Swazi elections ”not credible”, says Commonwealth

“Parliamentarians continue to have severely limited powers, and political parties continue to remain proscribed … there is considerable room for improving the democratic system, in light of Swaziland’s international obligations. We therefore cannot conclude that the entire process was credible,” the Commonwealth Observer Mission, chaired by former Malawian President Bakili Muluzi, stated in a report on Swaziland’s recently held elections on Sunday.

The political system in Swaziland, although including periodic elections, cannot be said to be democratic in any meaningful sense of the word. Swaziland’s absolute monarch, King Mswati III, himself appoints the government, most of the senate, and several members of the parliament, the rest of which he has to approve, and he can veto any law he doesn’t like. Read more of this post

Release political prisoners in Africa’s last colony

Africa Contact today launches the ACT NOW to free Sidahmed Lemjayed Campaign together with our partner organisations. Sidahmed Lemjayed is the President of the Commitee for the Protection of Natural Resources (CSPRON) in occupied Moroccan-Western Sahara, Africa’s last colony.

Sidahmed Lemjayed was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Moroccan military court (he is a civilian) on February 16 2013. The charges against him were membership of a criminal gang and deadly violence against members of the Moroccan security forces during the raid of the Gdeim Izik protest camp outside El Aaiun in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara.

But Africa Contact see him as a political prisoner who is being punished for his work to protect the natural resources of Western Sahara against widespread, illegal Moroccan plunder and the widespread exhausting of Western Sahara’s natural resources. Read more of this post

Mindre sult og mere glæde i verden, bare ikke i Swaziland

Antallet af sultende mennesker i verden er for nedadgående, og antallet af glade mennesker for opadgående, kan man læse i årets Global Hunger Index, udgivet af blandt andet den internationale NGO, International Food Policy Research Institute, og World Happiness Report. Især har det sydlige Afrika ”gjort reelle fremskridt”.

Disse fremskridt har bare ikke gjort sig gældende i det lille kongedømme Swaziland, hvor to tredjedele af befolkningen lever for under en dollar om dagen, mens landets enevældige konge ifølge en lokal avis er god for over 200 millioner dollars.
Ifølge Global Hunger Index, er Swaziland et af få lande hvor antallet af sultende er steget markant – fra 1990 til 2012 er antallet af underernærede Swazier således steget fra 16,1 procent til 27 procent. Read more of this post

Marokko tæver igen løs på demonstranter i det besatte Vestsahara

EU’s medlemslande er i fuld gang med at stemme om en fornyelse af fiskeriaftalen mellem EU og Marokko, der ulovligt vil tillade fiskere fra EU at fiske ud for Afrikas sidste koloni, det af Marokko besatte Vestsahara – en aftale der ifølge Marokkanerne selv har været med til at blåstemple deres brutale kolonisering.

Danmark har allerede stemt imod. Men de lande der endnu ikke har stemt har inden for de sidste par dage fået et konkret og skræmmende bevis for, hvordan Marokko mener de uden nævneværdig handling fra EU kan behandle Vestsaharas oprindelige befolkning, Saharawierne, i det besatte Vestsahara. Et land som man har koloniseret siden 1975. Read more of this post

Solidaritet blandt unge i Afrika

De er flere unge i verden end nogensinde før. Op mod en femtedel af verdens befolkning er faktisk mellem 15 og 24 år, mange af dem marginaliserede i deres respektive samfund. Ikke mindst i u-landene, hvor over 80% af verdens unge lever.

Dette er også tilfældet i lande som Zimbabwe og Swaziland, hvor over 35% af befolkningen i begge lande er unge mennesker.

For at forsøge sammen at bekæmpe denne marginalisering, har ungdomsorganisationerne Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS) Read more of this post

Preparing for multi-party elections in Swaziland’s absolute monarchy

”You need to walk twenty metres behind me so the police doesn’t find out you are with me,” we are told by  the young Pudemo member who is taking us to a meeting in Manzini with some of Pudemo’s organisers.

Given the record of Swaziland’s police forces, who almost habitually detain or manhandle members of Pudemo, and on occasion foreigners who support the democratic movement, we do as he tells us.

Red-Green Alliance candidate for the municipal elections in November, Thomas Eisler, and I are on a project visit in Swaziland. And we have been impressed with what we have seen. Read more of this post

Enhedsliste-kandidat besøger brutalt enevældigt monarki

Thomas Eisler og Peter Kenworthy er lige kommet hjem fra et projektbesøg i det lille enevældige kongedømme, Swaziland. Et besøg der for alvor satte det danske kommunevalg til november i perspektiv. Begge er medlemmer af Enhedslisten i Gladsaxe og Thomas Eisler er desuden kandidat til byrådet.

Anledningen til vores besøg var at besøge Enhedslistens partnere gennem det danske Institut for Flerpartisamarbejde, People’s United Democratic Movement (Pudemo) – et parti, der fredeligt søger at demokratisere det ludfattige Swaziland, hvor den enevældige kong Mswati III regerer med en jernhånd, og betragter alle der for alvor trodser ham som terrorister. Read more of this post