7 June 2013

Swaziland: Swazi Police and the African Despot

Swaziland is to train more police cadets for the discredited government of Equatorial Guinea.

This was announced only days after President Teodoro Nguema Obiange of Equatorial Guinea claimed that his party, the ruling Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE), had won 99 of the 100 seats in the lower house of assembly and 54 of 55 senate seats in elections held last month.

The main opposition party the Convergence for Social Democracy said it completely rejected the results, calling them, 'a real fraud, in total violation of the law'.

During the election campaign police in Equatorial Guinea arrested opposition politicians and dispersed demonstrators who accused the President of 'maltreatment'.

Reuters news agency reported the United States voiced serious concerns over the election process, pointing to arbitrary detentions, limits on freedoms of assembly and speech, and severely restricted media access for the opposition.

At least four members of the opposition in Equatorial Guinea were detained for trying to organize a protest march ahead of the election.

Police in Swaziland have taken a similar stand against any opposition to the national elections due in the kingdom for September. Meetings have been banned and organisers arrested.

People protesting against the Swazi poll, which is seen as undemocratic because political parties are not allowed to take part and the parliament that is elected has no real powers, have been charged with sedition. King Mswati III rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch.

Swaziland signed a five-year deal in 2012 to train police cadets for Equatorial Guinea.

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