We want our land back, King Mswati

Swaziland’s government has been evicting farmers from their land to expand the monarchy-controlled sugar industry for decades. After years of empty promises that they could return, the children of farmers from Mbuluzi are fighting to get their land back.

John Sicelo Vilane was born in the Mafucula community in Eastern Swaziland in 1984, a year after his parents had been evicted from the village of Mbuluzi near the border to Mozambique, and relocated to Mafucula Read more of this post

COSATU to help evicted Swazi sugar cane farmers

The President of South African trade federation COSATU met with Swazi sugar cane farmers. She promised to help them regain control of their land from Swaziland’s absolute monarch king Mswati III.

COSATU President Zingiswa Losi met with sugar cane farmers from Vuvulane, Mafucula and Shewula in Manzini, Swaziland on Tuesday. Here she got first-hand information on the ongoing evictions and harassment of the farmers by the Royal Swaziland Sugar Company and the Swaziland Sugar Association, Read more of this post

EU sugar-coats absolute monarchy’s bitter pill

EU-support for Swaziland’s monarchy-controlled sugar industry undermines the fight for democracy, even though it nominally benefits smallholders, says new report from Danish solidarity organization.

A new report from Afrika Kontakt commends the EU for supporting Swaziland’s sugar industry, which benefits thousands of smallholder growers of sugar cane. The problem is, however, that the smallholder growers are also left vulnerable by sugar price fluctuations and transport costs, as well as by the corruption and undermining of the fight for democracy, Read more of this post

EU-støtte underminerer kampen for demokrati

EU-støtte til Swazilands monarki-kontrollerede sukkerindustri underminerer kampen for demokrati i landet, selvom det på overfladen er til gavn for landets små sukkerbønder, siger ny rapport fra Afrika Kontakt.

En ny rapport fra solidaritetsorganisationen Afrika Kontakt roser EU for, at unionens støtte til Swazilands sukkerindustri umiddelbart er til fordel for de små sukkerrørsbønder. Problemet er dog, at bønderne samtidigt er sårbare overfor vekslende sukkerpriser og transportomkostninger, såvel som den korruption og underminering af kampen for demokrati, Read more of this post

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