Swaziland. In early 2006, arrests of members of the banned opposition movement PUDEMO (People’s United Democratic Movement) continued, which were accused of participating in a series of fire bomb attacks against police and government officials’ homes last year. Among those arrested were PUDEMO Secretary-General Bonginkhosi Dlamini. The charges involved attempted murder and high treason, crimes that could be punished with death. Relatives of activists were also arrested, and according to PUDEMO, the wife of one of the arrested men died when she was tortured by police. The wave of arrests silenced the voices of the opposition and many members of PUDEMO fled abroad.
According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Eswatini include Independence Day (September 6) and New Year (January 1). Swaziland’s new constitution came into force in February. It does not allow political parties.
In April, the border between Swaziland and South Africa was blocked by activists from both countries who protested against King Mswati’s repression. South African police then arrested a large number of people, and eight people were reported to have been injured when the police allegedly opened fire with rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.
Over 40% of the sexually active population was estimated to be HIV-infected, but only a small proportion had access to brake medication or hospital care in any form. Thousands of volunteers care for the sick at home. About 70,000 poor and orphaned children, many with parents who have died of AIDS, have received support for schooling by the state. But in June, the teachers’ union warned that these children might be shut down because the government had not paid their expenses and the schools were in financial crisis.
According to the ILO (International Labor Organization), sugar production and textile production have declined sharply in Swaziland in recent years, resulting in the loss of 30,000 to 40,000 jobs since 2002.
The Opposition Umbrella Organization The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) managed during the latter part of the year to establish the first talks between the government and groups demanding political change. The NCA had then criticized the new constitution and conducted a protest march to King Mswati’s palace, where a petition was submitted. But talks between the government and the NCA were interrupted when the government side invited officers from the security service to participate. According to NCA, this happened to scare NCA’s representatives.
Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) Overview
Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) is a small kingdom, but its terrain is very varied. There are mountains near the Mozambican border, savannas dominate the eastern regions and extensive rainforests grow on the northwest. The country has a very rich flora and fauna.
- According to abbreviationfinder, WZ is the abbreviation code for Swaziland.
Most of the locals work in agriculture and live in small villages. The country’s main exports are sugar cane, corn, citrus fruits and cotton.
Area: 17,360 km²
Population: 1,104,479 (estimate 7/2020)
Languages: Swazi, English
Religion: Christianity and Islam and local national religions to a small extent
Form of government: Monarchy
After independence, reached in 1968, the political life of the small ethnic state of Swaziland was dominated exclusively by the royal family and by the contrasts between the different groups present within it, and marked by an evolution in an authoritarian sense with the affirmation of a model of state organization based on the recognition of tribal authority and structure. Only during the 1980s did growing discontent begin to find expression in organized forms, first trade union and then directly political, with the launch of demonstrations and protests and the establishment of opposition groupings, which called for profound constitutional reforms.
In the second half of the nineties, the pressures for the initiation of a process of effective democratization became more intense both internationally and internally. The opposition movements, however illegal, increased their capacity to mobilize and in 1995 together with the trade unions organized strikes and demonstrations that blocked the country’s economic activity at various times. Mswati iiialternated phases of harsh repression, with the arrest of numerous union leaders and heavy attempts to influence the judiciary to obtain pronouncements of illegality of the strikes, with openness attitudes including the willingness to negotiate around projects for a democratic revision of the Constitution. At the beginning of 1996 the strikes were suspended to allow negotiations with the government to start, and in May 1996 the intention announced by Mswati iii to form a commission to define a new constitutional law garnered the support of the European Union. he declared his willingness to actively assist this attempt and raised hopes and expectations within the country.
The composition of the commission, as well as the changes of the executive carried out by the sovereign in the second half of 1996, however, did not produce significant results; the opposition movements therefore withdrew from the commission and the unions announced, in February 1997, the resumption of unrest, which resulted in new protests and a succession of strikes. In a climate marked by tensions and conflicts, general elections took place in October 1998, boycotted by the main opposition movement and contested in the results by the majority of independent candidates. On the international level, the absolute economic dependence on the Republic of South Africa continued unchanged even after the end of the regime apartheid (1994), while relations with Mozambique remained difficult due to the continuing tensions caused by the stay of Mozambican refugees in the eastern parts of the country.