Friday, August 15, 2008

King "Ubu" Mswati Keeps His Boots On

In a part of the world where abuses of human rights are often government policy, the regime of King Mswati III of Swaziland stands out. Since 1973 the 'royal' family and its enablers have launched a systematic attack on democratic practices, trade unions, press freedom, etc. And what did the grateful citizens get in exchange for the destruction of their human rights? The highest rate of Aids infection in Southern Africa.
On June 22, the King outdid himself by passing Royal Decree #2 which allows for the banning of publications without appeal, the elimination of bail for some crimes and lowering the bar for what constitutes 'defamation' against the government.
Swaziland is often held up as a 'garden-spot' for tourists and nature lovers. Nestled between South Africa and Mozambique it boasts bucolic scenery and friendly natives: what's left out of the picture is a grim little despot intent on squashing all opposition apparently without protest from the international community. Disgraceful.

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