Swaziland – 20 March 2015

South Africa: Defend Swaziland Unions – Free Mario Masuku!
By The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)
The Congress of South African Trade Unions strongly condemns recent violent attacks by Swaziland police on trade union meetings and sends a message of solidarity and support to the Swazi workers struggling for democracy and the right to organise in free and independent trade unions.
On 14 March 2015 King Mswati’s police broke up a meeting of the executive board of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA), and injured a union leader who was taking part.


Renewable Energy Key to Achieving Socio-Economic Development in Swaziland, Says New IRENA Report
By Alternative Energy Magazin
Ezulwini, Swaziland, 19 March 2015 – Developing Swaziland’s vast renewable energy resources would provide substantial socio-economic benefits for its population, according to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The Swaziland Renewables Readiness Assessment estimates that bagasse, a by-product of the local sugar industry, could meet half of all domestic electricity demand while solar power could contribute substantially to the remaining demand.
Alternative Energy Magazin

Swaziland: Support for Jailed Swazi Journalists
By Swazi Media Commentary
The first anniversary of the jailing of two journalists in Swaziland after they wrote and published articles critical of the kingdom’s judiciary has been marked by condemnations from across the world.
Bheki Makhubu, the editor of the Nation magazine, and Thulani Maseko, a human rights lawyer and writer, were remanded in detention on 18 March 2014. In July 2014 they were each jailed for two years without the option of a fine for committing contempt of court.
The Nation and Swaziland Independent Publishers were also fined E50,000 (US$5,000) each.
Swazi Media Commentary

Snat’s Muzi Loses Tooth In Scuffle With 15 Cops
By Lunga Masuku
MBABANE – Secretary General of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) Muzi Mhlanga lost one of his front teeth and is suffering from painful private parts after an alleged scuffle with police.
The incident is said to have happened last Saturday when police officers stopped a meeting organised by the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA). The meeting was scheduled to be held at the SNAT Centre in Manzini.
Mhlanga alleged that he was dragged for about 20 metres, while about 15 police officers held him by his private parts.
In an interview yesterday, Mhlanga said he had just returned from Lusaka, Zambia, where he had gone to attend a meeting of regional leaders of teachers’ organisations.
Times of Swaziland


MISA condemns continued imprisonment of Swazi prisoners of conscience
By Star Africa
YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon, 18 March 2015 / PRN Africa / — The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) condemns the continued imprisonment of editor Bheki Makhubu and Thulani Maseko in Swaziland. Today marks one year since the pair were remanded in detention following an unconstitutional closed court hearing on 18 March 2014. The pair were arrested and charged in connection to separate articles criticising the Swazi judiciary, which appeared in independent news magazine, The Nation. They were convicted of contempt of court on 17 July 2014 and later sentenced to two years in prison, with no option of a fine. The Nation and Swaziland Independent Publishers were also fined E50,000 each. The ruling was unreasonably severe and clearly intended to send a message to those who might contemplate future criticism of Swaziland’s judiciary.
Star Africa

”We Are Not Deterred” – A Prison Letter From Swazi Human Rights Lawyer Thulani Maseko On The One Year Anniversary Of His Detention
By Jeffrey Smith
My friend Thulani Maseko is one of the most courageous human beings I have ever met. He is an unflinching iconoclast in Swaziland, Africa’s last absolute monarchy and the continent’s most quietly repressive nation. Thulani has fearlessly campaigned to highlight the inherent deficiencies of the Tinkhundla system of governance, which vests undue power in the hands of one man: King Mswati III, who assumed power at the age of 18, following the death of his father, and previous king, Sobhuza II.1
A year ago today, Thulani and Bheki Makhubu, a veteran magazine editor, were each sentenced to two years in prison for writing, and then publishing, articles that were critical of Swaziland’s undeniably rotten judicial system. Thulani has remained steadfast and brave, despite the clear, and still ongoing, miscarriages of justice against him, which include a farcical sedition trial slated for this summer.


Swazi Writers Still In Jail A Year Later
By Reporters Without Borders
A year has passed since the respected journalist Bheki Makhubu was jailed in Africa’s last absolute monarchy. Reporters Without Borders is appalled by his unjustified two-year prison sentence for contempt of court.
The editor of the monthly magazine The Nation, Bheki Makhubu is one of the few journalists in Swaziland willing to hold the ruling elite to account. For his efforts, he has now spent a year in Sidwashini prison, just north of the capital Mbabane. Chief Justice Michael Ramadobedi summarily remanded him in custody in March 2014 on a charge of contempt of court. He was sentenced to two years in prison in July.
His crime was writing a well argued and impassioned opinion piece detailing corruption in Swaziland’s judiciary. It shed a light on judicial abuse and reminded the custodians of the law that they should adhere to it themselves.
Reporters Without Borders

SD to now trade in diamonds
by Nomthandazo Nkambule
SWAZILAND’s mining sector will soon realise potential growth as the country is expected to now trade in diamonds.
This follows the finalisation of the procurement process for the Kimberly Process Certificates.
According to the ministry of natural resources and energy annual performance report 2014/15 delivered in parliament by Minister Jabulile Mashwama, the mining department continued with reforms that were set to place the sector among key contributors to national economic growth.
Swazi Observer


Pm’s Statement Shocking, Says Justice Minister
MANZINI – Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Sibusiso Shongwe has expressed his shock at the utterances of the Prime Minister (PM), Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini, confirming the presence of judiciary challenges in the country’s.
“In fact, I do not believe the premier said the words attributed to him, he must have been quoted out of context but then it remains to be seen,” Shongwe said.
The minister emphasised that the credibility of the Judiciary had not been compromised as it remained strong and independent.
“His Majesty’s courts have made great strides in restoring the rule of law in the country. The episodes of 2002-2003 will never be seen in Swaziland again,” he said.
Times of Swaziland

I won’t resign over judicial crisis – PM
By Sibongile Sukati
The Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini says he will not resign from his position.
This was after Lobamba Member of Parliament Michael Masilela asked the PM to step down if he fails to solve the mess within the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs
“I will not step down because I know that there is a problem within the justice ministry and we’re already working on fixing it; and something will happen,” he said.
Swazi Observer


MASHOBENI – While the Border Restoration Committee (BRC) is working round the clock to retain Swazi land that was lost to South Africa during the colonial era, the kingdom has a case to answer in a South African court for allegedly interfering in a chieftaincy dispute in that country.
It is said the country was fined E100 000, a ruling which the kingdom’s government is appealing in the Pretoria High Court in South Africa.
The Mashobeni community in northern Hhohho is torn following a chieftaincy dispute that has been dragging for over 10 years now. What seems to have exacerbated the situation is that one faction presented its candidate, Chief Matsafeni Norman Shongwe, to the Swazi authorities as the rightful chief of both Mashobeni and the land stretching beyond our borders in Schoemansdal, South Africa.
Times of Swaziland