Swaziland Police Chief Threatens Social Media Users With Wrath of the Law If They Criticise King

7 February 2020

Digital Content

Police in the absolute monarchy of Swaziland (eSwatini) are to hunt down and arrest people who criticise King Mswati on socail media.

The National Commissioner of Police William Dlamini said the law would deal with them harshly.

He made the announcement in a written statement published in media across Swaziland on Friday (31 January 2020).

The eSwatini Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King, reported, 'He stated that the police service was hot on their trail and they will see to it that the perpetrators of the cybercrime ultimately face the wrath and might of the law.'

Human rights are severely curtailed in Swaziland. Freedom House scored Swaziland 16 out of a possible 100 points in its Freedom in the World 2019 report. It concluded that Swaziland was 'not free'.

There is very little media freedom in Swaziland, where one of the only two daily newspapers is owned by King Mswati. All broadcast news is controlled by the government, whose members are handpicked by the King.

Democracy campaigners use social media sites such as Facebook to draw attention to human rights abuses.

Dlamini said there were 'highly insolent and morality devoid characters disseminating seditious, slanderous and very insultive statements about the country's authorities via social media'.

He added, 'The intent and motive of these statements is seemingly to vilify and pour scorn on the country's authorities, which we find completely unacceptable and an insult to the entire nation.' Read the full article on Swazi Media Blogspot here.