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Friday, 30 June 2017

POVERTY-STRICKEN VENDORS DEFY POLICE



Police in Swaziland have arrested poverty-stricken women for selling firewood by roadsides. The women say their children will starve if they are not allowed to continue the trade.

Vendors at Mbadlane threatened to either commit suicide or poison their children rather than helplessly watch them die of hunger, the Sunday Observer newspaper in Swaziland reported (25 June 2017).

There is a long-running dispute between the women and police and recently firewood and products worth about E9,000 (about US$700) were confiscated. Police and the Swaziland Environment Authority (SEA) say the women are depleting the forest and destroying the environment by collecting wood, something the vendors deny.

The police said they would continue to enforce the law whenever they were called upon by the SEA. Despite the threats the women have continued to trade.

The Observer reported, ‘Their argument is that they had no other source of income, hence they will not abandon their business.’

The newspaper added, ‘Make Nkenjane from Mbadlane has vowed to feed her children with poison as she will not be able to feed them as this was her sole source of income being a single parent. 
Similar words were shared by another female vendor who vowed to hang herself than watch her children wiped by hunger.’

The Observer reported one young man, who did not want his name published, saying he would be forced into crime as he had no other way to sustain himself and his siblings. 

The newspaper added, ‘A young woman, who requested not to be named in fear of victimisation, said she would now resort to prostitution as all her wares were confiscated while she is a breadwinner of both her siblings and children. She stated that both her parents died due to HIV and [she] was now forced to look after the family, hence she dropped out of school.’

Another woman said her children would have to drop out of school because she had no money for fees, uniforms and bus fares.

The Observer reported that women vendors from Mafutseni said their case was worse than those at Mbadlane because they had been arrested on average three times a month by police.

The Observer added, ‘The women also alleged that the police threatened to shoot them whenever they tried to escape, saying firewood was now protected like the wild animals.’

The newspaper reported, ‘Gogo Dludlu said it is clear that government protects animals and trees more than humanity.’

In Swaziland, nearly seven in 10 of the kingdom’s estimated 1.3 million people live in abject poverty with incomes of less than $US2 a day. Meanwhile, King Mswati III, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, lives a lavish lifestyle, with at least 13 palaces, fleets of top-of-the-range Mercedes Benz and BMW cars and at least one Rolls Royce. He has a private jet airplane and is soon to get a second.  

See also

NO LET UP IN SWAZI POVERTY

SEVEN IN 10 SWAZIS GO HUNGRY

Thursday, 29 June 2017

RITUAL MURDERS RISE AT ELECTION TIME



Swaziland’s Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) has called for an end to ritual killings around voting time.

The EBC is concerned about reports of people mysteriously disappearing across the kingdom. There has been evidence of ritual murders in past elections.

Voters go to the polls for the national election in 2018 at a date yet to be set by King Mswati III who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch. The EBC is touring the kingdom in a series of ‘voter education’ meetings.

At KaLanga in the Lugongolweni constituency EBC educator Cynthia Dlamini said ritual murder reports increased during election time. 

The Swazi Observer reported on Monday (26 June 2017), ‘Dlamini said this was one belief driven by lunacy which, tarnishes the image of the country in the process. She said the commission condemns such beliefs and called for intensive investigations against those who would be suspected of ritual killings.’

At the last election in 2013, The Swaziland Epilepsy Association warned that cases of the abduction of epileptic people always increased during elections.

Mbuso Mahlalela from the association told the Swazi Observer at the time it was common that during the time of elections the vulnerable were targeted and abducted. He spoke after a report that a 13-year-old epileptic boy might have been abducted for ritual purposes.

The number of ritual murders increases during election year. Before the previous election in 2008 a march by civil society groups to draw attention to the problem was banned by the government amid fears that it would bring bad publicity to Swaziland and might embarrass King Mswati, who had spoken out against the practice. 

The Times of Swaziland reported at the time the march had been motivated by the mystery disappearances and murders of women. Some of these had been found mutilated fuelling speculating that they were related to rituals.
 
Some Swazi people believe body parts can be used as ‘muti’ which is used to bring good fortune to candidates at the election and help them to win seats in parliament. 

In 2008, it was strongly rumoured in Swaziland that the reason why members of the government wanted to ban discussion on the ritual murders was that some of them had themselves used ‘muti’ to get elected.

See also

‘MPs USE WITCHCRAFT FOR SUCCESS’

ELECTION: ‘RITUAL MURDERS WILL RISE’

SWAZI GOVT BANS MURDERS MARCH

FURY AT SWAZI MURDER MARCH BAN

MORE ANGER OVER SWAZI MARCH BAN
http://swazimedia.blogspot.com/2008/07/more-anger-over-swazi-march-ban.html

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

‘CHILDREN COULD SOON DIE OF HUNGER’



School administrators in Swaziland are imploring poverty-stricken parents to send their children to school with food as hunger grips the kingdom. They say children could soon die.

Parents should at least give the children sweet potatoes to suppress hunger pains, they say. The call comes after the Swazi Government failed to pay for food for the children as the economy slumps.

Food shortages have hit schools all this year and the government school feeding scheme known as zondle has collapsed.

The Times of Swaziland reported, ‘As the food shortage situation in schools worsens, the Swaziland Association of Schools Administrators (SASA) has pleaded with parents to at least put sweet potatoes, tindlubu (jugo beans) or umbhonyo (boiled peanuts) in their children’s lunch boxes so that they could have something to eat during break time.

‘The administrators were of the view that this would enable the pupils to at least concentrate during lessons.’

The newspaper added, ‘Sphasha Dlamini, the Secretary General (SG) of SASA said the situation in schools was getting worse by the day.’

 The Times reported, ‘The head teachers said hunger was written all over the faces of the pupils, something that made teachers’ jobs difficult.

‘The school administrators have sent a number of requests to government, asking it to act fast on the matter because they fear that they would soon start losing lives due to hunger in schools.’

In a report in May 2017, the World Food Program estimated 350,000 people of Swaziland’s 1.1 million population were in need of food assistance. WFP helped 65,473 of them. It said it was regularly feeding 52,000 orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) aged under eight years at neighbourhood care points. About 45 percent of all children in thought to be OVCs.

It reported chronic malnutrition affected 26 percent of all children aged under five.

See also

BAD FOOD POISONS 200 PUPILS

NO FOOD SO SCHOOLKIDS SENT HOME

HUNGER FORCES SCHOOLS TO CLOSE EARLY

SWAZI KING GETS NEW JET AS PEOPLE STARVE

DROUGHT: ‘PEOPLE DIED OF HUNGER’