Swaziland’s constitution guarantees freedom of speech

“Swaziland’s constitution guarantees the right to free speech,” senior civil servant Mads Mayerhofer from the Danish Minsitry of Foreign Affairs replied to a letter to Danish MP Christian Juel from the Red-Green Alliance.

The letter from Christian Juel to Mads Mayerhofer concerned the recent arrest and charge of sedition of Swazi trade unionist and political activist, Wonder Mkhonza, for the possession of 5000 political pamphlets – acts by the Swazi authorities that are evidently a breach of any meaningful interpretation of the concept of free speech.

According to Meyerhofer, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has officially contacted Swaziland’s High Commission in Pretoria concerning Wonder Mkhonza, who is part of a Danish government-funded project between the Red-Green Alliance and banned Swazi political party PUDEMO.

“The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs have asked the Swazi authorities to confirm the detaining of Wonder Mkhonza and state the reasons hereof,” wrote Meyerhofer.

Denmark has been the largest contributor of foreign aid to the democratic movement in Swaziland for many years, although all Danish aid to Swaziland will be stopped by the end of 2014 as Swaziland’s BNI has exceeded the arbitrary limit that Denmark has set above which no development aid can be given.

Ironically, Swaziland was recently ranked as the 5th poorest country in the world by American financial news and opinion organisation, 24/7 Wall St., in a survey that pointed to Swaziland’s poverty rate of 69,2%, limited economic growth, reliance on subsistence agriculture, and low life expectancy due largely to Swaziland having the highest HIV/Aids rate in the world.

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