The second of Swazi Media Commentary’s monthly round-up of events in Swaziland, aimed at giving information and analysis to those who support the struggle for freedom in the kingdom, has been published.
Swaziland’s forthcoming undemocratic national election dominates this month. King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, in an extraordinary speech at the opening of parliament, quoting a report from the Pan-African Parliament, claimed that the international community thought the Swazi system of governance was so good it should be followed by other countries in Africa. But, in fact, the report said no such thing: it said the opposite, stating that the banning of political parties from elections did not meet ‘regional and international standards and principles for democratic elections’.
Elsewhere, calls for the election to be boycotted by voters is growing and the main opposition party PUDEMO (outlawed in Swaziland) is asking the international community not to go to Swaziland as election observers.
The king has yet to announce the date of the election, but that has not stopped armed state police from stopping people talking about it. About 60 officers invaded a prayer meeting at a cathedral church in Manzini calling it ‘political’. Police had no court order or warrant to take the action, but claimed they did not need these: all that mattered was that they suspected a crime would take place. Worshippers had gathered to seek spiritual reflection and guidance from the Bible prior to launching a discussion about the credibility of the election.
Elsewhere, Swaziland’s economy continues to deteriorate, but the government refuses to acknowledge this. In the annual budget delivered this month, Finance Minister Majozi Sithole announced increases in the public sector salaries bill and a cut in taxes. These measures were the opposite of those recommended by the International Monetary Fund, which is seeking to help Swaziland recover from its economic mess so that it becomes eligible for international loans that could support the economy.
Swaziland: Striving For Freedom, Vol 2. February 2013, is available free-of-charge on scribd dot com is the second volume of information, commentary and analysis on human rights taken from articles first published on the Swazi Media Commentary blogsite in 2013. Each month throughout the coming year a digest of articles will be published bringing together in one place material that is rarely found elsewhere.
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