Swaziland: Striving For Freedom, Vol 3. March 2013
In this edition of Swaziland: Striving For Freedom, Swazi Media Commentary reveals that spending on defence equipment in Swaziland is set to rise by 50 times in the coming year. This was part of ‘defence’ spending that will take up 10 percent of the entire budget for the kingdom. Nobody at the Swazi Government would go on record to explain why this was needed, except to say the spending was necessary for ‘security’ and to ‘keep the peace’.
The vast spending on defence reminded Swaziland watchers that the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, had in the recent past tried to buy arms worth millions of US from the United Kingdom, but that country’s government blocked the move, believing the weapons might be turned on the king’s subjects should they continue their protests for democracy.
Elsewhere this month, the government has been found out selling maize, donated by Japan as humanitarian food aid, on the open market. The money has been stashed in a special account at the Central Bank of Swaziland. The Swazi Government claims this action is legal, but Japan has made no public statement. We haven’t heard the last of this yet.
Elections are coming in Swaziland this year and King Mswati’s subjects are waiting for him to tell them when it will be. Only then, can electioneering begin. A campaign to boycott the election because political parties are banned from taking part is gathering momentum. This month a European Union delegation visited the kingdom and also told the king the ban on political parties should be lifted.
Police and state security forces broke up another prayer meeting (the second time in two months): this one was to mark the anniversary of the formation of the national labour federation, TUCOSWA. King Mswati’s courts banned TUCOSWA after it declared itself to be against the forthcoming election.
Swaziland: Striving For Freedom, which is available to download free-of-charge at scribd dot com. is the third volume of information, commentary and analysis on human rights taken from articles first published on the Swazi Media Commentary blogsite in March 2013. Each month throughout this year a digest of articles will be published bringing together in one place material that is rarely found elsewhere.
Swazi Media Commentary 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.