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Thursday, 18 April 2019

Norwegian Labour Party criticises Swaziland King for neglecting own people

Kenworthy News Media,

The largest political party in the Norwegian parliament, the Norwegian Labour Party Arbeiderpartiet, criticised the absolute monarchy of Swaziland in a resolution presented at its national congress, writes Kenworthy News Media.

‘Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) is one of the world’s last absolute monarchies. King Mswati has almost absolute power. While the population of Eswatini suffers from partial extreme poverty, the king lives an extravagant life of luxury.  Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV-Aids-infection per capita. But treating those who are infected or preventing further spread of the disease is not a priority,’ a statement from the Norwegian Labour Party Arbeiderpartiets national congress reads.

‘King Mswati must be criticized for neglecting the humanitarian needs of his own people, including hunger, as well as for the silencing of oppositional voices,’ the statement, titled Stronger together: a safer and better organized world, adds.

‘The citizens of Eswatini are forced to follow the orders of the king. Organised opposition is restricted and union leaders and oppositional forces are persecuted. Norway must take greater responsibility for securing the needs of the people of Eswatini internationally,’ the statement concludes.

The statement also criticises international tax evasion and the lack of action in regard to global warming, amongst an array of other issues.

See also

Swaziland is not in the ‘first world’

Denmark questions King on rights

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Swaziland prince who called for dissenting journalists to be killed, dies

Prince Mahlaba, a senior member of the Swazi Royal Family who called for journalists who opposed King Mswati III to be killed, has died.

Mahlaba was a stanch opponent of democracy in Swaziland / eSwatini where King Mswati rules as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.

In 2010, he received international condemnation when he said, ‘Journalists who write bad things about the country will die.’ He made his threat at a Smart Partnership meeting.

A Times of Swaziland report at the time quoted Prince Mahlaba saying, ‘I want to warn the media to bury things that have the potential of undermining the country, rather than publish all and everything even when such reports are harmful to the country’s international image.’ 

His threat became an international scandal. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) rallied behind the Swazi media and condemned Mahlaba. Internet sites from every continent carried news criticising the prince and by extension the whole undemocratic regime in Swaziland.

The South Africa National Editors' Forum (Sanef) said Mahlaba’s accusations against journalists and about how they operated ‘were outrageous and contemptuously rejected, but the threat to kill journalists who wrote critically about the governance and leadership of the country was extremely menacing, designed to intimidate journalists and their publications.’ 

Prince Mahlaba was an important member of Liqoqo, the group of traditionalists who advise the King, and was appointed to the Swaziland Senate by the King. He was also famed for his opposition to the Swaziland Constitution that came into place in 2006. 

In 2009, the Times of Swaziland reported Prince Mahlaba stormed out of a meeting of Liqoqo describing the Swazi Constitution as ‘rubbish’ because it took powers away from the King. The newspaper said he reportedly believed the constitution granted people rights to do as they pleased.

Prince Mahlaba, a soldier by background, complained to Liqoqo that the constitution took all powers from the King and vested them upon judges of the High Court. 

According to a report in the Times Sunday, Prince Mahlaba also believed the constitution ‘grants people absolute rights to misbehave in the name of freedom of expression and get away with it’.
Called to comment on these allegations he said the constitution was crafted for the educated elite, saying he was uneducated, hence the constitution was not meant for him.

In July 2010, Alec Lushaba, editor of the Weekend Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati himself, asked the King at a press conference if he agreed with comments made previously by Prince Masitsela (another senior member of the Swazi Royal Family) that Swaziland needed to review its current political status if it wanted to meet its stated aim of becoming a ‘first world’ country.

According to a report in the Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom (23 July 2010), the question sparked an angry intervention from Prince Mahlaba.

Prince Mahlaba denounced Lushaba as ‘not Swazi enough’ to know what he was talking about. Prince Mahlaba claimed that the Swazi people were all behind the present system of government and did not want change.

When Prince Mahlaba allowed the King to answer the question, King Mswati said prospects of reviewing the kingdom’s political system were closed.

The Times reported that Lushaba told the King that political dissenters were also Swazi people and should be called so they could tell the King what their problems were.

King Mswati, who has banned political parties in Swaziland and branded groups who are in opposition to him terrorists, said dissenters would not be entertained.

Prince Mahlaba, who was born in 1948, died in South Africa. The cause of death has not been made public.

Swazi prince blamed for loan delay

CPJ attacks ‘death threat’ prince

‘Death threat’ prince condemned

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Swaziland’s king appoints 28 members of his family to kingdom’s committees and boards

King Mswati III, the absolute monarch of Swaziland / eSwatini, has appointed seventeen members of his own family to the kingdom’s two most influential advisory committees.

This is in addition to the eight members of the Royal Family he previously appointed to the Swazi Senate and six to the House of Assembly.

The announcement of the appointments was made in a statement from the King’s Office. 

King Mswati appointed 10 princes and princesses to the 23-member Liqoqo, a supreme traditional advisory body which is also known as the Swazi National Council Standing Committee. This group rules on matters relating to Swazi traditional law and customs.

King Mswati also appointed seven members of his family to the 17-member Ludzidzini Council, a group of senior traditionalists centred around the King’s Ludzidzini Palace. The Ludzidzini governor is also known as the traditional prime minister and has more status in the kingdom than Ambrose Dlamini the man King Mswati appointed Prime Minister to lead the cabinet the King also hand-picked.

As well as the 17 members of his family he appointed to Liqoqo and Ludzidzini, King Mswati appointed a further 11 princes and princesses to five other committees.

The Swaziland Solidarity Network, a group banned in Swaziland because it advocates for multi-party democracy, said in a statement, ‘These appointments by King Mswati confirms our long held view that the king believes that the country is his own farm where he does what he wants without taking into consideration the people’s views or interests.’

In October 2018, following the national election, King Mswati appointed eight members of his Royal Family to the kingdom’s Senate and six to the House of Assembly. Elections for the House of Assembly were held on 21 September 2018. Political parties are banned from taking part and people are only allowed to select 59 members; the King appoints a further 10. No members of the 30-member Senate are elected by the people. The King also chooses the Prime Minister and Cabinet ministers as well as senior civil servants and top judges.

The full results of the 2018 House of Assembly elections have not been made public by the Elections and Boundaries Commission, the group that ran the election. Only the names of the winning candidate in each constituency is readily available. Withholding of results is common in Swaziland; the full results of the previous House of Assembly election in 2013 are not public.

Swaziland was a British Protectorate until 1968. In the years following independence Swaziland was a parliamentary democracy. In 1973 King Sobhuza II proclaimed a Royal Decree after he objected to his subjects electing members of a political party that was not under his control. 

He abolished the kingdom’s constitution and announced, I have assumed supreme power in the Kingdom of Swaziland and that all Legislative, Executive and Judicial power is vested in myself.’

Even though Swaziland adopted a new constitution in 2006, the kingdom, now ruled by King Mswati III, remains an absolute monarchy.  

Swaziland is a small landlocked country about the size of the US state of New Jersey. Seven in 10 of its estimated 1.2 population live in abject poverty with incomes less than the equivalent of US$3 per day. The King has at least 13 palaces and fleets of top-of-the-range Mercedes and BMW cars. He and members of his extensive Royal Family (he has had at least 15 wives) live opulent lifestyles and are often seen in public wearing watches and jewels worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The King wore a watch worth US$1.6 million and a suit beaded with diamonds weighing 6 kg, at his 50th birthday party in April 2018. Days earlier, King Mswati took delivery of his second private jet aircraft that with upgrades was estimated to have cost US$30 million.

In recent years public hospitals have run out of vital medicines and schools have closed because supplies of food to feed children have run out. This is because the government failed to pay suppliers. 

See also

Anniversary of day Swaziland stopped being a democracy and became absolute monarchy approaches
Swaziland King appoints eight of his family to Senate amid reports of widespread vote buying elsewhere

Friday, 12 April 2019

Reasonable grounds two Swaziland police officers killed suspect in custody, coroner reports

There were ‘reasonable grounds’ to believe two Swaziland police officers killed Luciano Zavale who had been arrested for allegedly having a stolen CD writer in his possession, a coroner has ruled.
Zavale, a 35-year-old Mozambican barber popularly known as Melusi, died at Manzini police station.

The coroner, former Hhohho Principal Magistrate Nondumiso Simelane, said in a report, ‘death was caused by the deprivation of air into the lungs (respiratory distress) through the outer orifices, being the mouth and nose’.

Simelane said, ‘I am satisfied that reasonable grounds do exist for suspecting that the death of Luciano Reginaldo Zavale was caused by the criminal act and/or culpable or negligent conduct of the two investigating constables, being 6432 D/Constable Nhlanhla Nkambule and 5709 D/Constable Ndumiso Myeni.’

Simelane referred the case to the director of public prosecutions to take such action as he deemed fit.

Zavale made international news after he died in police custody on 12 June 2015. Police took his body to the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial Hospital where they told nurses that he had been found by members of the public along the road at Coates Valley. 

Pathologist Dr Steve Naidoo told the inquest Zavale died after his breathing was obstructed externally through suspected smothering and his lungs, instead of drawing air, drew blood from nearby veins and filled up. 

He said Zavale had several injuries on his body, including a scraping at the back of his head, superficial abrasions on his arm, cheek, back, as well as internally, his neck and lungs.

See also

‘Police torture suspect to death’
More police torture in Swaziland