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Tuesday, 3 December 2013

POLITICS AS USUAL IN SWAZILAND

It was business as usual for politics in Swaziland in November 2013. King Mswati III, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch appointed his government in this month, following the bogus national election that took place in September. More than half of the new Cabinet ministers in the Swaziland Government were not elected by the people. Out of 19 ministers King Mswati III personally appointed 11 to the House of Assembly or to the Senate.

At the national elections the people were only permitted to select 55 members of the 65-seat House of Assembly. The King chose the other 10. Political parties were banned from taking part in the election. The King also chose 20 of the 30-strong Senate House. The other 10 were elected by members of the House of Assembly. None were elected by the people.

Prior to appointing his cabinet, King Mswati demonstrated his complete control of politics in the kingdom. All the top parliamentary office holders in Swaziland were filled by people he appointed and none were elected by the people. They were the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, the President and Deputy President of Senate.

So, it was business as usual for politics in Swaziland. Human rights violations continued unabated. Police, acting without a warrant or court order raided a showing of the newly-released film The King and the People. The film, which is being shown on screens all over the world, criticises the Swazi state for, among other things, the violence it uses against its own people when they demand their rights.

As if on cue, elsewhere, armed Swazi police invaded the University of Swaziland to attack students with whips and teargas in their dormitories. Students were campaigning for better conditions and against the holding of examinations. Armed police guarded examination venues for a week as the disputed examinations went ahead.

These are some of the highlights of life in Swaziland in November 2013 brought together in the latest volume of compilations from the Swazi Media Commentary blogsite. It is available free of charge at scribd dot com. Swazi Media Commentary has no physical base and is completely independent of any political faction and receives no income from any individual or organisation. People who contribute ideas or write for it do so as volunteers and receive no payment.

Swazi Media Commentary is published online – updated most days – bringing information, comment and analysis in support of democracy in the kingdom.

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