South Africans should know that as their government contemplates extending an economic lifeline to Swaziland’s profligate king and court, a South African man is being left to rot in Swaziland’s jails. Last month, the Swazi High Court convicted South African, Amos Mbulaheni Mbedzi, of sedition, murder, unlawful possession of explosives and immigration offences - on the most flimsy 'evidence'. Indeed, the real crime has surely been perpetrated not by Mbedzi but by the court - and Swaziland's 'justice system' - against him.

It's been a week now since the Swazi parliament voted overwhelmingly to boot out the country's Cabinet. And yet nothing has happened. MPs remain steadfast in their determination to remove the executive, while the widely-loathed Prime Minister remains in office - as do his equally unpopular ministerial colleagues. And King Mswati III remains silent and undecided. Meanwhile, Swaziland suffers - adding a constitutional crisis to its already existing economic, social and judicial crises.

ACHPR alarmed by actions of Swazi authorities

AU mission calls for democratic reforms

Suddenly Swaziland is in the news - from South Africa to the UK. But as per usual, it is in the news for all the wrong reasons. The latest weird and wacky story from the country concerns an apparent ban on witches flying on broomsticks above 150 metres. Cue a host of cut and pasted reports in newspapers and online sites far and wide about the quaint customs of the world's favourite crazy Kingdom.

Lost in Isolationism? Swaziland Elections and Prospects for the Future

Alex Vines OBE, Head, Africa Programme and Research Director, Area Studies and International Law, Chatham House

Discussant: Dr Knox Chitiyo, Associate Fellow, Africa Programme

Chair: Sir Richard Gozney KCMG CVO, British High Commissioner to Swaziland (1993–96)

The judicial system in Lesotho is in crisis. After a decade of infighting due to the prevailing cult of personality, there is now a serious backlog of cases - a backlog that is not only delaying but also denying many people the justice they deserve.

Want to know how to curry favour with Swaziland’s King Mswati? The best way to butter him up? Just ask Michael Ramodibedi, who has just presented Africa’s last absolute monarch with three cows. Clearly he is very keen to stay in the king’s good books, which in Swaziland is sensible (just ask the civil society leaders who are in the king’s bad books) but which in any democratic society would be a serious problem because Ramodibedi is the country’s Chief Justice.

Hundreds sacked including all union executives

The anchor and strength of all undemocratic regimes, particularly in Africa, is financial muscle used to either thwart or incorporate all threats. To that end, the cash flow crisis from which the government of Swaziland recently emerged was a missed opportunity for pro-democracy forces in the tiny-landlocked country.

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