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March 27, 2009 / kathrynllewellyn

You are joking?

I am finding it hard to believe that Swaziland has become the country where talks about democracy and freedom are being held. Swaziland has a Monarch that rules by decree and political parties are banned. Not exactly a great example of democracy and freedom!

So when did it become appropriate for a ruler of a country where he has 15 wives, women’s rights are not respected, their life expectancy  is 39 years and over 40% of the population are infected with HIV, to host talks on equality and fairness and rights?

The Zimbabwe negotiations were held in Swaziland and now Marc Ravalomanana, Madagascar’s ousted former President, is in Swaziland holding talks with the King to discuss the crisis that unfolded in his country. At the same time the human rights of a Swazi civil rights activist are being abused.

Mario Masuku, the president of the Peoples’ Unite Democratic movement of Swaziland (PUDEMO), a political party that is banned for calling for multi party democracy, was arrested in November 2008 and is still being detained.

Mario Masuku is a very gentle and intelligent man that I have been lucky to meet a number of times and he loves his country and is respectful of his culture. He, like so many Swazi’s, has grown tired of living in a country surrounded by poverty and inequality, while their king and his circle of relatives have become some of the wealthiest people in the world and the Swazi people have become some of the poorest.

Mario was arrested and detained on the 15th November 2008 and has been held in custody since. He has been denied visits from PUDEMO members and foreign diplomats and is being held under the suppression of terrorism Act. This Act undermines Swaziland’s international and regional human right obligations. It has manipulated a law intended to protect the people of Swaziland and turned it into one to oppress them.

When I have talked to politicians about Swaziland they always reply “well it is a small country Kathryn” yes it is a small country with just over one million people, but does that mean we shouldn’t care about one million people? Humans rights abuses are human rights abuses, whether you are abusing the rights of one person or one million people we should care and we need to make the international community care!

Every time I see a news report about the King of Swaziland hosting talks to resolve the problems of other countries it makes me so angry. The only talks that should be held in Swaziland with King Mswati III should be about his abuse of power, human rights, corruption and democracy!



Leave a Comment
  1. Lujan Adamski / May 13 2010 12:20 pm

    Hi Kathryn, can you advise me on what is happening in regards to your website?

    It doesn’t seem to working anymore and points to a different page, normally this happens when the hosting company deny access or put the domain name on hold.


    • kathrynllewellyn / Jul 8 2010 7:38 pm

      Hi Lujan, Really sorry for my massively delayed reply. We have a new website address its

      Thanks again!

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