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Friday, 21 July 2017

WHY SWAZILAND ELECTION IS BOGUS



As Swaziland gears up for the next national election due in 2018 the Elections and Boundaries Commission which is King Mswati III’s propaganda machine is working at full throttle to mislead people inside and outside the kingdom that the vote will be credible. 

Top of the propagandists’ agenda is to try to fool people that the election is to choose a new government. It is not.
 
The elections have no real purpose other than to give King Mswati, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, a fig leaf of democracy.

Here are 10 reasons why the election in Swaziland should not be considered credible.

Political parties are banned from taking part in the election so no debate is possible about alternative policies to those pursued by the outgoing government.

The election is only for 55 of the 65-member House of Assembly. The other ten members are appointed by King Mswati III. No members of the 30-strong Swaziland Senate are elected; 20 are appointed by the King and 10 are selected by the House of Assembly.

The people do not elect a government. The Prime Minister and Cabinet ministers are appointed by the King. The present PM Barnabas Dlamini has never been elected to political office.

The Swazi Parliament has no powers. King Mswati can, and does, overrule decisions he does not like. This was the case in October 2012 when the king refused to accept a vote of no confidence passed by the House of Assembly on his government, even though he was obliged by the constitution to do so.

Nominations for the primary elections at the last election in 2013 were marred by allegations of interference by local chiefs, who report directly to the King and vet candidates who are nominated. Some candidates said they were not nominated as they failed to catch their chief’s eye.  Some women were barred by chiefs from taking part in the 2013 nomination process because they were wearing trousers.

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) summed up the political system in Swaziland in a 2012 ‘situation report’, ‘Tinkhundla elections can essentially be defined as “organised certainty”, since they reproduce the prevailing political status quo in Swaziland. The ruling regime enjoys an unchallenged monopoly over state resources, and elections have increasingly become arenas for competition over patronage and not policy.’

Candidates in the primary election are barred by law from campaigning, so voters have no way of questioning and challenging candidates about what they would do if elected.

The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) received many complaints following the 2013 primary election. These include the buying of votes; polling stations either open for too many hours (or not enough) and people being turned away from polling stations.

The 2013 elections were criticised by most international observers. They failed to meet most of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) principles for conducting democratic elections. The African Union’s (AU) Election Observation Mission said that Swaziland should change its constitution so that it conforms with international principles for free and fair elections.

In 2013, the Commonwealth Observer Mission noted the presence of police at polling stations, compromised privacy in polling booths and identifying factors on ballot papers that prevented anonymity. The Mission recommended that the constitution should be revisited, ideally “through a fully inclusive, consultative process with all Swazi political organisations and civil society to harmonise provisions which are in conflict … to ensure that Swaziland’s commitment to political pluralism is unequivocal’”.

Richard Rooney

See also

PEOPLE CANNOT ELECT GOVERNMENT

2013 POLL RESULTS STILL NOT KNOWN

KING’S BOGUS CLAIM ON DEMOCRACY

THE CASE FOR POLITICAL PARTIES


POLL OBSERVERS: REWRITE CONSTITUTION

SWAZI KING’S CHIEFS ABOVE ELECTED MPs

NOW, ELECTION MEETINGS ARE ‘SEDITIOUS’

SWAZI ELECTION ‘WILL BE A FRAUD’

‘VOTE BUYING AT SWAZI ELECTION’

EU TELLS KING: FREE PARTIES

POLICE BREAK UP ELECTION MEETING

CALL TO BOYCOTT ELECTION GROWS

POWER STAYS WITH KING – WORLD MEDIA

Thursday, 20 July 2017

FOREIGNERS BARRED FROM BUSINESSES



Foreigners will be barred from operating 31 types of businesses in Swaziland if the unelected government in the kingdom gets its way.

The acting Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Phiwayinkhosi Mabuza introduced a proposed Reservation of Certain Trades and Businesses for Swazi Citizens Regulations 2017 to the Swazi Parliament.

The businesses listed in the regulations include a dealer in household and proprietary, grocery, produce and handwork, private investigator, dealer or speculator in livestock, debt collector, street vendor and funeral parlour, among others.

The APA news agency reported that foreigners who were already in these businesses would not be affected, but only new entrants would not be granted licenses.

The Federation of the Swazi Business Community (FESBC) welcomed the move.

It comes as antagonism to “Asians” in Swaziland grows. The kingdom of 1.3 million people is ruled by King Mswati III as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. The King appoints the Prime Minister and his Cabinet. The kingdom’s economy has been in the doldrums for years but immigrants have managed to create small businesses throughout Swaziland.

Newspapers in Swaziland have been reporting scare stories against Asians for months. In November 2016, the Observer on Saturday reported Swaziland’s Director of Public Prosecutions Nkosinathi Maseko saying, ‘most nationals of Asian origin were associated with terrorist activities’. 

It reported he told this to a parliamentary select committee set up to investigate what the newspaper called an ‘influx of illegal immigrants’ into the kingdom.

The newspaper reported Maseko had said, ‘it was public information that most nationals of Asian origin were associated with terrorist activities; and their continued entry illegally put the country and its citizens at high risk of being a nucleus for terrorist activities.’

Maseko and the Observer gave no evidence to support this. 

In October 2016,the Times of Swaziland reported traditional authorities in the Ngcina Chiefdom in Swaziland had ordered a man to close his grocery business and leave the area because he is Asian.

See also

SWAZI DPP CALLS ASIANS ‘TERRORISTS’

ANTI-ASIAN FEELINGS SPREADING

ALL ASIANS BANNED FROM SWAZILAND

ASIANS EVICTED FROM HOME

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

ANC WANTS SADC SWAZI RIGHTS PROBE



South Africa’s African National Congress has called for Swaziland to be investigated by SADC for abuse of human rights.

King Mswati III rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. Political parties are banned from taking part in elections and political dissent is crushed by the Suppression of Terrorism Act (STA), even though the Swazi High Court has declared it unconstitutional.

Reporting on the outcomes of the international relations commission at the ANC national policy conference, chairperson Miriam Segabutla said the people of Swaziland were suffering “gross human rights violation”.

The African News Agency reported Segabutla saying, “The commission reflected on the nature of the Swazi monarchy, where the King wields executive, judicial and legislative power.”

The commission recommended that the ANC explore mechanisms of strengthening its solidarity campaign on Swaziland and formalise the party-to-party relations with the People’s United Democratic Movement (Pudemo), Swaziland’s best-known political party.

Segabutla added the commission also supported the call by the people of Swaziland for the unbanning of political parties and the release of all political prisoners, and that the issue of Swaziland be placed before the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) for intervention.

In 2014 the United States withdrew trading privileges from Swaziland under the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) because the kingdom had not fulfilled all the requirements of the programme, including respect for human rights.

The US wanted Swaziland to implement the full passage of amendments to the Industrial Relations Act; full passage of amendments to the STA; full passage of amendments to the Public Order Act; full passage of amendments to sections 40 and 97 of the Industrial Relations Act relating to civil and criminal liability to union leaders during protest actions; and establishing a code of conduct for the police during public protests. 

Amnesty International in April 2015 renewed its criticism of Swaziland for the ‘continued persecution of peaceful political opponents and critics’ by the King and his authorities. 

The human rights organisation called for both the STA and the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act (SSAA) to be scrapped or drastically rewritten.

It said the Swazi authorities were using the Acts, ‘to intimidate activists, further entrench political exclusion and to restrict the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.’

See also

TERROR ACT CHANGES STALL AT SENATE
 
COURT: SWAZI TERROR ACT UNCONSTITUTIONAL

SWAZI TERROR DECISION TO BE APPEALED