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Monday, 26 October 2020

Swaziland Gender Links launches women in local economic development network

Swaziland Gender Links is to host a two-day summit and launch a Women in Local Economic Development network (WLED).

It is being held in collaboration with the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) and the eSwatini Local Government Association (ELGA). It will take place on 29-30 October 2020.

In a statement Swaziland Gender Links said participants were drawn from local government, civil society, media and faith-based organisations from all over the kingdom.  The summit will focus on the importance of mainstreaming gender in different areas including sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR), climate change, gender-based violence, economic justice and media.

Swaziland Gender Links said, ‘Running under the hashtag #VoiceandChoice the summit serves as a springboard to call governments to account for gender equality commitments made in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Gender Protocol and the Sustainable Development Goals. The summit will pave way for the localisation of the recently adopted SRHR strategy.’

During the summit entrepreneurs will be presenting case studies and will hold a mini trade fair to showcase their wares at the Happy Valley hotel, Ezulwini, pool side.

On the evening of 29 October the WLED network will be launched with the presence of the British High Commissioner John Lindfield and the guest speaker will be Swazi Minister of Housing Urban and Development Prince Simelane.

See also

One in three girls in Swaziland experience sexual violence, new report reveals

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/10/one-in-three-girls-in-swaziland.html

Domestic abuse cases double in Swaziland during coronavirus lockdown

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/05/domestic-abuse-cases-double-in.html

Friday, 23 October 2020

Swaziland lifts ban on alcohol sales but PM warns against drinking with fear of coronavirus surge

Ambrose Dlamini, Prime Minister of Swaziland (eSwatini), warned people to lay off the booze during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. A ban on alcohol sales is to be lifted on 26 October 2020 after the kingdom has been dry for months.

Dlamini at a media event said, ‘Health experts have projected a second wave over the festive season because around this time there is generally more movement amongst people, big family gatherings and high consumption of alcoholic beverages. Furthermore, as the economy continues to open, there is more movement of people thus increasing the chances of the virus spreading.’

He added, ‘I would like to remind all Emaswati that while consuming alcohol can be a joyous occasion for some, it is important to observe not just the health guidelines but the liquor re-opening guidelines. These guidelines are to be observed strictly, failure to which we will not hesitate the close any establishment that fails to adhere to these protocols.’

He said alcohol affected the central nervous system and took away rational decision making. He said, ‘Alcohol use, especially heavy use, weakens the immune system and thus reduces the ability to cope with infectious diseases. Alcohol alters your thoughts, judgement, decision-making and behaviour all which are required for people to take safety precautions to Covid-19. Heavy use of alcohol increases the risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome, one of the most severe complications of COVID-19.

‘Additionally most people like to drink in groups and in areas without sufficient spacing or ventilation and it is impossible to wear masks and drink alcohol.’

The Prime Minister also said, ‘May I caution that the resumption of alcohol sales is not a license to hide behind alcohol to be violent against women and children.’

He said it was disheartening to continue hearing reports of gender-based violence regularly in the kingdom and the Swazi Government would push to ensure that perpetrators were taken off the streets and faced the consequences of their actions.

Independent News, eSwatini, an online newspaper, reported the Prime Minister’s address on gender-based violence came after there had been numerous reports of women and children who had been murdered mostly by their lovers. This included a mother and her four-year-old son who were allegedly stabbed and had their throats slit open by a man believed to be her boyfriend.

It added, this year there had been a number of crimes which involved killing of women. One incident reported on 20 August 2020, was that of a female pupil who was stabbed 31 times all over the body with a knife allegedly by her boyfriend. The stabbed girl was a pupil at Dwalile High School and was living at her boyfriend’s homestead.

On 8 February, a police officer was charged with two counts of murder after he allegedly killed his spouse and her male companion. He allegedly used a gun belonging to the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS).   

Separately, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade warned traders not to exploit the situation created by the expected demand for alcoholic beverages by increasing prices.

There has been a decline in coronavirus cases in Swaziland. By Thursday (22 October 2020) the Ministry of Health had reported a total of 116 deaths and 5,814 positive cases of the virus. Of the positive cases, 5,468 people had recovered.

See also

Swaziland soldiers illegally sell alcohol to public during coronavirus ban

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/10/swaziland-soldiers-illegally-sell.html

Swaziland coronavirus likely to continue for months, but restrictions on sport and arts lifted

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/10/swaziland-coronavirus-likely-to.html

Top Royal presses Swaziland Govt to send riot police, army into homes to confiscate alcohol https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/07/top-royal-presses-swaziland-govt-to.html

Swaziland bans alcohol production and sales, threatens media as coronavirus lockdown extended https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/04/swaziland-bans-alcohol-production-and.html

Swaziland authorities ban march to protest ban on alcohol during coronavirus crisis https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/09/swaziland-authorities-ban-march-to.html

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Swaziland editor suspended after alleged link to political party opposing absolute monarch

Mbongeni Mbingo, the managing editor of the eSwatini Observer group of newspapers, has reportedly been suspended from duty following a report that he and others had started a political party to oppose King Mswati III, the absolute monarch in Swaziland (eSwatini).

The Observer is in effect owned by the king.

The Times of eSwatini reported on Thursday (22 October 2020) that unofficial sources at the newspaper had confirmed they had been told at a meeting Mbingo had been suspended with immediate effect. No reason was given. Observer chief executive officer Sipho Mkhonta declined to comment.

The Swaziland News, an online newspaper, reported that Mbingo had been suspended as a result of a report it had published on Sunday 18 October 2020 that alleged Mbingo was ‘linked to a new “underground” political party Vuka Sive that seeks to influence regime change and overthrow King Mswati.’

 

 

Mbongeni Mbingo, the managing editor of the eSwatini Observer. Picture sourced from Facebook



See also

Swaziland journalist critical of King flees, hides in forest five days

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/05/swaziland-journalist-critical-of-king.html

Swaziland journalist ‘tortured by police after criticising absolute monarch in newspaper articles’ 

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/03/swaziland-journalist-tortured-by-police.html 

Newspaper editor flees Swaziland for second time after arrest and police torture

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/03/newspaper-editor-flees-swaziland-for.html 

‘Editor flees after death threat’

https://swazimedia.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/editor-flees-after-death-threat.html

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Swaziland LGBTI group back in High Court in fight for legal recognition

LGBTI activists in Swaziland (eSwatini) are back in the High Court in an attempt to have their advocacy group officially registered and made legal.

The eSwatini Sexual and Gender Minorities (ESGM) had their registration application rejected in September 2019. The Registrar of Companies refused saying the group’s objectives were unlawful because same-sex sexual acts were illegal in the kingdom.

An appeal is now being heard at the High Court. On Friday in submissions the government argued that homosexuality was contrary to biblical teachings. The ESGM case was due to be heard on Tuesday (20 October 2020.)

ESGM is a human rights community-based advocacy organisation which aims to advance the protection of human rights of LGBTI (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex) people in Swaziland.

In a statement ESGM said homosexuality was not illegal in Swaziland and the law did not make it a crime to campaign to protect the rights of LGBTI people.

Melusi Simelane, ESGM Executive Director, said, ‘While Christianity underpins much of the values in eSwatini, we are a secular state. This is a case about the dignity of persons and not about the will of the majority or any religious debate.’

Discrimination against LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) people in Swaziland is widespread but in recent years they have become more visible and vocal. The first ever Pride march took place in 2018.

A report published in 2019 written by two academics and the Southern and East African Research Collective on Health found evidence of serious human rights violations against Swazi people who were LGBTI. The report concluded they suffered ‘social exclusion, marginalisation and stigma’ because they were seen as being different from the rest of the population.

This, the report said, ‘has a negative impact on the mental health and wellbeing of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex’.

 

See also

Swaziland EU Ambassador joins LGBTI rights supporters at High Court for landmark hearing

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2020/06/swaziland-eu-ambassador-joins-lgbti.html

Swaziland LGBTI group cannot be registered because ‘Constitution does not protect against discrimination’ https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2019/09/swaziland-lgbti-group-cannot-be.html

LGBTI discrimination in Swaziland leads to big mental health issues, report finds

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2019/08/lgbti-discrimination-in-swaziland-leads.html

LGBT Pride film shows what it’s like to live with prejudice and ignorance in Swaziland https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2018/11/lgbt-pride-film-shows-what-its-like-to.html

Monday, 19 October 2020

Swaziland community police illegally whip teenager, in latest brutality report

 

The eSwatini Observer photograph of the boy reportedly whipped by community policemen

 

Community police in Swaziland (eSwatini) have once again been accused of brutally assaulting crime suspects.

The latest case involves a 17-year-old boy who was whipped by community police at Fairview, Manzini.

The eSwatini Observer published a photograph of the boy’s whipped back. The newspaper did not name the boy but said he had been with three others when they were accused of trying to defraud the owner of a shebeen (informal drinking place).

The owner called the community police. The community police operate in rural Swaziland and are supervised by traditional chiefs who are local representatives of the absolute monarch, King Mswati III. They have the authority to arrest suspects concerning minor offences for trial by an inner council within the chiefdom. For serious offences suspects should be handed over to the official police for further investigations.

The boy’s father told the Observer there were 10 community police officers who took turns beating the four boys. He called it ‘a kangaroo style of punishment’.

The boy was taken to hospital. His father said he would take legal action against the police.

The Observer reported, ‘He said what was problematic was that it seemed as if police brutality was on the rise yet it put lives at risk. He said his child was admitted and was at risk of losing out on the ongoing examinations at his school.’

There have been a number of reports of community police brutality in Swaziland. They include community police at KaMasuku who paraded naked five suspected thieves and severely beat them on their buttocks. At least two needed hospital treatment.

Community police at Mahwalala allegedly beat a teenager to death to make him confess to a crime he had not committed. He was one of six people accused by the police of robbing an elderly man. It said he was interrogated through the night and died of his injuries.

Community police at Gundvwini in the Manzini region illegally forced a six-year-old boy to strip and then thrashed him on the naked buttocks after he was accused of stealing a cellphone from a schoolteacher.  

Five community police officers at Ngoloweni in Sandleni attacked a man described as ‘mentally disturbed’ and beat him close to death and set his genitals on fire. They suspected the 44-year-old man had attempted to rape a girl aged six.

Two community police officers at Malindza stripped a man naked, tied him to a tree and flogged his bare buttocks with sticks until they bled profusely. They had accused him of stealing pots from his grandfather’s house.

 

See also

Swaziland police ‘beat teenager to death to make him confess to crime he did not commit’

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2019/10/swaziland-police-beat-teenager-to-death.html

 

Police gang-rape schoolgirl

https://swazimedia.blogspot.co.uk/2018/03/police-gang-rape-schoolgirl.html

 

Swazi community police banish gay men

https://swazimedia.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/community-police-banish-gay-men.html

 

Swaziland community police strip theft suspects naked and beat their buttocks in latest illegal action

https://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2019/11/swaziland-community-police-strip-theft.html