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Tuesday, 7 April 2015

HUMAN RIGHTS SPOTLIGHT ON SWAZILAND

The human-rights spotlight shone brightly on Swaziland in the first quarter of 2015. 

International attention has been on two Swazi journalists Bheki Makhubu and Thulani Maseko, who have spent more than a year in jail, convicted of contempt of court for writing and publishing articles critical of the Swazi judiciary in the Nation, a tiny-circulation monthly comment magazine, Maseko was placed in solitary confinement in jail after a letter he wrote praising his supporters was widely circulated on the Internet and in social media. The case of the two journalists has attracted attention at the United Nations and in the European Union.

This is just one of the stories covered by Swazi Media Commentary and contained in the compilation of reports called Swaziland: Striving for Freedom, Volume 17, covering January to March 2015. It is available to download free of charge from Scribd.org.

Swazi Media Commentary is an Internet site that offers information and commentary about human rights in Swaziland.

The Swazi state’s clampdown on trade union activity has also hit the headlines, as police broke up meetings of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA). Police said they could not go ahead because participants wanted to discuss how to introduce democracy into the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.

King Mswati himself attracted attention for his role in the collapse of the Ngwenya Iron Mine. The King had taken a US$10 million loan from the company which he refused to pay back when it got into financial difficulties engineered by the King’s appointee to the board of directors.

Meanwhile, the King’s private jet was attached by a court in Canada as part of a business dispute where it is alleged the King owes US$3.5 million in unpaid debts.

This compilation brings together posts that originally appeared on the Swazi Media Commentary website. Swazi Media Commentary website 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 regularly.


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