‘Most visits are trouble-free’

Trying to complain and demand an investigation into having been beaten up and threatened by security police in Swaziland via the UK Foreign Office takes its time. In my case seven and a half years and counting.

Me and my colleagues were detained by police without charge, beaten, threatened, denied any legal representation, food, drink, or visits to the toilet during a five hour ordeal at Manzini Regional Police Headquarters, in Africa’s last absolute monarchy Swaziland. Read more of this post

Swazis demand democracy at Global Week of Action

Thousands of people marched through the streets of Swaziland’s capital Mbabane on Friday to deliver a petition which calls for democracy and socioeconomic justice to the country’s Cabinet.

The march was part of the annual Global Week of Action (GWoA) which, according to the organisers, is the biggest campaign for democracy in Swaziland. It is held during the week of Swaziland’s Independence Day, the 6th of September, and includes marches, seminars and workshops. Read more of this post

Swazilands politi knuser demokratimarch

Så er den gal igen i det lille enevældige monarki, Swaziland. Landets demokratibevægelses aktionsuge – det årlige ”Global Week of Action” – er igen i år blevet stoppet med vold og magt af landets politistyrker.

Ifølge rapporter fra People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), landets største politiske bevægelse, blev lederne af demokratibevægelsen – herunder PUDEMOs præsident Mario Masuku, og fagbevægelsen TUCOSWAs generalsekretær Vincent Ncongwane – i dag torsdag tilbageholdt og/eller sat under husarrest. Flere af demokratibevægelsens organisationer fik deres kontorer ransaget. Read more of this post

Swazis want independence from absolute monarchy

Today, 44 years ago, Swaziland gained independence from Great Britain. Like many other postcolonial African nations, after the initial excitement Swaziland’s postcolonial years have been disappointing, however.

Two thirds of the population survives on less than a dollar a day, many on food aid. Swaziland has the highest Aids prevalence rate per capita in the world. And whatever money the nation has is squandered by absolute monarch King Mswati III, who controls the nations land and finances, and who brutally suppresses any dissent towards his rule. Read more of this post

Swazi democratic movement hopeful despite police clamp down

A prodemocracy rally in Matsapha was “violently dispersed by the state security forces,” police clamped down on activists in Siteki and Manzini and at least one activist has been detained, according to banned political party PUDEMO, in what has become almost routine at any pro-democracy rally or event in the tiny absolute monarchy.

Even so, there are high hopes amongst Swaziland’s democratic movement that the Global Week of Action that kicked of today could be an important step towards democracy in Swaziland, not least because it comes in the wake of a month-long strike by public employees that is said to have emboldened many Swazis. Read more of this post

Global week of action for democracy in Swaziland

Swaziland’s democratic movement will hold its Global Week of Action, which has become the biggest campaign for democracy in Swaziland, between September 3 and 7 – in the wake of the several weeks of protests by Swaziland’s public sector employees.

According to a press release from one of the many Swazi organisations that have pledged to participate in the event, the Foundation for Socio-Economic Justice, they are “demanding a Swaziland that is socio-economically and politically empowering to all Swazis.” Read more of this post

Free Maxwell Campaign supports protests in Swaziland

Below is a press release from the Free Maxwell Dlamini Campaign in support of the ongoing protests against Swaziland’s absolute monarchy.

“The Free Maxwell Dlamini Campaign commends and supports the thousands of Swazis who have taken to the streets this week during the Global Week of Action to demand Multi-party democracy and socio-economic justice, as well as all of the Swazis who have stayed at home, fearing yet another violent response by the regime’s police forces.

And we reiterate our demand for the unconditional release of Maxwell Dlamini and all other political prisoners in Swaziland, as the protesters have done in numerous speeches during the past two days. Read more of this post

British Foreign Office to reproach Swaziland over mistreatment of British citizen

According to a representative of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the FCO will be “making representations” towards the Swazi regime over the “mistreatment” of a British foreign national during the Global Week of Action in Swaziland.

“The Foreign and Commonwealth Office takes all allegations of mistreatment against British nationals very seriously and will raise the allegations with the relevant authority in the country concerned,” the representative wrote on 16 September in a reply to an email sent to them raising the issues of the mistreatment of a British citizen on 7 September in Manzini. Read more of this post

This is Swaziland – eyewitness account of the brutality of the Swazi police

The Police entered the offices of the Foundation for Socio-economic Justice in Manzini, Swaziland at 9.20 am on September 7. Three representatives of the Danish organisation Africa Contact (myself included) were sitting peacefully drinking coffee together with two Foundation for Socio-economic Justice (FSEJ) employees. Africa Contact was in Swaziland to monitor a project with our partners, FSEJ, and talk to various other Swazi organisations to be able to write a report to the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ten police officers charged into the office and started slapping and beating all five of us, knocking my glasses violently to the ground, throttling another, and repeatedly hitting one of the FSEJ employees. Read more of this post

Police arrest the Democracy Campaign leaders in Swaziland

Police today disrupted a seminar at Tum’s George Hotel in Manzini, Swaziland. The meeting was held by the Swaziland Democracy Campaign and was to be about the history of the democratic movement in Swaziland. There were around 60 participants at the meeting who were met by around 100 police officers, who demanded to have the names of all foreign participants at the meeting. These included three members of Danish organisation Africa Contact‘s Swaziland group and several people from South Africa, including representatives from the South African Municipality Workers Union, Public Services International, and Cosatu among others. Read more of this post