JOHANNESBURG – As Swaziland marks its 47th anniversary of independence from Britain on Sunday, a rights group says the country is ruled by a repressive government.
Amnesty International says the country, Africa's last absolute monarchy, uses colonial-era laws to silence critics and detain political opponents.
However, a journalist recently detained for over a year after he reported on threats to the judiciary, wrote in a monthly magazine that he is hopeful the country's 2005 constitution will protect accountability and rights. Journalist Bheki Makhubu was detained along with human rights lawyer Thulani Maseko. Their conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court.
Swaziland is ruled by King Mswati III, who appoints the prime minister and his Cabinet. The World Bank reports about two thirds of the 1.2 million Swazi's live below the poverty line.