Swaziland: Forty Years Without Parties In Swaziland
BY RICHARD LEE, 11 APRIL 2013
Ngwenyama Sobhuza II
Swaziland police and state security forces have been condemned for their 'increasingly violent and abusive behaviour' that is leading to the 'militarization' of the kingdom.
Things are so bad in the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch, that police are unable to accept that peaceful political and social dissent is a vital element of a healthy democratic process, and should not be viewed as a crime.
Despite the straitened times, the royal household has shown few signs of wanting to tighten its belt. In July, South Africa's Mail and Guardian newspaper reported that three of Mswati's wives joined a 66-strong royal entourage heading to Las Vegas on a shopping spree. There was no comment from the palace.
But women at the annual event gathered behind the monarch in the week-long celebrations, even though police kept a close watch on what they might tell journalists and tourists roaming the grounds of the royal village, some 20 km (12 miles) outside the capital.
In the past, the king has used the ceremony to choose a new wife, and some girls still hoped to catch the king's eye. "