The democratisation of Swaziland: inside or outside job?

swaziland-pudemo-2013-194The small absolute monarchy of Swaziland is best known for its tourism, “unique” culture tied to its monarchy, and the cultural and spending exploits of playboy-king Mswati III, not for its repressive regime and ongoing struggle for democracy.

Swaziland is nominally a middle income country that is seldom condemned by world leaders and rarely mentioned in the international media, even though it is one of the most unequal, poverty-stricken and unfree countries in the world, and even though King Mswati spends millions of dollars on prestige projects and personal jets while his subjects starve. Read more of this post

The dialogue that disappeared

Swaziland's parliament protected by barbed wire 300pxIn September, there were high hopes in some parts of Swaziland’s civil society and democratic movement that a dialogue with the county’s absolute monarch King Mswati III was on the table. Not least because of pressure from the Commonwealth, the USA and the EU. Three months later no such meeting has taken place and that hope seems all but shattered.

The meeting was to have taken place between king Mswati III, who has ruled Swaziland almost single-handedly for 30 years, and the so-called G15 group, Read more of this post

Are PUDEMO and the NNLC ready to join hands?

For a long time the democratic movement in Swaziland has been split along party lines – between the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress (NNLC) and the People’s Democratic Movement (PUDEMO). And while political pluralism is indispensable in any democracy, in a dictatorship such as Swaziland political pluralism in the democratic opposition must, to a degree anyway, give way to unity regarding overall themes of democratisation and financial redistribution. Read more of this post