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Thursday, 30 September 2010

UK RADIO SHOW BLIND TO ABUSES

Swaziland is to feature on a London-based radio show that aims to prove the kingdom is ‘Africa’s best kept secret’.

But, instead of revealing to the world the extent of human rights abuses in Swaziland, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, it intends to highlight the ‘peace and safety’ of the kingdom.

Swaziland will be featured as ‘destination of the week’ on the Holiday Show on LBC Radio in London, UK. Producers claim it has one million listeners a week. The show is also broadcast through various streams on the internet and spreads across the world.

The show will be aired on Sunday 17 October, 2010, from 2 – 4pm UK time.

The show is hosted by Simon Calder, a well-known travel writer in the UK, who has a reputation as an ethical reporter on travel matters. He also works for Sky TV and the Independent newspaper.

Rick Kelsey, one of the reporters on the show, said, ‘More than a show it is a vehicle for countries to be exposed and stimulate tourist inflow into their countries in a very sophisticated manner.’

He said it was a ‘priceless opportunity to be known by travellers who would otherwise have never known or taken time to visit the country’.

I doubt that Kelsey knows that earlier this month Barnabas Dlamini, Swaziland’s illegally-appointed Prime Minister, threw a number of foreign nationals out of Swaziland because he didn’t like the meeting they were attending. He later said he wanted to target ‘tourists’ who he felt were coming to Swaziland to promote democracy.

These remarks came after Dlamini said he that he wanted to use ‘sipakatane’ (otherwise known as ‘bastinado’, a form of torture that involves flogging the bare soles of a person’s feet) on people from overseas who campaigned against his government.

This was just one of the many human rights abuses in Swaziland that has been highlighted by Amnesty International, Freedom House and the US State Department.

To promote tourism to Swaziland at the present time is to ask people to spend their hard earned money in support a murderous regime that will stop at nothing to maintain its grip on power.

If you would like to tell the programme makers some truths about Swaziland contact:

Simon Calder at

(Independent newspaper) s.calder@independent.co.uk

(LBC) http://www.lbc.co.uk/email-simon-calder-3453


Contact the LBC Programme Director and Editorial Director, News - Jonathan Richards

Jonathanrichards@thisisglobal.com


Also contact

LBC Programme Complaints

complaints@lbc.co.uk

KING MISLEADS ON PLACE OF WOMEN

King Mswati III misled the General Assembly of the United Nations last week when he praised Swazi women for their role in development initiatives and for making the world a better place to live in.


He said Swaziland ‘continued to promote equality’ in all sectors of the kingdom.


His claim came just as a report in Swaziland revealed that a large proportion of Swazi women believe it is all right for their husbands to beat them.


The Swaziland Demographic Health Survey concluded that the women’s attitudes endorsed their lower status in Swaziland compared to men. It was also influenced by Swazi culture.


The survey asked women if a husband was justified in hitting or beating his wife in the following situations: If she burns the food; If she argues with him; If she goes out without telling him; If she refuses to have sex with him and If she has sex with other men.


The report says about four in 10 women believe that a husband is justified in beating his wife for at least one of the six specified reasons.


These findings are shocking, but they are nothing new. In a previously published report it was revealed that forty percent of men in Swaziland say it is all right to beat their women.

It confirmed that in Swaziland women are treated as second-class citizens and in traditional custom and law they are in effect owned by their men (usually their husbands or fathers).


Here are some of the results of the survey:


- Most men and women believe that women cannot negotiate with their husbands to have safer sex.
- Women do not have power to make household decisions and they are most likely to have control over daily household purchases.
- Husbands often have the final say over visits to family or relatives and larger household purchases.


King Mswati likes to fool himself (and others who should know better) that the kingdom he rules as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch is on its way to becoming a ‘First World’ nation, but the women of Swaziland know the truth.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

PM’S HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD ‘A HOAX’

Has Barnabas Dlamini, the bogus doctor and illegally-appointed Prime Minister of Swaziland, allowed his vanity to get the better of him once again?


This week his government announced that he had been awarded a medal for his contribution to human rights by the World Citizen Awards (WCA).

In a statement the Swazi Government said the medal was being given to the prime minister ‘as a person who has accomplished and made numerous contributions to mankind’. He was also described as a ‘highly respected global figure, whose role in history has been significant.’

This award, the statement went on, ‘is also in recognition of his pre-eminent role in the shaping of the global community and continued influence on the world stage’.

Pretty flattering stuff, but piffle of course. We all know that Dlamini has made no such contribution to ‘mankind’. Indeed, he has done the opposite and it is well documented that he is an enemy of freedom and human rights.


Only this month (September 2010) he called for the use of ‘sipakatane’ (otherwise known as ‘bastinado’, a form of torture that involves flogging the bare soles of a person’s feet) on people who campaigned against his government.


Dlamini, who allows himself to be titled ‘doctor’, although he only has an honorary doctorate from the University of Swaziland, seems to have fallen hook, line and sinker for it.


Since the announcement last weekend numerous people tried to contact WCA to register a protest at the award, but found the email contact it gave on its website did not work.


Attempts to find information about the three ‘prominent’ figures listed on the WCA website as the organisation’s leaders also proved fruitless. None of them appeared anywhere on the Internet, except in reference to their role at WCA.


There could be a pretty innocent explanation for this, but I can’t think of one.


Alarm bells were rung by Africa Contact, Denmark, when it sent emails of protest to people listed as members of the board of WCA and received a reply from one of them stating, ‘I regret to say that you and I - among others - have been victims of a hoax.’


This led Africa Contact to conclude, ‘The hoax is that the award is not given by the alleged board members of the World Citizen Award, but that the recipients of the awards are in effect paying to receive a bogus award.’


Participants and the organisations they represent are invited to a lavish three day bash in the Bahamas, which I suppose is paid for by the participants. There is also a ‘commemorative booklet’ published to mark the event.


The suggestion that Dlamini may be the victim of a hoax prompted Morten Nielsen from Africa Contact to say, ‘It is unbelievable that the Swazi government would fall for such a hoax as they must be well aware of their appalling human rights record. According to the widely recognized Mo Ibrahim Index, that rates countries according to indicators such as human rights records and governance, Swaziland ranks a dismal 45th out of 53 African countries in the category of participation and human rights. Incidentally, this is just above Zimbabwe’.


The Swazi Government has yet to respond to the claim it may have been hoaxed.