The number of deaths from coronavirus (COVID-19) in Swaziland continues to rise and there is no end in sight to the pandemic. The kingdom’s economy is in freefall and the Swazi Government was forced to run to the International Monetary Fund for an emergency loan. It promised to cut public sector jobs and make below inflation wage increases in future to pay back the money. Earlier, the global finance analyst Moody’s warned the pandemic in Swaziland might lead to social unrest because the government was failing to support people living outside of large cities.
Hunger is growing throughout Swaziland and the government seems to have lost control of the situation. International donors and charities have stepped up to help out.
These are some of the main stories from Swaziland over the past three months and contained in Swaziland: Striving for Freedom, volume 39, a compilation of reports posted from July to September 2020 on the Swazi Media Commentary websiteand is now available to download from Scribd dot com.
Away from the coronavirus pandemic, the United States Ambassador to Swaziland Lisa Peterson called for the kingdom’s constitution to be changed to stop absolute monarch King Mswati III’s lavish spending. She wondered aloud why taxpayers in her country would continue to give financial aid to the kingdom while the King spent so much on himself and his family.
Media freedom is once again under attack. The Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology which is headed by the King’s daughter, Princess Sikhanyiso put forward a Bill that if it becomes law could see people jailed for up to ten years for reporting ‘fake news’. The new law would allow the courts to prosecute in some circumstances Swazi nationals who live outside of Swaziland.
Police and Army assaults against the population continue. In September a video showing two civilians apparently being whipped by soldiers went viral on the Internet.
Swazi Media Commentary is published online, updated most weekdays. It is operated entirely by volunteers and receives no financial backing from any organisation. It is devoted to providing information and commentary in support of human rights in Swaziland.
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