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Wednesday, 20 June 2018

SWAZI KING EXTENDS VOTER REGISTRATION

King Mswati III Swaziland’s absolute monarch has extended voter registration in his kingdom for another 11 days even though the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) announced 87 percent of eligible voters had registered by the deadline on Sunday (17 June 2018).

EBC chair Chief Gija Dlamini said the King had done this following reports that there had been a high turnout on the final day. He did not disclose how many people registered on the final day. 

On the day registration ended the Sunday Observer a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati reported the EBC saying that as of 16 June 2018 ‘over 590,000 voters were registered’.

On Monday after registration closed the EBC announced that 526,073 people had registered to vote for the election in September, about 70,000 fewer than it had reported previously. The Swazi Observer, also owned by the King, reported on Tuesday the number registering was ‘unprecedented’. It said it represented 87 percent of those entitled to vote. 

At the last election in 2013, 414,704 people registered to vote according to the EBC’s election report published in 2017. This contradicted the number of 411,084 it had released at the time of registration.

The EBC said on Tuesday it could not give a date when the voters’ roll would be available for public inspection but gave no reason.

The King’s order and the EBC misrepresentation of registration numbers throws doubt over the election that is widely considered outside of Swaziland to be undemocratic.

Throughout the registration period there have been reports of incompetence, corruption and nepotism. Police are to vet all nominated candidates ahead of the vote.

There is confusion about how many people are eligible to vote in the election. When the process started on 13 May 2018 the EBC said it was 500,000, later after public scepticism about the figure’s accuracy it increased the number to 600,000. The EBC said it based its figure on the 2017 population census in Swaziland that put the number of people living in the kingdom aged 18 and over (the voting age) at 625,629. Data published by CIA Factbook based on 2017 figures puts the estimated population at 1.4 million and suggests the number of voters is between 700,000 and 800,000.

The EBC has a history of poor performance since it was inaugurated in 2008. It took four years for it to produce its official report on the last election in 2013 and it has still not published the full results. The winners in each constituency have been announced but the number of votes cast for each candidate competing have not.

When registration began this year equipment was not in place at all centres and trained election personnel were not always available and there were many reports of computer failures. A toll-free line available for people to report grievances and challenges they met at registration centres failed to work on MTN mobile phone numbers. Many people did not receive voter cards after registering, leaving them in doubt that they would be able to cast their vote.

Reports of attempted bribery were rife across the kingdom where King Mswati III rules as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch and political parties are banned from taking part in elections. Elections in Swaziland are widely regarded as not democratic by observers outside the kingdom. The King choses the Prime Minister and government ministers and the parliament has no powers as these rest with the King. 

At Maphungwane in the Matsanjeni North Constituency football teams rejected a E10,000 (US$790) sponsorship from an aspiring member of parliament. The Swazi Observer reported (18 May 2018) that the sponsorship was in the form of prize money that would be paid at the end of the football season and after the election had been held.

The newspaper reported the clubs’ representatives questioned the timing of the sponsorship and rejected the offer. One club boss told the Observer that aspiring MPs had also tried to manipulate them in the past.

There was a report that police in Swaziland were investigating possible election corruption concerning a former government minister accused of bribing people with promises of food parcels for their votes. 

Poverty-stricken textile workers said they sold their votes for cash and chicken pieces. The Swazi Observer reported sitting members of parliament had sent their agents into factories to buy up votes in the industrial town of Matsapha. People said they were persuaded to register as residents of the surrounding areas as opposed to their chiefdoms of origin. 

Other textile workers in Nhlangano said groups of 50 or 60 of them had been given free lunches by sponsors of people keen to win seats in parliament. They also said transport costs to and from work had been paid. The Swazi Observer reported on Friday (15 June 2018) that some outgoing MPs were involved.

Residents at Mbangweni complained of nepotism when four people selected to assist in the election were from the same family. The Swazi Observer reported Inkhosatana Gelane, the acting KoNtshingila chief, saying they were ‘loyal and respectful residents’. 

Many residents in areas including Engwenyameni, Madadeni, and Lavumisa, said they would boycott the election because they were dissatisfied with how constituency boundaries had been drawn. 

Days before registration closed EBC Chair Chief Gija Dlamini told media that all persons nominated for election would be vetted by police. 

At past elections people only got to select 55 of 65 members of the House of Assembly. The King chose the other 10. At this election there will be an additional four seats for people to vote for. It has not been announced how many members the King will choose but the Swaziland Constitution allows him to pick up to ten. 

As in previous years, none of the 30 members of the Swazi Senate will be elected by the people; the King will choose 20 and the other 10 will be chosen by members of the House of Assembly.


See also

PEOPLE NOT ELECTING THEIR GOVERNMENT
CHORUS AGAINST UNDEMOCRATIC ELECTION GROWS
https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2018/06/chorus-against-swazi-election-grows.html

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

PEOPLE NOT ELECTING THEIR GOVERNMENT

People in Swaziland / Eswatini have been misled into believing they are about to elect a government at the forthcoming national election. They are not.

Swaziland is ruled by King Mswati III who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. Political parties are banned from taking part in the election and King Mswati chooses the Prime Minister and senior government ministers.

The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) made the false claim that Swazi people were about to elect a government as it announced that 526,073 people had registered to vote for the election in September. The Swazi Observer a newspaper in effect owned by the King reported on Tuesday (19 June 2018) the number was ‘unprecedented’. It said the number represented 87 percent of those entitled to vote. At the last election in 2013 411,084 people registered to vote.

The Observer quoted Mbonisi Bhembe spokesperson for the EBC saying, ‘This is true democracy at play and it is quite fascinating to realise that Emaswati [Swazis] really want to participate in the election of the government.’

The elections are held every five years. At past elections people only got to select 55 of 65 members of the House of Assembly. The King chose the other 10. At the forthcoming election there will be an additional four seats for people to vote for. It has not been announced how many members the King will choose but the Swaziland Constitution allows him to pick up to ten.

As in previous years, none of the 30 members of the Swazi Senate will be elected by the people; the King will choose 20 and the other 10 will be chosen by members of the House of Assembly. 

The Institute for Security Studies in 2012 said elections in Swaziland could be defined as ‘organised certainty’, since they changed nothing. It went on to say, ‘The ruling regime enjoys an unchallenged monopoly over state resources, and elections have increasingly become arenas for competition over patronage and not policy. 

This view is not confined to the ISS. The 2013 election observation report of the Commonwealth Expert Team questioned the elections’ credibility because they resulted in ‘a Parliament which does not have power’, because of the ban on political parties. 

The United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office in a report on Swaziland in 2013 said there was no effective democracy in Swaziland. ‘The King has the power summarily to appoint and dismiss ministers, all parliamentary candidates require the approval of their chief (who is dependent on the monarch for wealth and power) and while political parties are not forbidden, they are banned from participating in elections. All candidates must run as independents.’

The European Union Election Experts Mission (EEM) in its report on the 2013 election made much of how the kingdom’s absolute monarchy undermined democracy.

In its report it stated, ‘The King has absolute power and is considered to be above the law, including the Constitution, enjoying the power to assent laws and immunity from criminal proceedings. A bill shall not become law unless the King has assented to it, meaning that the parliament is unable to pass any law which the King is in disagreement with. 

‘The King will refer back the provisions he is not in agreement with, which makes the parliament and its elected chamber, the House of Assembly, ineffective, unable to achieve the objective a parliament is created for: to be the legislative branch of the state and maintain the government under scrutiny.’

The EEM went on to say the ‘main principles for a democratic state are not in place’ in Swaziland.

Richard Rooney

See also

CHORUS AGAINST UNDEMOCRATIC ELECTION GROWS
POLICE TO VET ALL ELECTION CANDIDATES
https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2018/06/police-to-vet-all-election-candidates.html

FAVOURED MOTORING FOR GOVT MINISTERS

While the Swaziland Government is content to have only 12 public ambulances available for the whole kingdom because many are off the road waiting for repair, it has been reported that Government ministers have been given hire cars to use while their government cars are also in the workshop.

The Times Sunday an independent newspaper in Swaziland / Eswatini reported (17 June 2018) ‘their luxurious BMW X5 Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs)’ had developed mechanical faults and were in three garages in Manzini, Matsapha and at the Mbabane Central Transport Administration (CTA) depot.

The rented cars are Isuzu and Ford 4x4 bakkies and BMW 340i sedans.

‘Government has been left to bear the expense of fixing the ministers’ vehicles because their service plans have reportedly been exhausted,’ the Times reported.

The newspaper added, ‘Some of the ministers using rented cars include ICT’s Dumisani Ndlangamandla, Education and Training’s Phineas Magagula, Economic Planning and Development’s Prince Hlangusemphi, Public Works and Transport’s Lindiwe Dlamini, Housing and Urban Development’s Phiwayinkhosi Mabuza, Tinkhundla Administration and Development’s Mduduzi Dlamini, and Agriculture’s Moses Vilakati.

Public Works and Transport Minister Lindiwe Dlamini confirmed the situation. The Times said the minister acknowledged that government was faced with financial challenges.

Last week it was reported there were only 12 public ambulances available in Swaziland to serve a population of 1.1 million. There were reported to be 20 broken-down ambulances in garages that were not being repaired.

Also last week Finance Minister Martin Dlamini told the Swazi House of Assembly that Swaziland was broke and the kingdom was running out of cash. Government suppliers go unpaid and arrears stand at E3.28 billion (US$240 million), he said.

Despite the financial meltdown the Government paid US$30 million to buy Swaziland’s absolute monarch King Mswati III his second private jet plane. It was delivered days ahead of his 50th birthday on 19 April. On that day at a party he wore a watch worth US$1.6 million and a suit weighing 6 kg studded with diamonds.

On 4 June 2018 the government presented the King with a birthday gift described by the Swazi Observer as a ‘luxurious lounge suite trimmed with gold’. In addition, the Queen Mother gave him a dining room suite made of gold. He also received cheques from companies and organisations in his kingdom worth at least E15 million.

See also

ONLY 12 GOVT AMBULANCES IN KINGDOM
https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2018/06/only-12-govt-ambulances-in-kingdom.html

Monday, 18 June 2018

KING’S $1.6m WATCH EQUALS 6 MONTHS' AID

As King Mswati III, the absolute monarch of Swaziland, wears a watch worth US$1.6 million and a suit beaded with gold weighing 6 kg, the World Food Program has said it cannot raise the US$1.1 million it needs to feed starving children in the kingdom.

King Mswati turned 50 in April 2018 and wore the watch and suit at his birthday party. Days earlier he took delivery of his second private jet, a A340 Airbus, that after VIP upgrades reportedly cost US$30 million. He received E15 million (US$1.2 million) in cheques, a gold dining room suite and a gold lounge suite among his birthday gifts.

In a report published at the end of May 2018, the World Food Program said it needed US$1.13 million for the six months to November. It reported that due to lack of funds it had to halt indefinitely the Food by Prescription programme that assists people living with HIV and TB. The programme offers nutrition assessments, counselling and support services to 24,000 malnourished people receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART), treatment for TB, prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) services, as well as support to their families through a monthly household ration.

The report said despite its status as a lower middle-income country, 63 percent of Swazis lived below the national poverty line. Chronic malnutrition is a main concern and stunting of growth affects 26 percent of children under the age of five. The HIV rate in Swaziland is 26 percent of the population between the ages of 15-49. Life expectancy is 49 years, and 45 percent of children are orphaned or vulnerable.

See also

KING EATS OFF GOLD, CHILDREN STARVING
https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2018/06/king-eats-off-gold-children-starving.html

ONLY 12 GOVT AMBULANCES IN KINGDOM

There are only 12 working public ambulances in the whole of Swaziland / Eswatini to serve 1.1 million people as the government fails to maintain them.

It has bought no new ambulances since 2013.

Director of the Emergency Preparedness Response Department under the Ministry of Health, Masitsela Mhlanga told media there were 20 broken-down ambulances in garages that were not being repaired.

The Times of Swaziland reported on Friday (15 June 2018) the country was ‘heading for an imminent peril’.

It reported, ‘Speaking on national radio yesterday morning, Mhlanga said the department was struggling to reach out to the nation due to the shortage of ambulances.’

It added, ‘Mhlanga said the department suffered a great consequence when the ambulances were taken to CTA [Central Transport Administration garages] for repairs because they took too long to return on the road yet there was a high demand for health services.’

He said Swaziland last received new ambulances in 2013 and their service warranties had now expired.

‘He suggested that government should provide another garage that would specialise in the ambulances so that the services would not be disturbed by the delays at the State garage,’ the Times reported.

It added, ‘It was also gathered that another challenge was that at times, the motor vehicles were not properly fixed which resulted in them developing mechanical faults while transporting patients.

The Times reported, ‘Last week, it was reported that an ambulance door was tied with bandages to prevent it from opening while paramedics were ferrying patients to health centres at Dumako area. “Ambulances operate 24 hours so they should be serviced regularly,” Mhlanga said.’ 

It added, ‘He revealed that some work stations had no ambulances at all yet they were expected to provide services to the nation. “People are sick, and accidents happen every day so it is not good for the ministry to run short of ambulances,” he said.’

Last week Finance Minister Martin Dlamini told the Swazi House of Assembly that Swaziland was broke and the kingdom was running out of cash. Government suppliers go unpaid and arrears stand at E3.28 billion (US$240 million), he said.

Despite the financial meltdown the Government paid US$30 million to buy Swaziland’s absolute monarch King Mswati III his second private jet plane. It was delivered days ahead of his 50th birthday on 19 April. On that day at a party he wore a watch worth US$1.6 million and a suit weighing 6 kg studded with diamonds.

On 4 June 2018 the government presented the King with a birthday gift described by the Swazi Observer as a ‘luxurious lounge suite trimmed with gold’. In addition, the Queen Mother gave him a dining room suite made of gold. He also received cheques from companies and organisations in his kingdom worth at least E15 million.

Meanwhile, seven in ten of the 1.1 million population live in abject poverty with incomes less than the equivalent of US$2 per day. The global charity Oxfam named Swaziland as the most unequal country in the world in a report that detailed the differences in countries between the top most earners and those at the bottom.

This month it was reported that children collapsed with hunger in their school because the government had not paid for food for them. The kingdom had previously been warned to expect children to starve because the Swazi Government had not paid its suppliers for the food that is distributed free of charge at schools. The shortage is reported to be widespread across the kingdom.

Medicines, including  vaccines against polio and tuberculosis have run out in many government hospitals and clinics because drug suppliers have not been paid. In June 2017, Senator Prince Kekela told parliament  that at least five people had died as a result of the drug shortages. About US$18 million was reportedly owed to drug companies in May 2017.

See also

SWAZILAND ADMITS IT IS BROKE
KING EATS OFF GOLD, CHILDREN STARVING
https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2018/06/king-eats-off-gold-children-starving.html

Sunday, 17 June 2018

CHORUS AGAINST SWAZI ELECTION GROWS

Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) has joined the growing chorus of international observers to declare elections in Swaziland / Eswatini undemocratic.

King Mswati III rules the kingdom as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch and political parties are banned from taking part and many political activists are labelled ‘terrorists’ under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.
 
Sunit Bagree, Senior Campaigns Officer at ACTSA, writing on the Swaziland Human Rights Network UK website, said, ‘Local chiefs - who report to Mswati III - have enormous influence over elections to the House of Assembly, and the King directly appoints two-thirds of the Senate. Moreover, the King appoints the Prime Minister and he can veto legislation. If anyone criticises the King then they are breaking the law.’ 

Bagree wrote, ‘It is therefore unsurprising that the 2013 national elections were condemned by international observers. For example, the Commonwealth Observer Mission recommended that the constitution should be revisited “through a fully inclusive, consultative process with all Swazi political organisations and civil society to harmonise provisions which are in conflict … to ensure that Swaziland’s commitment to political pluralism is unequivocal”. 

‘Similarly, the European Union (EU) Election Experts Mission highlighted numerous breaches of Swaziland’s international obligations and identified a “fundamental problem [with] the system of government and the respect for the principles of separation of power, rule of law and independence of the judiciary”’.

Bagree called on the Commonwealth and the European Union to do more to bring attention to Swaziland and to be more critical of the absolute monarch, King Mswati.

He wrote, ‘Incredibly, the EU’s Ambassador to Swaziland, Esmeralda Hernandez Aragones, has gone as far as to praise the King’s “wise and strong leadership”’. 

Bagree added, ‘Whenever criticised, both the Commonwealth and the EU are quick to point out that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is highly reluctant to take action on Swaziland. It is true that SADC has failed to hold Swaziland to account for its violations of the SADC Treaty. Indeed, Swaziland’s absolute monarch was actually the Chairperson of SADC for one year from August 2016, during which time he even had the gall to urge the regional organisation’s leaders “to remain committed to the ideals and principles of the SADC Treaty”’.

Bagree wrote, ‘Is simply not enough to note that elections in Swaziland are flawed. The international community must apply strong, consistent and public pressure on Mswati III using a variety of diplomatic and economic levers. Only then will the King accept the need to work with all Swazis, including his political opponents, so that the country develops a democratic constitution and becomes governed by those who are properly elected and truly accountable. And only then will the citizens of Swaziland have a government that is committed to rights, equality and development for all.’

See also

ELECTION WILL ENTRENCH KING
POLICE TO VET ALL ELECTION CANDIDATES

Friday, 15 June 2018

POLICE TO VET ALL ELECTION CANDIDATES

Police will vet all candidates in the forthcoming national election in Swaziland / Eswatini.

The kingdom is ruled by King Mswati III as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. Political parties are banned from taking part in the election and people may only stand as individuals.

The Swazi Observer reported on Friday (15 June 2018) that Chief Gija Dlamini, Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) chair, confirmed, ‘that all persons who will be nominated would be vetted before the next stage of the elections’.

In an interview he said the vetting would be at police headquarters in Mbabane where the fingerprints of all candidates would be checked.

‘All nominated candidates will be required to go to police headquarters to be vetted and a record will then be forwarded to us,’ he told the newspaper.

The paper added, ‘When asked to state the purpose of the vetting process, Chief Gija was not clear saying that was an issue for the courts.’

Nominations are due to take place on 28 and 29 July 2018 ahead of a final election on 21 September 2018.

According to the EBC, nominations take place at the chiefdoms. On the day of nomination, the name of the nominee is raised by a show of hand and the nominee is given an opportunity to indicate whether he or she accepts the nomination. If he or she accepts it, he or she must be supported by at least ten members of that chiefdom. The minimum number of nominees is three and the maximum is twenty. The nomination process takes place in the open, persons are nominated by a show of hand and the nomination is done by the community. Those nominated then contest elections at primary level.

Elections in Swaziland are widely recognised outside of the kingdom as undemocratic. Parliament has no powers as these are vested in the King. After the election, the King will chose the Prime Minister, government ministers and the top civil servants and judges. At past elections people only got to select 55 of 65 members of the House of Assembly. The King chose the other 10. At the forthcoming election there will be an additional four seats for people to vote for. It has not been announced how many members the King will choose but the Swaziland Constitution allows him to pick up to ten.

As in previous years, none of the 30 members of the Swazi Senate will be elected by the people; the King will choose 20 and the other 10 will be chosen by members of the House of Assembly. 

See also

ELECTION WILL ENTRENCH KING’S POWER
CONFUSION OVER VOTER NUMBERS
POLICE PROBE ELECTION “CORRUPTION’
https://swazimedia.blogspot.co.uk/2018/05/police-probe-election-corruption.html

SWAZILAND ADMITS IT IS BROKE

Despite finding US$30 million to buy the kingdom’s absolute monarch King Mswati III a second private plane, earmarking E1.5bn (US$125m) this year to build a conference centre and five-star hotel to host the African Union summit in 2020 that will last only eight days, budgeting E5.5 million to build Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini a retirement house, and planning for a new parliament building that will cost E2.3 billion, the Finance Minister of Swaziland / Eswatini Martin Dlamini has publicly admitted the kingdom is broke.

He told parliament that there was not enough money to pay public servants’ salaries or to pay government suppliers and things were set to get worse.

This was despite the government in the March 2018 budget increasing Value Added Tax (VAT) by 1 percent to 15 percent, increasing electricity tariffs and freezing pensions for people aged 60 and over.

The Swazi Observer newspaper reported on Friday (15 June 2018) that Dlamini highlighted three main areas of budget spending: salaries (E7.7 billion), transfers to government-subvented enterprises (E5.8 billion), and statutory expenditure including debt service (E2.3 billion) that added up to E16 billion. This accounted for the total amount of revenue available to the government, he said.

The newspaper added, ‘The projected cashflow deficit by the end of the present financial year would be E7.1 billion. As at March 31, 2018, government arrears stood at E3.28 billion.’

Dlamini said budget projections indicated ‘exponential growth in the arrears,’ the Observer reported. He added that issuing government bonds to get more cash was unlikely to improve the situation. 

The cash balance at the end of the first quarter of the financial year was expected to be negative and continue growing, despite the receipt of Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) revenue at the start of each quarter. 

The Observer reported, ‘Dlamini further mentioned that government’s cashflow position had an enormous impact on the payment of government’s trading partners, including suppliers and contractors, as well as government’s overall ability to meet its priority expenditure obligations such as salaries, debt service, statutory payments and transfers. 

‘For the month of June alone, a total of E1.1 billion was required to settle priority expenditure that could not be postponed. Of this amount, E702 million was for June salaries (including payment of on-call allowances of E56 million), E363 million was for outstanding deductions for pensions and cooperatives due in May 2018.’

It added, ‘Dlamini said it was essential that government reduced its spending to financeable levels by identifying areas for possible cuts and cost-saving.’

Despite the financial crisis King Mswati, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, continues to live a lavish lifestyle.

On Monday last week King Mswati received gifts of furniture made of gold and at least E15 million in cheques to mark his 50th birthday that fell on 19 April 2018. On that day he wore a watch worth US$1.6 million and a suit weighing 6 kg studded with diamonds. Days earlier he had taken delivery of his second private jet. This one, an Airbus A340, cost US$13.2 to purchase but with VIP upgrades was estimated to have cost US$30 million.

He also has thirteen palaces and fleets of top-of-the-range BMW and Mercedes cars.

Meanwhile, seven in ten of the 1.1 million population live in abject poverty with incomes less than the equivalent of US$2 per day. The global charity Oxfam named Swaziland as the most unequal country in the world in a report that detailed the differences in countries between the top most earners and those at the bottom.

Last week it was reported that children collapsed with hunger in their school because the government had not paid for food for them. The kingdom had previously been warned to expect children to starve because the Swazi Government had not paid its suppliers for the food that is distributed free of charge at schools. The shortage is reported to be widespread across the kingdom.

Medicines, including  vaccines against polio and tuberculosis have run out in many government hospitals and clinics because drug suppliers have not been paid. In June 2017, Senator Prince Kekela told parliament  that at least five people had died as a result of the drug shortages. About US$18 million was reportedly owed to drug companies in May 2017.

See also

KING EATS OFF GOLD, CHILDREN STARVING
MEDICINE SHORTAGE: FIVE DIE
SWAZI BUDGET A TALE OF WOE

Thursday, 14 June 2018

FEAR OF RITUAL KILLINGS GROWS

Something close to panic has gripped Swaziland / Eswatini as the fear that children will be kidnapped and ritually murdered has taken hold.

The Swazi Observer reported on Thursday (14 June 2018) that 258 children absconded from school at Mafutseni Children’s Cup Care Point in fear of being kidnapped and killed.

It reported one of the teachers Zine Mkhwanazi told a meeting of parents children were afraid to go to the school because of an incident in May where a 16-year-old boy escaped from three knife-wielding men who had cornered him in a forest and tried to slice his throat in what was believed to be a ritual murder attempt. The boy escaped and was admitted to hospital.

The newspaper reported Mkhwanazi said what happened scared everyone, more so, because the attempt on the boy was made at a spot children pass on their way to school.

The Swazi Observer reported on Tuesday (12 June 2018) that parents were now trailing their children wherever they go. ‘It is said some of the parents even accompany their children to Sunday school, just to make sure prowling killers do not go near them,’ it reported. Parents also go with their children to school.

This has happened after reports, many unconfirmed, that children across Swaziland are being abducted and ritually murdered. Body parts are then said to be used in muti to create spells to bring good luck. There is a belief that some people are doing this to help them win seats in the forthcoming National Assembly election.

The Observer quoted one concerned parent saying, ‘Elections are a curse to some of us as that’s the period where children go missing. It’s bad that such incidents are now associated with the elections and it paints a bad picture of the country because in the eyes of the world we are known as a nation where ritual murders are rife during elections.’

Another parent said, ‘There is fear that when we let our children leave school on their own, that places them in danger.’

The Times of Swaziland reported on Thursday (14 June 2018) an alleged ritual killer was assaulted by a mob and set on fire at Mafutseni. It happened after a man made a joke that his own blood was not fit to be used as muti. A mob singled him out as a ritual killer because he appeared to have knowledge about how blood was used to make spells. It added the incident happened about a month after one of the man’s relative went missing.

See also

RITUAL KILLINGS LINKED TO ELECTION

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

CIVIL SERVANTS ELECTION RESTRICTION

Civil servants in Swaziland / Eswatini who owe government money will be restricted from standing as candidates in the forthcoming national election in the kingdom.

This was announced by Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, Evart Madlopha.

The Times of Swaziland reported on Wednesday (13 June 2018) he said civil servants with study loans, car loans, advanced loans, and other loans from government would be affected.

The newspaper added, ‘He said government was alive to the fact that some civil servants owed huge amounts which they could not be in a position to pay before the start of the elections.’

He added civil servants would need to make what he called a ‘convincing commitment’ to repay the money. There is a fear that if a civil servant was elected they would not repay loans. At present money for loans can be deducted from salaries. 

The Times interviewed President of the National Public Service and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU), Aubrey Sibiya, who called the government position ‘oppressive’ to civil servants.
The election is due to take place on 21 September 2018.

See also

ELECTION WILL ENTRENCH KING’S POWER
WHY SWAZILAND ELECTION IS BOGUS
https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2017/07/why-swaziland-election-is-bogus.html