Africa’s last absolute monarch, King Mswati III of Eswatini—formerly known as Swaziland—is facing a mass revolt.
Thousands of people took to the streets in the executive capital, Mbabane, and elsewhere last week. Pro-democracy protesters burned and looted businesses in which the king holds a stake.
The resistance was sparked by the murder of student Thabani Nkomonye by police. It became a focus of hatred for Mswati who lives a luxury lifestyle while 60 percent of the country’s 1.1 million people live in deep poverty.
Mswati fled the country as protests intensified. The repression was swift. The army killed at least 24 people on 29 and 30 June and wounded hundreds more.
It is the most explosive civil unrest in the country’s 53 years of independence.
Mswati has total power. He directly appoints two-thirds of the members of the upper house of parliament and over 10 percent of the lower house.
Only those approved by the chiefs, who are appointed by the king, can be elected in the rest of the seats. The king also has the power to dissolve the parliament when he wants.
Now his rule hangs in the balance.
Settlements expose Israel’s apartheid regime
Israeli settlements in the Palestinian West Bank are causing new crises for Israel’s government.
Israel “evacuated” a settler outpost near Palestinian village Beita in the West Bank last week.
Outposts are hastily constructed camps of shacks and portacabins built by Israeli activists to harass and steal land from Palestinian villages. Palestinian protesters resisted the outpost—fighting settlers and soldiers.
But an Israeli court could allow the settlers to return.
And it said Israel would build an army-linked Yeshiva—a religious school—at the site.
The scandal shows how the Israeli state uses the settler movement to strengthen its racist grip on Palestinian land. Leading politicians in the government back the settlers.
But smaller parties in the coalition say they could rebel.
No party in Israel’s coalition government wants to end occupation in the West Bank. But some are worried that new settlements could spark a wave of resistance across Palestine—just as it did in May.