I am astonished at the ignorance about the lack of democracy in Swaziland shown by some members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) who are meeting in the kingdom this week.
According to the Times Sunday, an independent newspaper in Swaziland, Ernest Britto, Minister for the Environment and Tourism in Gibraltar and Vice Chairperson of the CPA Executive Committee, Kathleen Casey, believe ‘democracy is good’ in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
Britto even went so far as to say Commonwealth countries are accepting Swaziland as a democratic country.
This week also saw a clampdown on civil liberties and freedom of association at the Workers' Day celebrations last Monday (1 May 2010).
Two months ago the United States State Department issued a 11,200-word report that detailed the human rights violations in Swaziland.
Members of the CPA really ought to do their homework before making such ignorant public statements that Swaziland is a democracy.
It is beyond my comprehension why the 35 member executive of the CPA are meeting in Swaziland for three days starting today (10 May 2010) to follow ‘an extensive programme to support the advancement of parliamentary democracy’ through the 54-nation Commonwealth.
Swaziland has no parliamentary democracy. The prime minister Barnabas Dlamini was unconstitutionally selected to his office by the king who also appointed most of the people who sit in Swaziland’s government.
The violations of human rights and democratic freedoms in Swaziland are too numerous to mention here (just about every post in this blog is about the lack of freedom in the kingdom).
There is a campaign at the moment to protest to the CPA about their visit to Swaziland and to try to educate members on the realities of life in Swaziland. To find out more go to the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) Forum here or the SSN Facebook site here.