Swaziland’s King Mswati III was in the international spotlight in the last quarter of 2015. He was reported to the United Nations over the deaths in a traffic accident of children and young women who were on their way to dance half-naked for him at the kingdom’s annual Reed Dance. It is argued that the ceremony is unlawful and perpetuates forced marriages, inconsistent with international human rights standards.
In the British Virgin Islands, the King is being personally being sued over a US$3.5 million debt relating to repairs and improvements to his private jet aircraft. His representative told the court that he had no financial assets outside of Swaziland. In the past it was reported that King Mswati had a net worth of US$200 million.
These are two stories from the past three months that have been reported by Swazi Media Commentary and are included in Swaziland: Striving for Freedom, Vol 20. This compilation covering the months October to December 2015 brings together posts that originally appeared on the Swazi Media Commentary website. It is available free of charge from the Scribd website.
Elsewhere, lawyers in Swaziland and an international human rights group CIVICUS jointly called judicial persecution, harassment and intimidation of members of civil society organisations in the kingdom to end. In a submission to the United Nations they also call for restrictions on freedom of assembly to be lifted.
Swaziland has become an ‘open-air prison, a militarised society and a royal farm’ in which people become mere farmworkers for the King and his family, according to research published in the international academic journal, Review of African Political Economy.
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