Sukker har en bitter eftersmag i Swaziland

En stor del af det lille enevældige kongedømme Swazilands indtjening kommer fra sukkerindustrien. Men mange af de fattige subsistensbønder i landets ”sukkerbælte” er blevet smidt væk fra deres jord, for at gøre plads til kongens storbrug.

I mange år har de fleste indbyggere i Swaziland været bange for at kritisere landets enevældige konge Mswati III offentligt. Dette kunne nemlig føre til alt fra tortur og fængselsstraf til at man fik frataget sin jord. Read more of this post

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 bittersweet taste of Swazi sugar

screenhunter_4167-oct-27-21-36According to a new report from the ITUC about the sugar industry in Swaziland, the country’s absolute monarch uses sugar profits to sweeten his own life, leaving sugar-cane farmers and the majority of the population bitterly impoverished.

Sugar cane production has brought about more human suffering than development in Swaziland. Many people have been evicted and the general conditions in the sugar industry are atrocious. This is the conclusion of a new International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)-report, written by journalist Manqoba Nxumalo and human rights lawyer Sipho Gumedze. Read more of this post

William dared to challenge the king

william-4Not many Swazis dare to criticize Swaziland’s absolute monarch openly, but 82-year-old William Mkhaliphi did, to the monarch’s face, last month. In response to this, he now suddenly faces charges under the Public Order Act and for theft.

There were many complaints about an array of issues, ranging from to small grants for the elderly to cattle roaming the streets, at last month’s Sibaya People’s Parliament in Swaziland. Read more of this post

William tør udfordre kongen

william_-3_smallIkke mange borgere i Swaziland tør kritisere landets enevældige konge, men det er lige hvad den 82-årige småbonde William Mkhaliphi har gjort. Efter hans kritik af monarken, er han blevet anklaget for forstyrrelse af den offentlige orden og tyveri.

Der var mange klager og meget kritik af Swazilands regering, om alt fra køer der forstyrrede trafikken til pensioner man ikke kan leve af, under Sibaya People’s Parliament i august. Sibaya, hvor kongen hører på klagemål fra hans undersåtter, er ifølge Swazilands forfatning ”landets højeste politiske og rådgivende råd,” og ifølge kongen selv en vigtig del af det han kalder ”Swazi-demokrati”. Read more of this post

Coca-Cola promises to protect land rights of farmers, also in Swaziland

“The Coca-Cola Company commits to zero tolerance for land grabbing,” Coca-Cola said in a statement last week, the company promising to stop all business dealings with subsidiaries that are involved in land grabs, where land is taken from poor people in developing countries without their consent.

The move comes after 250,000 people had signed a petition in connection with international NGO Oxfam’s campaign for food and beverage companies such as Coca-Cola to respect the land rights of local communities, and Oxfam had “found evidence of land grabs and disputes by companies that supply sugar for Coca-Cola” – the world’s largest buyer of sugar. Read more of this post

Living on the Coke side of life in Swaziland

Coca-Cola is one of the largest and wealthiest companies in the world, as well as being one of the world’s best-known brands. The desperate situation of the poverty-stricken workers in the sugar cane fields in Swaziland, who harvest the sugar cane that is the most important ingredient of African Coke, on the other hand, is a well kept secret. Their plight is not deemed newsworthy. They live their lives in a brutal and repressive absolute monarchy where King Mswati III and a small elite live in luxury while the majority of Swazis live in abject poverty.  Read more of this post