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Thursday, 23 September 2021

One in five Swazis in food crisis, need ‘urgent humanitarian assistance’

More than one in five people in Swaziland (eSwatini) face food shortages that require ‘urgent humanitarian assistance,’ according to the latest hunger analysis of the kingdom.

Nearly 262,000 of Swaziland’s estimated 1.2 million population are affected. A further 342,000 people are in a state of stress, according to the IPC (Integrated Food Security Phase Classification) analysis covering the three months up to September 2021.

The situation is slightly worse than last year and it is expected to continue deteriorating, IPC reported.

‘The likely impact of the COVID-19 [coronavirus] pandemic, high commodity prices and poor performance of the agricultural season will greatly influence this increase,’ it added.

It said, ‘The outbreak of Covid-19 negatively impacted the livelihoods of households through the mitigation actions, such as lockdowns, taken to prevent the spread of the virus.

It added dry spells in November and December 2020 reduced harvests and above normal rains in February 2021 caused flooding and crop damage in some areas.

It recommended, ‘Government and development partners should consider providing the urgently-needed resources to enable sourcing and delivery of critical life-saving food assistance to populations facing significant food consumption gaps.’

See also

Swaziland girls, 15, sell selves for sex to feed families impoverished by coronavirus lockdown

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2021/04/girls-15-sell-selves-for-sex-to-feed.html

 

Nearly 60,000 people in Swaziland face looming starvation and death: Save The Children https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2021/03/nearly-60000-people-in-swaziland-face.html

 

‘Urgent action needed to save lives’ as hunger grips Swaziland https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2021/02/urgent-action-needed-to-save-lives-as.html

 

One in three people in Swaziland in urgent need of food, Deputy PM reports https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/12/one-in-three-people-in-swaziland-in.html

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Swaziland Army ‘teargas, injure striking students in their college rooms’

Swaziland (eSwatini) soldiers reportedly attacked striking students in their college rooms, firing teargas.

Many students were assaulted with batons and sticks; some suffered head injuries and broken limbs, according to a statement from the Communist Party of Swaziland.

It happened at William Pitcher teacher training college on Sunday (19 September 2021). ‘At least three members of the Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS) were targeted by the military and heavily assaulted. One suffered heavy bleeding from the head, while the others had broken arms, among other injuries on their bodies,’ the statement read.

The following day the college was closed indefinitely.

Students boycotted examinations in protest at not being paid their allowances. They want a refund of E4,900 from the past academic year and E1,900 outstanding allowance for this year.

One of the members of the Students Representative Council Bheka Mabuza told the Times of eSwatini they were seeking a refund as they had been away from campus for close to four months because of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions.

See also

Swaziland’s largest university closed as students protest over unpaid scholarships

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/11/swazilands-largest-university-closed-as.html

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