HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsSwaziland — A Monarchy from Hell

Swaziland — A Monarchy from Hell


I have just emerged from a sobering encounter with Swazi activists. Had I not been Zimbabwean, it would have been incomprehensible how a man claiming to be an “anointed” leader of his people can be so brutal on them. The magnitude of repression inflicted upon the one million citizens of Swaziland by “king” Mswati needs urgent United Nations Security Council intervention. Never before since the era of the Zulu King Shaka has a nation been so traumatised by one of its own.

Swaziland, unlike England, Sweden or Japan, has an absolute monarchy. 2008 parliamentary elections were an exercise in dubious futility.

Result — a toxic concoction of legislative, executive and traditional powers exercised only by the polygamous despot who has appropriated for himself the bayethe “dear leader” status. He wrings allegiance from an impoverished citizenry now cowed into a state of sedentary belief in his infallible royal indispensability. Swaziland has become the epitome of potent desecration of the sacrosanct doctrine of separation of powers, not even comparable to the savage system we Zimbabweans are accustomed to.

King Mswati is the ultimate source of decisions, arbitrator, adjudicator and executioner. Through subtle manipulation of technocrats keen to endear themselves with royalty for personal gain, the king can have his own cake, and eat it. Testimonies from that land convinced me he and our very own President Robert Mugabe share an insatiable desire for control. Though not genocidal, Mswati benefits economically from systematic plunder and gluttonous exploitation of resources, occasionally bankrolled by pliant international corporates.

Ironically the country has a “constitution” that makes a mockery of constitutionalism, rule of law and public accountability. This dangerously exposes citizens to corrosive legislation conceived by the king’s cronies only for self–
aggrandisement. The notorious Suppression of Terrorism Act number three of 2008 is an instrument for rampant political persecution to ruthlessly immobilise civic rights activists. The People’s United Democratic Movement, Swaziland Youth Congress, the Swaziland Solidarity Network, and the Swaziland People’s Liberation Army are frozen under this archaic piece of legislation.
Amnesty International documents that “human rights problems include inability of citizens to change their government; extra-judicial killings by security forces; mob killings; police use of torture, beatings and excessive force on detainees; police impunity; arbitrary arrests and lengthy pre-trial detention; arbitrary interference with privacy and home; restrictions on freedoms of speech and Press and harassment of journalists; restrictions on freedoms of assembly, association, and movement; prohibitions on political activity and harassment of political activists; discrimination and violence against women; child abuse; trafficking in persons; societal discrimination against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community; discrimination against mixed-race and white citizens; harassment of labour leaders; restrictions on worker rights; and child labour”.

Given such a gruesome governance scenario, the only alternative for the people of Swaziland is to ignore instincts for subservience and engulf the country in an orgy of popular democratic revolution.

Sadc and the African Union are guilty of accommodating this human Swazi devil. His fingers are stuck in every conceivable aspect of his country as he masquerades on global forums pretending to be a “normal” constitutional monarch, shamelessly flaunting his ill-gotten wealth. The British Foreign Office was so blind as to invite
Mswati to an equally wasteful exhibition of monarchical splendour, sharing the royal “coach” with a queen who knows her guest as a habitual human rights violator. Mugabe is “banned” from England — only because his version of tyranny violates the white farmer! I keenly anticipate the tide of the North African revolution to push this demonic Swazi monarchy into oblivion.

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