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Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Two prodemocracy Swaziland MPs facing ‘terrorism’ charges denied bail for second time

Two prodemocracy Swaziland (eSwatini) members of parliament charged under the Suppression of Terrorism Act had their second application for bail refused on a legal technicality.

The High Court ruled on Tuesday (14 September 2021) that it did not have the standing to hear the case involving Mduduzi Bacede Mabuza and Mthandeni Dube because it had previously made a ruling. The bail application would have to be heard by the kingdom’s Supreme Court. The trial itself is expected to start on 11 October. The pair have been in jail on remand since July.

Swaziland is not a democracy and over the past months protests for reform have been repressed with excessive might from police and security forces.

Political parties are barred from taking part in elections and groups advocating for reform are banned under the Suppression of Terrorism Act. No members of the kingdom’s Senate chamber are elected by the people and the King appoints the Prime Minister, cabinet ministers and top judges among others.

Mabuza and Dube were arrested while on their way to present a resolution to parliament, on behalf of the people, to amend the constitution to allow the people to have a say in the election of their prime minister.

See also

People of Swaziland deserve justice over lives lost in recent political unrest, human rights group reports

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2021/09/people-of-swaziland-deserve-justice.html

 

Swaziland prodemocracy protesters take their case to UN

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2021/09/swaziland-prodemocracy-protesters-take.html

 

Security forces set up roadblocks across Swaziland to hinder prodemocracy protests https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2021/09/security-forces-set-up-roadblocks.html

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Swaziland soldiers ‘assault party-goers, force them to eat raw meat’

Soldiers in Swaziland (eSwatini) have been accused of assaulting a group of young people who had been having a braai (barbecue) at a private home.

It happened at Mbangweni on Saturday (11 September 2021) when a group were celebrating a 21st birthday. Soldiers heard them and demanded that they leave the home because they were breaking a curfew. When they did so they were allegedly assaulted.

This was one of a string of alleged assaults made by army personnel on civilians in Swaziland.

The Times of eSwatini reported armed soldiers entered the house and kicked open doors and assaulted people who were not involved in the celebrations, according to a participant it called Andile.

It reported, ‘Andile further narrated that the soldiers allegedly forced them all out to the tar road where they were forced to do push-ups with their fists for over 30 minutes. He alleged that while doing the push-ups, they were assaulted with a mop stick.

‘Andile said the mop stick broke and the soldiers allegedly took a thorny hedge stick and assaulted them with it. He explained that while they were doing the push-ups, the soldiers brought some of the half-cooked meat and threw it on the ground and forced them to eat it. He said some of the meat was still raw and hot from the fire.’

It added, ‘Andile alleged that some swallowed bones due to the manner they were forced to eat the meat.’

An Army spokesman would not comment on the allegations.

Soldiers in Swaziland have a long history of assaults on civilians. In September 2020 a video was widely circulated on the Internet that appeared to show two soldiers whipping two civilians. The 30-second video showed two men laying on the ground while one was whipped with what appeared to be a branch of a tree. It was reported the assault went on for several minutes.

In November 2019 a pregnant woman was slapped and thrown to the ground by two soldiers at Nsubane in the southeast of the kingdom. When she went to the army barracks to report the matter she was assaulted again.

In March 2019 the High Court ruled the army should pay E70,000 damages to a man it tortured. High Court Principal Judge Qinisile Mabuza also criticised the kingdom’s police for not investigating alleged assaults on civilians by members of the army.

In October 2018 soldiers were said to have tortured farmers who crossed the border at Dwalile to retrieve their straying cattle.

In a separate case in June 2018 three soldiers were charged with assault for burying a man alive after they accused him of stealing a phone from them at Mbekelweni.

See also

Swaziland Army investigates after video showing ‘soldiers whipping civilians’ goes viral 

 

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/09/swaziland-army-investigates-after-video.html

 

Army tortures recruitment cheats  

 https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2017/02/army-tortures-recruitment-cheats.html

 

Army sexual assaults at border posts 

https://swazimedia.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/army-sexual-assaults-at-border-posts.html

 

Soldiers inspect woman’s private parts 

http://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2017/06/soldiers-inspect-womans-private-parts.html

Sunday, 12 September 2021

People of Swaziland deserve justice over lives lost in recent political unrest, human rights group reports

The people of Swaziland (eSwatini) should exercise their right to choose their political system and justice must be done for lives lost during the continuing unrest in the kingdom, according to a briefing paper from the South Africa-based Helen Suzman Foundation just released.

Swaziland is not a democracy and over the past months protests for reform have been repressed with excessive might from police and security forces.

Political parties are barred from taking part in elections and groups advocating for reform are banned under the Suppression of Terrorism Act. No members of the kingdom’s Senate chamber are elected by the people and the King appoints the Prime Minister, cabinet ministers and top judges among others.

At least 21 protestors had reportedly been killed by 30 June 2021. HSF reports, ‘Video clips surfaced on social media of police officers physically assaulting protesters and using live ammunition at the violent protests. The UN Human Rights Committee on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) had previously noted its concerns over the use of force by the government of eSwatini.

‘In particular, it raised concerns regarding the permissive conditions in Article 41 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act and provisions of the Public Order Act which leaves it to the discretion of individual police officers to decide whether it is expedient to use force. In essence, the police force have violated the right to security of the person using this legal provision.

‘Around the 30 June 2021, the government ordered an internet shutdown to make it difficult for the people of eSwatini to communicate within its borders and with the outside world. For instance, MTN admitted to shutting down the internet following a directive from the eSwatini Communications Committee. This led to an urgent application in the High Court of eSwatini by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC).’

SALC said the said internet shutdown led to violation of freedom of expressions, information and association. The matter has yet to be heard.

On 2 July 2021, The Southern African Development Community (SADC) started a fact-finding mission in Swaziland through the SADC Organ Troika on Politics, Defence and Security. This was criticised by civil society organisations as being too late and out of touch.

HSF said, ‘The government’s response to the political demands of the people for a reform of the current monarchy into a democratic government ought not to have been the use of force or limitation and infringement of freedom of expression, and sharing and attaining of information. This violated its domestic laws and international obligations.’

See also

Swaziland prodemocracy protesters take their case to UN

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2021/09/swaziland-prodemocracy-protesters-take.html

 

Security forces set up roadblocks across Swaziland to hinder prodemocracy protests https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2021/09/security-forces-set-up-roadblocks.html

 

Police, army block political protests across Swaziland  https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2021/09/police-army-block-political-protests.html

Saturday, 11 September 2021

Swaziland prodemocracy protesters take their case to UN

Hundreds of prodemocracy demonstrators in Swaziland (eSwatini) gathered outside the UN office inn the kingdom’s capital Mbabane demanding an end to King Mswati’s absolute monarchy.

Ten representatives of the Political Party Assembly (PPA), a coalition of five banned political parties, met with the UN Resident Coordinator, Nathalie Ndongo-She on Friday (10 September 2021).

Swaziland is not a democracy. Political parties are barred from taking part in elections and groups advocating for reform are banned under the Suppression of Terrorism Act. No members of the kingdom’s Senate chamber are elected by the people and the King appoints the Prime Minister, cabinet ministers and top judges among others.

The meeting was part of a Global Week of Action that included efforts to deliver petitions of protest at local government offices and an attempt to block the border with South Africa.

Later, the UN issued a statement on social media, ‘The United Nations continues to stand in solidarity with the people of eSswatini & is working to help restore peace to the nation.’

Sibongile Mazibuko, President of the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress (NNLC), who was one of the political leaders who delivered the petition said King Mswati refused to engage them on democratic reforms despite numerous attempts. 

‘We have reached a point whereby we have no alternative but to approach the United Nations because there are UN Conventions which he signed. We have seen the United Nations resolving political conflicts in countries like Sudan and we believe they will take action and assist us achieve democracy,’ she said.

See also

Security forces set up roadblocks across Swaziland to hinder prodemocracy protests

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2021/09/security-forces-set-up-roadblocks.html

 

Police, army block political protests across Swaziland 

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2021/09/police-army-block-political-protests.html

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Security forces set up roadblocks across Swaziland to hinder prodemocracy protests

Police and security forces set up roadblocks across Swaziland (eSwatini) to stop people joining prodemocracy protests at the kingdom’s border with South Africa.

Solders were deployed at the border gate at Matsamo after a proposed blockade had been announced. Cars were searched at Lozitha, Mankayane, Luyengo, Mahlanya and Mvutshini.

On the South African side, the Confederation of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) organised a demonstration. Police fired shots in the air and used teargas to push back the crowd of protestors.

The actions on Thursday (9 September 2021) were part of a Global Week of Action in support of democratic reform. Swaziland is ruled by King Mswati III as an absolute monarch. Political parties are barred from taking part in elections and group advocating democracy are banned under the Suppression of Terrorism Act. No members of the kingdom’s Senate chamber are elected by the people.

See also

Police, army block political protests across Swaziland 

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2021/09/police-army-block-political-protests.html

Plan to blockade Swaziland border as campaign for democracy intensifies 

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2021/09/plan-to-blockade-swaziland-border-as.html

Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Police, army block political protests across Swaziland

Swaziland (eSwatini) police and soldiers were out in numbers to block prodemocracy marches across the kingdom at the start of an intended global week of action.

Campaigners hoped to deliver petitions of complaint to various constituency centres in the kingdom ruled by King Mswati III as an absolute monarch. Pollical parties are barred from taking part in elections and groups advocating democracy are banned under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.

On Monday (6 September 2021) police dispersed gatherings, marches or petitions at many places including Ludzeludze, Ntondozi, Lugongolweni, Ntfonjeni, Kukhanyeni, Manzini North and Manzini South.

At Sidwala, protestors held a political meeting and later people sang political songs. They tried to march to Mankayane but police dispersed them.

Meanwhile, about 100 Lomahasha and Shewula youth managed to march despite police roadblocks but they could not deliver a petition.

More than 300 people were cornered by police to stop them from marching to deliver a petition to the Nhlangano Police Station. They managed to march to the bus rank, but were quickly turned back by police and Correctional officers.

The protestors sang and danced while police took pictures and videos of them.

More than 20 police from the Siteki Police Station and Lubombo Regional Police Headquarters stopped about 20 Lugongolweni youth members from holding a prayer service at the Siteki Town Council Hall.

Soldiers were deployed at Siphofaneni to deter protestors who intended to march in the town. The Times of eSwatini reported allegations that soldiers assaulted five people.

See also

Plan to blockade Swaziland border as campaign for democracy intensifies

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2021/09/plan-to-blockade-swaziland-border-as.html

Sunday, 5 September 2021

Plan to blockade Swaziland border as campaign for democracy intensifies

South African trade unionists plan to blockade the border with Swaziland (eSwatini) in support of a campaign for democracy in the kingdom.

COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions) intends to block three border posts on the South African side. It is in support of the Swaziland Global Week of Action that starts on Monday (6 September 2021), it said in a statement.

The blockade will take place on Wednesday.

The action is being taken in partnership with a number of Swaziland prodemocracy groups. Swaziland is ruled by King Mswati III as an absolute monarch. Political parties are banned from taking part in elections and groups advocating democracy are outlawed under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.

Earlier this year there was extensive violence across the kingdom and according to some reports at least 70 people were killed by security forces during prodemocracy protests.

See also

Swaziland Army in ‘full charge’ after protests, many killed, Human Rights Watch reports

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2021/07/swaziland-army-in-full-charge-after.html