Search This Blog

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Swaziland police ‘assault man’ during protest against police harassment

Three police officers in Swaziland (eSwatini) were captured on video assaulting a man who was part of a protest against police harassment.

Police were caught on video slapping and kicking a protestor.

The video was widely circulated on social media.  

It happened on Monday (10 May 2021) when bus conductors in Manzini protested after police previously arrested some of them for allegedly illegally operating their buses (known locally as kombis) at Mhlaleni. Police have been issuing court summons, although it is argued they do not have authority to do this.

According to local reports the protestors threw stones at police who then retaliated.

The Swaziland News reported police ‘had to run for their dear lives’.

Swati Newsweek reported an eyewitness saying, ‘The transport operators threw stones on the road. Police had to flee. The area became like a war zone.’

In the video the police officers are seen insulting, slapping and kicking a man.


See also

Swaziland police ‘inflict torture’ on suspects: U.S. Govt. human rights report

Swaziland police halt democracy march, ‘torture’ leader

Monday, 10 May 2021

Total 86 health workers die from coronavirus at single Swaziland hospital

A total of 86 health workers, including doctors, nurses and paramedics, died of coronavirus at a single hospital in Swaziland (eSwatini).

It happened at Raleigh Fitkin Memorial (RFM), Manzini. The eSwatini Observer reported Dr Mbuso Sihlongonyane from the hospital said RFM had lost 14 doctors, 60 nurses, 10 paramedics and two support staff since the pandemic started in March 2020.

The newspaper reported this accounted for 12.8 per cent of the total number of coronavirus (COVID-19) related deaths in the kingdom. Also, more than 200 staff members tested positive for coronavirus at the hospital.

Dr. Sihlongonyane said when the coronavirus was at its peak there were more than 60 patients suffering from virus-related sicknesses per ward and five people would die every day in each ward.

The Observer reported, ‘He said for the young nurses, this was quite a traumatic experience.

‘He said for some of the nurses, it was their first time to work as healthcare workers since they were fresh from college, and upon being hired, the first impression they got regarding a hospital set up was that people were dying like flies.’

According to the Swazi Ministry of Health there have been 671 recorded deaths from coronavirus in the kingdom and 18,480 c0firmed cases.

See also

Swaziland runs out of coronavirus vaccines, only 35,000 people treated

Sunday, 9 May 2021

Swaziland human rights abuses attacked in third global report this year

Swaziland (eSwatini) suffers ‘significant’ human rights abuses including ‘cases of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by the government; political prisoners or detainees; serious restrictions on free expression and the press; restrictions on political participation; and serious acts of corruption,’ according to the United States’ State Department.

It is the third substantial global organisation this year (2021) to highlight significant abuses in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III.

In its latest annual report on human rights in Swaziland, covering 2020, the State Department stated the Swazi Government was ‘inconsistent in its investigation, prosecution, and punishment of officials who committed human rights abuses’.

On conditions in prisons, the report stated they ‘did not always meet international standards due to overcrowding and, in certain locations, facilities that required repair or modernization’.

It stated the total prison population was 3,796, but there was only capacity for 958 inmates. ‘Prisoner-on-prisoner violence remained a concern due to increased gang activity among inmates as prison populations expanded and diversified.’

The State Department report followed one from Freedom House in February 2021. It found Swaziland was ‘not free’. It awarded the kingdom 19 points out of a possible 100.

In an overview of the kingdom, Freedom House reported, ‘The king exercises ultimate authority over all branches of the national government and effectively controls local governance through his influence over traditional chiefs. Political dissent and civic and labor activism are subject to harsh punishment under sedition and other laws. Additional human rights problems include impunity for security forces and discrimination against women and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) people.’

Also in February 2021, Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its annual report highlighted restrictions on freedoms of assembly and association.

It reported King Mswati continued to rule as an absolute monarch and political parties remained banned from taking part in elections and had held supreme executive power since the 1973 State of Emergency decree.

HRW reported, ‘The country’s courts have upheld the legality of the decree despite the fact that the 2005 constitution provides for three separate organs of state—the executive, legislature and judiciary. The prime minister theoretically holds executive authority, but in reality, the king exercises supreme executive power and controls the judiciary. The 2005 constitution provides for equality before the law while simultaneously elevating the king above the law.’

See also

Swaziland police ‘inflict torture’ on suspects: U.S. Govt. human rights report

 Swaziland still ‘not free,’ human rights group Freedom House reports

Swaziland gripped by human rights abuses, annual report states

Saturday, 8 May 2021

Swaziland runs out of coronavirus vaccines, only 35,000 people treated

Only 35,000 of Swaziland’s 1.2 million population have received their first vaccination against coronavirus and the kingdom has run out. The Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku said more were expected.

He said they should arrive in Swaziland (also known as eSwatini) before the end of May 2021. Masuku and Health Minister Lizzie Nkosi have been promising new vaccines were imminent for some weeks.

Masuku, in a statement on Thursday (6 May 2021), said, ‘We are still expecting to receive a batch of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines from the COVAX facility before the end of this month. Additionally, we are also in line to receive the first batch of 500,000 vaccines from Oxford AstraZeneca before the end of this month to continue with the rollout of the vaccination exercise.’

He said, ‘While numbers of new infections nationally are relatively low, standing at 15 cases recorded in one week and no death reported in 18 days, we cannot be lulled into a sense of comfort and complacency.’

Despite the shortage of vaccines, Masuku announced relaxations on restrictions imposed as part of the kingdom’s partial lockdown to deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The number of people allowed to attend outdoor arts and entertainment events has been increased to 500; indoor events can now accommodate up to 300 people.

More sports, such as basketball, netball, rugby sevens, volleyball and women’s football, will be allowed to resume.

Alcohol sales have been relaxed but continue to be restricted to home consumption.

According to the World Health Organisation, in Swaziland from 3 January 2020 to 6 May 2021, there had been 18,467 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 671 deaths, reported to WHO. As of 5 May 2021, a total of 34,897 vaccine doses had been administered.

 See also

Number of coronavirus cases in Swaziland underestimated, Ministry of Health reveals

Chaos as Swaziland halts coronavirus vaccination of elderly


Swaziland top dogs get their coronavirus vaccines ahead of frontline health staff

Friday, 7 May 2021

Swaziland police ‘inflict torture’ on suspects: U.S. Govt. human rights report

There have been ‘occasional reports’ in Swaziland (eSwatini) that police have inflicted ‘torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment’, according to a report from the United States Government on human rights in the kingdom.

In its annual report covering the year 2020, the US State Department said the constitution and law prohibited torture and other cruel treatments but there were ‘occasional reports that government officials employed them’.

The report stated, ‘In February, Bongani Kunene of Moyeni alleged that during an interrogation police beat him and placed a plastic bag over his head.

‘During the year there were scattered reports of police brutality towards those alleged to have violated COVID lockdowns. In one pending case, a police officer was arrested and charged with attempted murder for shooting a teenager in the arm after having fired his weapon to disperse a group of teens who were contravening COVID [coronavirus] regulations by playing soccer during the partial lockdown.

‘There were isolated reports throughout the country of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment by “community police”– untrained, volunteer security personnel who exist outside the country’s formal legal structures and are empowered by rural communities to act as vigilantes, patrolling against rural crimes such as cattle rustling.

‘In November 2019 a group of community police severely beat five suspected thieves on their buttocks and paraded them naked through the street as punishment.’

See also

Swaziland still ‘not free,’ human rights group Freedom House reports

Swaziland gripped by human rights abuses, annual report states

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Number of coronavirus cases in Swaziland underestimated, Ministry of Health reveals

The Swaziland (eSwatini) Ministry of Health has revealed that it has underestimated the number of people who tested positive with coronavirus in the kingdom.

Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi said there had been a further 1,017 cases that had previously gone unreported.

In a statement she said the ministry had asked health facilities across the kingdom to submit their testing registers to the National COVID-19 Laboratory in Mbabane.

‘From these records, it was found that there were 1,017 unreported COVID-19 cases who were tested and treated within certain health facilities.’

She added, ‘Cases of those who died were recorded immediately so as to facilitate their burial, thus the backlog is not inclusive of those who died while undergoing treatment.’

She said as of 12 April 2021 a total of 18,393 people tested positive and 669 died. A total 17,682 had recovered and there were now only 39 ‘active cases’ in Swaziland. She said cases were ‘at an all-time low’.

In a separate statement, Nkosi said the Swazi Government had obtained US$15.8 million from the Kirsh Foundation and US$1.5 million from the Taiwanese Government to fund the purchase of vaccines. Swaziland was also hoping to secure 100,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik vaccine.

To date the kingdom has only received 32,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and there were no firm dates for receiving further supplies

See also

Chaos as Swaziland halts coronavirus vaccination of elderly


Swaziland running out of coronavirus vaccines, no firm date to receive more