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Tuesday, 17 September 2013

REPORT BLASTS ROYAL FAMILY’S ‘GREED’

The greed of Swaziland’s Royal Family damages the lives of ordinary Swazi people, a Freedom House report just published says.

And, King Mswati III’s ‘insistence on putting himself above the law’ has hit the economy and institutions of state, the report says.

Freedom House calls the actions of the Royal Family ‘devastating’ and says, ‘a culture of greed and suspicion are deeply entrenched at the highest level of the Royal Family’. It adds, ‘the occult has a surprisingly large influence over decision making in the kingdom’.

Previewing the report called Swaziland: A Failed Feudal State that was released on Tuesday (17 September 2013), Freedom House said it detailed, ‘the devastating effects of King Mswati’s absolute rule on the people of Swaziland’.

It documents, ‘the damage done to the lives of ordinary Swazis, the economy and the institutions of state through a combination of the Royal Family’s greed and the monarch’s insistence on putting himself above the law’.

In a statement, Freedom House said, ‘The report is released three days before Swazis are due to go to the polls in elections that are widely expected to be neither free nor credible and that will elect representatives with no powers or say in the running the country.’

Daniel Calingaert, executive vice president of Freedom House, said, ‘This report finds that Mswati not only rules over a kingdom where 50 percent of the youth are unemployed and 80 percent of people die before their 40th birthday, his government also denies citizens their basic rights through a ban on political parties, prohibition of peaceful gatherings and widespread use of the security forces to harass, arrest and torture dissidents.’

The report reveals that a culture of greed and suspicion are deeply entrenched at the highest level of the Royal Family and that the occult has a surprisingly large influence over decision making in the kingdom.

It also reports how the king is tightening his grip on power by drastically increasing security sector spending. Freedom House says the democratic movement suffers from divisions within its own ranks that weaken its ability to oppose the king’s ‘increasingly oppressive regime’.

Calingaert said, ‘While the solution to Swaziland’s problems must be homegrown, foreign governments should follow the lead and support the efforts of civil society to bring about positive change in the country.’

The report recommends that the democratic movement in Swaziland must continue to push for change by setting its own agenda, forming tactical alliances and not allowing Swaziland to become subject to a reform process ‘imposed’ by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) or other external actors.

The report concludes that civil society must also ensure that there is sufficient international attention brought to bear on the crisis in Swaziland.

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