Swazis still unable to participate in public life


A recent Afrobarometer survey report released on 16th December revealed that only 7% of Swazi nationals felt free to a join political associations of their choosing. Ranking as the least free country on the continent of Africa, the report reiterates the constrained conditions for civic activism in Swaziland; also noting that freedom of association is often indicative of the health of democracy in a country. As previously covered on the CIVICUS Monitor, despite the recent repeal of draconian legislation, the space for independent dissent is severely curtailed in Swaziland. As an absolute monarchy, the people of Swaziland continue to face widespread bans on freedom of speech, independent media, trade unions and political parties. Another recent report, the 2016 Ibrahim Index of African Governance, ranks Swaziland 48th out of 54 states in its 'participation and human rights' category. The report finds that there has been a decline in scores for participation, rights and gender equality in Swaziland since 2006.