Swaziland is at the crossroads, the country is buffeted by a myriad of challenges that threaten its fragile unity, the challenges are enormous and seem to have defied solutions. The Hobbesian state of nature in which life is nasty short and Brutus, aptly destructs the wobbly state of the nation.

To even use the word good governance is charitable, good governance is an alien concept to Swazi people (eMaSwati), the over 48years of the Tinkhundla rule, destroyed the structures that would have instituted good governance in Swaziland. In contradiction, what Tinkhundla rule instituted was a culture of impunity and brayed disregard for the laws of the land.
In 48years, Swazi people have become ever more disillusioned and hopeless, living with a tragic sense of national loss. The challenges facing Swaziland is that democratic rule has not in anyway been addressed. These challenges HURT the citizens. The democratic rules are never ever respected by the government, this government has not created an inability environment for the attainment of socio-economic development for its citizens.

Almost on all development indices, Swaziland remains a toddler, underdeveloped-and on brink of collapse. The forces that threaten the country's unity are symptomatic of the fact that Swaziland is a faint state.
Nation building demands that a common ground for peaceful and co-existence of the 1.2million people would have been established both constitutionally and in practice.
Life is getting tougher by the day for ordinary Swazi people. The job losses are getting abnormal. It's clear that the government needs to do more.

Swaziland has lost thousands of people and jobs, neither the numbers nor the people appear to be important, lives no longer count. They have become numbers, ordinary statistics, kept for records. What society watches its citizens decimated in this manner, without being shocked into action? How can government be so unfeeling? Why do we have to go through ALL this as a nation?
Does our government really care? Only heavens knows what else is mixing up into our misery.
Are the scandals in the Land embarrassing to this government?

By: Celiwe Belinda Shongwe

Women have historically been oppressed in Swaziland, and although the recent 2005 constitution provides for equality between men and women, women continue to struggle for their rights. Article 28 of the constitution covers women’s rights, saying, “(1) Women have the right to equal treatment with men and that right shall include equal opportunities in political, economic and social activities. (2) Subject to the availability of resources, the Government shall provide facilities and opportunities necessary to enhance the welfare of women to enable them to realise their full potential and advancement. (3) A woman shall not be compelled to undergo or uphold any custom to which she is in conscience opposed.” These provisions are vague, and many old laws that directly conflict with Article 28 are still on the books.

A 2010 High Court ruling allowing married women to register property in their own names was repealed only a few months later by the Supreme Court. The inability to own property makes it nearly impossible for women to leave abusive husbands, as they would be left with nowhere to live and nothing to their name. Women in Swaziland are essentially classified as minors, with few rights of their own.

Article 3 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Swaziland is a party, states that “The States Parties to the present covenant undertake to ensure the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights set forth in the present covenant”. Swaziland’s self enforcement of this provision has been extremely poor, and other nations have done little in terms of soft law to draw international pressure to the issue.

Many of Swaziland’s outdated laws treat women as second class citizens. One 1889 law, which police are cracking down on,forbids women from wearing mini-skirts or midriff-baring tops. However, the one situation in which this law does not apply is in traditional rituals, where the king may choose his wife from dancing topless virgins. The government argues that forcing women and girls to wear skirts of at least knee length helps to curb the spread of HIV, and discourages rape.

Patriarchy is a system that has long been entrenched in Swaziland, and progress on the subject in recent years has been very minimal. King Mswati III’s thirteen wives are a testament to the fact that women themselves are treated as property, and the fact that women wearing miniskirts are seen as much of a cause of rape as the rapists themselves show little regard that is given to the health and dignity of women.

Violence against women and girls is a very serious problem, placing them at risk of HIV infection in a country with one of the highest prevalence rates globally. The Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill has been under discussion and consideration by parliament since 2006. In 2009 the house of assembly passed the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill, but still waiting to be signed by King Mswati III.There are also no laws against early or forced marriages, and girls as young as 13 can be married under customary law.

Political Rights are severely restricted

Human rights, trade union and political activists face persistent harassment (at best) and are at risk of beatings, arrests, unfair trials on political charges, ill-treatment and torture. The perpetrators of these abuses are almost never brought to justice. Swaziland authorities are actively using the 2008 Suppression of Terrorism Act and the 1938 Sedition and Subversive Activities Act to intimidate activists and restrict key human rights, such as freedom of expression and association. For example, on 1 May 2014, the president of the opposition party, PUDEMO, Mario Masuku, and student activist, Maxwell Dlamini, were arrested at a Workers’ Day rally and charged with terrorism and sedition for chanting a slogan and singing a song. Human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, and Nation newspaper editor, Bheki Makhubu, were sentenced to two years imprisonment in July 2014 for contempt of court after a grossly unfair trial merely for exercising peacefully their right to freedom of expression. Viva Swazi Vigil Viva!!!

By: Rainny Dlamini

References:

[1]. The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland Act 2005, Page 25, Section 28, Rights and Freedoms of Women.

[2]. Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2014/15: The State of the World's Human Rights, 25 February 2015.

No Mother's Day celebration until the Swazi government aligns the laws of the land with the United Nations Geneva convention laws "Mothers Day"; A day where all mothers globally celebrate social, economic and political achievement and yet on the contrary in my own motherland none of this applies to Swazi women.

Women in Swaziland still face horrendous, ill-treatment and inequality due to the fact that the patriarchal culture still practiced and promoted by the King and the government has the inequalities engrained in it, society still views women as subordinates to men. As a patriotic Swazi Human rights activist and feminist, I call upon the Swazi government as well as King Mswati III to put an end to the abuse of young girls and women. The authorities cannot continue to turn a blind eye on the abuses and injustices faced by both women and young girls. According to ACTSA (ACTion for Southern for Southern Africa), gender based violence is common in Swaziland, women including young girls are raped beaten and constantly harassed on a daily basis. Even though rape is illegal and punishable, acquittal rates prove to be high and surprisingly offenders are even given lighter jail sentences. With high rates of HIV / AIDS we cannot afford to ignore such behaviour. We demand a government which is democratically elected which protects its citizens, we the Swazi people say !!!!
 
• DOWN with Tinkundla system that's biased which prevents women from participating in politics.
• DOWN with traditional laws that class women as minors.
• DOWN with oppressive legislations.
• DOWN with child marriages .
• DOWN with polygamy we call on King Mswati III, the legislators and the Swaziland government to change laws that discriminate against women.
 
According to Swaziland's constitution section 28 (2), the government shall provide facilities and opportunities necessary to enhance women's welfare and advancement; the problem with this provision is that the constitution states this is dependent on the availability of resources - of which, as every Swazi who is politically awakened knows, that this is an escape clause, because the government can claim it does not have enough resources at any time if and when it does not want to fulfil its obligations to the women of Swaziland.
We demand the government to make these facilities and opportunities readily available at all times, women's welfare and upliftment should never be compromised, neither be made optional, nor be dependent on undefined and non-precise criteria. We need laws that prohibit and protect young (under-aged) girls from getting married young, furthermore we want a Swaziland that prohibits polygamy.
 
We demand the people of Swaziland be given the opportunity to elect their desired government, Swaziland should be a democratic country with no one influencing or controlling the supreme executive, legislative and judiciary system. We want all political parties to participate freely without any arrests, torture, intimidation and even death.
 
By: Nomcebo Ngwenya
 

References:

[1] http://docstore.ohchr.org/SelfServices/FilesHandler.ashx?nc=6QkG1d%2fPPRiCAqhKb7yhskcAJS%2fU4wb%2bdIVicvG05RyN0cT7NHfD048ind4G97YU5bjsWYp6txpgbAMjOtInvNd3MBGC5H%2b4uWghXk42s3GKVwLVosyMSRlCikBYm94k
 
[2] ACTSA Briefing Paper, Swaziland, September 2010; http://www.actsa.org/Pictures/UpImages/pdfs/ACTSA%20Briefing%20Paper%20Swaziland%20Sep%2010%20final.pdf; Date Accessed: 13th May 2016
 
[3] The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland Act 2005; http://www.wipo.int/edocs/lexdocs/laws/en/sz/sz010en.pdf

The Times of Swaziland reported: "A magician died after he was dumped on the roadside by two unknown police officers at Mvakwelitje, Mbabane in the early hours of yesterday.
The man, Mduduzi Gama from Zone II, was left near the shopping complex in the area. The police officers, who were travelling in a police van, are said to have left the man, who could not walk, after taking him out of the vehicle at around 5am.

Before he died, he bled from his head and people who saw him said he had bloodshot eyes. Gama, according to his family, made a living through performing magic. The family also said the late popular magician, who was known as Ndlovu, taught Mduduzi magic tricks.

According to a vendor who sells fat cakes in the area, she saw the police van coming from the Hilltop direction. She said she arrived at the market at 4:55am. She said she was facing down minding her own business when she heard the car driving past the speed humps, and she looked up and realised that it was a police van.
“The vehicle came to a halt at the bus station and a male police officer alighted from the van. He told the man that he should get off because he said he was going to Mvakweltje,” the vendor said.

She said a female police officer alighted from the passenger side of the vehicle and gave the man a plastic bag. The vendor said the male officer helped the man out of the van as he could not walk. She said she thought he was drunk.

The vendor said the man tried getting up from where he had been left but failed and he stayed on the ground until he was helped by passers by to get to the other side of the road. She said she was worried that the man would be run over by cars and she asked some men to remove him. “While he was on the ground, he was screaming asking to be helped up. I was worried that he would get cold and that he would be hit by passing cars so I asked some men to move him to the other side of the road."


By Rainny Dlamini

References:

http://www.times.co.sz/news/108178-magician-dies-after-cops-dump-him-on-roadside.html

In Swaziland there has been a drastic deterioration of human rights, citizens' conditions and respect for the rule of law in recent years. King Mswati III, uses the 1973 king proclamation which banned political freedom, and at this point in time there is no freedom of expression, no freedom of assembly and no freedom of association. Since political parties were and still are banned, therefore cannot participate in any of the white-wash elections that are held to just solidify king Mswati's absolute power. I'm talking about artists in Swaziland whom the government of Swaziland is against their freedom of speech. They cannot express themselves, as artists would normally do, no freedom of speech!!! The government of Swaziland is against their vision, it wants to control what artists expose to the world about Swaziland.

Many political activists and trade unions have been killed, tortured, persecuted, had unfair trials, suffered ill treatment both outside and inside of jails.
The King rules by decrees including the king's decree of 1973, media is tightly controlled with the government controlling television and radio broadcasting stations and of course the government's own newspaper (The Swazi Observer).

The Royal Swaziland Police have killed, tortured many political activists and no one police officer has been brought to justice, and we all know no one will.

Recently university students protesting peacefully outside the University of Swaziland were dispersed by military vehicles, and in the process, a young girl called Ayanda was crushed deliberately by the police armoured vehicle (Casper). The government is using the 2008 Suppression of Terrorism Act and 1938 Seditious and Subversive Activities Act to intimidate political activists, jail activists without trial, and or hold unfair trials thereafter. There is no freedom of speech in Swaziland, and I say to the Swaziland government We will not stop expressing ourselves and demand democracy and the respect of human rights until ALL that is achieved. As citizens and political activists please respect our human rights!


Viva Swazi Vigil Viva!!!!

By: Philile Dlamini

References:

http://www.times.co.sz/entertainment/107121-%E2%80%98govt-against-artistic-freedom-of-speech%E2%80%99.html#.VusXZOMVysk.mailto