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 Africa’s 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. It is available free of charge on Scribd. 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.
HUMAN RIGHTS YEAR-END REVIEW
PROGRESS TO SWAZI DEMOCRACY?