Swaziland. According to
Countryaah, the political repression continued, even
though the King during the year bowed to protests and
withdrew a decree that would have given him greatly
increased power. Opposition politician Mario Masuku was
charged with rebellion, which could result in 20 years in
prison. The opposition demanded his release, but a press
conference on Masuku was dissolved by armed police.
In September, King Mswati issued a five-year sex ban for
unmarried girls under 19. The monarch wanted to revive the
old custom of preserving a young girl's innocence while
helping to curb the spread of HIV and AIDS. However, the
king was criticized for undermining his injunction himself
by taking a 17-year-old schoolgirl as his eighth wife and
also choosing another teenage fiancee. The king bowed to the
criticism and in November paid an ox in fines.
The editor of the monthly magazine The Nation,
Bhekithemba Makhubu and human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko
were sentenced to two years in July 2014. They were
convicted of "contempt of court" on the basis that they
questioned the independence and integrity of the judiciary
in the February issue of the magazine.
In 2014, the King's appanage in the state budget was DKK
61 million. US $. On the other hand, 63% of the country's
population had to survive on US $ 1.25 a day. The appendix
thus corresponded to 134,000 of his subjects' annual income.
After being criticized for his expensive cars - after buying
a DaimlerChrysler for ½ million. US $ - he banned
photography of his cars. In addition to cars, in 2014, the
king had 15 wives - some of whom robbed from their families
- and 25 children.
The regime's repression of media, opposition and trade
unions continued through 2015. In February and March,
meetings by TUCOSWA were attacked by security forces and
disbanded. After being banned for 3 years, the national
organization was again allowed in May.
At President Obama's request, in January 2015, Swaziland
was excluded by the African Growth and Opportunity Act
(AGOA), which gave African companies access to the North
American market. It hit Swaziland hard. A number of textile
mills were closed and hundreds of workers fired. Following
international pressure, the regime released a number of
Authorities continued their harassment against the trade
union movement and the professionally active. In February
2016, police arrested 2 leaders of the Swaziland National
Association of Teachers (SNAT), Mcolisi Ngcamphalala and
Mbongwa Dlamini during a protest action. Two days later, the
police searched their home. The same month, police blocked a
march to Parliament, organized by the Trade Union Congress
of Swaziland (TUCOSWA). In April, police conducted two
searches of the Swaziland Union of Financial Institutions
and Allied Workers (SUFIAWU) office without a warrant. That
same month, a police commissioner threatened a number of
union activists with death.