See also:
» 28.03.2011 - SA workers to "invade Swaziland"
» 18.03.2011 - Swazi regime clamps down on protesters
» 17.03.2011 - Swaziland uprising "begins on Friday"
» 01.03.2011 - Swaziland gears up for "national uprising"
» 17.02.2011 - "If Egypt can, we can do it too" - Swazi opposition
» 14.02.2011 - Still no intl pressure on Swaziland
» 30.11.2010 - Swaziland opposition plans offensive
» 04.10.2010 - Neighbours lose patience with Swaziland

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Politics | Human rights

Blast kills 2 in Swaziland

afrol News, 22 September - A bomb blats has killed two alleged plotters near a Swaziland royal palace when a device exploded prematurely, Swazi police have said.

"We can confirm that the bomb killed two people," said police spokesman Vusi Masuku.

Mr Masuku said a third man from neighbouring South Africa, and another Swazi who were also involved in attempted attack on Saturday night, were arrested and will be tried for treason in the country.

The accomplices were trying to plant bomb on a bridge near royal household outside capital, Mbabane.

Swaziland has seen protests demanding democratic reforms and greater social spending, leading to arrest of some of trade union leaders in the run-up to last Friday's parliamentary poll.

Last Friday was first poll where foreign observers were allowed in. Southern African Development Community observers said the poll was "free and fair".

The mission's head congratulated Swazi people as they embarked "on their gradual and challenging road for the entrenchment of democracy".

But Mary Mugyenyi, head of Pan-African Parliament observers, had concerns. The mission observed that political parties were not permitted to contest in the elections.

"This restriction infringes on the rights of those citizens wishing to participate in elections through political parties and does not meet regional and international standards."

An estimated 400,000 Swazis were eligible to vote in the election in which 55 seats are being contested. Mswati, who rules the country of 1.1 million people with a free hand, will appoint an additional 10 deputies to the assembly.

Final results, expected on today, are unlikely to change the country's political landscape since opposition parties have effectively been banned by royal decree since 1973.

Parliamentary elections are held every five years after which king appoints a new prime minister. More than a third of parliament's 85 members are handpicked by the king, who also makes all government appointments.

Although Mswati remains popular among many of his subjects, there is rising discontent over his extravagant lifestyle, refusal to adopt democratic reforms and to tackle social problems, including one of Africa's worst AIDS epidemics.

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