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Thursday, 12 March 2009

SWAZILAND POLITICAL PURGE STARTS

The witch-hunt against civil servants in Swaziland who support freedom and democracy has started.


Barnabas Dlamini, the illegally-appointed Prime Minister of Swaziland, has announced the Swazi police have been instructed to find out how a former journalist who was critical of the government is now a police officer.


Dlamini told the Swazi House of Assembly that this put in question the effectiveness of the police’s ‘vetting’ procedure when recruiting.


According to the Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, Dlamini was responding to questions from members of parliament. They wanted to know why a critic of the government was allowed to join the police force.


Dlamini told the House, ‘though we may not claim that the vetting exercise is 100 percent foolproof, I wish to assure the Committee that the intelligence Service does all in line with its specialty and capacity, to ensure that undesirable elements are not recruited into the police service. However, the issue will be looked into to determine if all processes were followed.’


Dlamini announced on Monday (9 March 2009) that his government (which is unconstitutionally constructed) is drafting a charter that will compel civil servants who are considered by the Swaziland ruling elite to be ‘political’ would be given the chance to recant and if they didn’t they would be sacked from their jobs.


This is the latest move by Dlamini to silence dissent in Swaziland, which has the last absolute monarchy in sub-Saharan Africa. Last year he introduced the Suppression of Terrorism Act, which is widely seen as a law to curb freedom of speech and association. He has also branded four political entities as ‘terrorists’ and members and supporters can face up to 25 years in jail.


Protests against the political purging have already begun in Swaziland, led by trade unions, banned political parties and the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, the Times of Swaziland.

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