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Friday, 25 June 2010

THE TRUTH ABOUT SWAZI ‘DEMOCRACY’

The cheek of Barnabas Dlamini, Swaziland’s illegally-appointed Prime Minister knows no bounds.


Dlamini, an internally-recognised enemy of freedom and human rights, says those protesting for democracy in Swaziland, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Sahara’s last absolute monarch, want to govern the kingdom. And this cannot be allowed to happen.


These people, he said, were nothing but terrorists, hell-bent on destabilising Swaziland.


He told a meeting of editors,We suspect they want to govern this country. If there are policies that they want to be changed then that would have been heard. Issues should not be addressed through bombings and a country cannot be changed by a minority.’


He went on to say that Swazis knew how they wanted to be governed and that their wishes would always be respected.


Nonsense and lies.


There is no democracy in Swaziland and Dlamini himself is unelected. He was put in his position by the king to do his dirty work.


By a coincidence of timing just as Dlamini was telling the same old lies, Freedom House issued its Freedom in the World 2010 report.


Here’s some of what it said about Swaziland.


‘Swaziland is not an electoral democracy. King Mswati III is an absolute monarch with ultimate authority over the cabinet, legislature, and judiciary. Of the House of Assembly's 65 members, 55 are elected by popular vote within the tinkhundla system, in which local chiefs vet all candidates. The king appoints the other 10 members. The king also appoints 20 members of the 30-seat Senate, with the remainder selected by the House of Assembly. Parliament members, all of whom serve five-year terms, are not allowed to initiate legislation. Traditional chiefs govern designated localities and typically report directly to the king.


‘Political parties are banned, but there are political associations, the two largest being PUDEMO and the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress (NNLC), although PUDEMO was declared a terrorist organization in 2008. It and other prodemocracy groups boycotted the November 2008 House of Assembly elections.’


It goes on, ‘The king can suspend constitutional rights to free expression at his discretion, and these rights are severely restricted in practice, especially with respect to speech on political issues or the royal family. Publishing criticism of the monarchy is banned, and self-censorship is widespread, as journalists are routinely subject to threats and attacks by the authorities. The attorney general and other officials have threatened journalists with arrest under the STA since its passage in 2008.’


Freedom House says, ‘The government has restricted freedoms of assembly and association, and permission to hold political gatherings has often been denied. Pro-democracy protesters are routinely dispersed and arrested by police.’

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