Swaziland Overview

Civic space in Swaziland is severely restricted, making it one of the most difficult environments for civil society in southern Africa. People face many barriers when gathering in public places and often face reprisals when expressing their views openly. In one of the world’s last remaining absolute monarchies, it is unsurprising that no mechanism exists that allows political parties to campaign openly and contest elections. Trade unions and civic groupings deal with constant interference from the state. King Mswati’s government has total control over the police, prosecution and judiciary. These arms of government shut down dissent by arresting, detaining and convicting critics of the regime. Several activists have been arrested, charged and imprisoned over the past two years simply for criticising the government or calling for political change.