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Swaziland:

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

Volume 25: January to March 2017


Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

CONTENTS

Introduction 2
1 Human rights 3
2 Politics 10
3 Budget 15
4 Education 20
5 Children 32
6 Police abuse 37
7 Legal 46
8 Drought 49
9 Media 52
10 Election 2018 54
11 King Mswati III 59
About the author 70
Other publications from Swazi Media Commentary 71
Occasional Paper series 72
Previous editions 73

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

INTRODUCTION

Swaziland came a long way last in a survey of 36 African countries looking at political
freedom. Of those asked, In this country how free are you to join any political organisation
you want? only 7 percent responded, completely free. This was only one of the indicators
that there is a huge issue with human rights in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III, who is
sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch.
In a review of events in 2016, Human Rights Watch stated the King, [C]ontinued to
repress political dissent and disregard human rights and rule of law principles in 2016. Political
parties remained banned, as they have been since 1973; the independence of the judiciary is
severely compromised, and repressive laws continued to be used to target critics of the
government and the king despite the 2005 Swaziland Constitution guaranteeing basic rights.
Human rights abuses reported during the first quarter of 2017 include police torturing a
man for 11 days to make him confess to crimes and a 13-year-old boy flogged by police with
a sjambok. Police also used guns against striking workers and protesting students in separate
incidents.
These are some of the events reported by Swazi Media Commentary website and brought
together in this Volume 25 of Swaziland: Striving for Freedom. Swazi Media Commentary
website has no physical base and is completely independent of any political faction and
receives no income from any individual or organisation. People who contribute ideas or write
for it do so as volunteers and receive no payment.
Swazi Media Commentary is published online updated regularly.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

1: HUMAN RIGHTS

Swazilands poor human rights record


18 January 2017

Swaziland has once again been criticised for its poor record on human rights by an international
organisation.
Human Rights Watch published its review of 2016 and stated, Swaziland, ruled by
absolute monarch King Mswati III since 1986, continued to repress political dissent and
disregard human rights and rule of law principles in 2016. Political parties remained banned,
as they have been since 1973; the independence of the judiciary is severely compromised, and
repressive laws continued to be used to target critics of the government and the king despite
the 2005 Swaziland Constitution guaranteeing basic rights.
Human Rights Watch is one of a number of international organisations, including Amnesty
International and the United States State Department, that annually bring the shortcomings of
Swaziland to the worlds attention.
Human Rights Watch reported, Restrictions on freedom of association and assembly
continued in 2016. The government took no action to revoke the Kings Proclamation of 1973,
which prohibits political parties in the country.
Police used the Urban Act, which requires protesters to give two weeks notice before a
public protest, to stop protests and harass protesters. In February, police arrested Mcolisi
Ngcamphalala and Mbongwa Dlamini, two leaders of the Swaziland National Association of
Teachers (SNAT), when they participated in a protest action. Two days later, the police raided
their homes.
The report added, Political activists faced trial under security legislation and charges of
treason under common law. The Suppression of Terrorism Act of 2008 placed severe
restrictions on civil society organizations, religious groups, and media. Under the legislation,
a terrorist act includes a wide range of legitimate conduct such as criticism of the
government. The legislation was used by state officials to target perceived opponents through
abusive surveillance, and unlawful searches of homes and offices.
The report continued, The Sedition and Subversive Activities Act continued to restrict
freedom of expression through criminalizing alleged seditious publications and use of alleged
seditious words, such as those which may excite disaffection against the king. Published
criticism of the ruling party is also banned. Many journalists practice self-censorship,
especially with regards to reports involving the king, to avoid harassment by authorities.
On September 16, the High Court of Swaziland ruled that sections of the Suppression of
Terrorism Act and the Sedition and Subversive Act were unconstitutional and violated freedom
of expression and association. The invalid provisions relate to the definition of the offences of
sedition, subversion, and terrorism. Classification of organizations as terrorist, which the
government had used to ban political parties like the Peoples United Democratic Movement
(PUDEMO), was also ruled to be unconstitutional.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Swaziland an authoritarian state


2 February 2017

Swaziland came 142nd out of 167 countries in the latest international survey on democracy.
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Democracy Index labelled Swaziland, where King
Mswati III rules as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch, an authoritarian country.
It said In these states [authoritarian], state political pluralism is absent or heavily
circumscribed.
Many countries in this category are outright dictatorships. Some formal institutions of
democracy may exist, but these have little substance. Elections, if they do occur, are not free
and fair. There is disregard for abuses and infringements of civil liberties. Media are typically
state-owned or controlled by groups connected to the ruling regime. There is repression of
criticism of the government and pervasive censorship. There is no independent judiciary.
Political parties are not allowed to take part in elections and most of the political groupings
in Swaziland that advocate for democracy have been banned under the Kings Suppression of
Terrorism Act.
The Swazi people are only allowed to select 55 of the 65 members of the House of
Assembly, the other 10 are appointed by the King. None of the 30 members of the Swaziland
Senate are elected by the people: the King appoints 20 members and the other 10 are appointed
by the House of Assembly.
One of only two national newspapers in Swaziland is in effect owned by the King. The
state controls one of only two television stations and all radio, except for a small Christian-
orientated channel.
The EIU scored Swaziland 3.3 out of ten on the Democracy Index, lower than Iraq.
Swaziland scored 0.92 on electoral process and pluralism and 3.53 on civil liberties.
The new report follows one published in December 2016 by Afrobarometer. In that,
Swaziland came last out of 36 countries in Africa in a survey on political freedom.

EU money flows despites rights record


21 February 2017

Despite a campaign at the European Parliament to force Swaziland to improve its human rights
record, the European Union (EU) has continued to spend tens of millions of euros of taxpayers
money in the kingdom ruled by the autocratic King Mswati III.
Figures just released show the EU disbursed E365 million last year (26 million euro;
US$22 million.
Bertram Stewart, Swazi Ministry of Economic Planning and Development Principal
Secretary, said, I wish to express our sincere gratitude to the EU for the financial and moral
support they provided to the country,
He was speaking at the annual Swazi Government and EU project planning meeting to
review the progress of EU-funded projects.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, who rules
Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch, reported, EU Ambassador Nicola
Bellomo said they were really proud of the achievements and were looking at increasing and
improving their level of cooperation in partnership with all the relevant stakeholders.
There has been growing concerns in Europe about Swazilands record on human rights,
where any political dissent can be outlawed by the Suppression of Terrorism Act. In recent
years, journalists have been jailed for criticising the kingdoms judges.
In October 2016, more than four in ten Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) did
not support Swazilands inclusion in a trade partnership deal.
Ambassador Bellomo said at the time, many MEPs wanted Swaziland excluded because
of human rights violations.
In a vote, 417 MEPs endorsed Swazilands inclusion in the Southern African Development
Community (SADC)-EU Economic Partnership Agreement. However, 216 MEPs voted
against and a further 118 abstained from voting.
Bellomo told the Sunday Observer on 9 October 2016 that those who wanted the kingdom
to be excluded cited human rights violations. He gave the jailing of the Nation magazine editor
Bheki Makhubu and human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko on sedition charges as examples.
The Observer reported the EU ambassador said this should be a wake-up call to
Swaziland.
The new trade agreement opened SADC goods to the European markets duty free.
In May 2015, the European Parliament voted for the release of all political prisoners in
Swaziland and called for the kingdom to be monitored for its human rights record.
A statement issued by the European Parliament said, Parliament considers the
imprisonment of political activists and the banning of trade unions to be in clear contravention
of commitments made by Swaziland under the Cotonou Agreement to respect democracy, the
rule of law and human rights, and also under the sustainable development chapter of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) Economic Partnership Agreement, for
which Parliaments support will depend on respect for the commitments made.
The resolution was passed by 579 votes to six, with 58 abstentions.
In January 2015, the United States withdrew Swazilands trading benefits under the Africa
Growth Opportunities Act (AGOA) after the kingdom refused to accept democratic change.

See also
FREE POLITICAL PRISONERS: EURO MPs
EURO MPs: SCRAP TRADE DEALS
KING DIVERTS WEALTH FROM HIS SUBJECTS
KING MSWATI SPENDS AND SPENDS

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

U.S. blasts Swazi human rights


20 March 2017

The main human rights problem in Swaziland is that the Swazi people are not allowed to choose
their government, a report just publish revealed.
Swaziland is ruled by King Mswati III, the last absolute monarch in sub-Saharan Africa.
He controls the government, parliament and the judges.
The United States Department of State in its annual report on human rights in Swaziland
stated, There is a parliament consisting of appointed and elected members and a Prime
Minister appointed by the King, but political power remained largely with the King and his
traditional advisors. International observers concluded the 2013 parliamentary elections did
not meet international standards.
The United States has been reviewing human rights issues in Swaziland for many years.
In 2015 it scrapped a lucrative trade deal with Swaziland called AGOA because King Mswati
would not allow democratic reform in his kingdom.
The 33-page report stated, The principal human rights concerns are that citizens do not
have the ability to choose their government in free and fair periodic elections held by secret
ballot; police use of excessive force, including torture, beatings, and unlawful killings;
restrictions on freedoms of speech, assembly, and association; and discrimination against and
abuse of women and children.
Other human rights problems included arbitrary killings; arbitrary arrests and lengthy
pretrial detention; arbitrary interference with privacy and home; prohibitions on political
activity and harassment of political activists; trafficking in persons; societal discrimination
against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex community and
persons with albinism; mob violence; harassment of labour leaders; child labour; and
restrictions on worker rights.
The government took few or no steps to prosecute or punish officials who committed
abuses. In general perpetrators acted with impunity.
The report added, Civil and political rights were severely restricted. Citizens did not have
the ability to choose their government in free and fair periodic elections held by secret ballot,
and political parties remained unable to register, contest elections, or otherwise participate in
formation of a government.
The report determined King Mswat ruled as an absolute monarch with ultimate decision-
making authority.
It added, Some prodemocracy organizations were banned. There is no legal mechanism
by which political parties may compete in elections. The Elections and Boundaries
Commission (EBC) did not permit candidates of political parties to register under the names
of their parties.
It went on, Under the constitution the King selects the Prime Minister, the cabinet, two-
thirds of the senate, 10 of 65 members of the house, many senior civil servants, the chief justice
and other justices of the superior courts, members of commissions established by the
constitution, and the heads of government offices.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Swazi security forces not under control U.S.


22 March 2017

Security forces in Swaziland are not kept under proper control, a new report on human rights
in the kingdom has revealed. And, about 35 percent of the entire Swazi Government workforce
was assigned to security-related functions.
The annual report on human rights in Swaziland just published by the United States
Department of State stated King Mswati III ruled as an absolute monarch and he and his mother
exercised ultimate authority over the cabinet, legislature, and judiciary.
The report stated, The King is the commander in chief of the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence
Force (USDF), holds the position of Minister of Defence, and is the commander of the Royal
Swaziland Police Service (RSPS)and the His Majestys Correctional Services (HMCS). He
presides over a civilian Principal Secretary of Defence and a commanding general.
Approximately 35 percent of the government workforce was assigned to security-related
functions.
The report added, The RSPS is responsible for maintaining internal security as well as
migration and border crossing enforcement. The USDF is responsible for external security but
also has domestic security responsibilities, including protecting members of the royal family.
The Prime Minister oversees the RSPS, and the Principal Secretary of Defence and the
army commander are responsible for day-to-day USDF oversight. The HMCS is responsible
for the protection, incarceration, and rehabilitation of convicted persons and keeping order
within HMCS institutions. HMCS personnel, however, routinely worked alongside police
during protests and demonstrations. While the conduct of the RSPS, USDF, and HMCS was
generally professional, members of all three forces were susceptible to political pressure and
corruption.
The 33-page report concluded, Impunity was a problem. Although there were
mechanisms to investigate and punish abuse and corruption, there were few prosecutions or
disciplinary actions taken against security officers accused of abuses.
The internal RSPS complaints and discipline unit investigated reports of police abuse and
corruption but did not release its findings to the public. In most cases the RSPS transferred
police officers found responsible for violations to other offices or departments within the police
system.
It added, Civilian authorities failed at times to maintain effective control over the security
forces.

No let-up in Swazi poverty


7 March 2017

Two thirds of the people in Swaziland continue to live below the poverty line, Amnesty
International has reported.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

The Afrobarometer research network reported that around half the population said they
often went without food and water, and over a third said that medical care was inadequate,
Amnesty said in its annual report on human rights in Swaziland.
In Swaziland, nearly seven in 10 of the kingdoms 1.3 million people have incomes of less
than $US2 a day. Meanwhile, King Mswati III, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas
last absolute monarch lives a lavish lifestyle, with at least 13 palaces, fleets of top-of-the-range
Mercedes Benz and BMW cars and at least one Rolls Royce. He has a private jet airplane and
is soon to get a second.
Amnesty reported that Swazilands human rights record was examined under the UN
Universal Periodic Review process and a number of concerns were raised.
They included the need to address barriers in access to primary education; the
reintegration of girls into the education system after giving birth; non-discriminatory access to
health and education services irrespective of perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender
identity; and the need for measures to be taken to combat and eradicate forced labour.

See also
NO AMNESTY IN TERROR CASES
SWAZI TRIALS POLITICALLY MOTIVATED: AMNESTY
SWAZI LGBTI PEOPLE LIVE IN FEAR

Photo display is against human rights


14 February 2017

Shops in Swaziland have been ordered to stop displaying photos of alleged shoplifters because
it infringes their human rights.
It has become increasingly common for supermarkets in the kingdom to display
photographs on their walls or on video screens. It is thought the practice has been going on for
many years and that shoplifting is increasing.
Superintendent Khulani Mamba, Chief Police Information and Communications Officer,
said there was no law allowing shopowners to display the photos.
He warned shops not to keep alleged shoplifters in their storerooms for a long time before
calling the police. The same goes for those who make them pay double the price of the stolen
goods; it is illegal as they must just call the police, Mamba told local media.
Human rights lawyer Mandla Mkhwanazi said the treatment was degrading and inhumane.
This is violation of human rights and degrading dignity of the individual, he said.

Army tortures recruitment cheats


2 February 2017

Four potential army recruits in Swaziland were tortured for about 90 minutes when they tried
to cheat on a run.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

The punishment which included having to pose like a urinating dog for 20 minutes appears
to have been officially sanctioned. It contravened the United Nations Convention Against
Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
It happened at Mafutseni during a recruitment exercise for the Umbutfo Swaziland
Defence Force (the Swaziland Army). Fifteen men had to complete a 3.2km run, but four of
them were spotted getting into a car that was to take them close to the finishing line.
The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, reported
on Wednesday (1 February 2017) that the four men were caught and punished for about an
hour and a half.
It reported, As punishment, at around 9:30am, they were ordered to do some push-ups,
which were followed by sit-ups. They were also ordered to lie on their backs and face the sun.
Again, they were instructed to sit on an invisible chair while holding their ears with
their hands.
While on the same position, they were ordered to walk forward and backwards.
They also jumped forward and backward while standing with their toes on the ground and
hands holding their ears.
Moreover, the quartet was ordered to pose like a urinating male dog for about 20 minutes
before they were freed to go and drink water at 11am.
The Army is presently recruiting 495 additional soldiers from across the kingdom, ruled
by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch.
This is not the first time soldiers have tortured and humiliated civilians in Swaziland. 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.
In 2011, a man was reportedly beaten with guns and tortured for three hours by soldiers
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.
His crime was that he tried to talk to a man whose vehicle was being searched by soldiers
at Maphiveni. The man, December Sikhondze, told the Swazi Observer at the time, I only
asked for a lift but they told me I was being disrespectful and that I should have waited for
them to finish. They took my cell phone and ordered me to do press ups.
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.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

2: POLITICS

Swazi last for political freedom


3 January 2017

Swaziland came a long way last in a survey of 36 African countries looking at political
freedom.
Of those asked, In this country how free are you to join any political organisation you
want? only 7 percent responded, completely free.
Swaziland, which is ruled by King Mswati III who is sub-Saharan Africas last absolute
monarch, came last in the survey of 36 African countries. Egypt and Sudan came second bottom
with scores of 27 percent.
The survey was conducted by Afrobarometer in April 2015 and results released just before
Christmas 2016.
In addition, only 18 percent of those surveyed said they had complete freedom of speech
and 56 percent said they had complete freedom to vote.
Political parties are not allowed to take part in elections and most of the political groupings
in Swaziland that advocate for democracy have been banned under the Kings Suppression of
Terrorism Act.
The Swazi people are only allowed to select 55 of the 65 members of the House of
Assembly, the other 10 are appointed by the King. None of the 30 members of the Swaziland
Senate are elected by the people: the King appoints 20 members and the other 10 are appointed
by the House of Assembly.
Afrobarometer reported that 56 percent of those surveyed agreed Government should
have the right to ban any organisation that goes against its policies.
Afrobarometer reported that the survey on human rights coincided with the fiftieth
anniversary of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR). With the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR),
it formalizes the right to peaceful assembly (Article 21) and freedom of association (Article
22), among other fundamental human rights.
The report quoted the UN Special Rapporteur saying, freedoms of assembly and
association are a vehicle for the exercise of many other civil, cultural, economic, political and
social rights, allowing people to express their political opinions, engage in artistic pursuits,
engage in religious observances, join trade unions, elect leaders, and hold them accountable.
As such, they play a decisive role in building and consolidating democracy.
All African countries except South Sudan are signatories or state parties to the ICCPR,
committing them to take positive measures to establish and maintain an enabling
environment for associations which can be anything from a prayer group to an online
discussion group, a demonstration, a labor union, a political party or yes, as long as its
peaceful a birthday party. No participant in an association should have to fear harassment, a
travel ban, or a smear campaign, much less violence or detention.
Afrobarometer reported, Freedom of association clearly goes hand in hand with other
freedoms and democracy: In places where citizens feel free to associate, they also tend to feel

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

free to speak and vote their minds, and they perceive their countries as functioning
democracies.

See also
DO SWAZIS WANT DEMOCRACY?
INCREASE IN SUPPORT FOR FREE PRESS

Public servants ready to strike


5 January 2017

Public servants in Swaziland say they want a minimum 70 percent pay increase and they are
prepared to take to the streets to achieve it.
Public servants have been at loggerheads with the Swazi Government for years over pay
and conditions. Many international groups such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) say
Swaziland already devotes too much of its overall public spending to public servant salaries.
In 2016, the Voice of America reported public sector workers in Swaziland had called for
increased pay for the past 10 years. The government had often said the global economic
downturn had made it difficult to meet these demands.
In 2016, public servants received a 17 percent increase. Members of Parliament got a 32
percent increase in salaries.
The Times of Swaziland, Swazilands only independent daily newspaper, reported on
Tuesday (3 January 2017) that Aubrey Sibiya, President of the National Public Service and
Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU), said the demand would be achieved by hook or crook.
The Times reported, Sibiya noted that unionists were ready and prepared to leave their
workstations and fill up the streets in demand of what they believe is theirs. He further said
civil servants remuneration in the country was pathetic as compared to other countries in the
region.
Sibiya reportedly said if civil servants did not get better pay, the poor will live miserably
while the rich do the opposite.
In September 2016, the Times reported that the Swazi Government had been exposed
making empty promises to the IMF that it would control public spending. The Government,
which is hand-picked by King Mswati III, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last
absolute monarch, had promised only to increase public sector salaries in line with the cost of
living. Instead salaries rose 17 percent adding an estimated E300 million (US$22.14 million)
to government spending.

Swaziland wants land from South Africa


27 March 2017

Swaziland wants to annexe large parts of South Africa and Mozambique on behalf of the
kingdoms autocratic ruler, King Mswati III.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

The territory it seeks includes the administrative capital Pretoria.


The Border Determination Special Committee (BDSC) said Friday (24 March 2017) large
areas of South Africa belonged to the Swazi nation and had been taken during the time the
region was under British rule.
The Observer on Saturday, a newspaper in effect owned by the King, who is sub-Saharan
Africas last absolute ruler, reported the committee, revealed that its mandate as directed by
the King is to recover all the Swazi land lost during the colonial era, both on the east, west,
south and north which goes as far as Pretoria and the Limpopo province.
The newspaper reported the BDSC told a meeting of editors that the presently landlocked
kingdom should stretch to the Indian Ocean and include parts of modern-day Mozambique.
The BDSC is promoting what it calls Pan-Swazism, the newspaper reported. This was
to instil a sense of belonging to all Swazis even outside the current borders of Swaziland.
It added, The Pan-Swazism is of the assertion that it is globally accepted that Swazis have
King Mswati III as their king and that this is true even to Swazis that are living in the Republic
of South Africa.
Lutfo Dlamini, a member of the committee, reportedly said the Swazi King was rightly
accepted as the leader of all Swazis.
Thabiso Masina, the committees ex-officio member from the Attorney Generals office,
said land was lost to the Swazis as a result of concessions to the white settlers around the 1840s.
He said no Swazi king had in fact signed the land away.
The Observer reported him saying the Swazis were never defeated in war to warrant for
the nation to relinquish any of its land.
The BDSC said there was already a draft agreement between Swaziland and South Africa
that they would solve the land dispute amicably.

Prime Minister to get 80pc retirement salary


29 March 2017

Barnabas Dlamini, the unelected Prime Minister of Swaziland, who has a history as an enemy
of human rights in his kingdom, will receive 80 percent of his salary for life when he retires.
He will also get a newly-built house and a top-of-the-range car. Deputy Prime Minister
Paul Dlamini will get a similar pension.
This is the first time such a retirement package has been sanctioned for the top Swazi
politicians.
Barnabas Dlamini made this public on Friday (25 March 2017) in response to members of
parliament who stalled a move to spend E5.5 million (US$72,000) toward building him a new
house for his retirement. In Swaziland, seven in ten people live in abject poverty with incomes
of less than US$2 a day.
The Observer on Saturday, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, the autocratic
ruler who appointed Dlamini Prime Minister, reported the payment had been approved in the
Finance Circular No. 2 of 2013.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

A week earlier members of the House of Assembly had frozen a budget item of E5.5
million to build the PM a retirement house. They said the kingdom faced a dire financial
situation and could not afford it.
Barnabas Dlamini was appointed PM by the King following the 2008 election. The King
disregarded the constitution he had signed in 2005 that clearly states that the Prime Minister
must be a member of the House of Assembly. Dlamini has sat in six parliaments, but has never
been elected by anybody.
When introducing Dlamini as the new PM, King Mwsati told him publicly to get the
terrorists and all who supported them.
Dlamini set about his task with zeal. He banned four organisations, branding them
terrorists.
His Attorney General Majahenkhaba Dlamini told Swazis affiliated with the political
formations to resign with immediate effect or feel the full force of the law. Under the
Suppression of Terrorism Act (STA), enacted the same year Dlamini came to power, anyone
who disagrees with the ruling elite faces being branded a terrorist supporter and a maximum
prison sentence of 25 years.
This happened at a time when the call for democracy in Swaziland was being heard loudly
both inside the kingdom and in the international community.
The Dlamini-led Government immediately clamped down on dissent. In 2011, Amnesty
International reported the ill-treatment, house searches and surveillance of communications
and meetings of civil society and political activists. Armed police conducted raids and
prolonged searches in the homes of dozens of high profile human rights defenders, trade
unionists and political activists while investigating a spate of petrol bombings. Some of the
searches, particularly of political activists, were done without search warrants.
In 2010, Dlamini publicly threatened to use torture against dissidents and foreigners who
campaigned for democracy in his kingdom. He said the use of bastinado, the flogging of the
bare soles of the feet, was his preferred method.
Dlamini told the Times of Swaziland newspaper he wanted to punish dissidents and
foreigners who come to the country and disturb the peace.
Dlaminis abuse of human rights did not start with his appointment in 2008. He was a
former PM and held office for seven and a half years until 2003. While in office he gained a
reputation as someone who ignored the rule of law.
In 2003, he refused to recognise two court judgements that challenged the Kings right to
rule by decree. This led to the resignation of all six judges in the Appeal Court. The court had
ruled that the King had no constitutional mandate to override parliament by issuing his own
decrees.
In a report running for more than 50,000 words, Amnesty International looked back to
the years 2002 and 2003 and identified activities of Dlamini that included the repeated
ignoring of court rulings, interference in court proceedings, intimidating judicial officers,
manipulating terms and conditions of employment to undermine the independence of the
judiciary, the effective replacement of the Judicial Services Commission with an unaccountable
and secretive body (officially known as the Special Committee on Justice but popularly called
the Thursday Committee), and the harassment of individuals whose rights had been upheld by
the courts.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

MPs use witchcraft for success


3 February 2017

Witchdoctors in Swaziland have accused members of parliament of double standards by


passing a law restricting their activities while at the same time using their services.
The witchdoctors trade union the Tinyanga Association petitioned the Ministry of Health
and the Public Prosecutions Office to have the Witchcraft Act amended.
The witchdoctors, who also like to call themselves tinyanga or traditional healers,
object to Section 2 of the Act that states, Any person who is found wearing any charm, dress,
ornament, emblem or insigne, which according to Swazi custom, indicates the wearer as a
diviner, witchdoctor or witch finder shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction of a
fine of two hundred emalangeni [about US$14] or an imprisonment not exceeding five
months.
The Swazi Observer newspaper reported the witchdoctors said they had to wear such
things, because they get order from the ancestors and if they disobey those orders they are just
putting their lives in danger.
In a petition and letter delivered to Parliament on Thursday (26 January 2017), the
witchdoctors wrote, You use us at night but after you then pass laws that infringe on our
rights.
The Observer reported, The witchdoctors made it clear that the same parliamentarians
who are involved when passing laws that infringe on witchdoctors rights were the same people
who at night, sneaked to their consultation rooms to seek for help.
The letter also stated that the witchdoctors felt they had to hide away from society because
they feared arrest.
On Thursday (26 January 2017), the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution told a
meeting of witchdoctors they must stop murdering people to obtain body parts for their spells.

See also
WITCHDOCTORS TOLD STOP MURDERING

14
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

3: BUDGET

Swazi MPs reject national budget


2 March 2017

Members of Parliament in Swaziland rejected the entire national budget and called for it to be
replaced with one that favoured ordinary people.
The unprecedented move came on Wednesday (1 March 2017) when the budget delivered
the previous Friday by Martin Dlamini, Swazi Minister for Finance, was supposed to be
debated and approved.
Instead, MPs rejected the E21.8 billion (US$1.66bn) national budget. A motion called for
the budget to be scrapped because it was not responding to the needs of the people.
They called for a revised budget to be tabled that addressed the needs for portable clean
water; feeder roads networks; increase of community projects budget; an increase in the elderly
and people living with disability grants, taking into consideration the cost of living; an increase
in the allocation of the ministry of agriculture for food security and the construction of new
health clinics.
The Minister of Finance was told to bring a new budget to Parliament on Friday (3 March
2017).

Massive security spending


6 March 2017

If Swazilands contested budget is allowed to go through, the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati
III, as an absolute monarch, will increase its spending on security this year and extra money
will go to the police to improve crowd management services.
The government hand-picked by the King has allocated nearly E2.7 billion (US$216
million) for the kingdoms security forces that comprise the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force
(USDF), Royal Swaziland Police Service (RSPS) and His Majestys Correctional Services
(HMCS).
This is more than the E2.2bn allocated to health in the coming financial year and E585
million more than allocated to security in 2016-2017.
Security will take up 12.4 percent of Swazilands total budget of E21.7bn ($US1.66 bn),
up 11 percent last year.
Martin Dlamini, Minister of Finance, told the Swazi Parliament on 24 February 2017, An
additional budget has been allocated to the Royal Swaziland Police to enhance the delivery of
services in rural and periurban areas and improve emergency response and crowd management
services.
Swaziland has a poor human rights record and police and security forces routinely break-
up labour and political demonstrations. Only three days after the budget announcement, police
halted a march by the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) that wanted to deliver
a petition to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.

15
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

According to the government book of estimates for the 2017-2018 financial year, a total
of E1,191,650,000 ($US91 million) has been allocated to the Ministry of Defence,
E995,695,000 to the police and E505,896,000 to the Correctional Services.
Swazilands spending on military and security has been growing over the past few years.
Meanwhile, seven in ten of the 1.3 million population live in abject poverty with incomes less
than US$2 per day.
Swaziland spent US$259.8 million on its military in the years 2011 to 2014. In 2014
military spending amounted to 5.9 percent of all government spending in Swaziland, according
to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in its Military Expenditure
Database for 2015.
The military spending amounted to 2.2 percent of Swazilands entire gross domestic
product (GDP).
In the calendar year 2014, Swazilands military spending was estimated to be US$80.6
million; about the equivalent of US$62 for every person in the kingdom.
In 2011, the Swazi Government set aside more than US$100 million for spending on the
army and police force and the then Finance Minister Majozi Sithole admitted that the army was
prepared for an uprising by the population in Swaziland.
This followed a series of prodemocracy uprisings in North Africa, leading to what became
known as the Arab Spring. King Mswati was fearful something similar could happen in his
kingdom. A Facebook group calling itself the April 12 Uprising had already called for an
overthrow of the King.
In February 2011, Sithole told an open stakeholder dialogue on the 2011-2012 budget and
Fiscal Adjustment Roadmap, Yes, we are spending a lot on the army but we are not
anticipating what is happening in North Africa to come here, he said.
He added, However, the army is there to avoid such situations.
In 2009, the Swazi Government was revealed to be engaged in arms dealing by the United
States. A diplomatic cable written by Maurice Parker, the then US Ambassador to Swaziland,
and later published by WikiLeaks revealed that the UK Government had blocked an arms deal
between a UK company Unionlet and the Swaziland Government because it feared their
possible use for internal repression.
The Swazi Government wanted to buy equipment worth US$60 million.
Among items listed for purchase were, 3 Bell Model UH-1H helicopters, FN Herstal
7.6251mm Minimi light machine guns, blank and tracer ammunition, armored personnel
carriers, command and control vehicles including one fitted with a 12.7x99mm M2 Browning
heavy machine gun and others fitted with the FN Herstal light machine guns, military
ambulances, armored repair and recovery vehicles, weapon sights, military image intensifier
equipment, optical target surveillance equipment, 620 Heckler & Koch G36E assault rifles,
240 Heckler & Koch G36K assault rifles, 65 Heckler & Koch G36E rifles, 75 Heckler & Koch
UMP submachine guns 9x19mm, and 35 Heckler & Koch USP semi-automatic pistols.
The Swaziland Government said it wanted the items to fulfil its United Nations
peacekeeping obligations in Africa.

16
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

The UK Government did not believe it and thought either the weapons would be used
against the Swazi civilian population, or they were being bought in order to sell on to another
country, possibly Iran. The UK Government blocked the deal.
In his diplomatic cable, Parker said, The array of weapons requested would not be needed
for the first phases of peacekeeping, although it is possible someone tried to convince the Swazi
government they were required. The GKOS [Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland] may
have been attempting to build up domestic capability to deal with unrest, or was possibly acting
as an intermediary for a third party such as Zimbabwe or a Middle Eastern country that had
cash, diamonds or goods to trade.
Once the cable became public in 2011, John Kunene, Principal Secretary in the Ministry
of Defence, who signed the original deal in 2008, said the kingdom had never given up trying
to buy the weapons.
The Swazi News, an independent newspaper in Swaziland, reported (26 February 2011)
that Kunene was still trying to broker a deal.
In March 2011 Kunene was sacked from his job after a disclosure that the army had run
out of food to feed its soldiers.

See also
SWAZI SECRET ARMS DEAL FOR IRAN
SWAZILAND AND SECRET ARMS DEAL

U.S. says budget lacks transparency


8 March 2017

King Mswati IIIs Government has fallen foul of one of its most important aid donors, the
United States, because it hides information about how its spends taxpayers money from the
people.
In a review of the 2016 Swaziland budget, the US State Department found details about
how money given to the Royal Family was spent was missing. Also hidden was detailed
information about spending on the military, police and correctional services.
The Fiscal Transparency Report said some information about these expenditures were
given, but lacked detail and were not subject to the same oversight as the rest of the budget.
The United States undertakes annual reports on fiscal transparency of governments that
receive U.S. assistance to help ensure U.S. taxpayer money is used appropriately.
The report noted that, revenues from natural resources and land leases were not included
in the budget.
In Swaziland, King Mswati, who rules as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch,
takes 25 percent of all income generated from mining and mineral extraction. He holds this in
trust for the Swazi nation, but in fact uses the money to finance his own lavish lifestyle. He
has at least 13 palaces, a private jet plane (with another on the way), fleets of top-of-the-range
BMW and Mercedes cars and at least one Rolls Royce.

17
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Meanwhile, seven in ten of the Kings subjects live in abject poverty with incomes less
than US$2 per day.
Regarding, contracts for mining and mineral extraction, the report stated, Basic
information on awards was not always publicly available. The process actually used to award
licenses and contracts has apparently been broadly consistent with the law or regulation, though
the process has consisted of submitting applications for licenses directly to the King.
The report concluded, Fiscal transparency in Swaziland would be improved by: providing
more detail on expenditures and revenues in the budget, particularly natural resource revenues
and expenditures of the Royal Family; subjecting the entire budget to audit and oversight; and
making basic information on natural resource extraction awards publicly available.

Swazi PM overturns budget vote


9 March 2017

Swazilands unelected Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini has forced members of the Swazi
Parliament to overturn their decision to reject the national budget.
He has also forced them to abandon a debate on the contents of the budget in the House
of Assembly and instead move discussions straight to committee sittings.
Members of the House had on 1 March 2017 rejected the budget, saying it did not do
enough for ordinary people. More than 12 percent of the budget is for defence and security.
Additional money is to be spent on the police for crowd management services.
On Tuesday (7 March 2017) they reversed their decision.
Swaziland is ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch.
Political parties are banned from taking part in elections and the Prime Minister and senior
ministers are selected by the King.
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King, reported on Wednesday
(8 March 2017) that the Prime Minister minced no words then he told Parliament that nothing
would be changed in the budget.
The newspaper, described by the Media Institute of Southern Africa in a report on media
freedom in the kingdom, as a pure propaganda machine for the royal family reported the
MPs came back to their senses and allowed passage to the Budget Bill.
There are ongoing concerns about the ways national budgets are made in Swaziland. In a
review of the 2016 Swaziland budget, the US State Department found details were missing
about how money given to the Royal Family was spent. Also hidden was detailed information
about spending on the military, police and correctional services.
The United States undertakes annual reports on fiscal transparency of governments that
receive US assistance to help ensure US taxpayer money is used appropriately.
About seven in ten of Swazilands 1.3 million population live in abject poverty with
incomes leas than US$2 a day.
MPs had called for a revised budget to be tabled that addressed the needs for potable clean
water; feeder roads networks; community projects; an increase in grants for the elderly and
people living with disability; food security and the construction of new health clinics.

18
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

The Finance Sessional Committee of the House of Assembly will now ask Government if
a supplementary budget to address members of parliaments concerns can be made.

All must pay for Christian lessons


2 March 2017

Taxpayers of all religions and none in Swaziland will have to help foot a E20 million
($US1.5m) bill to fund the new edict that only Christianity may be taught in schools.
The controversial move was designed to ensure children learned Christian values above
others.
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Msawti III, the absolute
monarch in Swaziland reported Martin Dlamini, the Swazi Minster of Finance, told parliament
on Friday (24 February 2017), The main objective behind the Christian-based Religious
Education is to enable the learner to develop Christian virtues and to build a personal Christian
ideal to inspire learners development and maturity.
The focus would be on transmitting knowledge of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.
The new ruling came into force in January 2017 at the start of the school term. Until then,
the Religious Education syllabus had included Christianity, Islam, Bahai faith and Swazi
ancestors. The decision reportedly came from the Swazi Cabinet, which is handpicked by King
Mswati III.
Also, all pupils will be obliged to take Religious Education throughout their time at
primary and high school.
The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, reported
on 19 January 2017 that Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Pat Muir, said
government was targeting the ability for school children to differentiate between morality and
immorality and also to ensure that children were not confused.
The Times reported, He said they believed Christianity was the best way to achieve this.
The move could be against the spirit, if not the letter, of the Swazi Constitution. When the
2005 Constitution was being drafted, it was decided not to insist that Swaziland was a Christian
country. This was to encourage freedom of religion.
Lawyers for Human Rights spokesperson Sabelo Masuku said although Swaziland was
predominantly Christian, the Government had to consider the Swazi Constitution which made
it clear there was freedom of religious choice.
Nkosingiphile Myeni, Communications Officer of The Coordinating Assembly of Non-
Governmental Organisations (CANGO) in Swaziland, a network of NGOs, ecumenical bodies
and other faith-based organisations, said, Firstly, government must not forget that in 2005,
Swaziland entered a new era of constitutionalism. In Section 23 of the Constitution, liberties
including human rights, freedom of conscience and religion are entrenched. The inclusion of
all other religions must be in line with this constitutional provision to cater for all sectors of
society.
According to the CIA World factbook religion in Swaziland is broken down as Zionist (a
blend of Christianity and indigenous ancestral worship) 40 percent, Roman Catholic 20
percent, Muslim 10 percent, other (includes Anglican, Bahai, Methodist, Mormon, Jewish) 30
percent.

19
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

4: EDUCATION

Strike at Swazi Kings SADC university


10 January 2017

Workers at the university in Swaziland that King Mswati III has chosen to spearhead his
University of Transformation started a strike on Monday (9 January 2016) protesting about
short-term contracts.
About 100 workers at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology took to the streets
and blocked the universitys main gate.
The strike was led by the Swaziland Union of Non-Academic Staff for Higher Institutions
(SUNASHI).
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, reported SUNASHI
Secretary General Fundizwi Sikhondze saying, The staff is concerned that the university offers
them short employment contracts. The staff is offered as little as a years contract while some
get two years.
Limkokwing has been chosen by King Mswati, who is both sub-Saharan Africas last
absolute monarch and the Chair of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), to
house a University of Transformation to take students from across the SADC region by August
2017.
The Observer reported Sikhondze saying, We believe the university is not a fly-by-night
institution and will be in the country for years to come. The government of Swaziland is
constantly investing large amounts to the institution and that gives us hope that it is not going
anywhere. Why cant the university invest in its staff and employ them on a permanent basis?
Sikhondze said the strike came after the universitys management and staff failed to reach
a consensus on their grievances.
Limkokwing Vice Chancellor Professor Cedric Bell reportedly said the strike was set to
coincide with examinations at the university and cause maximum disruption.
A statement from Limkokwing management published in the Observer read in part, The
university has served notice of a lock out on the union and those staff who choose to exercise
their lawful right to strike will not be paid during the period of labour withdrawal and are not
to come onto the campus.
Limkokwing was the centre of controversy in 2016. In December, a Swaziland
parliamentary committee ordered an investigation into the standard of qualifications held by
academic staff at the university. Students had petitioned the Swazi Government saying many
lecturers only held Bachelor degrees and had just themselves qualified from the university.
Limkokwing has been at the centre of continuing protests from students about standards
of teaching and equipment since the university opened in 2011. According to its website,
Limkokwing in Swaziland only offers associate degrees which are at a level below Bachelor
degrees and in many institutions are known as diplomas.

20
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Kings University strikers fear scab labour


17 January 2017

Workers in dispute at the university in Swaziland that has been chosen by King Mswati III to
host his University of Transformation have asked their counterparts in Botswana not to take
their jobs while they are on strike.
About 100 non-academic staff at Limkokwing University in Mbabane started a strike on
Monday 9 January 2017 protesting about working conditions and short-term contracts.
The Swaziland Union of Non-Academic Staff for Higher Education Institutions
(SUNASHI) wrote to workers at Limkokwing in Botswana fearing that the Swaziland
management would bring in workers from Botswana to do their jobs.
The Sunday Standard newspaper in Botswana reported this week (15 January 2017) that
four years ago when there was a dispute at Limkokwing in Lesotho, workers were sent from
Botswana as scab labour.
Now, the newspaper reported, SUNASHI has written to workers at Limkokwing Botswana
to say if they go to Mbabane they would undermine the strike.
The letter read in part, Your coming to Swaziland might therefore be used to defeat the
legitimate display of worker power of the planned strike.
Secondly, it might constitute an illegal entry into Swaziland to work when you have no
legal status to work in this jurisdiction.
Thirdly, it might contribute to chaos and violence that may take place upon the striking
workers learning about your presence on the Swaziland campus.
Limkokwing University is a private university that was chosen by King Mswati to house
a University of Transformation that would take students from across the Southern Africa
Development Community (SADC) region. The Swazi King, who is sub-Saharan Africas last
absolute monarch, became chair of SADC in August 2016. He pledged the university would
be operating by August 2017.
The strike at Limkokwing Swaziland was suspended on 12 January 2017, pending further
talks between management and workers.

Swazi Kings new university stalls


28 March 2017

King Mswati III has failed in his bid to have a new SADC-wide university up and running in
Swaziland by August 2017.
Now, his supporters are saying that only a concept note will be submitted to a Heads of
State Summit in August.
King Mswati, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch,
announced in August 2016 after assuming the chair of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) that a university of transformation taking students from all over the SADC
region would open by the time he stood down as chair.
Both the Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, and
the Swazi Observer, which is in effect owned by the King, reported on 31 August 2016 that

21
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

King Mswati told the SADC heads of state summit held at Lozitha, This initiative will give
new hope and opportunity to our youth and our women. The intention is to have the first intake
of students prior to the 37th SADC summit in 2017.
Later, he announced that the new university would be hosted by Limkokwing University,
a private institution which has come under fire for its poor standards.
Now, the Sunday Observer (19 March 2017) has reported that a concept note stipulating
the governance, legal requirements and programmes [at the proposed university] would be
submitted to the 37th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State in August. No revised date has been
set for the universitys opening.
The Observer, which was called a pure propaganda machine for the royal family in a
report on press freedom by the Media Institute of Southern Africa, said this move showed, that
the plan to establish the university was well thought out.

See also

KINGS NEW UNWORKABLE UNIVERSITY


NEW SWAZI UNIVERSITY SUBSTANDARD
KING FELL FOR BOGUS UNIVERSITY
LIMKOKWING UNIVERSITY IS ILLEGAL

University closed after protests


7 February 2017

The Southern African Nazarene University (SANU) in Manzini, Swaziland, has closed
indefinitely following student protests against poor facilities and insufficient allowances.
It follows a class boycott by students and police action on campus after the bursars office
was blockaded.
The SANU Senate ordered the university closed after students in health and education
refused to return to lectures. Students were ordered to vacate the premises on Wednesday (1
February 2017).
Students petitioned the Swazi Ministry of Labour and Social Security in Mbabane. They
said there was insufficient clinical and teaching practice and project allowances were lower
than at other universities.
The petition also stated that the universitys administration had increased tuition fees
without proper notification and a lodging allowance to rent accommodation had been
withdrawn.
The SANU is a state health training institution operating under the Nazareth health
institutions in Swaziland, and has campuses at Steki Good Shepherd and Manzini
Nazarene Hospitals.
This was not the first student class boycott at SANU over poor facilities and unpaid
allowances.

22
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

In October 2015, students and staff protested separately over poor conditions at SANU.
The students boycotted class because allowances had not been paid 60 days into the new
academic year. Academic and non-academic staff waved placards and sang songs at the
administration block in a dispute over poor salaries.
In September 2014, students were forced to reapply to study and as part of that application
they were asked to give up the names of the boycott leaders. The students went on strike in a
dispute over allowances, poor learning conditions in the institution, insufficient books in the
library and lack of laboratory equipment for science experiments.
Students had to complete questionnaires which include three questions: How did the
student body resolve to boycott classes in the absence of a student representative council? Who
was responsible for calling all students out of their classrooms to join the strike? Do you know
who were in the forefront of the strike action / the leaders? Name them.
All students were also asked to answer this question: You participated in a class boycott
between the period 3 September and 10 September 2014 and destroyed University property in
the process. State and show cause why you as an individual should not be held accountable for
the damage you caused to the University property.

Minister threatens scholarships


22 February 2017

Swazilands Minister of Labour and Social Security has made a veiled threat to scrap university
scholarships in the kingdom if students continue to protest against late payments.
Minister of Labour and Social Security Winnie Magagula made her comments after
management at the University of Swaziland (UNISWA) closed the institution after students
boycotted classes.
There have been continuing problems at UNISWA and other tertiary colleges in
Swaziland about late payments of scholarships and allowances. There are also complaints
that facilities in universities and colleges are inadequate.
UNISWA closed on Monday (20 February 2017). UNISWA Registrar Dr Salebona
Simelane told local media the University Senate had resolved to close down immediately as a
precautionary measure following vandalism to property the previous week.
The Swazi Observer reported on Tuesday he said, they needed to protect university
property and the students themselves from each other.
Simelane said the university would be closed until further notice.
Last week, police fired warning gunshots as students protested about late payment of their
allowances.
The Observer reported Minister Magagula saying the government might have to
reconsider issuing scholarships, as they were causing too many problems.
Following the closure of UNISWA, Magagula said the incident was an unfortunate one as
they had met the SRC where they explained the procedures followed when government pays a
client.
The Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, who rules Swaziland as
sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch, reported her saying, We met with these children

23
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

and we showed them that we had indeed paid their allowances as these things take time. There
are processes that take place.
The Observer added, Magagula said the students were clearly refusing to cooperate with
government and the university hence if there are no scholarships maybe therell be no closure
for these institutions.
UNISWA is not the only tertiary education institution complaining against late payments.
The Southern African Nazarene University (SANU) in Manzini, Swaziland, has also been
closed following student protests against poor facilities and insufficient allowances.

See also
SWAZI POLICE FIRE AT STUDENTS

Workers call fraud at UNISWA


24 February 2017

The Administration at the University of Swaziland (UNISWA) is under attack on two fronts:
from the students and non-academic staff.
On Monday (20 February 2017) UNISWA closed indefinitely after students boycotted
classes in protest over late payment of scholarships and inadequate facilities.
The following day non-academic staff picketed the Kwaluseni Campus administration
block in a row over stop orders from salaries. Money has been stopped from pay cheques but
it has not been forwarded to the relevant beneficiaries. Staff said this had been going on for at
least two years.
A spokesperson for the workers was reported by the Swazi Observer saying, This is a
problem that the members of staff have had to endure for two years and each time we raised
the issue with management, they promised to work on it.
The Times of Swaziland reported that 100 members of the National Workers Union of
Swaziland Higher Institutions (NAWUSHI) took part in the picket. It quoted the workers
spokesperson saying, Currently, the institution deducts the money from us, but it does not
remit it to the service providers and we consider this as an illegal and fraudulent act, which
should be corrected immediately.
The spokesperson added management had refused to meet to discuss the issue.

Schools religious teaching shake-up


19 January 2017

Just as people in Swaziland are increasingly turning against Muslims, the Swazi Ministry of
Education has said from Tuesday (24 January 2017) the only religion to be taught in public
schools would be Christianity.

24
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Until now, the Religious Education syllabus included Christianity, Islam, Bahai faith and
Swazi ancestors. The decision reportedly came from the Swazi Cabinet, which is handpicked
by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch.
Also, all pupils will be obliged to take Religious Education throughout their time at
primary and high school.
The Times of Swaziland reported on Thursday (19 January 2017) that Principal Secretary
in the Ministry of Education, Pat Muir, said government was targeting the ability for school
children to differentiate between morality and immorality and also to ensure that children were
not confused.
The Times reported, He said they believed Christianity was the best way to achieve this.
It quoted Muir saying, When they reach university or go to college, they will then be able
to make a decision on whether they want to learn about other religions because then they will
be matured and will not be easily confused.
In recent times there has been widespread criticism of Asian people in general and
Muslims in particular.
In November 2016, Swazilands Director of Public Prosecutions Nkosinathi Maseko told
a parliamentary select committee set up to investigate what the Observer on Sunday newspaper
called an influx of illegal immigrants into the kingdom, most nationals of Asian origin were
associated with terrorist activities.
In the same month, Muslims in Swaziland reported they were terrorised by local police.
The Imam of Ezulwini Islamic Centre, Feroz Ismail, said guests had visited the kingdom from
across Africa for a graduation and Jasla Ceremony.
The Times of Swaziland newspaper on 23 November 2016 reported him saying the guests,
were abused while in the country. They informed me that they were terrorised by the police
while visiting some tourist attraction areas including the glass and candle factory.
He said police demanded that the visitors produce their passports and other documents
required for visitors to be in the country.
The Times reported Ismail saying, They were ferried in police vehicles to their hotel
rooms as the officers demanded that they immediately produce documents which proved that
they were in the country legally.
This was not the first time police have been heavy-handed with Muslims. In September
2016, it was reported undercover police were infiltrating Muslim mosques to attend Friday
prayers.
The Times, the only independent daily newspaper in the overwhelmingly Christian
kingdom, reported that police were suspected of monitoring the Muslim community.
In September 2016, hungry people in Swaziland defied Christian leaders and attended a
Muslim ceremony, because free meat was being given away. As part of the Islamic Eid-ul-
Adah ceremony Muslims slaughter meat and give one third of it away to needy people.
When it was announced that free meat would be available, Christian leaders condemned
the move and ordered their flocks to stay away.
President of the League of Churches Bishop Simon Hlatjwako was reported by the Times
of Swaziland saying true Christians would not participate in the event and would not eat the
free meat offered by Muslims.

25
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

True Christians should not dare set foot at the Muslim slaughtering ceremony, he
reportedly said. He added, Personally, I would not even bother myself; I do not care about
their meat and ceremonies. Muslims worship their own god and as Christians, we do not go
along with their god.
The newspaper also reported Bishop Steven Masilela, President of the Conference of
Churches, saying as they were the body of Christ, they were not allowed to eat everything.

See also
ALL ASIANS BANNED FROM SWAZILAND

Schools religion ban: Protests grow


31 January 2017

Protests are growing against the Swaziland Governments order that Christianity is to be the
only religion taught in schools.
The decision was imposed by the Swazi Cabinet which is handpicked by King Mswati III,
the autocratic monarch in Swaziland. The move came into force on 24 January 2017 at the start
of the school year after only a few days notice.
The AFP international news agency reported, Officials said that old text books were being
replaced with new ones that mention only the Bible, and that schools were required to submit
a list of qualified religious studies teachers ahead of the start of term.
It added, Other religions will not be offered at primary and high school level, said Pat
Muir, a top education ministry official, adding that the policy sought to avoid confusing pupils.
Eyewitness News in South Africa reported, Schools are obliged to submit their religious
studies syllabi at the start of each term to show they contain no Islamic or Jewish references.
The move could be against the spirit, if not the letter, of the Swazi Constitution. When the
2005 Constitution was being drafted, it was decided not to insist that Swaziland was a Christian
country. This was to encourage freedom of religion.
According to the CIA World factbook religion in Swaziland is broken down as Zionist (a
blend of Christianity and indigenous ancestral worship) 40 percent, Roman Catholic 20
percent, Muslim 10 percent, other (includes Anglican, Bahai, Methodist, Mormon, Jewish) 30
percent.
Lucky Lukhele, the spokesperson of the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN), an
organisation banned in Swaziland because it campaigns for democracy in the kingdom, said,
This pits the authorities on a clash with the national Constitution adopted in 2005 which
guarantees freedom of religion and declares Swaziland a multi-faith based society, thus barring
anyone from imposing their own religious beliefs on others. The constitution and laws prohibit
religious discrimination and provide for freedom of religion, including the right to worship and
to change religion.
The African Independent reported him saying, We will be engaging all the democratic
forces in Swaziland to challenge this unilateral and short-sighted decision by government

26
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

whose effect will be to arrest the thought process, flourishing of ideas and intellectual growth
of Swazi children.
For a long time the Swazi state has been abusing religion as a tool to exercise a firm grip
on peoples freedoms and their right to demand respect for their rights. This is unacceptable
and we will challenge it in the courts, in regional bodies, the African Union and even the United
Nations. Not only is this decision unconstitutional, but also it is barbaric and contrary to world
trends and advancement.
AFP said, The US State Department's International Religious Freedom Report said some
schools have long sought to prevent Muslim pupils from leaving early for Friday prayers.
It also said some Christian groups discriminated against non-Christian religious groups,
especially in rural areas where people generally held negative views on Islam
Lawyers for Human Rights spokesperson Sabelo Masuku said although Swaziland was
predominantly Christian, the Government had to consider the Swazi Constitution which made
it clear there was freedom of religious choice.
The Swazi Observer newspaper reported that Masuku said, what government has done
was very risky and some people might not take kindly to other religions being banned.
Nkosingiphile Myeni, Communications Officer of The Coordinating Assembly of Non-
Governmental Organisations (CANGO) in Swaziland, a network of NGOs, ecumenical bodies
and other faith-based organisations, said, Firstly, government must not forget that in 2005,
Swaziland entered a new era of constitutionalism. In Section 23 of the Constitution, liberties
including human rights, freedom of conscience and religion are entrenched. The inclusion of
all other religions must be in line with this constitutional provision to cater for all sectors of
society.
Myeni said Swaziland had to adhere to international standards such as the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights. Article
18 of the Universal Declaration stated, Everyone has the right to freedom of thought,
conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and
freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his
religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
The Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) criticised the move saying the
Swazi Government had made a decision based on ideology.
SNAT Secretary General Zwelithini Mndzebele in a statement said learning was about
being exposed to diverse experiences that gave the young person the opportunity to use
judgment and apply the learned skills.
Mndzebele said, Learning about other religions helps everyone to better accommodate
and understand others aspirations and ways of life. It is one of the best catalysts for the
achievement of world peace.
School principals said they feared other religions might take the Government to court over
the ban because it might infringe the Swazi Constitution on freedom of religion.
The Swazi Observer reported, The principals said the schools that would be teaching
Christianity only were government owned and such entities were governed by the constitution.
The newspaper said. Schools Manager Macanjana Motsa assured the principals that what
was being introduced in the schools had been approved by government. Motsa said the

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

constitution talked about freedom of religion and this was practised in churches, which are
structures outside the schools.
She added that there was nowhere where they banned other religions such as Islam from
being practised in the country. Motsa said the different religions could be practised outside
school boundaries as nothing has changed on that.
She said the syllabus taught in public schools was regulated by government and she
believes they have not strayed from that.

Confusion over language ruling


28 February 2017

Private as well as public schools in Swaziland are to be forced to conduct lessons in siSwati,
the mother tongue of Swazi people, and applicants to universities and tertiary colleges will be
made to take an application test in the language.
This follows an edict from Swazilands unelected Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini.
The unexpected announcement is already causing confusing in education circles in the
kingdom ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch.
The Times of Swaziland reported that Dlamini told a gathering to mark International
Mother Language Day on Wednesday (22 February 2017), In all public and private primary
schools in Swaziland, up to and including Grade IV, a childs education will be conducted in
siSwati.
In the later grades of primary education, and in all high schools, siSwati will be one of
the compulsory subjects in the curriculum. And before admission to tertiary education, all
applicants will be required to take a competency test in siSwati.
Later, Phineas Magagula, the Swaziland Minister of Education and Training, clarified the
PMs statement. Magagula said Swaziland was not doing away with other languages in schools
but siSwati would be a core subject.
Later, in a further clarification, the Prime Minister said the new policy would not be
implemented overnight. The Ministry of Education would appoint a siSwati Board to oversee
it, he said.
There is still no clarification about the role of siSwati in colleges and universities. If the
language is compulsory it would almost certainly made it impossible for students from outside
Swaziland to enrol for programmes.

Hunger forces schools to close early


6 February 2017

Teachers across Swaziland are reporting that schools are forced to close early because there is
no food to feed children.
Zwelithini Mndzebele, General Secretary of the Swaziland National Association of
Teachers (SNAT), told local media the union had a number of reports that some schools had
broken early each day because of food shortages.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Mndzebele blamed government for being slow in paying school fees so principals could
not buy supplementary food.
The Swazi Observer on Friday (3 February 2017) reported Mndzebele saying, Some of
the pupils come to school without having eaten anything and they rely on the feeding
programme at school for food. They cannot stand the long hours on empty stomachs, hence the
principals cut the days short so they can concentrate and be able to grasp something, he said.
Mndzebele added, Imagine the impact the shortened classes will have in the long-term
work, pupils will be behind schedule on school work and this will mean a bad ending.
The Observer reported that the Ministry of Education and Training had said it handed out
food last year and it should be available.
Mndzebele said there were no proper facilities to store food. The ministry must
understand that most of the store rooms in the schools lack ventilation. Imagine the state of the
food that have been kept in those store rooms for almost two months.
He said the government had not yet paid the money to support free primary education
(PFE) so principals had nothing to buy supplementary food while waiting for government to
deliver.
The Ministry of Education and Training delivered about 200kg of rice, and 300kg to 500kg
of mealie-meal a month, plus beans depending on the size of the school. Mndzebele said this
was usually not enough so school principals then used the FPE money to buy more food.

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

Kings role in schools chaos ignored


20 February 2017

A command made by Swazilands autocratic King Mswati III that schools must not charge
parents top-up fees is about to be overturned following years of confusion.
And, Swazi Government ministers and the media in the kingdom are rewriting history to
erase the Kings part in the chaos.
In February 2014, in a speech opening Parliament King Mswati, who rules Swaziland as
sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch, made the directive to abolish top-up fees even
though the government he hand-picked did not have a plan to implement it.
In Swaziland, the Kings word is a proclamation. Once he speaks nobody is allowed to
question him.
In his 2014 speech the King said, We must encourage the development of local facilities
and the improvement of the quality of our education to match the standards of foreign countries.
It is not enough, however, to just educate our children to become job seekers.
Top-up fees allowed principals to charge parents more than the basic school fee. This
allowed schools to be able to fund many basic activities. Principals complained that the money

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

paid by government was too meagre to run the schools and a majority of them opted for top-
up fees to make up for the shortage.
Within months reports were circulating in the kingdom that most schools had been forced
to suspend activities including participation in sports and music competitions. It was estimated
these extra-mural activities had halved when compared to recent years.
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King, reported in 2015 that some
principals had resorted to selling sweets on behalf of their schools to raise additional funds.
It reported, Swaziland Principals Association (SWAPA) President Mduduzi Bhembe
confirmed the sad situation and lamented the fact that the growth of the countrys education
system was taking a nosedive.
In February 2016, school principals who defied the ban were warned they could go to jail.
The Swazi Education and Training Minister Phineas Magagula said this after the Kingdoms
High Court confirmed the Kings edict that no school should charge parents top-up fees.
The Swazi Observer reported at the time that Magagula said by charging top-up fees the
principals were, failing to comply with His Majesty King Mswati IIIs order that such should
not be paid and that no child should be deprived of education.
Now, media in Swaziland are reporting that the Swazi Cabinet has decided to put forward
a law to allow to-up fees to be charged.
The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, reported
on Friday (17 February 2017), Stakeholders are searching for answers to the question of how
to charge top-up fees yet they (top-up fees) are legal in terms of Section 12 of the Free Primary
Education Act of 2010.
It added, Phineas Magagula, the Minister of Education and Training, had submitted a
proposal to cabinet to reintroduce the additional fees which schools charged over and above
government grants.
The Kings role in the top-up fee saga is being ignored. On 29 December 2016, the Swazi
Observer, a newspaper described by the Media Institute of Southern Africa in a report on press
freedom in Swaziland as a pure propaganda machine for the royal family, reported Magagula
had submitted a proposal to cabinet to reintroduce the top-up fees.
It reported, Education Minister Dr. Phineas Magagula yesterday said the decision to
enforce a no top-up fee policy was not taken by an individual line minister, in this particular
case being himself, but was a collective cabinet decision.
Any changes with regard to the implementation of the policy, Dr. Magagula said, would
as such have to be taken by cabinet.

End of free Swazi primary schooling


Friday, 24 March 2017

Free primary school education in Swaziland is a thing of the past as schools are to be allowed
to charge parents top-up fees.
This goes against S29 of the Swaziland Constitution.
The Swazi Government pays E580 per child but this is supported by the European Union.
The cost to European taxpayers since 2011 has been US$8 million.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

School principals have complained that the money given to them was inadequate. Local
media reported that some schools had declared bankruptcy.
Dr Phineas Magagula, Minister of Education, told a budget debate in parliament that top-
up fees had been authorised.
Now, parents will be sent a bill for their childrens education. No additional money will
be given by the Government.
Up until December 2016, the EU had spent a total amount of E110 million (US$8 million)
to fund the Free Primary Education Programme in Swaziland. In 2015, it reportedly sponsored
34,012 learners in 591 schools. The EU plans to continue paying for the school fees until the
end of 2018.
The EU started funding FPE for first grade pupils in the whole country in 2011.
The decision to charge fees contravenes S29 of the Swaziland Constitution which states,
Every Swazi child shall within three years of the commencement of this Constitution [2005]
have the right to free education in public schools at least up to the end of primary school,
beginning with the first grade.
In February 2017, nearly E2.7 billion (US$216 million) was allocated in the national
budget for the kingdoms security forces that comprise the Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force
(USDF), Royal Swaziland Police Service (RSPS) and His Majestys Correctional Services
(HMCS).
Security will take up 12.4 percent of Swazilands total budget of E21.7 bn ($US1.66 bn),
up 11 percent from last year.
Education was allocated E3.5 billion.

See also
SWAZILAND: MASSIVE SECURITY SPENDING

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

5: CHILDREN

Child victims in half of abuse cases


15 March 2017

Nearly a half of all abuse cases reported to the Deputy Prime Ministers Office in Swaziland
involved children, And, most abusers were parents or someone well-known to the victim.
A total of 357 cases were reported in the financial year 2016 / 2017.
A report tabled at the Swazi Senate revealed 71 percent of the victims were females.
The most common abuse with 90 cases was described as emotional / verbal. There were
also 76 cases of physical abuse and 69 of neglect.
A total of 47 percent of the cases involved children aged up to 11.
The Swazi Observer newspaper said that the report, showed that children were at a greater
risk of being violated as the same individuals who had an obligation to protect were the ones
who were in most cases the perpetrators.
The most commonly reported survivor/perpetrator relationship was that of parent
(mother/father).
The abuse of children in Swaziland is not new. Swazi culture condones sex abuse of
children, especially young girls. Child rapists often blame women for their action.
The State of the Swaziland Population report revealed that women who sexually starve
their husbands were blamed for the growing sexual abuse of children.
Men who were interviewed during the making of the report said they salivate over
children wearing skimpy clothes because their wives refused them sexual intercourse.
In Swaziland rape is against the law but Swazi Law and Custom allows a husband to rape
his wife. This is contained in the 317-page document The Indigenous Law and Custom of the
Kingdom of Swaziland (2013).
The United States Department of State report on human rights in Swaziland looking at
2016 stated, The law criminalizes rape, but no law specifically addresses spousal rape. Rape
was common, and the government rarely enforced the law effectively.
According to the Swaziland Action Group against Abuse (SWAGAA), one in three girls
and women between ages 13 and 24 had been a victim of sexual violence. Although rape is
legally defined as a crime, many men regarded it as a minor offense.
The number of reported cases was likely far lower than the actual number of cases, as
many cases were dealt with at the family level. A sense of shame and helplessness often
inhibited women from reporting such crimes, particularly when incest was involved.
The maximum sentence for conviction of rape is 15 years in prison, but the acquittal rate
for rape was high, and sentences were generally lenient. Prosecutors reported difficulty
obtaining the evidence required to try rape and domestic violence cases because witnesses
feared testifying against accused rapists. There were few social workers or other intermediaries
to work with victims and witnesses in order to obtain evidence.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

In 2015, a report from A US organisation ABCNewspoint stated that Swaziland had the
fourth highest rate of rape in the world. It said there were 77.5 registered cases of rape among
100,000 people.

See also

CUSTOM LAW LETS HUSBANDS RAPE WIVES


SWAZI CHILD RAPE IS NOT UNUSUAL
INVESTIGATE PRINCE FOR CHILD SEX

Boycott of school after beatings


10 March 2017

Children at a primary school in Swaziland have boycotted classes because they live in fear of
the illegal corporal punishment they are made to suffer.
Local media report that children are hit with a stick, which in at least one case is said to
have left a child bleeding from the head.
After years of physical abuse of children, corporal punishment in schools was abolished,
but teachers across the kingdom still use it.
The Swazi Observer reported on Monday (6 March 2017) that students boycotted classes
at Masundvwini Primary School because they were scared of their teacher.
It reported that some parents, have had their children come back from school with blood
after being hit by the teacher.
One parent was reported saying, My daughter always comes home complaining of a
headache. She finally told me that her teacher normally hits her in the head with a stick.
The school said it would investigate the complaints.
There is a long history in Swaziland of the use by teachers of unusual forms of punishment
in Swazi schools.
In August 2016, it was reported an eight-year-old schoolboy was thrashed so hard in class
he vomited and it was feared he might have had internal bleeding as a result. His teacher at
Siyendle Primary School, near Gege forced classmates to hold the boy down while he whipped
him with a stick.
In June 2016, a school principal was reported to police after allegedly giving a 20-year-
old female student nine strokes of the cane on the buttocks at the Herefords High School.
In September 2015, the Times of Swaziland 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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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

In April 2015, parents reportedly complained to the Ndlalane Primary School after a
teacher beat pupils for not following his instruction and shaving their hair.
In October 2014, 20 pupils were thrashed before they sat an examination because they had
been absent from school studying for the exam the previous day.
In October 2011, Save the Children told the United Nations Human Rights Periodic
Review held in Geneva that corporal punishment in Swazi schools was out of control. It
highlighted Mhlatane High School in northern Swaziland where it said pupils were tortured
in the name of punishment. It said, Teachers can administer as many strokes [of the cane] as
they desire, much against the limit stipulated in the regulations from the Ministry of
Education.
In a separate case, girls at Mpofu High School were flogged by teachers on their bare flesh
and if they resisted they were chained down so the beating could continue. They said they got
up to 40 strokes at a time.
In another case, a 10-year-old girl at kaLanga Nazarene Primary school was blinded for
life in her left eye after a splinter from a teachers stick flew and struck it during punishment.
And, she was not the child being punished. She was injured when her teacher was hitting
another pupil, with a stick which broke.
Another pupil in Swaziland was thrashed so hard that he later collapsed unconscious and
had to be rushed to a clinic. Six pupils at Mafucula High school were thrashed with 20 strokes
of a small log because they were singing in class. It was reported that the boy who became
unconscious was not one of those misbehaving, but he was flogged nonetheless.

MPs want cane back in schools


17 March 2017

Members of the Swaziland Parliament want corporal punishment brought back to schools.
Some said teachers were unable to cope with children without caning them.
Beating was banned in Swazi schools in 2015 and the Ministry of Education and Training
adopted an approach it called positive discipline which did not include beating children.
MPs debated the cane at the Ministry of Education and Training portfolio committee on
Wednesday (15 March 2017).
According to a report in the Swazi Observer, The MPs said they didnt understand why
the ministry had decided to do away with corporal punishment as they (MPs) were a result of
it.
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.
MP Thuli Dladla, a former teacher, said, Corporal punishment, if done properly, is
positive. There are situations that need one to use this type of punishment to drive the message
home.
The newspaper added, She said children needed to be beaten from time to time to keep
them in check.
Another former teacher, MP Mabulala Maseko, said the violence in schools was at its all-
time high because the pupils were being positively disciplined.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

MP Mthokozisi Kunene said children needed, to be beaten from time to time.


Responding, Dr Phineas Magagula, Minister of Education and Training, said the abolition
of corporal punishment conformed with international conventions the kingdom had signed to.
The cane was abolished after numerous cases of brutality were reported in schools across
the kingdom.
In 2011, Swaziland was told by the United Nations Human Rights Periodic Review held
in Geneva it should stop using corporal punishment in schools, because it violated the rights of
children.
But the practice of whippings and floggings was so ingrained in Swazi schools at the time
that the top teachers union official said he was surprised that inflicting corporal punishment
was against a childs rights.
The United Nations Human Rights Periodic Review received a report jointly written by
Save The Children and other groups that corporal punishment in Swazi schools was out of
control. The report highlighted Mhlatane High School in northern Swaziland where it said
pupils were tortured in the name of punishment.
The report stated, Students at this school are also subjected to all forms of inhumane
treatment in the name of punishment. The State has known about the torture of students that go
on at Mhlatane High School for a long time, but has not done anything to address this violation
of fundamental rights.
Sibongile Mazibuko, President of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers
(SNAT), was quoted in the Times of Swaziland saying as teachers they had been
underestimating the impact corporal punishment had on children rights.
It came as a surprise what impact corporal punishment has in terms of violating childrens
rights. In fact, we were not aware we are violating childrens rights. The submissions by the
countries and the criticism received by the country during the meeting was an eye-opener that
corporal punishment should be abolished, the Times quoted Mazibuko saying.

School head fines kids for theft


13 March 2017

A school principal in Swaziland has been accused of demanding money from pupils to stop
him expelling them for theft.
He said he did this because schools were no longer allowed to lash misbehaving pupils.
Three boys were accused of stealing two maize cobs at Nkiliji High School, which they
then shared among themselves.
The principal was reported to the Regional Education Office for allegedly demanding
E1,000 from each of them, before they would be allowed back in class. The boys parents were
unable to pay. In Swaziland, seven in ten of the 1.3 million population have incomes less than
E26 a day. US$2 a day.
The Swazi Observer newspaper reported on Monday (5 March 2017) that the principal
was infuriated with the parents for reporting him. He reportedly asked that he be allowed to
give the learners lashes as [a] form of punishment.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

See also

CANE BANNED IN SWAZI SCHOOLS


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

36
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

6: POLICE ABUSE

Swazi police torture man for 11 days


14 March 2017

A man accused of multiple murders in Swaziland 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.
The hearing continues.
There are numerous reports of police torture in Swaziland. In January 2017, local media
reported police forced a 13-year-old boy to remove his trousers and flogged him with a
sjambok, to make him confess to stealing a mobile phone.
In September 2016, women were reportedly ambushed by armed police and brutally
attacked by police during a strike at the Plantation Forest Company, near Piggs Peak.
In June 2016, a United Nations review panel looking into human rights in Swaziland was
told in a joint report by four organisations, In Mbabane [the Swazi capital], police tortured a
15-year-old boy after his mother had reported him for stealing E85.00 (US$6). The boy alleges
that he was beaten with a slasher (metal blade tool for cutting grass) and knobkerrie (club) for
five hours. While enduring the pain, he alleges that he was made to count the strokes aloud for
the police to hear. Instead of being charged, the boy was physically assaulted and made to sit
in a chair for thirty minutes before he was sent back home.
The report was submitted to the United Human Rights Council Working Group on the
Universal Periodic Review of Swaziland by the Swaziland Multi-Media Community Network,
Swaziland Concerned Church Leaders, Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisations
and Constituent Assembly Swaziland.
They also reported the case of Phumelela Mkhweli, a political activist who died after an
alleged assault by police after they arrested him.
The report also stated, In April 2011, a 66-year-old woman was confronted by three police
officers regarding the wording on her t-shirt and headscarf. The police allegedly pulled off her
T-shirt, throttled her, banged her head against the wall, sexually molested her, kicked her and
threw her against a police truck.
The US Department of State reported on many allegations of torture and ill-treatment by
police; including beatings and temporary suffocation using rubber tube tied around the face,
nose, and mouth, or plastic bags over the head, the report stated.

37
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Police torture 13-year-old boy


16 January 2017

Police in Swaziland forced a 13-year-old boy to remove his trousers and flogged him with a
sjambok, in what one local newspaper called one of the worst cases of brutality in the
kingdom.
The boy, who has not been named by media, was reportedly whipped at Ngwenya police
station after he was accused of stealing a mobile phone, worth less than E1,000 (US$70).
The Swazi News reported on Saturday (14 January 2017) the boy was taken alone into a
room by two police officers.
The News reported, He said he was accused of having stolen the phone and would be
lashed until he revealed where it was.
The teenager said he told the officers that he did not know where it was or how it got lost
but instead the officers instructed him to strip off his trousers and lie on the floor.
The newspaper reported the boy saying, One officer put his foot on the back of my neck
while the other one lashed me twice with the sjambok.
The boy told police he did not know where the phone was. The newspaper reported, Tears
and screams did not help as he was told to say where the phone was.
He said he maintained his position that he had no idea where it was and the officers
allegedly said they would not release him until he spoke the truth. The confused and hurt young
boy did not know what else to say since what was truth to him was not accepted by the police.
The boy was forced to lie down on the cold stone floor and he was whipped once more,
while a police officers foot pinned him down.
The News described the incident as one of the worst cases of brutality.
Police in Swaziland, where King Mswati III rules as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute
monarch, routinely use torture.
In September 2016, women were reportedly ambushed by armed police and brutally
attacked by police during a strike at the Plantation Forest Company, near Piggs Peak.
The Observer on Saturday newspaper on 17 September 2016 reported what it called a
horror attack. It said a private security company called Siyavutsa assisted police.
The newspaper reported the attack happened at 4.45pm on Friday 9 September. A group
of workers left the plantation premises and walked along a main road to their compound,
Goedgegun, about 5 km away. When all of a sudden a Siyavutsa vehicle swerved and came to
an abrupt stop in front of the first group of about five workers and a swarm of armed police
officers and dog handlers alighted.
The newspaper added, The different groups of about 15 workers allege that they all ran
in different directions while the officers were in pursuit striking indiscriminately at anyone
falling down. The women claim that the police officers alighted with rifles and batons while
Siyavutsa dog handlers followed suit with the dogs. Shots were fired in the air while other
officers bridged their service weapons.
The newspaper added, Vice Secretary of the Workers Union Wendy Simelane said she
was struck with a baton by an officer identified as Manqoba Vilakati on the shin before she
was dragged and thrown into a police van that had arrived to beef up the contingent on the
scene.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

The Observer on Saturday reported, It was then they, together with a handful of others,
were driven deep into one of the forests. On the way the vehicle swerved to its sides making
its cargo bang on the sides with their heads. By then all their mobile telephones were
confiscated. At the swamp inside the forest the beatings continued with their assailants
stomping on their arms and legs, including Simelanes fractured leg.
The newspaper reported Simelane saying, All this time we pleaded with them why we
were being assaulted but to deaf ears. By then my lower part of the leg was dangling signalling
that the shin was shattered. At the same time, we were forced to do press-ups but I could not
because my leg could not hold any longer,
The Observer reported that the police used wood stumps and branches from around the
swamp to inflict more injury to the workers. They were then dragged and thrown into the police
van, driven back to Mhlatane station where they found Siyavutsa guards waiting for their turn.
Later, they were taken to Piggs Peak police station for another bout of torturing. The
newspaper reported that Simelane was tortured by being suffocated with a plastic bag until she
vomited. She was forced into signing a confession that she had started fires in the forest.
This was one in a long series of torture cases involving police or security forces in
Swaziland.
In June 2016, a United Nations review panel looking into human rights in Swaziland was
told in a joint report by four organisations working to improve human rights, In Mbabane [the
Swazi capital], police tortured a 15-year-old boy after his mother had reported him for stealing
E85.00 (US$6). The boy alleges that he was beaten with a slasher (metal blade tool for cutting
grass) and knobkerrie (club) for five hours. While enduring the pain, he alleges that he was
made to count the strokes aloud for the police to hear. Instead of being charged, the boy was
physically assaulted and made to sit in a chair for thirty minutes before he was sent back home.
The report was submitted to the United Human Rights Council Working Group on the
Universal Periodic Review of Swaziland by the Swaziland Multi-Media Community Network,
Swaziland Concerned Church Leaders, Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisations
and Constituent Assembly Swaziland.
They also reported the case of Phumelela Mkhweli, a political activist who died after an
alleged assault by police after they arrested him.
The report also stated, In April 2011, a 66-year-old woman was confronted by three police
officers regarding the wording on her t-shirt and headscarf. The police allegedly pulled off her
T-shirt, throttled her, banged her head against the wall, sexually molested her, kicked her and
threw her against a police truck.
The US Department of State reported on many allegations of torture and ill-treatment by
police; including beatings and temporary suffocation using rubber tube tied around the face,
nose, and mouth, or plastic bags over the head, the report stated.
In addition to those cases reported to the United Nations review panel, there have been
numerous reports of torture by police and military personnel in Swaziland over the past few
years.
In July 2015, Swazi MP Titus Thwala reported that Swaziland soldiers beat up old ladies
so badly they had to be taken to their homes in wheelbarrows. He said that elderly women were
among the local residents who were regularly beaten by soldiers at informal crossing points

39
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

between Swaziland and South Africa. Thwala said the soldiers made people do push ups and
other exercises.
In 2011, a man was reportedly beaten with guns and tortured for three hours by soldiers
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. His
crime was that he tried to talk to a man whose vehicle was being searched by soldiers at
Maphiveni.
The Army in Swaziland, in effect, has a shoot-to-kill policy. In May 2011, three unarmed
South African men were shot dead by Swazi soldiers when they were caught trying to smuggle
four cows from Swaziland into the Republic.
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.
In January 2010 soldiers were warned that their attacks on civilians amounted to a shoot
to kill policy and this was unconstitutional.
There have been many accounts of soldiers killing or beating up civilians, including a
cold-blooded murder of two women accused of smuggling a car across the border with South
Africa; a man who had five bullets pumped into his body after being beaten to a pulp; an attack
on sex workers after three soldiers refused to pay them for their services; an attack by a bus
load of soldiers on a security guard after he asked them to move their vehicle; and five drunk
soldiers who terrorised two boys, smashing one of them to a pulp.

See also
HORROR TALE OF SWAZI POLICE TORTURE
POLICE BRUTALLY ASSUALT WORKERS
KINGS PAPER SUPPORTS POLICE TORTURE
MORE POLICE TORTURE IN SWAZILAND
SWAZI STUDENT LEADER TORTURED
KINGS PAPER SUPPORTS POLICE TORTURE

More police guns against workers


9 February 2017

Police in Swaziland fired live gunshots and teargas as workers at a factory were locked out
following an industrial dispute.
It happened at Juris Manufacturing in Nhlangano on Monday (6 February 2017). The
Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, reported about
1,600 workers reacted angrily to a rumour that management was planning to purge the staff of
troublesome elements.
The Times reported, Interviewed workers said the violence was triggered when the
employees found the main gate to the factory locked when they reported for duty yesterday
morning, as management was planning to make the workers enter in different groups. Soon

40
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

word spread that the new entry arrangement was a plan to get rid of male employees of the
company who management believe were sowing discontent among the staff.
There has been a long-running dispute at the factory about management style and
accusations of racism by one boss in particular.
The Times reported, A witness said when the workers were not satisfied with the
communication from management, they ganged up and vandalised the factory structure. The
situation worsened when police officers tried to control the workers and fired teargas.
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III who rules
Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch, put the number of workers involved
at 2,000.
It reported, The company premises resembled a war zone as the workers and police
exchanged missiles.
Police fired warning gun shots in the air, hoping to scare off the workers who were on the
rampage.
It added, They fired teargas at the strong crowd of workers who ran helter-skelter in all
http://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2016/09/police-fire-rubber-bullets-on-
strikers.htmldirections.
The Observer reported, A thick cloud engulfed the area with some of the employees seen
dashing towards the nearby forests as police were hot on their heels to ensure they keep a
distance from the company premises.
It is commonplace in Swaziland for armed police to intervene on behalf of managements
during industrial disputes.
In September 2016, media in Swaziland reported women strikers were ambushed by armed
police and brutally attacked at the Plantation Forest Company, near Piggs Peak. Police had
previously used rubber bullets and teargas against the strikers and had fired live rounds to
disperse a crowd.
In 2013, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) reported that Swaziland
was becoming a police and military state.
It said things had become so bad in the kingdom that police were unable to accept that
peaceful political and social dissent was a vital element of a healthy democratic process, and
should not be viewed as a crime.
These complaints were made by OSISA at an African Commission on Human and Peoples'
Rights (ACHPR) meeting in The Gambia on 10 April 2013.
OSISA said, There are also reliable reports of a general militarization of the country
through the deployment of the Swazi army, police and correctional services to clamp down on
any peaceful protest action by labour or civil society organisations ahead of the countrys
undemocratic elections.
OSISA was commenting on the trend in Southern Africa for police and security services
to be increasingly violent and abusive of human rights.
In particular, OSISA highlighted how the police continued to clamp down on dissenting
voices and the legitimate public activities of opposition political parties prior to, during and
after elections.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

In a statement OSISA said in February 2013 a battalion of armed police invaded the Our
Lady of Assumption Cathedral in Manzini and forced the congregation to vacate the church
alleging that the service intended to sabotage the countrys general elections.
OSISA added, A month later, a heavily armed group of police backed up by the
Operational Support Services Unit prevented members of the Trade Union Congress of
Swaziland (TUCOSWA) from holding a peaceful commemoration prayer in celebration of the
federations anniversary. In both instances there was no court order giving the police the legal
authority to halt the prayers.
In 2015, Swaziland was named as one of the ten worst countries for working people in the
world, in a report from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

See also
POLICE NO RIGHT TO DISRUPT PRAYERS
POLICE FIRE RUBBER BULLETS ON STRIKERS
POLICE FIRE SHOTS AT WORKERS PROTEST
SWAZILAND ONE OF WORST IN WORLD FOR WORKERS

Swazi police block workers protest


3 March 2017

Police in Swaziland blocked a workers protest against poor labour conditions in the kingdom.
Members of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) tried to march to
deliver a petition of complaints to Winnie Magagula, the Minister of Labour and Social
Security.
Local media reported on Tuesday (28 February 2017) that police blocked the march close
to the ministry by forming a line in the road.
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, who rules
Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch, reported, This was done in a bid to
protect the officials from the labour ministry, who were to receive a petition that was to be
delivered by TUCOSWA.
The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, reported,
The list of issues that the union wants government to address include; severance allowance,
national minimum wage, amendments to the public enterprises, elimination of precarious
employment and the inclusion of domestic workers as members of the SNPF and ratification
of the ILO convention 189 on domestic workers.
The Times reported, According to the unions Secretary General, Vincent Ncongwane,
ever since the union engaged government in 2013 on the matter of national minimum wage,
nothing has been done whereas this was a current discussion internationally. Therefore, the
union wants the minister to write to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and request
for a study to be done on the subject matter in Swaziland. Ncongwane said even though the
union had done its study and found that the national minimum wage should be E3,500
(US$270), the minister should request for ILOs findings as well.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Assistant Commissioner of Labour Sipho Maseko later received the petition.


In 2015, Swaziland was named as among the worst ten countries in the world for workers
rights in a report published by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

Swazi police fire at students


16 February 2017

Police in Swaziland fired warning gunshots as students protested about late payment of their
allowances.
It is now commonplace for Swazi police to fire at civilian protests, such as student and
labour disputes.
The latest attack on Sunday (12 February 2017) happened after students at the University
of Swaziland (UNISWA) tried to march with a petition to the Ministry of Labour and Social
Security, following a meeting on the Kwaluseni campus.
Local media reported armed military police from the Operational Support Services
intercepted the students who were walking down the road near the Mahhala shopping complex
and fired warning shots.
The Swazi Observer newspaper reported on Tuesday (14 February 2017), about three
warning shots were fired by the police as they dispersed the students. The students were then
forced to return back to the campus.
The Times of Swaziland reported the students want to restore the 60 percent of allowances
that was slashed after the implementation of a scholarship policy during the 2011/2012
academic year.
It is common in Swaziland for police to fire at civilians during disputes. On 6 February
2017, they fired live gunshots and teargas as workers at Juris Manufacturing in Nhlangano
when workers were locked out in a dispute over allegations that management planned to purge
the staff of troublesome elements.
In February 2016, Swazi security forces attacked students at the UNISWA Kwaluseni
campus by driving an armoured troop carrier at speed into a crowd, injuring one so badly her
back was broken. Students had been protesting and boycotting classes to protest about delays
in registration.
The assault was one of many violent attacks on students by police and security forces
dating back a number of years.
In November 2013, police raided dormitories and dragged students from their rooms. Later
they beat up the students at local police stations. Students had wanted the start of examinations
postponed.
Armed police stood guard outside examination halls as the UNISWA Administration
attempted to hold the exams.
In August 2012, two students were shot in the head at close range with rubber bullets,
during a dispute about the number of scholarships awarded by the government. Reports from
the Centre for Human Rights and Development, Swaziland said several other students were
injured by police batons and kicks.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

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

See also
STUDENTS UNDER SIEGE BY ARMED POLICE

Police fire shots during bus protest


17 February 2017

For the second time in a week police in Swaziland fired warning gunshots at civilians during a
street protest.
Kombi drivers and conductors brought traffic to a standstill at Mvutshini on Tuesday (14
February 2017) by blocking the highway and stopping public transport. They were protesting
about an alleged corrupt traffic police office.
The Swazi Observer reported on Wednesday (15 February 2017) three gun shots were
fired in the air by the police after the conductors attacked a bus fully loaded with passengers
on its way to Mbabane, from Manzini.
It quoted one conductor saying, We had to run for our lives, as we didnt expect shots to
be fired. We thought we were calm and are lucky to have not been shot.
This was the second time in a week that police fired shots during civilian protests. On
Sunday police fired warning gunshots as students protested about late payment of their
allowances.

Police extortion: two in court


22 February 2017

Two police officers in Swaziland have appeared in court charged with demanding money from
suspects in return for their freedom.
They appeared at the Manzini Magistrates Court on 14 February 2017 charged with,
among other crimes, extorting money from civilians by threatening to arrest them and have
their names published in newspapers.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

The Times of Swaziland reported, The suspects were warned that this would embarrass
them and no matter what the outcome of the cases would be, they would already have been
publicly shamed.
The accused police officers are alleged to have taken more than E100,000 (US$7,630)
from people who feared arrest. The case continues.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

7: LEGAL

Judges appointed unconstitutionally


27 February 2017

King Mswati III, the autocratic ruler of Swaziland, appointed seven judges to the Supreme
Court in contravention of the kingdoms Constitution, Amnesty International has reported.
As a result, the Law Society of Swaziland boycotted the November Supreme Court session
and demanded the appointment of permanent judges in line with Section 153 of the
Constitution, which stipulates that judges be appointed in an open, transparent and competitive
process.
Amnesty said in its just published annual report on human rights in the kingdom that in
other legal developments, the High Court ruled that sections of the 1938 Sedition and
Subversive Activities Act (SSA) and the 2008 Suppression of Terrorism Act (STA) were
invalid as they infringed on constitutionally protected rights to freedom of expression,
association and assembly. The judgment came after provisions in the laws were challenged in
the applications filed in 2009 by human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko. Thulani Maseko was
charged under the SSA in 2009.
Another application was filed in 2014 by Mario Masuku and Maxwell Dlamini, leaders of
the banned opposition Peoples United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), who were charged
under both Acts in 2014; and by Mlungisi Makhanya and seven others, who were also charged
under the Acts in 2014.
Amnesty also reported that a Public Order Bill, going through Parliament, if passed, would
undermine rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.
Among other things, it would criminalize the act of organizing a public gathering without
prior notification to the authorities. The bill, which was expected to be passed by the kingdoms
unelected Senate, before being ratified by the King, remained in draft form at the end of the
year, it stated.

See also
REPRESSIVE SWAZI LAWS STILL IN PLACE
LAW SOCIETY TAKES ON TOP JUDGES

Terror Act changes stall at Senate


1 March 2017

The promised amendments to the Swazilands Suppression of Terrorism Act have been shelved
by the kingdoms Senate again.
The Act, which bans organisations that advocate democratic reform and imprisons
dissenters, has been criticised across the world as undemocratic.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

The United States scrapped the lucrative trade deal AGOA with the kingdom because
Swaziland refused to accept the need for reform. King Mswati III rules the kingdom as sub-
Saharan Africas last absolute monarch.
The Suppression of Terrorism (Amendment) Bill 2016 was due to be debated by the Swazi
Senate on Monday (27 February 2017) but was deferred. In Swaziland, Senate members are
not elected by the people. King Mswati selects 20 members of the 30-strong house and the
other 10 are elected by the House of Assembly. Political parties are banned from contesting
elections.
The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, reported
this was not the first time that the Bill had been deferred. It said senators questioned Deputy
Senate President Ngomuyayona Gamedze as to why the Bill had been deferred countless times.
The law which came into force in 2008 has been criticised by human rights groups
globally. In September 2016, the Swazi High Court ruled sections of the Act and sections of
the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act were unconstitutional because they contravened
provisions in the Constitution on freedom of expression and freedom of association.
The Swaziland Attorney-general has appealed the decision.

See also
COURT: SWAZI TERROR ACT UNCONSTITUTIONAL
SWAZI TERROR DECISION TO BE APPEALED
LEGAL CHALLENGE TO SWAZI TERROR LAW
SWAZI HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD KILLS AGOA
SWAZI TERROR ACT STOPS FREE SPEECH

Witchdoctors told, Stop murdering


30 January 2017
The Director of Public Prosecutions office in Swaziland has told witchdoctors in the kingdom
to stop murdering people for body parts.
The witchdoctors, also known as tinyanga, were advised to go to the Ministry of Health
for body parts, such as bones.
There have been ongoing concerns in Swaziland that people, especially those with
albinism, have been targeted. Witchdoctors use the body parts to make spells that they claim
bring people good luck. Their services are especially sought after by candidates contesting
parliamentary and local elections. Sport teams have also been known to use spells to bring them
good fortune during matches.
Macebo Nxumalo from the Director of Public Prosecutions told members of the Tinyanga
Association, meeting in Manzini on Thursday (26 January 2017) witchdoctors who needed
human bones must visit the ministry of health and see if they cannot get help there, the Swazi
Observer newspaper reported.
During the national elections in Swaziland in 2013, people with albinism lived in fear that
their body parts would be harvested by candidates seeking good luck.

47
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Independent Newspapers in South Africa reported at the time, In the past albinos, who
lack the skin pigment melanin, as well as epileptics have been specifically targeted, prompting
the police to set up registries.
In 2010, the killing and mutilation of albinos, including in one instance the decapitation
of two children in Nhlangano, prompted panic.
In August 2013, Independent Newspapers quoted an academic at the University of
Swaziland, who did not want to be named, saying, Ritual killings to achieve elected office are
a natural outgrowth of a government based not on rationality or democratic principles but on
superstitious beliefs.
The Swazi king claims power through an annual Incwala festival where a bull is brutally
sacrificed and mysterious rituals occur, and this sets the tone. No one knows how office-holders
are appointed in Swaziland. Its all done in secret, without recourse to merit or any rhyme or
reason, so this fuels irrational beliefs.
Ritual murder has long been part of Swazi life.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

8: DROUGHT

Swazi King says God stopped drought


1 February 2017

King Mswati III, the absolute monarch in Swaziland, told his subjects that the drought presently
crippling southern Africa was a test from God.
He added that it was only because people believed in the Christian God that rain had
recently fallen in Swaziland.
The drought has crippled Swaziland and according to statistics from United Nations
Childrens Fund (UNICEF) about 350,000 of Swazilands 1.2 million population have been
affected by drought and of these 189,000 are children. UNICEF stated 308,059 people were
food insecure and 8,460 children aged under 59 months suffered acute malnutrition.
Despite the Kings lavish personal spending, including putting down a deposit of US$7.3m
for a private jet plane, Swaziland was unable to fund drought relief.
In February 2016, the Swazi Government declared a national emergency and called on
international agencies to donate E248 million (US$16 million) over the coming two months.
In total, government would need about E2 billion to address the situation over five years, it was
reported.
The national emergency was declared only weeks after King Mswati III told his subjects
the drought in his kingdom was over. He had this when his regiments took part in the Incwala
ceremony. The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King, reported on 1
January 2016 that the King had pronounced an end to the drought situation.
It reported, The King said the drought situation changed as soon as the water party
(bemanti) was commissioned to fetch water in the Indian Ocean in Mozambique.
The newspaper added, As he pronounced an end to the drought situation, the King
predicted a bumper harvest and urged all Swazis to go and work hard in their fields.
Scientists agree that the drought in Swaziland and across southern Africa is the effect of
El Nio, a climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean with a global impact on weather patterns.
In his latest sermon, King Mswati once again declared the drought over.
The Sunday Observer, (29 January 2017) a companion to the Swazi Observer, reported,
His Majesty said he was proud because it turned out that Swazis really believed in God as they
were now experiencing tremendous amounts of rain.
The newspaper said the King told thousands of Christians assembled at the Mandvulo
Grand Hall, God tests your faith as a Christian by setting challenges and it is through these
that as a Christian you must really pray and trust in Him to come through for you, because He
is a faithful God.
The Sunday Observer added, The king then declared that 2017 will be a year on bumper
harvest for Swazis and prosperity in all spheres of life. It will be a year of great harvest,
prosperity and everyone will achieve everything they wish for. Pay no regard to your
employment status as this is the year you all achieve everything, he prophesied.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

See also
KING BUYS JET AS UN BAILS KINGDOM OUT
NO FUNDS TO PROTECT DROUGHT KIDS

250,000 Swazi still need food aid


8 February 2017

At the same time that King Mswati III told his subjects that Swaziland had been saved from
the drought because people believed in God, the World Food Program reported 250,000 Swazi
people would need assistance with food until at least March 2017.
In a sermon, delivered on 28 January 2017, King Mswati declared the drought over.
The Sunday Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King who is sub-Saharan
Africas last absolute monarch, reported, His Majesty said he was proud because it turned out
that Swazis really believed in God as they were now experiencing tremendous amounts of rain.
The newspaper said the King told thousands of Christians assembled at the Mandvulo
Grand Hall, God tests your faith as a Christian by setting challenges and it is through these
that as a Christian you must really pray and trust in Him to come through for you, because He
is a faithful God.
The Sunday Observer added, The king then declared that 2017 will be a year on bumper
harvest for Swazis and prosperity in all spheres of life. It will be a year of great harvest,
prosperity and everyone will achieve everything they wish for. Pay no regard to your
employment status as this is the year you all achieve everything, he prophesied.
However, the World Food Program (WFP) in a monthly update on the drought situation
in Swaziland, reported, In December 2016, in response to a request from the Government to
increase WFPs assistance with an additional 100,000 people during the lean season, WFP
started expanding its in-kind food assistance to an additional 22,000 people in two new
constituencies.
In December, WFP assisted 152,000 people with emergency food assistance, of which
30,000 received cash based transfers under the emergency response.
Substantial gaps in the funding situation remain and WFP urgently requires US$5.5
million in order to ensure sufficient scale up and assistance to 250,000 food insecure people
throughout the lean season, which lasts until March 2017.
The WFP report continued, Two years of consecutive droughts have led to failed harvests,
high food prices, agricultural livelihood degradation, livestock losses, reduced water
availability, and an overall increase in food insecurity.
Water sources declined by 50 percent during 2016 causing widespread crop failure. This
has contributed to an increasingly vulnerable situation and the 2016/2017 agricultural season
will need close monitoring.
Despite the rains, weather conditions continue to have varied impact on the current
agricultural season throughout the country, the report stated.
It stated, In December, under the Emergency Operation, WFP assisted 152,000 drought-
affected people through emergency food distributions, of which 122,000 people received food

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

distributions and 30,000 people received cash-based transfers. Also, some 4,500 people
received food assistance under the Food by prescription project.

51
Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

9: MEDIA

Another Asian scare by Observer


15 February 2017

The Swaziland newspaper in effect owned by autocratic monarch King Mswati III has launched
another bogus scare story against Asians living in the kingdom.
This time the newspaper described by the Media Institute of Southern Africa in a report
on press freedom as a pure propaganda machine for the royal family has reported that Asians
might try to take control of parliament at the 2018 national elections.
The newspaper reported incorrectly on Thursday (9 February 2017) that there were more
than 190,000 Asians in the country and some of them have even obtained citizenships.
The newspaper reported, the biggest worry among traditional authorities now is that
Asians might go for Parliament next year.
It added, The worry amongst the chiefs was that Asians have money and they can use it
to lure people to vote for them if they want to.
In fact, there are nowhere near as many Asians in Swaziland as the newspaper reported.
According to the CIA Factbook, an independent source, 97 percent of Swazilands 1.3 million
people are African. That would mean only about 39,000 of the kingdoms inhabitants were
non-African.
The190,000 figure quoted by the Observer is entirely bogus and has no foundation in
reality. To put the figure in context, in 2013 at the last national election in Swaziland 251,278
people voted from the 414,704 who had registered.
The Observer has been very loose in its reporting of Asians. In November 2016, its
companion newspaper the Observer on Saturday reported Swazilands Director of Public
Prosecutions Nkosinathi Maseko saying, most nationals of Asian origin were associated with
terrorist activities.
It reported he told this to a parliamentary select committee set up to investigate what the
newspaper called an influx of illegal immigrants into the kingdom.
The newspaper reported Maseko had said, it was public information that most nationals
of Asian origin were associated with terrorist activities; and their continued entry illegally put
the country and its citizens at high risk of being a nucleus for terrorist activities.
Maseko and the Observer gave no evidence to support this.

See also
ALL ASIANS BANNED FROM SWAZILAND
ASIANS EVICTED FROM HOME

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Death threat to newspaper editor


13 January 2017
The editor of one of Swazilands independent newspapers and a senior reporter have received
death threats because of a story they are working on involving the kingdoms security forces.
The editor of the Times Sunday Innocent Maphalala and senior reporter on the paper
Mfanukhona Nkambule have reportedly received threats of grievous bodily harm, possibly
even leading to death, according to the Times of Swaziland newspaper.
It reported on Friday (13 January 2017), The threats emanate from a story the publication
is pursuing regarding one of the countrys security forces which has engaged in an action that
has compromised this country internationally.
The Times, which is a companion paper to the Times Sunday, gave no further details of
the nature of the story.
It reported, Further attempts to engage the Times Managing Editor, Martin Dlamini, and
the Publisher, Paul Loffler, also failed to convince this publication to drop the story. Even
though the people who issued the threats remain faceless, they threatened that should the story
see the light of day, the duo risked being eliminated.
It added, The warning was conveyed directly to the Times Sunday editor by a concerned
citizen, who is a highly-placed government official and has insight to what could be going on
behind the scenes. This citizen, who will not be named, pleaded with the editor to drop the
story if he wanted to live.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

10: ELECTION 2018

False claim over Swazi democracy


10 February 2017

The Swazi Observer newspaper has misled its readers by reporting that Swaziland has the same
political structure as England.
The Observer, which is in effect owned by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africas last
absolute monarch, did this in an attempt to legitimise the undemocratic system in Swaziland.
Political parties are not allowed to contest elections and groups that advocate for
democracy in the kingdom are banned under The Suppression of Terrorism Act.
The Swazi people are only allowed to select 55 of the 65 members of the House of
Assembly, the other 10 are appointed by the King. None of the 30 members of the Swaziland
Senate are elected by the people; the King appoints 20 members and the other 10 are appointed
by the House of Assembly. Swaziland is divided into 55 tinkhundla or administrative districts.
One member of parliament represents each district.
The Swazi Observer reported on Tuesday (7 February 2017) that Mbonisi Bhembe, the
Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) Communications Officer, had told a group of
invited guests that Swazi people living outside the kingdom had failed to explain the
tinkhundla system of governance properly.
Bhembe reportedly said, Swaziland is not the only country that is using the tinkhundla
system of governance. He went on list a number of countries, he said, had tinkhundla. He said
England had 650 tinkhundla.
All this proves that the system works very well because if it did. not, then all these
countries would have not adopted it, the Observer reported Bhembe saying.
But it is simply not true. The 650 figure for England stated by Bhembe presumably refers
to the number of parliamentary constituencies in the United Kingdom, which is made up of
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. They have nothing in common with
Swazilands undemocratic tinkhundla.
Political parties contest the UK constituencies and the political party that gains most seats
in parliament forms the government with the party leader as prime minister. In Swaziland, the
King choses the prime minister, forms the government and choses senior civil servants and
judges.
This is not the first time the Observer, described by the Media Institute of Southern Africa
in a report on press freedom in Swaziland, as a pure propaganda machine for the royal family
has misled readers about international support for its undemocratic tinkhundla political system.
In August 2015, The Observer on Sunday, reported that neighbouring South Africa was
considering adopting the kingdoms political system. The Observer reported that civil rights
groups in South Africa were advocating for a change in the republics electoral system, to
incorporate a constituency-based method.
The Observer added, This is the same system of government practised in Swaziland and
described in the kingdoms constitution.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

But it was not true. Nobody in South Africa was calling for political parties to be banned
from contesting elections.
Unlike in Swaziland, where people who wish to discuss the kingdoms electoral system
are harassed and arrested, in South Africa political debate is allowed.

See also
ANOTHER FALSE CLAIM OF SUPPORT FOR KING
FALSE CLAIM OF OBAMA SUPPORT FOR KING

Kings bogus clam on democracy


13 February 2017

A campaign of misinformation has begun in Swaziland to convince people that it is a


democratic kingdom when it is not.
King Mswati III, who rules as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch, has urged
people to vote at next years national election to pick their own leader.
The Kings message was delivered by Chief Gija Dlamini, Chairperson of the Elections
and Boundaries Commission.
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King, reported Dlamini saying
on behalf of the King, If any Swazi fails to register to vote for the upcoming 2018 national
elections then they are abandoning their basic right of choosing their own leader, thus hurting
the whole Kingdom in the process because they would be silencing their own voice because
voting unites the kingdom and gives all people a voice and a chance to be counted, but most
fundamentally of all, Swazis through voting, have the right to choose who they feel will lead
them to the future.
Dlamini made the comments at a consultative meeting on civic education for traditional
leaders at Piggs Peakon 2 February 2017.
However, he misled his audience because in Swaziland political parties are not allowed to
contest elections and groups that advocate for democracy in the kingdom are banned under The
Suppression of Terrorism Act.
The Swazi people have no say in who their leaders are. They are only allowed to select 55
of the 65 members of the House of Assembly, the other 10 are appointed by the King. None of
the 30 members of the Swaziland Senate are elected by the people; the King appoints 20
members and the other 10 are appointed by the House of Assembly.
The King choses the Prime Minister and cabinet members. Only a man with the surname
Dlamini can, by tradition, be appointed as Prime Minister. The King is a Dlamini.
He also choses senior civil servants and top judges. The elections have no real purpose
other than to give King Mswati a fig leaf of democracy. The King is in control of Swaziland
ahead of the 2018 election and he will be in control after it, regardless of which individuals the
people vote into the House of Assembly.
The Swazi Parliament has no powers. King Mswati can, and does, overrule decisions he
does not like. This was the case in October 2012 when the king refused to accept a vote of no

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

confidence passed by the House of Assembly on his government, even though he was obliged
by the constitution to do so.
Elections are held every five years in Swaziland. After the last one in 2013 a number of
groups who had been official observers of the process reported the election was not free and
fair.
The official report of the Commonwealth Observer Mission called for a review of the
kingdoms constitution. It said members of parliament continue to have severely limited
powers and political parties are banned.
The Commonwealth observers said there was considerable room for improving the
democratic system.
They called for King Mswatis powers to be reduced. The presence of the monarch in
everyday political life inevitably associates the institution of monarchy with politics, a situation
that runs counter to the development that the re-establishment of the Parliament and the
devolution of executive authority into the hands of elected officials.
The report said the constitution needed to be revisited with an open debate on what
changes were necessary.
It added, This should ideally be carried out through a fully inclusive, consultative process
with all Swazi political organisations and civil society (if needed, with the help of constitutional
experts.
The African Union (AU) also urged Swaziland to review the Constitution, especially in
the areas of freedoms of conscience, expression, peaceful assembly, association and
movement as well as international principles for free and fair elections and participation in
electoral process.
The AU called on Swaziland to implement the African Commissions Resolution
on Swaziland in 2012 that called on the Government, to respect, protect and fulfil the
rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of assembly.

PUDEMO will not fight Swazi election


23 February 2017

Swazilands main opposition political party PUDEMO has refuted media reports that it is ready
to contest the national elections in 2018.
PUDEMO (the Peoples United Democratic Movement) is the best-known opposition
group in the kingdom where King Mswati III rules as an absolute monarch. Political parties are
not allowed to contest elections and PUDEMO, along with other groups that advocate for
democracy in the kingdom, are banned under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.
The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom reported
on Monday (20 February 2017) that PUDEMO and its youth wing SWAYOCO, have been
instructed by their donors to look into changing their strategy for bringing democracy into the
country.
The Times added, After years of denouncing the countrys elections and branding them
not free or fair, the proscribed entities are considering taking part in the 2018 national

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

elections where Members of Parliament representing the 55 constituencies in the country are
chosen by the people.
PUDEMO responded in a stinging statement and rejected, with the contempt they
deserve the media reports. It said it had no donors or funders who were forcing it to participate
in the elections.
It added, PUDEMO is not afraid of elections, and remains committed to taking part in
Swaziland National Elections, that will be conducted under conditions that guarantee a
democratic, free, fair, meaningful and transparent process, not the current royal sham.
The Swazi people have no say in who their leaders are. They are only allowed to select 55
of the 65 members of the House of Assembly, the other 10 are appointed by the King. None of
the 30 members of the Swaziland Senate are elected by the people; the King appoints 20
members and the other 10 are appointed by the House of Assembly.
The King choses the Prime Minister and cabinet members. Only a man with the surname
Dlamini can, by tradition, be appointed as Prime Minister. The King is a Dlamini.
He also choses senior civil servants and top judges.
PUDEMO added, The current Tinkhundla elections has no effect in the political life of
the country, as power remains concentrated in royal hands, and all meaningful decisions are
made through royal command. PUDEMO has no intention, now or in the future to associate its
glorious name and record of struggle with such a royal grand scam to defraud our people of
their right to democratically and freely elect a government of their own.

Parties still banned from election


6 March 2017

The head of Swazilands Elections and Boundaries Commission has said members of political
parties are welcome to contest the 2018 national election, but political parties remain banned.
The Swazi Observer newspaper reported he emphasised that political parties will not be
allowed to contest as organisations, but their members are free to contest as individuals in their
respective constituencies.
Swazilands previous election in 2013 was considered not free and fair by a number of
international organisations, including the Commonwealth Observer Mission which called for a
review of the kingdoms constitution. It said members of parliament continue to have severely
limited powers and political parties are banned.
The Swazi people have no say in who their leaders are. They are only allowed to select 55
of the 65 members of the House of Assembly, the other 10 are appointed by the King. None of
the 30 members of the Swaziland Senate are elected by the people; the King appoints 20
members and the other 10 are appointed by the House of Assembly.
The King, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch, choses the
Prime Minister and cabinet members. Only a man with the surname Dlamini can, by tradition,
be appointed as Prime Minister. The King is a Dlamini. Chief Gija, is a half-brother of the
King.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

In an interview with the Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati,
Chief Gija said, It must be clear that for now, no organisation is allowed to contest for the
elections, but their members are free to do so.
Political parties are banned under the Swaziland Constitution from contesting elections
and groups that advocate for democratic reforms in the kingdom are banned under the
Suppression of Terrorism Act.

Swazi election campaigning is illegal


23 March 2017

The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) in Swaziland has warned people it is illegal
to campaign for the national election until they have been given permission.
That means until King Mswati III, the last absolute monarch in sub-Saharan Africa, sets
the date for the poll. It will be sometime in 2018.
The warning came from EBC officer Siboniso Nhleko at a voters education workshop at
Khuphuka.
Political parties are banned from taking part in elections and King Mswatis subjects are
only allowed to pick 55 of the 65 members of the House of Assembly; the other 10 are
appointed by the King. None of the 30 members of the Swazi Senate are elected by the people;
the King appoints 20 members and the other 10 are appointed by the House of Assembly.
The King choses the Prime Minister and cabinet members. Only a man with the surname
Dlamini can, by tradition, be appointed as Prime Minister. The King is a Dlamini.
He also choses senior civil servants and top judges.
International observers regularly declare elections in Swaziland to be not free and fair.
After Swazilands previous election in 2013, the Commonwealth Observer Mission called
for a review of the kingdoms constitution. It said members of parliament continue to have
severely limited powers.
The Commonwealth observers said there was considerable room for improving the
democratic system.
They called for King Mswatis powers to be reduced. The presence of the monarch in
everyday political life inevitably associates the institution of monarchy with politics, a situation
that runs counter to the development that the re-establishment of the Parliament and the
devolution of executive authority into the hands of elected officials.
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, reported on Tuesday
(21 March 2017) Nhleko stated that campaigning at this point in time was illegal.
The newspaper reported, In fact, Nhleko said there was a specific period where elections
candidates are allowed to lobby for votes from the public. This is usually after the nomination
stage. Nhleko said anyone who would be found campaigning before this stage would, therefore,
be hauled before court and face a criminal offence.

Swazi Kings chiefs above elected MPs


31 March 2017

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Elected members of parliament in Swaziland have been told they are not above chiefs, because
chiefs are appointed by the King.
King Mswati III rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch.
The MPs were put in their place by the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC).
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King, reported on Wednesday
(29 March 2017), The EBC told residents that it was not acceptable have elected politicians
to behave as if they were above community leaders.
It added, Chiefs remain superior to any other person in communities as they are the
administrative arm of His Majesty King Mswati III.
This was said by the EBC during a voter education exercise at Engwenyameni
Umphakatsi.
Swaziland is due to hold its national elections in 2018. Political parties are banned from
taking part and King Mswatis subjects are only allowed to pick 55 of the 65 members of the
House of Assembly; the other 10 are appointed by the King.
None of the 30 members of the Swazi Senate are elected by the people; the King appoints
20 members and the other 10 are appointed by the House of Assembly.
The King choses the Prime Minister and cabinet members. Only a man with the surname
Dlamini can, by tradition, be appointed as Prime Minister. The King is a Dlamini.
He also choses senior civil servants and top judges.
Khethiwe Vilakati, one of the educators reportedly told residents of Engwenyameni,
Chiefs represent the King, so people must make that distinction. For someone to feel superior
to the chief is very wrong and we dont encourage it.
In Swaziland chiefs do the Kings bidding at a local level. People know not to upset the
chief because their livelihood depends on his goodwill. In some parts of Swaziland the chiefs
are given the power to decide who gets food that has been donated by international agencies
and then the chiefs quite literally have power of life and death in such cases with about a third
of the population of Swaziland receiving food aid each year.
Chiefs can and do take revenge on their subjects who disobey them. There is a catalogue
of cases in Swaziland. For example, Chief Dambuza Lukhele of Ngobelweni in the Shiselweni
region banned his subjects from ploughing their fields because some of them defied his order
to build a hut for one of his wives.
Nhlonipho Nkamane Mkhatswa, chief of Lwandle in Manzini, the main commercial city
in Swaziland, reportedly stripped a woman of her clothing in the middle of a Swazi street in
full view of the public because she was wearing trousers against his orders.

See also
CHIEFS THREAT TO EVICT 1,000 PEOPLE
THE CASE FOR POLITICAL PARTIES
SWAZI ELECTION WILL BE A FRAUD

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

11: KING MSWATI III

King demands respect from his subjects


4 January 2017

Swazilands absolute monarch King Mswati III has told his subjects they must demonstrate
respect to authorities of the kingdom at all times.
The King, who is sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch, said this in a speech to mark
the end of the Incwala ceremony. Incwala is a controversial ceremony that takes place between
November and January each year. Traditionalists say Incwala is a national prayer, but
Christian groups have criticised it for being un-Godly and pagan. The ceremony is shrouded
in secrecy and participants are barred from talking about what happens.
In Swaziland, political parties are not allowed to contest elections and groups that advocate
for democracy are banned under the Suppression of Terrorism Act. Trade unions are harassed
and in January 2015 Swaziland lost preferential trading rights with the United States because
of its refusal to allow human rights in the kingdom.
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, reported on Tuesday
(3 January 2017) the King encouraged the nation, to continue with the good spirit of respect
they always display among one another and towards royal commands and duties.
The newspaper added, The King said a person who has no respect for elders and authority
of the land does not last long on earth.
The newspaper reported, He said once a royal command had been issued, a person has to
abandon all they are doing and respond to the command. There is nothing as significant as
respect in whatever you do. I urge the nation to stick to respect because a person who is without
respect is no human and they perish from earth at a tender age just because they lack respect.
You must also instil respect to the young ones so that they grow to be responsible members of
the society, he said.
Swaziland has been under the international spotlight for a number of years because of the
lack of human rights in the kingdom. A survey published in December 2016 reported the
kingdom had the worst record among 36 countries in Africa when answering the question, In
this country how free are you to join any political organisation you want? only 7 percent
responded, completely free.

King calls on others to pay tax


10 February 2017

King Mswati III, the absolute monarch in Swaziland who himself pays no tax, has ordered his
subjects to be 100 percent tax compliant and pay up in order to help the kingdom out of its
present financial mess.
After the speech, the Swazi Finance Minister Martin Dlamini told local media that
government did not have money to deliver services to the people unless people paid taxes or it
took loans from outside the kingdom. Then, tax revenue was needed to repay the loans.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

The King was speaking at the opening of the Swazi Parliament on 3 February 2017.
This was not the first time the King, who himself has at least 13 palaces, a private jet and
fleets of top-of-the-range Mercedes and BMW cars, and who with his royal family regularly
take expensive international trips, has called on his subjects to pay their tax.
In his 2015 speech at the opening of Parliament, he berated tax dodgers. At the time, he
said, Time has also come for the authority to fast track the programme of lifestyle audits. This
was aimed at exposing people who made money corruptly.
In Swaziland, King Mswati is above the law. He cannot be investigated and he pays no
tax. It is unclear how much money he has, but the lavish lifestyle he openly displays could give
a clue.
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.
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, paid
dividends directly to the King. He holds 10 percent of the shares in MTN in Swaziland and is
referred to by the company as an esteemed shareholder. It said MTN had paid R114 million
(US$11.4 million) to the King over the previous five years.
The newspaper also reported that the King was receiving income from Tibiyo Taka
Ngwane, which paid dividends in 2013 of R218.1 million. The newspaper reported several
sources who said it was an open secret that although money generated by Tibiyo was meant
to be used for the benefit of the nation, Tibiyo in fact channelled money directly to the Royal
Family.
The King also holds 25 percent of all mineral wealth in Swaziland in trust for the Swazi
nation. In reality he uses this money to fund his lavish lifestyle.
In March 2016, it was revealed the Kings share of the just-reopened Lufafa Gold Mine at
Hhelehhele in the Hhohho region of Swaziland could be worth up to US$149 million.
Meanwhile, seven in ten of Swazilands tiny estimated 1.4 million population live in abject
poverty with incomes less than US$2 a day; three in ten are so hungry they are medically
diagnosed as malnourished and the kingdom has the highest rate of HIV infection in the world.
King Mswati received a 9 percent increase for his spending from the taxpayer in the year
started April 2016. The Civil List, the money given to him to run the Royal household, was
budgeted to increase by E30m (US$1.9m) to E370m (US$24m).
The increase in the Kings budget was contained in the annual budget estimates in
February 2016. Although the Swazi media covered aspects of the budget, the news about the
King was not published.
The budget also revealed that about US$9 million would be spent on a private jet for the
King. Also US$12 million would reportedly be spent on dcor at the Royal Terminal Building
at King Mswati III (KMIII) Airport.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Observers note that the King has had many chances in the past to cut back on his spending
and reduce the amount of money he takes from his subjects, but so far he has increased his
budget, rather than reduced it. In 2011, as Swaziland hurtled towards financial meltdown,
Majozi Sithole, the then Finance Minister, in his budget demanded 10 percent budget cuts (later
increased further) from government departments, but in the same budget the amount of money
given to the King increased by 23 percent.

See also
HYPOCRISY OF KING MSWATI III

Confirmed: King will get private jet


16 March 2017

Swaziland is to buy King Mswati III a private jet plane despite the dire financial plight the
kingdom is currently enduring.
This was confirmed on Tuesday (14 March 2017) after reports that the King, who is sub-
Saharan Africas last absolute monarch and already has one jet, had decided not to have the
second jet because the kingdom could not afford it.
Edgar Hillary, acting Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, told
members of a Swazi parliamentary committee a jet had been purchased and was currently
undergoing refurbishments.
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King, reported that Hillary told
the MPs that the aircraft there. It was still undergoing refurbishments to conform to standards
where it could be seen as being fit for the King.
In 2015, the Ministry was given E296 million (about US$20 million) to buy a 375-seater
Airbus A340-300 built in 2001 from China Airlines in Taiwan. E96 million was used to pay a
deposit.
There was some confusion over the current state of the purchase as last week Lindiwe
Dlamini, Minister for Public Works and Transport, told Parliament the government had
dropped plans to buy the jet. The Observer reported, She further stated this was done by His
Majesty King Mswati III upon seeing that the country was in a dire economic situation.
King Mswati rules over a population of 1.3 million people. Seven in ten live in abject
poverty with incomes less than US$2 a day. The King lives a lavish lifestyle with 13 palaces,
a private jet, fleets of top-of-the range Mercedes and BMW cars and at least one Rolls-Royce.
In April 2016, Members of the Swaziland Parliament blocked the move to pay the E96
million deposit for the plane. The money had been allocated in the kingdoms annual budget
announced in February 2016.
The money was set aside for a jet for the King after members of the parliament, many of
them appointed by the King, urged the Swazi Government to consider buying the King a plane
to replace the DC-9 jet (also known as an MD-87) which he already has. It had been the subject
of legal disputes in both Canada and the British Virgin Islands.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Once news of the intended spending was made public outside of Swaziland the King came
in for heavy criticism. Swaziland was in the grip of a drought crisis and in February the Swazi
Government declared a national emergency and said the kingdom would need E248 million
(US$16 million) before the end of April 2016.
Within days, the MPs overturned their earlier decision. Unconfirmed reports circulating
on the Internet said that King Mswati had refused to sign-off Swazilands budget unless he got
his jet.

See also
KING STEALS FROM CHILDREN TO BUY JET
SWAZI MPs ABOUT-TURN ON KINGS JET
MONEY FOR KINGS JET, BUT NOT DROUGHT

How the King destroyed Ngwenya iron mine


21 March 2017

King Mswati III is encouraging Indian investors to reopen the Ngwenya iron ore mine in
Swaziland that was forced to close in 2014 after he looted US$10 million from it.
The King stands to take 25 percent of the shares in any company that takes up his offer.
The King, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch, made his
offer during a trip to India earlier in March 2017.
The King and his personal representative Sihle Dlamini were at the very heart of events
that led to the collapse of the mining company SG Iron at the Ngwenya Iron Ore Mine in 2014.
It had debts of US$4 million when it closed and more than 700 jobs were lost. King Mswati
took a US$10 million loan from the company less than six months after it started trading which
he refused to pay back when it hit difficulties.
A compensation claim for at least US$141 million was later prepared by Southern Africa
Resources Ltd (SARL), against the Kingdom of Swaziland at the International Centre for
Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
SARL held a 50 percent stake in SG Iron Ore Mining (PTY) Ltd (SG Iron), which had
formerly been known as Salgaocar Swaziland (PTY) Ltd. The Swaziland Government held 25
percent of the shares and the King personally held 25 percent in trust for the nation.
The mine was forced to cease trading in August 2014 after a series of events orchestrated
by Sihle Dlamini, who is Director Administration at the Kings Office and Assistant Private
Secretary to the King. He was also the Kings personal representative on the SG Iron board of
directors.
Here is a step by step guide to what happened.

30 September 2010
SG Iron Ore Mining (PTY) Ltd. (when it was still called Salgaocar Swaziland (PTY) Ltd),
was registered in accordance with the laws of Swaziland on 30 September 2010 under

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

Certificate of Incorporation No.1196, with its principal business of operations at the Old
Ngwenya Mine, Ngwenya, in the Hhohho district of Swaziland.
SG Irons stated goal was to reprocess iron ore dumps left over by the Anglo American
Mining Company in the late 1970s, when it ceased mining operations in the area, and to secure
the main mine lease for 30 years once the iron ore dumps had been cleared.
Due to advancements in technology, it had become scientifically possible to process the
dumps and upgrade them into sellable grade ore. This project would create new jobs in
Swaziland, while creating a new source of wealth for Swaziland, as well as clearing Swaziland
of the dumps left by the Anglo American Mining Corporation and restarting mining activities.

30 June 2011
King Mswati, who as absolute monarch in Swaziland has sole control over mining rights
in the kingdom, granted SG Iron a Mining Lease for seven years. The company agreed to pay
the King in trust for the Swazi Nation a royalty of 3 percent. It also gave the King 25 percent
of the total company issued share capital at no cost. It also gave a further 25 percent of the
issued share capital to the Swaziland Government, again at no cost. The remaining 50 percent
of issued share capital went to SARL.
The King holds shares in trust for the Swazi Nation, but it is widely reported outside of
Swaziland that in fact he has 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, which he spends on himself and his family.
The King, who rules over an impoverished kingdom of only about 1.3 million people, has
13 palaces, a fleet of top-of-the range BMS and Mercedes cars and a private jet airplane. He is
soon to take delivery of a second private jet. Meanwhile, seven in ten of his subjects exist on
incomes of less than US$2 per day.
As a general undertaking, the Mining Lease provided that each party should act in such
manner as shall be necessary in order to give effect to [the] Mining lease. That mean they
should all have worked to make sure the company was a success.
It was agreed SARL, being the 50 percent shareholder of SG Iron, had management
control of SG Iron, which was in charge of, and responsible for, day-to-day running of SG Iron.
SARL was to provide all financial support and technical expertise necessary for SG Iron to
succeed.
Article 6.8 of the Mining Lease provided that the Chairman in addition to having his own
vote on the Board of Directors should have a casting vote. Shanmuga Rethenam was appointed
as the Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of SG Iron, and Sivarama Petla was
appointed as its Chief Executive Officer. Both Executive Chairman and CEO were nominee
and representatives of SARL.
Mbuso Dlamini was appointed as the Director for and on behalf of the Swaziland
Government and Sihle Dlamini was appointed as the Director for and on behalf of the King.
SG Iron put up approximately US$50 million to start the mining operations and added
further capital. The King and the Swaziland Government made no financial contributions.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

21 October 2011
The official inauguration of operations was on 21 October 2011 with the dispatch of ore
to Maputo Port in Mozambique. On 21 December 2011, the first shipment was carried out from
Maputo Port and on 9 March 2012, a rail services from Mpaka to Maputo Port, Mozambique,
started.

16 April 2012
Less than six months after operations began, King Mswati, through his representative
Sihle Dlamini, asked for and received an advanced payment / loan of US$10 million on the
Kings future dividend. This was at a meeting of the Board of Directors of Salgaocar Swaziland
held in Mbabane, Swaziland, on 16 April 2012. The money was to be repaid from future
dividends payable to the King.
There was no public announcement made that the King received the money which he held
in trust for the nation and it is not known how he spent it. This later fuelled speculation that
he had used the money to fund his own personal lavish lifestyle.

26 April 2012
Reports began to appear on the Internet and later in newspapers in Swaziland that King
Mswati had taken delivery of a private Douglas DC-9 jet and that it had been given to him as
a gift by Salgaocar. The company has denied it gave the jet to the King, but the Swazi
Government was lukewarm in its denial. The Times of Swaziland reported, Dismissing the
rumours, government Press Secretary Percy Simelane said That is pure speculation. The
donor has asked to remain anonymous and it will be like that.
Barnabas Dlamini, the Swazi Prime Minister, claimed to the media that the jet had been
donated by development partners of Swaziland.

21August 2014
Sihle Dlamini, representing the King at SG Iron wrote to the CEO of SG Iron, Sivarama
Petla, instructing him not to sell any more cargo on 21 August 2014. He did this without
consulting the major shareholder, SARL. Since that day all attempts by SG Iron to sell cargo
were blocked.
Contrary to the terms of the Mining Lease, the Board of Directors was not consulted about
the decision to stop sales of iron ore. The Chairman, who was to chair all board meetings under
Article 6.7 of the Mining Lease, and who also possessed a right of veto, was not even informed
of the Kings decision.
In October 2014, in a founding affidavit at the Swaziland High Court to have the company
placed under Judicial Management, Sihle Dlamini would state that a shareholders dispute at
SARL in Singapore had made it impossible for management decisions to be taken at SG Iron.
He also stated that the fall in the world price of iron ore had made production at the mine
uneconomical.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

After 21 August 2014


Blocking the sale of iron ore meant no trade could take place and SG Irons operations
were brought to an abrupt standstill. Since no money was coming into the company from the
sale of cargoes there was a cash-flow crisis.
Sales could have resumed at any time because more than 100,000 tonnes of iron ore
remained at Maputo Port, Mpaka Railway Siding and at the Mine Stockyard. In his High Court
affidavit in October 2014, Sihle Dlamini revealed he had given instructions for ore to be
stockpiled until the price of iron ore recovered.
SARL also requested that the King repay the full or part of the US$10 million loan /
advance dividend to allow SG Iron to continue operating. The King refused to do this, instead
the Kings representative Sihle Dlamini demanded that SARL inject more capital into the
business, something it would not do while shipment of cargoes remained blocked.
SARL would say in January 2015 that it felt it had been held hostage by the Kings
representatives decision to unilaterally stop all shipments of cargo.

22 September 2014
At a board meeting of SG Iron held in Mbanane, Sihle Dlamini representing the King and
Mbuso Dlamini, representing the Swazi Government, expressed dissatisfaction at the status of
the company, saying that a shareholder dispute at SARL was impacting on SG Iron, something
which was disputed by SG Iron.
The two men gave an ultimatum that fresh funds should be injected into the project no
later than 26 September 2014. The Chairman of SG Iron, appointed by SARL, was present at
this board meeting, and he requested that management allow the sale of the cargo, which would
release sufficient funds to keep the company operating.
SARL again requested that the King should, for the good of the companys workers, its
shareholders and the kingdom of Swaziland, repay the full or part of the US$10 million loan
/ advance dividend to allow the continued operation of SG Iron. Sihle Dlamini, the Kings
representative, refused.
Subsequent to the meeting, Sihle Dlamini, representing the King, asked SARL to wipe out
the US$10 million loan.

29 September 2014
In a letter dated 29 September 2014, SARL refused to write off the Kings debt. SARL
said in January 2015 that in response to this, Sihle Dlamini took a unilateral decision to stop
operations and place the company into Judicial Management and then liquidation. This decision
was taken without discussions with the major shareholder or considering the voting rights in
place at SG Iron.

3 October 2014
Sihle Dlamini representing the King and Mbuso Dlamini, representing the Swaziland
Government, called for a meeting of the Board of Directors and despite being told by the
Chairman of the Board Shanmuga Rethenam that he could not attend, they went ahead with the
meeting without him.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

This was the first Board Meeting that had been held without the Chairmans presence in
the history of SG Iron. Sihle Dlamini, the Kings representative, served as the Chairman of the
meeting, although he represented only 25 percent of the companys share capital and SARL,
the 50 percent shareholder, was supposed to have control of the board.
Sihle Dlamini and Mbuso Dlamani both resolved to place SG Iron under Judicial
Management, without seeking the Chairmans consent, rather than permitting operations and
cargo sale to continue.

10 October 2014
SG Iron was placed under provisional Judicial Management by an Order of the High Court
of Swaziland dated 10 October 2014. This order was based on the founding affidavit of Sihle
Dlamini, the Kings representative. The Judicial Manager was able to immediately take control
and assess the affairs, assets and liabilities of SG Iron.
In his statement, Dlamini said the company, commenced operations on the 21st of October
2011 and it has been extremely successful to date and has been a major income earner for the
Kingdom of Swaziland.
[It] has also provided a number of investment opportunities to local transport contractors,
construction companies and heavy plant and machinery contractors who carry out the bulk of
its mining operations at Ngwenya.
He added the company, is not in an insolvent position in that its assets exceed its
liabilities. He said, however, the Board of Directors had become hamstrung and was unable
to take effective decisions on the operations of the company.
He said, During or about December 2013, a serious shareholder dispute arose between
the shareholders of the investor SARL, which dispute has resulted in arbitration proceedings
being instituted between themselves in Singapore.
He said he was not, fully apprised of the nature of the dispute, but nonetheless believed
it meant that SARL representatives on the Board of SG Iron were unable to take decisions.
Sihle Dlamini also said that the falling price of iron ore had impacted the company. He
said the price fell from E1,360 (about US$136) per tonne in January / February 2014 to E550
(US$55) per tonne. This was a new six-year low of the price of iron ore.
It also effectively meant that the cost of processing the ore now at the present moment
exceeds the price that [SG Iron] is able to obtain for the ore on the international market. In
other words, it has become financially impossible to continue to mine.
He stated, Currently, as at 30 September 2014 [SG Irons] total indebtedness to its
creditors amounted to approximately E42 million (US$4.2 million at the then exchange rate).
Although that amount seems large, [SG Iron] would very easily be able to pay these creditors
if it were in a position to sell the product that it currently has and more so if the price of iron
ore recovers.
However, he did not report that even at the lowest price of US$55 per tonne, if he himself,
as the Kings representative, were to permit the 100,000 tonnes of ore stockpiled to be sold it
would raise US$5.5 million, more than the US$4.2 million SG Iron owed its creditors.
In his statement, Sihle Dlamini made no reference to the US$10 million loan that had been
made to the King that he subsequently refused to pay back.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

16 December 2014
On the request of the Judicial Manager appointed by the Court, the Court ordered the
provisional liquidation, or winding up, of SG Iron by an Order dated 16 December 2014.

22 January 2015
A Notice of Investment Dispute from SARL prepared for the International Centre for
Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on 22 January 2015 stated the Judicial Manager,
who it said was controlled by the King through Sihle Dlamini and Mbuso Dlamini, informed
all creditors / vendors of SG Iron of its provisional liquidation, but failed to inform its largest
creditor and primary shareholder, SARL, in writing of the event. He also failed to inform Eltina
Limited, a major creditor of SG Iron, who bought the cargo of SG Iron and had provided US$10
million as a loan to SG Iron.
SARL reported. The Judicial Manager met with [Sihle Dlamini and Mbuso Dlamini] the
Director representing the King and Government almost every day and took instructions only
from them, not the SARL directors, or Eltina Limited.
SARL reported, [SARL] should have been given the opportunity to put forward their case
before the Judicial Manager, since there were numerous alternatives to revive the company, in
a violation of their due process rights they have not been allowed to do so by [the Swaziland
directors].
SARL added the Judicial Manager, acting solely on the instructions of [the Kings]
representatives, wholly failed his duty, and when SARL and Rethenam, as Chairman of SG
Iron, asked to sell cargo at a higher price even to its own competitor, the Judicial Manager
ignored this request.
The only possible explanation for his refusal was that [the Swaziland representatives]
knew that, if a cargo was sold, the company would receive cash flow and SG Iron could not be
liquidated.
The closure of the mining project cost 700 people their jobs in Swaziland and it was
estimated that several hundred jobs were also lost at the Port of Maputo, Mozambique.
SARL also reported that it had direct evidence that the mine was being guarded by the
Umbutfo Swaziland Defence Force.
[King Mswati III] is the Commander-in-Chief of the Umbutfo Swaziland Defense Force,
providing further evidence of the wholesale expropriation of [SARLs] investment by state
organs of [Swaziland] including the Kings Office, [Swazilands] judiciary and [Swazilands]
military, it stated.
SARL added that as a result of SARLs closure its investment has been expropriated,
and the Kings US$10 million dividend / loan has been written off by judicial decree.
SARL added, Having expropriated [SARLs] investments and avoided the repayment of
US$56 million in loans to finance the investment, it is understood that the Judicial Manager is
now attempting to sell SG Iron to third parties for a song.
The notice stated it had suffered direct harm in the amount of no less than
US$141,147,440.17, for the direct financial consequences of the behaviour of the King and his
representatives.
In addition, it is claiming US$57,186,022.53 for its advance and loan owed by SG Iron to
SARL. SARL also stated that Eltina Limited was owed US$5,426,954.66.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

In its notice of investment dispute, SARL said the order from Sihle Dlamini issued in
August 2014 that no more iron ore should be sold was a deliberate attempt to create an artificial
cash crisis at SG Iron in order to gain control of the company and expropriate the company of
its investments.
SARL linked the move to destroy the company to 6 April 2012 when the request was made
by King Mswati III, for the US$10 million loan.
It appears to be the desire to avoid the repayment of this advance dividend / loan to HMK
[His Majesty the King] that lies at the root of the expropriation of [SARLs] investments in
Swaziland, SARL stated.

1 February 2015
The Observer on Sunday, a newspaper in Swaziland, in effect owned by King Mswati,
attacked SARL and its Notice of Investment Dispute. It quoted Sihle Dlamini, who called the
notice a smear campaign. He also likened SARL to terrorist organisations.
Following publication of this article, William Kirtley, attorney to SARL, wrote to the
Observer, to say, The only person who stood to gain anything from this was HMK [the King],
since the joint venture had provided an advance payment / loan of US$10 million and, indeed,
during one of the final board meetings it was repeatedly requested that this be written off SG
Irons books.

8 February 2015
The Observer on Sunday, part of the Swazi Observer group of newspapers, in effect owned
by King Mswati and described by the Media Institute of Southern Africa in a 2013 report on
press freedom in the kingdom as a pure propaganda machine for the royal family, attacked
SARL and said it was, lying by claiming to have filed a notice of arbitration with the
International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) against the Kingdom of
Swaziland. It said it had proof that no such notice had been lodged.
In fact, SARL had never claimed to have filed a notice of arbitration. In a media release
dated 29 January 2015, it was announced SARL had submitted a notice of investment dispute.
A notice of investment dispute is first filed to see if the amicable resolution of a dispute is
possible. Only when it is clear that the amicable resolution of a dispute is not possible is the
Notice for Arbitration filed.

This is a revised version of an article first published on the Swazi Media Commentary website
on 9 February 2015.

See also
MYSTERY OF SWAZI KINGS $10m LOAN
KING AT CENTRE OF IRON MINE FAILURE
ONLY KING GAINS FROM MINE FAILURE

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

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

BOOKS

2013. The beginning of the End? 2012, a year in the struggle for democracy in
Swaziland

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

2012. The End of the Beginning? 2011, a year in the struggle for freedom in Swaziland

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

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

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

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

OCCASIONAL PAPERS SERIES

No. 1. 2013. Cynicism Eats Away at Swaziland Journalism: The State of Swazi
Journalism, 2013

One thing that shines out about journalists and their editors in Swaziland is the deeply cynical
way they operate. Swazi journalists claim to be upholders of fine ethical traditions of honesty
and inquiry, but instead they are often publishing lies or playing with readers emotions to
boost company profits.

This article explores the state of newspaper journalism in Swaziland, a small kingdom in
Africa, ruled over by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africas last absolute monarch. Editors are
deliberately misleading their readers by publishing material that is intended to provoke
controversy and reaction, even though they know it also contains lies. This is done in order to
boost profits for owners.

No. 2. 2013. Swaziland Broadcasting Not For The People

A review of broadcasting in Swaziland that demonstrates through research that radio in the
kingdom only serves the interests of King Mswati III and his intimate supporters. All other
voices are excluded from the airwaves. The paper contrasts a public broadcasting service with
public service broadcasting and demonstrates that changes in the kingdoms broadcasting
cannot be made until it becomes a democratic state.

No. 3. 2013. Swaziland Media Need Code of Conduct for Covering Elections
A review of how media have covered past elections in Swaziland highlighting a number of
areas for improvement. The paper includes a suggested code of ethical conduct that Swazi
journalists can adopt in order to improve performance.
No.4. 2013. Swaziland Press Freedom: The case of Bekhi Makhubu and the Nation
magazine
In April 2013 Bheki Makhubu the editor of the Nation magazine and its publishers, Swaziland
Independent Publishers were convicted of scandalising the court after two articles criticising
the judiciary were published in 2009 and 2010. The purpose of this paper is to bring together
details of the story so far (May 2013). It is an attempt to bring under one cover all the available
information on the case in order to assist those people in the future who might need a quick
primer.
No.5. 2013. Media Coverage of Swaziland Election 2013.
A review of media coverage of the Swaziland national election, most notably in the only two
newspaper groups in the kingdom, and at international media. It notes that generally
newspapers in Swaziland ignored the real issue, that of the non-democratic nature of the
elections, and concentrated instead on trying to justify the governance system to their readers.

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Swaziland: Striving for Freedom

SWAZILAND: STRIVING FOR FREEDOM


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