Friday, April 12, 2013

Swaziland: Batshit crazy in the pornocracy.

allAfrica reports

Swaziland: Forty Years Without Parties In Swaziland


                                                                Ngwenyama Sobhuza II

Tomorrow marks 40 years since King Sobhuza II abrogated Swaziland's independence constitution and created an absolute monarchy but Swazis have no reason to celebrate - as they continue to struggle with a devastating combination of political, economic, judicial and social crises.
Wikipedia gives a fairly comprehensive biography of the guy this caught my eye.
Sobhuza was appointed an honourary Officer of the Order of the British Empire, Civil Division (OBE) in the 1937 Coronation Honours List. He was appointed an honourary Commander, Civil Division (CBE) in the 1950 King's Birthday Honours List, and was knighted as a Knight Commander, Civil Division (KBE) in the 1966 New Year Honours List.
If there weren't enough reasons to laugh at the institution of colonialism surly this is a prime example. The British Empire heaped honours on the man, yet if bring prosperity and progress the often sited reasons for the barbarism of colonialism one can only conclude it has been an abject failure in Swaziland as well.
With undemocratic elections - or 'selections' as they are more commonly referred to - due in August, 21 Swazi civil society organisations have called on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to bring an end to Swaziland's sham democracy by ensuring the Swazis' civil and political rights are respected.
Sham fairly well sums up the nation that Alex Engwete hilariously refers to as the Pornocracy of Swaziland  I have argued before that if there was ever a need to justify  regicide Swaziland provides it.   
In particular, the Swazi organisations - comprising civil society, faith-based, legal, women's and youth groups as well as trade unions - are urging SADC to ensure that political parties are allowed to operate freely and participate in elections for the first time in four decades.
"Out of SADC's 280 million citizens, only the 1 million in Swaziland are denied the right to use political parties as vehicles for forming a government of their choice," said the groups in a joint letter to Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete in his role as Chairperson of the Troika Organ on Politics, Defense and Security, which called for crisis in Swaziland to be placed on the agenda of the next SADC Heads of State Summit in Malawi.
You can guarantee that nothing will come of that. What is of even more concern is the on going militarisation of Swaziland, Africanseer reports. 
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.

Swaziland's 2005 Constitution does incorporate respect for fundamental human rights, including the freedom of association and assembly. However, these rights continue to be violated.
                                                                                                Mswati III
There are of course acceptations to every rule and the current  King of the Poronocracy Mswati III allows free assembly on an annual basis for the so called Reed Dance a tradition he has perverted out of all recognition. 

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. "

In the case of political parties, no legislation has been passed to enable them to register, operate freely and participate in elections. In addition, section 79 of the constitution vitiates the freedoms guaranteed earlier in the document by limiting election and appointment to political office to individuals.
"The exclusion of political parties in this manner and government's insistence on 'individual merit' as the sole basis for eligibility for political office is in violation of a number of regional and international instruments on human rights and democracy which Swaziland is a party to, particularly the 2004 SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections," said the joint letter.
Which of course provides the reason for the above mentioned militarisation of Swaziland as political rights of the citizens of Swaziland are denied the repression needed to keep the suppression continues at a growing pace.
"The violation of these rights has also been exacerbated by the prevailing political climate in which the activities of pro-democracy civic groups and political parties are suppressed through interference and sometimes violent disruption."
With elections scheduled for August, civil society groups are concerned that political parties will once again be excluded from the process unless SADC intervenes and have urged the regional body to:
Assist the Swazi government to urgently put in place enabling legislation for the unequivocal unbanning, recognition, registration and operationalization of political parties to enable them to actively participate in elections;
Assist the Swazi government to hold an all-inclusive national dialogue aimed at normalising the political environment in the country; and
Mediate to resolve the political impasse in the country and ensure the restoration of a multi-party democratic dispensation that co-exists in harmony with the institution of the monarchy.
The crazy thing is that all that is being asked for is a constitutional monarchy. Hell who wants to kill HRH Elizabeth II. I for one advocate taking the bastard out of power by any non violent means available and if that can not be done then I will not lose any sleep if the people of Swaziland resort to regicide. The risk guys like Mswati represent to the development of a strong wealthy Africa is immense.
The civil society groups also highlighted that Swaziland's lack of genuine democracy and the on-going absence of political parties has already been the subject of a resolution by the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) in 2012, which called on the Swazi government to "respect, protect and fulfil the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of assembly" and urging it "to take all necessary measures to ensure the conduct or free, fair and credible elections in 2013."
That ain't going to happen folks.
At the current 53rd session of the ACHRP, a number of organisations - including the African Centre for Human Rights and Democracy Studies, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), Human Rights Association of Swaziland and Lawyers for Human Rights - have highlighted the lack of progress in Swaziland and called for an end to the effective ban on political parties.
It would be more effective to impose targeted sanctions on the leaders of Swaziland and I don't include the Kings long suffering wives in that leadership category.
The civil society groups that signed the joint letter to President Kikwete included Constituent Assembly of Civil Society (CA); Council of Swaziland Churches (CSC); Federation of the Swazi Business Community (FESBC); Foundation for Socio-economic Justice (FSEJ); Legal Assistance Centre (LAC); Lawyers for Human Right Swaziland (LHR(S); Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS); Law Society of Swaziland (LSS); Media Institute of Southern Africa (MJSA)- Swaziland; Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF); Swaziland Positive Living (SWAPOL); Swaziland Rural Women Association (SRWA); Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisations (SCCCO); Swaziland Youth Empowerment Organization (Luvatsi); Swaziland Democracy Campaign (SDC); Swaziland Young Women's Network (SYWON); Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT); Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA); Women for Women; Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA); Swaziland Youth in Action (SYA)
It will despite all that support be ignored.

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