The year 2013 ended as it had started with the Swaziland state oppressing any kind of dissent. Observers of the Swazi scene were not at all surprised in December when armed police and security forces stopped a memorial service for the recently deceased Nelson Mandela from taking part in Manzini, Swaziland’s main business city. Prodemocracy supporters had called the prayer to celebrate the life of Mandela the freedom fighter and to draw attention to the need for democratic reforms in the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
Also, in December 2013, the United States recognised that workers in Swaziland were being oppressed by the state and the country’s State Department instigated an investigation into the situation in the kingdom. If found wanting, Swaziland could lose valuable trade concessions with the US.
An independent survey into Swaziland published this month showed that two thirds of Swazi people questioned wanted democracy. This call for freedom was ignored by King Mswati who continued to try to sell his idea of ‘Monarchical Democracy’ which allows him to retain all important powers in the kingdom.
Meanwhile, the King has still not released the full results of the national election held in his kingdom in September 2013.
These are some of the highlights of life in Swaziland in December 2013 brought together in a volume of compilations from the Swazi Media Commentary blogsite and published free-of-charge on the scribd website.
Swazi Media Commentary has no physical base and is completely independent of any political faction and receives no income from any individual or organisation. People who contribute ideas or write for it do so as volunteers and receive no payment.
Swazi Media Commentary is published online – updated most days – bringing information, comment and analysis in support of democracy in the kingdom.