Search This Blog

Loading...

For more coverage follow us also on Twitter and Facebook


Thursday, 14 April 2016

STUDENT CAMPAIGN AFTER POLICE ATTACK

Students in Swaziland have launched a campaign in support of Ayanda Mkhabela, who was crippled when police drove at her in an armoured vehicle during a university protest.

Doctors have said Mkhabela, aged 23, would never walk again.

Launching the campaign, the Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS) said it wanted to ensure Mkhabela and her family were compensated for all injuries and losses incurred as a result of the incident.

Mkhabela was one of many students attacked by police at the University of Swaziland Kwaluseni campus on 22 February 2016.

The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom reported at the time, ‘a Royal Swaziland Police (RSP) Operational Services Unit (OSSU) casspir drove at high speed into a group of about 2,000 students, who, when they realised that the vehicle was not stopping, ran in all directions’. 

Students from different institutions were present at the launch at the Kwaluseni campus of the University of Swaziland, along with prominent trade union members and political figures.

Swazi Police say they are investigating the circumstances of the incident, but students have called for an independent inquiry.

See also 

POLICE ATTACK VICTIM ‘WILL NOT WALK’
STUDENTS UNDER SIEGE BY ARMED POLICE
POLICE FLEE ROOMS AS POLICE ATTACK
BOYCOTTING STUDENTS CLOSE UNIVERSITY

Monday, 11 April 2016

KING ‘STEALS FROM CHILDREN’ TO BUY JET

The best-known of the prodemocracy groups in Swaziland has accused King Mswati III of stealing from children so he could have his own personal jet aircraft.

The People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) said the move to buy a A430-300 Airbus for E200,000 (US$13.2 million) was ‘corrupt’ and ‘insensitive’ at a time when about one in four of Swaziland’s 1.3 million population was in extreme danger of hunger because of the prolonged drought in the southern Africa region.

PUDEMO, which is banned in Swaziland where King Mswati rules as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, said that the US$13.2 million could have been better spent.

In a statement it said, ‘Our view is that it is corrupt, insensitive and arrogance to buy a jet when there is the crisis of drought. There are families who can’t take their children to school. There are university students who cannot afford education. There are farmers who lost everything during the drought. There is 43 percent unemployment. 

‘That money used to buy the jet can pay for 2,500 students to finish their degrees at the university from 1st year to 4th year. The same amount can pay for 42,500 children to start form one up to form five in public schools. So the king decided to steal from 45,000 children to live a luxury life.’

PUDEMO also estimated the money spent on the jet could alternatively, ‘recapitalise farmers with 20,000 new cattle and feed; or build a new fully furnished hospital; or build 40 fully-equipped clinics; or build 35 new fully-furnished schools; or build 10 tar roads in rural areas each 20km.’

The announcement that the money for the King’s jet would be paid from public funds came as Swaziland asked for international aid to help provide US$16 million in drought relief before the end of April 2016.

King Mswati lives a lavish lifestyle. He already owns a McDonnell Douglas DC-9 jet aircraft that cost about US$11 million in 2010, but he considers it too small. The King also has 13 palaces and fleets of BMW and Mercedes cars.
Meanwhile, seven in ten of his subjects live in abject poverty with incomes of less than USS$2 per day.

KING BUYS JET, UN FUNDS DROUGHT RELIEF

Friday, 8 April 2016

KING BUYS JET, UN FUNDS DROUGHT RELIEF

Just as the Swaziland Government announced it would spend E200 million (US$13.2 million) of public funds on a private jet aircraft for King Mswati III, the United Nations has released US$3.14 million funding to support 95,000 Swazis hardest hit by the current drought.

In February 2016 when it declared a national emergency the Swazi Government said it did not have sufficient money to purchase food and other provisions for the estimated 300,000 people in danger of severe malnutrition. It appealed to the international community for help.

The Government estimated it would need US$16 million in aid before the end of April 2016.

The United Nations said the funding would enable the World Food Programme and UNICEF to provide food and emergency water and sanitation to the 95,000 most vulnerable people.

The European Union in collaboration with the Finnish Red Cross has already said it would donate the equivalent of US$650,000 to assist more than 21,000 people from 4,200 households with food supplies.

King Mswati III, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolution has an international reputation for his lavish lifestyle. He already owns a jet aircraft, but he considers it too small, so he will now get to an A340-300 Airbus built in 2001. It will be purchased from China Airlines in Taiwan.

The King who rules over a population of 1.3 million subjects also has 13 palaces and fleets of BMW and Mercedes cars.

Meanwhile, seven in ten of his subjects live in abject poverty with incomes of less than USS$2 per day.

See also

SWAZI MPs ABOUT-TURN ON KING’S JET
MONEY FOR KING’S JET, BUT NOT DROUGHT
$12m SPEND ON ROYAL DECOR AT AIRPORT
http://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2016/03/12m-spend-on-royal-decor-at-airport.html

POLICE ATTACK VICTIM WILL NOT WALK

The Swazi university student who was crushed under an armoured troop carrier when police drove at speed at protesting students was so badly injured she will not walk again.

Ayanda Mkhabela, aged 23, was one of many students attacked by police at the University of Swaziland Kwaluseni campus on 22 February 2016.

The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, reported doctors in Port Elizabeth Hospital, South Africa, said she will never walk again.

The police attack happened as students were protesting about delays in registration.

The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom reported at the time, ‘a Royal Swaziland Police (RSP) Operational Services Unit (OSSU) casspir drove at high speed into a group of about 2,000 students, who, when they realised that the vehicle was not stopping, ran in all directions. 

The Swazi Observer, reported, “The official police version of events was to the effect that Mkhabela tried to climb on the body of the casspir and fell, thus injuring herself.

‘This was said by Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Khulani Mamba yesterday afternoon.

‘He denied that the casspir could have been used as a weapon by the police and when he was asked if the officers were qualified to rush a person to the hospital instead of waiting for paramedics considering that Mkhabela had spinal injuries, Mamba said they were trained in first aid and acted due to the emergency of the situation.’

The Swaziland National Union of Students (NSUS), in a statement posted on Facebook, said newspapers had distorted the truth to make the incident look like an accident. 

SNUS said, ‘Truth of the matter is approximately 1,000 protesting students at Kwaluseni UNISWA were targeted by the police casspir which sped to disperse them and as their desire hit our very own desperate Ayanda Mkhabela. Upon knocking her down, as expected the casspir switched off lights and she was taken away, fortunately to hospital.’

See also

STUDENTS UNDER SIEGE BY ARMED POLICE
POLICE FLEE ROOMS AS POLICE ATTACK
BOYCOTTING STUDENTS CLOSE UNIVERSITY
POLICE SHOOT TWO STUDENTS IN HEAD
ARMED POLICE STOP STUDENTS PROTEST
SWAZILAND STUDENT UNREST SPREADS
STUDENTS UNDER FIRE FROM POLICE
SWAZI STUDENTS BEATEN TO PULP
SWAZILAND POLICE ‘SHOOT STUDENTS’
http://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2010/01/swazi-land-police-shoot-students.html

Thursday, 7 April 2016

SWAZI MPs ABOUT-TURN ON KING’S JET

Swaziland parliamentarians have made an abrupt about-turn over the purchase of a private jet for the kingdom’s autocratic monarch, King Mswati III.
 
They had decided to reject part of the kingdom’s annual budget that would have approved E96 million to be spent on a private jet for the King.

But days later they overturned that decision and have agreed to pay E200 million (US$13.2 million) – more than twice the original amount budgeted for – to China Airlines in Taiwan for an Airbus A340-300, built in 2001.

Unconfirmed reports circulating on the Internet said that King Mswati had refused to sign-off Swaziland’s budget announced in February 2016 unless he got his jet.

On Tuesday (5 April 2016), the Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, reported that the E96 million allocated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for the jet had been cancelled by the Ministry of Finance.

There had been complaints both inside and outside Swaziland that the money could be put to better use. About 300,000 people in Swaziland are presently at risk of severe hunger as a result of drought.

The Observer reported the Ministry of Finance had ‘listened and cancelled the allocation and the money taken to the Consolidated Funds’. This would allow it to be spent on other things.

Two days later on Thursday (7 April 2016), the Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, reported that ‘following a three-hour long caucus by both Members of Parliament (MPs) and senators in the Parliament canteen, the latter agreed that the E96m, which had been frozen by MPs, be released to pay a deposit to China Airlines, based in the Republic of China on Taiwan.’

The Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini, who was not elected to office but appointed directly by King Mswati, later presented a statement. The Times reported, ‘[T]he PM said following a Parliament resolution that government find a solution to ensure that Their Majesties are secured a mode of travel, they had sent a ministerial subcommittee headed by Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, to look at the various options available.’

The newspaper reported, ‘The balance for the Airbus A340-300, which has been identified, will be paid up in the 2017-2018 government financial year. 

‘The PM said the jet to be used by Their Majesties for international trips was a long range and, therefore, it did not have to make fuelling stops every now and then.’

King Mswati already has a private jet that has been the subject of a legal dispute in both Canada and the British Virgin Islands.

Reporting on the about-turn by MPs, the Times said, ‘The MPs approved the motion and said they had not released the money because government had failed to bring feedback on the King’s jet and instead had just made an unexplained E96 million under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs budget allocation for the 2016/2017 financial year.’

See also

MPs BLOCK SWAZI KING’S NEW JET

LATEST ON SWAZI FREEDOM STRUGGLE

King Mswati III, the absolute monarch of Swaziland, has once again been at the centre of events in his kingdom. His refusal to recognise there was a drought crisis and hundreds of thousands of his subjects were at risk of hunger set back relief efforts by many months.

The King’s vast wealth was in the spotlight when it was reported he could make US$65 million with the reopening of a gold mine in his kingdom. The King supposedly holds mineral royalties ‘in trust for the nation’ but in fact he uses such monies to finance his personal lavish lifestyle that includes 13 palaces, fleets of Mercedes and BW cars and a private jet.
Elsewhere it was reported that new rules if they come into force would censor what could be taught at the University of Swaziland, where King Mswati is Chancellor. The university was told it should not ‘teach things which could be detrimental to the wellbeing and image of the country’.
King Mswati III’s absolute monarchy in Swaziland ‘ultimately is incompatible with a society based on the rule of law’, a report into the kingdom’s judicial crisis and published by the International Commission of Jurists concluded.
These are some of the stories from the past three months that have been reported by Swazi Media Commentary. A new compilation called Swaziland Striving for Freedom, vol 21, January to March 2016 is available free of charge on the Scribd website.
This compilation brings together posts that originally appeared on its website.
Swazi Media Commentary website has no physical base and is completely independent of any political faction and receives no income from any individual or organisation. People who contribute ideas or write for it do so as volunteers and receive no payment.
Swazi Media Commentary is published online – updated regularly.
See also
SWAZI KING IN WORLD’S SPOTLIGHT


MPs BLOCK SWAZI KING’S NEW JET

Members of the Swaziland Parliament have blocked a move to pay E96 million (about US$6.4 million at the present ever-fluctuating exchange rate) for a jet plane for the kingdom’s autocratic monarch King Mswati III.
 
The money had been allocated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in the kingdom’s annual budget announced in February 2016.

In February 2016 the Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, reported the E96 million was set aside for a jet for the King after members of the parliament, many of them appointed by the King, urged the Swazi Government to consider buying the King a plane to replace the DC-9 jet (also known as an MD-87) which he already has. It has been the subject of legal disputes in both Canada and the British Virgin Islands. 

Once news of the intended spending was made public outside of Swaziland the King came in for heavy criticism. Swaziland is in the grip of a drought crisis and in February the Swazi Government declared a national emergency and said the kingdom would need E248 million (US$16 million) before the end of April 2016.

The King has a reputation for lavish spending. He already owns a private jet aircraft and fleets of Mercedes and BMW cars. He also has 13 palaces in his kingdom where seven in ten of his 1.3 million subjects live in abject poverty with incomes of less than US$2 per day.

It is reported that about 300,000 (one in four of the King’s subjects) need drought relief with rural people in danger of severe malnutrition.

The Star Africa news site reported that Swazi legislators felt the allocation of money for the jet, ‘is a waste of resources as there are other options that can cost far less.’

See also

SWAZI KING’S DROUGHT BLUNDER
MONEY FOR KING’S JET, BUT NOT DROUGHT
http://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2016/03/money-for-kings-jet-but-not-drought.html

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

DROUGHT AID REACHES SWAZILAND

International aid is beginning to flow into Swaziland as drought relief, despite controversies over inappropriate spending by the Swazi Government.

In the February 2016 budget it was revealed that at least US$9 million has been set aside this year for a jet aircraft for King Mswati III, the last absolute monarch in sub-Saharan Africa. 

A further US$12 million is to be spent on the Royal terminal at King Mswati III (KMIII) airport. 

KMIII, formerly known as Sikhuphe, is an airport built in the wilderness in Swaziland. It has been widely criticised outside the kingdom where King Mswati rules as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch as a vanity project for the King.

Now, the European Union has announced that in collaboration with the Finnish Red Cross it will donate the equivalent of US$650,000 to assist more than 21,000 people from 4,200 households with food supplies.

In February the Swazi Government declared a national emergency and said the kingdom would need E248 million (US$16 million) before the end of April 2016.

EU Ambassador to Swaziland Nicola Bellomo said at the time Swaziland would immediately would seek E143 million from the ‘donor community’.

See also

MONEY FOR KING’S JET, BUT NOT DROUGHT
$12m SPEND ON ROYAL DECOR AT AIRPORT
http://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2016/03/12m-spend-on-royal-decor-at-airport.html

Thursday, 31 March 2016

4,556 CASES OF SEVERE SCHOOL BEATINGS

There have been 4,556 cases of ‘severe corporal punishment’ of children in Swaziland’s schools over the past four years, an international news organisation reported.

Star Africa quoted Zanele Thabede from youth group Super Buddies, who leads a team looking into youth and child issues, who in an interview said the number of whippings dated from 2012.

Star Africa reported Thabede saying, ‘Corporal punishment by teachers and principals is legal and routinely practiced and there is a growing trend of incarcerating of children and youth in the Malkerns Industrial School for Rehabilitation because of “unruly” behaviour.’

There is confusion in Swaziland as to whether corporal punishment has been banned in schools. It is believed that a directive was issued to schools in 2012 not to use corporal punishment but few teachers appear to know it had been made.
The Times of Swaziland reported in October 2015 that Phineas Magagula, Minister of Education and Training, warned that teachers who beat pupils should be reported to the ministry so that they could be disciplined.
Swaziland has a long history of atrocities committed by teachers against their pupils in the name of ‘discipline’. Although there were rules about how corporal punishment could be administered, these were largely ignored.
As recently as September 2015, the Times reported a 17-year-old school pupil died after allegedly being beaten at school. The pupil reportedly had a seizure.
In March 2015, a primary school teacher at the Florence Christian Academy was charged with causing grievous bodily harm after allegedly giving 200 strokes of the cane to a 12-year-old pupil on her buttocks and all over her body.
In February 2015, the headteacher of Mayiwane High School Anderson Mkhonta reportedly admitted giving 15 strokes to a form 1 pupil for not wearing a neck tie properly.
In April 2015, parents reportedly complained to the Ndlalane Primary School after a teacher beat pupils for not following his instruction and shaving their hair. 
In October 2014, 20 pupils were thrashed before they sat an examination because they had been absent from school studying for the exam the previous day.
In October 2015, the Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III and the voice of the traditionalists in Swaziland published an article against the abolition of corporal punishment. 
Observer journalist Fanyana Mabuza wrote that if corporal punishment was abolished, ‘[T]he future could be bleak, especially for the children who for their own good need a bit of spanking to bring them to order.’
The article in the Observer, a newspaper that believes Swaziland will be a ‘First World’ nation by 2022 added, ‘We just do not see the future clearly without the cane in our schools.’
See also
SWAZI SCHOOL ‘TORTURES’ STUDENTS
 
CHILDREN CHAINED AND FLOGGED BARE
PROBE VICIOUS SCHOOL BEATINGS
 
SCHOOL FLOGGINGS OUT OF CONTROL
 
SCHOOL HEAD PUBLICLY FLOGS ADULTS
http://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2011/02/school-head-publicly-flogs-adults.html

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

ELDERLY STAY POOR AS KING GETS MORE

King Mswati III, the absolute monarch in Swaziland, is to get a 9 percent increase for his spending from the taxpayer, while elderly pensions are frozen because there is not enough money to pay for increases.

The news about King Mswati’s budget increase has not been reported in Swaziland, where media routinely censor news about the King.

King Mswati’s ‘Civil List’, the money given to him to run the Royal household, will increase by E30m (US$1.9m) in the coming financial year to E370m (US$24m).

The King also receives income from a variety of businesses in the kingdom. For example, he holds 25 percent of all mineral wealth ‘in trust for the Swazi nation.’ In reality he uses this money to fund his lavish lifestyle, which includes 13 palaces, a private jet, fleets of Mercedes and BMW cars and at least one Rolls Royce.

Earlier this month (March 2016), it was revealed the King’s share of the just-reopened Lufafa Gold Mine at Hhelehhele in the Hhohho region of Swaziland could be worth up to US$149 million. 

Meanwhile, seven in ten of his 1.3 million subjects live in abject poverty with incomes of less than US$2 per day.

The increase in the King’s budget was contained in the annual budget estimates in February 2016. Although the Swazi media covered aspects of the budget, the news about the King was not published.

Meanwhile, the same budget pegged the elderly grant (pensions), which are for people aged 60 and over, at E240 per month. A total of E170,765,454 (about US$11m) was paid in elderly grants in the 2015 – 2016 financial year. This was about half the E340 million that the King received as ‘Civil List’ to fund the Royal household.

The budget also revealed that about US$9 million would be spent on a private jet for the King. Also US$12 million will reportedly be spent on décor at the Royal Terminal Building at King Mswati III (KMIII) Airport. 

See also

$12m SPEND ON ROYAL DECOR AT AIRPORT