Swaziland. Opposition politician Mario Masuku was brought to trial at the beginning of the year. He was charged with rebellion by demanding the king’s departure and was threatened with 20 years in prison. After several months of interruption, the trial resumed in August, when Masuku was acquitted.
When Masuku was released, after being imprisoned for close to a year, he declared that Swaziland should be granted a constitutional monarch like Britain. In a later speech to his supporters, Masuku argued that Swaziland’s royal government can never be reformed but must be removed. He warned the king of the “tide of masses” he said were on the way. Masuku’s party, the People’s United Democratic Movement, is banned by the regime.
During the year, Swaziland’s Catholic Church accused the government and the royal family of allowing corruption and violating human rights. Criticism came from several directions against the regime for mismanagement of the economy. Unemployment is around 40% and about one fifth of the population is dependent on food aid after a few years of drought and malnutrition. At the same time, one third of the population is estimated to be HIV-infected.
According to Countryaah website, national day of Eswatini is every September 6. The polygamy system was challenged during the year. When King Mswati appointed an 18-year-old girl to his tenth wife, the girl’s mother sued employees at the court and accused them of kidnapping. It was the first public protest of its kind against the king. The case developed into a legal scandal with pressure from the government against lawyers who pursued the case. However, the mother gave up her fight when the intended queen said she would accept the king’s decision.
The Prime Minister dies in covid-19
Swaziland’s Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini is dying of complications from covid-19 virus. In mid-November, Dlamini tested positive for covid-19 but then said that he felt healthy and was without symptoms. A couple of weeks later, he was taken to neighboring South Africa for treatment, but he died in hospital there.
Economic stimulus package after corona
20th of August
The government promises an economic stimulus package that will help the country recover from the corona pandemic. Private investors are expected to contribute two-thirds of the $ 1.7 billion bailout package. It will run over 18 months and focuses on various projects in, among other things, the tourism, mining and agricultural industries. At the same time, new criticism is leveled at King Mswati III and his luxurious lifestyle. The government denies that it is the taxpayers’ money that the king spends. The country’s economy is expected to shrink by 6.7 percent due to the pandemic.