Swaziland

Freedom of the press and the existence of political parties do not exist in Africa’s only kingdom of Mswati III of Swaziland. The fine imposed on the publisher of the Nation magazine by the Swazi High Court continues the suffocation of the Swazi press and journalists.

As Swaziland prepares for elections this year, international expectation is that the process will be a mockery of democracy in the kingdom where King Mswati has the sole say

Swaziland Members of Parliament say they are being banned from the radio airwaves by the government. They say it is because of a policy made by the Swazi Cabinet. A row erupted in the House of Assembly when MPs accused Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini of keeping them off the airwaves. In Swaziland broadcasting is state controlled and the PM is editor-in-chief of the SBIS radio stations and the Swazi TV Channel.

One of Swaziland’s most vocal pro-democracy groups has called for a new law to ban hate speech against homosexuals. The call by the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) follows a debate in the Swazi House of Assembly in which MP Aaron Sotsha Dladla called for gays and lesbians to be outlawed in the kingdom. Dladla said a new law should be put in place to deal with ‘this mushrooming anti-social’ behaviour of gays and lesbians. He went on to make a number of disparaging comments about homosexuals.

Swaziland’s government has failed to improve the economy in any appreciable way and cannot pay its bills. This means immediate public expenditure cuts are needed if the government is to meet the budget targets it set itself in February 2012. These are the latest findings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which has just finished a visit to Swaziland.

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