Opponents of Swaziland's non-democratic national poll this year could face a charge of treason and the death penalty, a senior election official said.
Many pro-democracy groups and individuals are campaigning for a boycott of the election because political parties are banned in the kingdom, ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch, and the parliament has no real powers.
Mzwandile Fakudze, deputy chair of the Elections Boundaries Commission (EBC), told the Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, those who seek to stand in the way of elections, which is tantamount to treason, will face the wrath of the law.
The newspaper quoted him saying, 'Committing the offence of treason entails when a person subverts or shows potential to subvert the activities of the state even if it is without the use of arms, weapons or military equipment.'
People convicted of treason in Swaziland face the death penalty.
He was supported by EBC chair Prince Gija who said those who sought to sabotage the election would face the wrath of the law.
Fakudze said the betrayal of one's own country by waging war against it or by consciously opposing or purposely acting to aid its enemies, amounted to the crime of treason.
The Observer defined treason as 'the violation by a subject of allegiance to the state'.
Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Principal Secretary Thembinkosi Mamba told the newspaper in terms of the law, whoever threatened to cause a disarray towards the state and where his / her intentions caused one to believe that there would be such a disarray, they would have to answer to the courts why they should not be charged with the crime of treason.
Swazi Police Deputy Public Relations Officer Inspector Khulani Mamba said threats to the state were not taken lightly, especially if such threats were of intent to sabotage national elections because then it becomes the country's security concern.
'We will be watching closely at such purported actions but will not divulge our reaction plan as it is a concern of security,' he said.