Friday, October 23, 2020

Swaziland lifts ban on alcohol sales but PM warns against drinking with fear of coronavirus surge

Ambrose Dlamini, Prime Minister of Swaziland (eSwatini), warned people to lay off the booze during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. A ban on alcohol sales is to be lifted on 26 October 2020 after the kingdom has been dry for months.

 

Dlamini at a media event said, ‘Health experts have projected a second wave over the festive season because around this time there is generally more movement amongst people, big family gatherings and high consumption of alcoholic beverages. Furthermore, as the economy continues to open, there is more movement of people thus increasing the chances of the virus spreading.’

 

He added, ‘I would like to remind all Emaswati that while consuming alcohol can be a joyous occasion for some, it is important to observe not just the health guidelines but the liquor re-opening guidelines. These guidelines are to be observed strictly, failure to which we will not hesitate the close any establishment that fails to adhere to these protocols.’

 

He said alcohol affected the central nervous system and took away rational decision making. He said, ‘Alcohol use, especially heavy use, weakens the immune system and thus reduces the ability to cope with infectious diseases. Alcohol alters your thoughts, judgement, decision-making and behaviour all which are required for people to take safety precautions to Covid-19. Heavy use of alcohol increases the risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome, one of the most severe complications of COVID-19.

 

‘Additionally most people like to drink in groups and in areas without sufficient spacing or ventilation and it is impossible to wear masks and drink alcohol.’

 

The Prime Minister also said, ‘May I caution that the resumption of alcohol sales is not a license to hide behind alcohol to be violent against women and children.’

 

He said it was disheartening to continue hearing reports of gender-based violence regularly in the kingdom and the Swazi Government would push to ensure that perpetrators were taken off the streets and faced the consequences of their actions.

 

Independent News, eSwatini, an online newspaper, reported the Prime Minister’s address on gender-based violence came after there had been numerous reports of women and children who had been murdered mostly by their lovers. This included a mother and her four-year-old son who were allegedly stabbed and had their throats slit open by a man believed to be her boyfriend.

 

It added, this year there had been a number of crimes which involved killing of women. One incident reported on 20 August 2020, was that of a female pupil who was stabbed 31 times all over the body with a knife allegedly by her boyfriend. The stabbed girl was a pupil at Dwalile High School and was living at her boyfriend’s homestead.

 

On 8 February, a police officer was charged with two counts of murder after he allegedly killed his spouse and her male companion. He allegedly used a gun belonging to the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS).   

 

Separately, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade warned traders not to exploit the situation created by the expected demand for alcoholic beverages by increasing prices.

 

There has been a decline in coronavirus cases in Swaziland. By Thursday (22 October 2020) the Ministry of Health had reported a total of 116 deaths and 5,814 positive cases of the virus. Of the positive cases, 5,468 people had recovered.

 

See also

Swaziland soldiers illegally sell alcohol to public during coronavirus ban

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/10/swaziland-soldiers-illegally-sell.html

 

Swaziland coronavirus likely to continue for months, but restrictions on sport and arts lifted

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/10/swaziland-coronavirus-likely-to.html

 

Top Royal presses Swaziland Govt to send riot police, army into homes to confiscate alcohol https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/07/top-royal-presses-swaziland-govt-to.html

 

Swaziland bans alcohol production and sales, threatens media as coronavirus lockdown extended https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/04/swaziland-bans-alcohol-production-and.html

 

Swaziland authorities ban march to protest ban on alcohol during coronavirus crisis https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/09/swaziland-authorities-ban-march-to.html

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Swaziland editor suspended after alleged link to political party opposing absolute monarch

Mbongeni Mbingo, the managing editor of the eSwatini Observer group of newspapers, has reportedly been suspended from duty following a report that he and others had started a political party to oppose King Mswati III, the absolute monarch in Swaziland (eSwatini).

 

The Observer is in effect owned by the king.

 

The Times of eSwatini reported on Thursday (22 October 2020) that unofficial sources at the newspaper had confirmed they had been told at a meeting Mbingo had been suspended with immediate effect. No reason was given. Observer chief executive officer Sipho Mkhonta declined to comment.

 

The Swaziland News, an online newspaper, reported that Mbingo had been suspended as a result of a report it had published on Sunday 18 October 2020 that alleged Mbingo was ‘linked to a new “underground” political party Vuka Sive that seeks to influence regime change and overthrow King Mswati.’

 

 

 

Mbongeni Mbingo, the managing editor of the eSwatini Observer. Picture sourced from Facebook



See also 


Swaziland journalist critical of King flees, hides in forest five days

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/05/swaziland-journalist-critical-of-king.html

 

Swaziland journalist ‘tortured by police after criticising absolute monarch in newspaper articles’ 

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/03/swaziland-journalist-tortured-by-police.html  

 

Newspaper editor flees Swaziland for second time after arrest and police torture

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/03/newspaper-editor-flees-swaziland-for.html  

 

‘Editor flees after death threat’

https://swazimedia.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/editor-flees-after-death-threat.html

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Swaziland LGBTI group back in High Court in fight for legal recognition

LGBTI activists in Swaziland (eSwatini) are back in the High Court in an attempt to have their advocacy group officially registered and made legal.

 

The eSwatini Sexual and Gender Minorities (ESGM) had their registration application rejected in September 2019. The Registrar of Companies refused saying the group’s objectives were unlawful because same-sex sexual acts were illegal in the kingdom. 

 

An appeal is now being heard at the High Court. On Friday in submissions the government argued that homosexuality was contrary to biblical teachings. The ESGM case was due to be heard on Tuesday (20 October 2020.)

 

ESGM is a human rights community-based advocacy organisation which aims to advance the protection of human rights of LGBTI (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex) people in Swaziland.

 

In a statement ESGM said homosexuality was not illegal in Swaziland and the law did not make it a crime to campaign to protect the rights of LGBTI people.

 

Melusi Simelane, ESGM Executive Director, said, ‘While Christianity underpins much of the values in eSwatini, we are a secular state. This is a case about the dignity of persons and not about the will of the majority or any religious debate.’

 

Discrimination against LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) people in Swaziland is widespread but in recent years they have become more visible and vocal. The first ever Pride march took place in 2018.

 

A report published in 2019 written by two academics and the Southern and East African Research Collective on Health found evidence of serious human rights violations against Swazi people who were LGBTI. The report concluded they suffered ‘social exclusion, marginalisation and stigma’ because they were seen as being different from the rest of the population.

 

This, the report said, ‘has a negative impact on the mental health and wellbeing of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex’.

 

 

See also

Swaziland EU Ambassador joins LGBTI rights supporters at High Court for landmark hearing 

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/06/swaziland-eu-ambassador-joins-lgbti.html  

 

Swaziland LGBTI group cannot be registered because ‘Constitution does not protect against discrimination’

 https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2019/09/swaziland-lgbti-group-cannot-be.html

 

LGBTI discrimination in Swaziland leads to big mental health issues, report finds

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2019/08/lgbti-discrimination-in-swaziland-leads.html

 

LGBT Pride film shows what it’s like to live with prejudice and ignorance in Swaziland https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2018/11/lgbt-pride-film-shows-what-its-like-to.html

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Swaziland King appoints another eight of his family to influential posts as nepotism rages

King Mswati III, the absolute monarch of Swaziland (eSwatini), has appointed another eight members of his family to influential groups in the latest round of nepotistic appointments.

 

They are among 19 people appointed to serve.

 

Attorney General Sifiso Mafelenkhosini M. Khumalo, himself appointed by the King, announced the changes on Wednesday (14 October 2020).

 

The eSwatini Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, reported Prince Matatazela, Prince Masuku, Prince Sibhimbi Tandlatiyagezana and Prince Mandlenkhosi Rowland Dlamini had been appointed to the King’s Advisory Committee, also known as Liqoqo.

 

It added, ‘Prince Mandlenkhosi currently serves as a Board member of the eSwatini Observer and the eSwatini Investment Promotion Authority (EIPA).’

 

Prince Mguqiso has been appointed to chair the Land Management Board to replace the late Prince Phinda. The King also appointed four members to serve on the Civil Service Commission, including Prince Ngangabani and Princess Nkosingumenzi.

 

The King also appointed Princess Msindvose to the new Citizenship Board.

 

The Swaziland News, an online newspaper, reported the newly-appointed members of the various councils would collectively take more than E12 million annually as salaries. In Swaziland seven in ten of the 1.2 million population have incomes of less than E35 or US$2.

 

Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini, himself appointed by the King, had previously announced that hiring was frozen by government because of the present economic crisis in the kingdom.

 

The News added appointments to the Citizenship Board also included the King’s father-in law Chief Ngangaza and the Queen Mother Ntombi Tfwala’s relative, Vusi Tfwala.

 

Earlier this week King Mswati appointed his first-born son Prince Sicalo to become principal secretary, the top civil servant, at the Ministry of Defence. Recently, Prince Lindani was appointed director of economic affairs at the King’s Office.

 

After the most recent national election in 2018, the King appointed eight members of his family to the Senate and six to the House of Assembly. He also appointed 17 members of his own family to the kingdom’s two most influential advisory committees; Liqoqo and the Ludzidzini Council, a group of senior traditionalists centred around the King’s Ludzidzini Palace.  

 

The King also appointed a further 11 princes and princesses to five other committees. 

 

See also

Swaziland absolute monarch appoints more family members to top positions as nepotism grows

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/10/swaziland-absolute-monarch-appoints.html

 

Swaziland’s king appoints 28 members of his family to kingdom’s committees and boards

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2019/04/swazilands-absolute-monarch-appoints-28.html

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Former Swaziland PM Barnabas Dlamini demanded sex from journalists, official inquiry reports

Barnabas Dlamini, the former Prime Minister, now deceased, of Swaziland (eSwatini) demanded sex from female journalists during international trips. They would be paid between E100,000 and E200,000 (US$12,000) for spending nights with him.

 

The revelation was made by a House of Assembly select committee investigating serious allegations of corruption, nepotism and maladministration at the eSwatini Television Authority (ETVA) and eSwatini Broadcasting and Information Services (EBIS). These are the two state broadcasters in Swaziland.

 

The report names some of the women said to be involved. It said a senior female manager would arrange women journalists to provide sexual favours for the prime minister.

 

Dlamini, a married man, was also accused in the report of having a long-standing love affair with a staff member of EBIS.

 

The monies paid to the women was said to have come out of official funds, and ultimately paid for by the taxpayer.

 

The select committee also heard there was a lot of discontent at the state broadcasters about who was chosen to go on international trips. Some people received preferential treatment, it was said.

 

Dlamini, who died in September 2018, aged 76, had a life embroiled in allegations of corruption.

 

 Barnabas Dlamini

Dlamini managed to amass a personal fortune, including property, livestock, cash and company shares, estimated in 2012 to be worth E12 million (US$1.56 million at the time). In Swaziland seven in ten people have incomes less than the equivalent of US$2 per day. 

 

He was involved in a scandal starting in 2010 that involved his purchase of Swazi Nation land at half its true value.

 

Even in the weeks before his death he was entangled in an allegation that his retirement home which was to be built at taxpayers’ expense would be on land he owned himself with his youngest daughter, Busisiwe.

 

Dlamini had been Prime Minister until the September 2018 national election. He was never elected by the people but appointed by King Mswati III, the kingdom’s absolute monarch. He held office for seven-and-a-half years until 2003. He was reappointed in 2008. He left behind a trail of misdeeds. In July 2017, Dlamini was made to return E200,000 in travel expenses he had claimed for a medical trip to Taiwan after it was revealed the Government of Taiwan had paid for it.

 

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.

 

See also

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

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2018/10/deceased-swaziland-prime-minister.html

 

Swazi PM in another ‘nepotism’ row

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2018/04/swazi-pm-in-another-nepotism-row.html

 

Swaziland former Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini dies. Known as serial abuser of human rights

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2018/09/swaziland-former-prime-minister.html

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Some Swaziland schools to remain shut amid fear of coronavirus surge

The Swaziland (eSwatini) Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini has announced that some schools in the kingdom will continue to remain closed until at least January 2021 amid fears that there could be a new surge in coronavirus cases.

 

Dlamini in a statement said, ‘Health experts have warned us that we are in danger of experiencing another upsurge of cases over the festive season if we do not take heed of the COVID-19 [coronavirus] health prevention protocols.’ 

 

He added, ‘As we relax the restrictions on travelling across borders, we anticipate an influx of people travelling into and out of the kingdom. This has a further potential of increasing the numbers of cases if measures to control the pandemic are ignored.’ 

 

He encouraged people to travel only when necessary.

 

He said although classes for senior schoolchildren had reopened in July after ‘close monitoring of situations in schools and data from the Ministry of Health’ the Swazi Government decided not to open other class levels until January 2021. 

 

Last week Dlamini announced easing of restrictions on some sports and arts events but there had been ‘a mushrooming of unpermitted entertainment activities in various venues over the past few weeks’.

 

He said, ‘We wish to strongly caution all who have been involved in such and warn them that law enforcement agencies have been advised to bring to book all who will be found to host any entertainment activity without the due clearance.’

 

He also announced the sale of alcohol would once more be permitted from 26 October 2020 for home use only.

 

See also

 

Swaziland soldiers illegally sell alcohol to public during coronavirus ban

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/10/swaziland-soldiers-illegally-sell.html

 

 

Swaziland coronavirus likely to continue for months, but restrictions on sport and arts lifted

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/10/swaziland-coronavirus-likely-to.html

Monday, October 12, 2020

Swaziland absolute monarch appoints more family members to top positions as nepotism grows

King Mswati III, the absolute monarch of Swaziland (eSwatini), has appointed his first-born son Prince Sicalo to principal secretary, the top civil servant, at the Ministry of Defence.

 

The appointment was announced by Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini who himself was personally appointed to his position by King Mswati.

 

It is the latest in the King’s long list of appointments of members of his family to top positions. Recently, Prince Lindani was appointed director of economic affairs at the King’s Office.

 

Prince Sicalo already sits as a member of the Central Bank board of directors. He was educated and trained at Libya Military College and holds the rank of major in the Swazi Army, officially known as the Umbutfo eSwatini Defence Force. According to the website of the Sicalo Foundation, which he heads, he already oversees all strategic planning, development and logistics within the military. 

 

Swaziland is not a democracy and King Mswati rules as an absolute monarch. Political parties are banned from taking part in elections and people are only allowed to select 59 members of the House of Assembly; the King appoints a further 10. No members of the 30-member Senate are elected by the people. The King also chooses the Prime Minister and Cabinet ministers as well as senior civil servants and top judges.

 

Previously, King Mswati appointed his first-born daughter Princess Sikhanyiso to the post of Minister of Information, Communication and Technology. She is also a police officer, sits at the board of mobile phone company MTN and is a member of Liqoqo, a supreme traditional advisory body which is also known as the Swazi National Council Standing Committee. This group rules on matters relating to Swazi traditional law and customs.

 

After the most recent national election in 2018, the King appointed eight members of his family to the Senate and six to the House of Assembly. He also appointed 17 members of his own family to the kingdom’s two most influential advisory committees; Liqoqo and the Ludzidzini Council, a group of senior traditionalists centred around the King’s Ludzidzini Palace. 

 

The King also appointed a further 11 princes and princesses to five other committees.

 

Swaziland is a small landlocked country about the size of the US state of New Jersey. Seven in 10 of its estimated 1.2 population live in abject poverty with incomes less than the equivalent of US$3 per day. The King has at least 13 palaces. He and members of his extensive Royal Family (he has had at least 15 wives) live opulent lifestyles and are often seen in public wearing watches and jewels worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

 

The King wore a watch worth US$1.6 million and a suit beaded with diamonds weighing 6 kg, at his 50th birthday party in April 2018. Days earlier, King Mswati took delivery of his second private jet aircraft that with upgrades was estimated to have cost US$30 million.

 

In November 2019, the King took delivery of a fleet of Rolls-Royce cars for his family. The cost was estimated at minimum  price tag of E52.5 million. (US$3.1 million) by US Ambassador to Swaziland, Lisa Peterson.

  

See also

Swaziland’s king appoints 28 members of his family to kingdom’s committees and boards

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2019/04/swazilands-absolute-monarch-appoints-28.html

 

Swazi Prince runs away from Libya

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2011/02/swazi-prince-runs-away-from-libya.html