Kingdom for 10 years, before becoming an academic.
He has published the blog Swazi Media Commentary since 2007 and also has other social
media sites that concentrate on human rights issues in Swaziland.

He holds a Ph.D in Communication from the University of Westminster, London, UK.

He edits a weekly email newsletter with news from and about Swaziland, compiled in
collaboration with Africa Contact, Denmark (www.afrika.dk) and sent to all with an interest
in Swaziland - free of charge. To subscribe mail to: SAK-Swazinewsletter-
subscribe@yahoogroups.co.uk

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SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM

Swaziland Striving for Freedom Vol 31 July to September 2018 is available free of
charge here
Police in Swaziland / Eswatini turned the city of Manzini into a warzone when they attacked
a legal protest by workers demanding pay improvements. It was one of a number of police
attacks on legal demonstrations in which bullets, stun-grenades, water cannon and teargas
were fired. A video of an indiscriminate attack by police on defenceless people went viral on
the Internet. The police violence was condemned globally.
Police also fired gunshots, grenades and rubber bullets during Swaziland’s election as voters
protested against what they believed was malpractice. The election was largely recognised
outside the kingdom to be undemocratic. Political parties are banned from taking part and at
its conclusion King Mswati III the absolute monarch in Swaziland appointed six members of
the Royal Family to sit in the House of Assembly. No members of the Swazi Senate are
appointed by the people. The election was riddled with reports of bribery, vote-rigging, and
violence.
These are some of the reports in this edition of Swaziland: Striving for Freedom which
includes reports from Swazi Media Commentary published July to September 2018. Among
others are the financial meltdown of the Government with health and education services
failing. There were reports of hunger and deaths as a result of the government’s inability to
pay its suppliers. Meanwhile, King Mswati and his family continue to spend lavishly on
themselves. Barnabas Dlamini, a stanch ally of the ruling elite who was recognised globally
as a serial abuser of human rights in Swaziland, died after a long illness.
It was also revealed in a once-secret CIA report that the revered King Sobhuza II supported
the white-ruled Apartheid government in South Africa because he was afraid that change
there would encourage people to press for political reform in his own kingdom.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom Vol. 30: April to June 2018 is available free of charge
here

Swaziland might never be the same again. King Mswati III demonstrated his absolute power
by renaming his kingdom Eswatini. He did this during the so-called 50-50 Celebrations to
mark his own 50th birthday and the half-century of Swaziland’s independence from Great
Britain. The King also made headlines when he wore a watch worth $1.6 million and a suit
beaded with diamonds at his birthday party. His lavish spending is notorious; days earlier he
took delivery of his second private jet, this one costing about $30 million after upgrades.

These were some of the stories published by Swazi Media Commentary over the second
quarter of 2018 and published in this Swaziland: Striving for Freedom Volume 30. While the
King and the Royal Family continued to spend millions on themselves the kingdom’s
economy was in freefall with the government admitting it was broke. Suppliers remained
unpaid and public services ground to a halt. Hospitals were without medicines and
schoolchildren went hungry as food supplies dried up.

Registration for the national elections to take place in September descended into chaos with
reports of inefficiency and corruption. The election board’s claim that 90 percent of the
eligible population signed up to vote was met with scepticism. Political parties are banned
from taking part in the election which is widely regarded outside of Swaziland as bogus. King
Mswati chooses the Prime Minister and Government ministers and no members of the Senate
are elected by the people.

Swaziland saw its first ever LGBTI Pride parade in June. Unwittingly it demonstrated how
conservative and backward Swaziland is. Newspapers took the opportunity to demonise
LGBTI people but despite this the event proved a success.

Laws in Swaziland have been used by the State as weapons against human rights defenders, a
major investigation of the kingdom by the International Commission of Jurists revealed.
Separately, the United Kingdom reported it was to undertake an investigation into human
rights abuses in Swaziland and in its annual report on the kingdom the United States
highlighted, ‘The most significant human rights issues included: arbitrary interference with
privacy and home; restrictions on freedoms of speech, assembly, and association; denial of
citizens’ ability to choose their government in free and fair elections; institutional lack of
accountability in cases involving rape and violence against women; criminalization of same-
sex sexual conduct, although rarely enforced; trafficking in persons; restrictions on worker
rights; and child labor.’

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Swazi Media Commentary

Containing information and commentary in
support of human rights in Swaziland

Click Here

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