By Laura Hirahara
Impunity Watch Reporter, Africa
MANZINI, Swaziland- Swaziland’s Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini stated yesterday he thinks dissidents and foreign protestors should be punished with the torture method sipakatane. This comes just a week after 50 pro-democracy protestors were arrested in Swaziland’s main commercial center Manzini, some of whom are from neighboring South Africa. The punishment, sipakatane, involves beating a person’s bare feet with a pedal that has wooden or metal spikes attached, often causing paralysis. A statement from the government owned paper, Times of Swaziland, tried to put Dlamini’s comments in context stating, “Dlamini said every country or community had its own dissidents and it was up to government to deal with the noisy minorities, whom he said he wished would behave in a grown-up manner and stop behaving like children.”
Those in the trade unions say the prime minister’s statements are a “declaration of war” on all who oppose the government of Swaziland, both Swazis and foreigners. The trade unions mobilizing their protests for democracy state several South Africans brought in to help have already been deported. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) deputy international secretary, Zanele Matebula, was driven to the border after police came in his hotel room and arrested him and other South Africans. Protestors are advocating for democracy in Swaziland which is currently under the rule of Africa’s last absolute monarchy led by King Mswati III.
For more information, please see;
Guardian.co.uk- Swaziland Pro-democracy Protesters Threatened With Torture– 10 September, 2010
BBC- Swaziland Democracy Protests: ’50 Arrested’– 7 September, 2010
BBC- Swaziland Unions Condemn ‘Foot Torture’ Threat– 10 September, 2010