Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Swaziland is now in a permanent state of emergency, following the enactment of the Suppression of Terrorism Act.

The Act has the same effect on Swaziland as King Sobhuza II’s notorious proclamation of 1973 in which he tore up the Swazi Constitution and ruled by decree.

Vusi Sibisi, writing in the Times Sunday (23 November 2008), says, ‘The stupendous paradox between the two eras—post-1973 and since the enactment of the Suppression of Terrorism Act of 2008—being that while the coup against the Westminster-styled independence constitution in 1973 was entirely an operation of the ruling class to the exclusion of the ordinary people, the same cannot be said of the anti-terrorism law yet in all honesty the objectives of these instruments remain the same—to silence the nation and retain the political playing ground as an exclusive preserve of the ruling class.

‘The King’s Proclamation to the Nation to which the people had no input, which effectively outlawed democracy and the people’s individual rights and freedoms, was dictated from the throne. And to ensure compliance with the string of decrees that made up the King’s Proclamation to the Nation was the draconian indefinite 60-Day Detention Order the fear of which inculcated the culture of silence that is permeating Swazi society even today.

‘It is the culture of silence inculcated by the King’s Proclamation and its accompanying draconian laws that the ruling class has perversely marketed to the outside world as peace and tranquillity, a trademark of the Swazi nation. Frankly there never was peace in this country, but pervasive fear of the terror of the ruling regime that engendered silence on the citizenry.

‘And from 1973 onwards it was easier to cow the nation into supplication and, therefore, silence because not so many people were as educated and enlightened as they are today. Thus an educated and enlightened elite prone to challenging anything and everything that the ruling elite stands for has replaced the generation that could accept the imposition of dictatorship in 1973 without putting up any form of challenge or resistance.’

He goes on, ‘The paradox is that when in 1973 the ruling class used naked aggression to forcefully appropriate to itself all political power not to speak of all faculties of the nation’s human resource, in 2008 it used the poverty-alleviating institution of Parliament to rubber stamp its unconstitutional and just as draconian Suppression of Terrorism Act that is the successor to the notorious 60-Day Detention Order.

‘And if anyone was in doubt about the Tinkhundla Parliament as an effective legislative institution, now that doubt has been evaporated by the facts that just about confirm its role as a rubber stamp of whatever is desired by the ruling class. For if it was not, the 8th Parliament would have refused to be party to the draconian anti-terrorism legislation that is inherently also in breach of the constitution that is supposedly the supreme law of the land.’

He goes on, ‘And that silence can never translate into peace and tranquility even with the Suppression of Terrorism Act that has essentially thrust this country into a permanent state of emergency in tow.'

To read the full article, click here.

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