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Wednesday, 8 December 2010


Both Swaziland’s Accountant General and the Attorney General are being hauled before the High Court on Friday (10 December 2010) because the Swazi Government has refused to pay legal costs in a major discrimination case it lost in the Supreme Court.

The Government owes Mary-Joyce Doo Aphane E33 962.15 (about US$50,000) – the sum it was ordered to pay when she successfully convinced the court that women could register property in their own name. Swazi traditional law says women are minors and have no rights.

But no money has been forthcoming. By not paying up now, the Swazi Government looks petty mean and spiteful.

But also, how typical. The Swazi Government has a long history of ignoring the rule of law.

Barnabas Dlamini, the present illegally-appointed Prime Minister, caused international outrage among key donors and international human rights groups when he was previously in office in November 2002.

At that time he said the government would not recognise two court judgements challenging the right of King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, to rule by decree.

All six judges in the Swaziland Appeal Court resigned in protest. They returned to their posts two years later after a new Prime Minister, Themba Dlamini, was appointed by the King.

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