The Swaziland Solidarity Network (SNN) has criticised the Southern African Development Community (SADC) over its “inaction” on what it said was King Mswati III’s “human rights abuses”.

In an interview with News24, SNN’s spokesperson, Lucky Lukhele said that SADC had “failed” the people of Swaziland, adding that they had “endured years of suffering under King Mswati III”.

Lukhele said that the Swazi monarch was one of the “worst human rights violators”.

“We have been trying to highlight the plight of the people of Swaziland, particularly to SADC. We are still waiting for a response,” Lukhele said.

This came just a week after the country marked its 50 years of independence – a celebration that was reportedly marred by clashes between the police and protesters, who marched against worsening living conditions, according to an AFP report.

Police had to fire rubber bullets to disperse the more than 2 000 people who took to the streets to take part in a rare demonstration organised by Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) in the administrative capital Mbabane.

AFP quoted regional media as saying that the Swaziland’s government purchased a fleet of luxury BMWs for the event, something that officials denied.

Meanwhile, Lukhele claimed that the government spent at least R3bn for the celebrations, which also included the king’s 50th birthday.  

“The Swazi government spent more than R3bn for these 50/50 celebrations,” said Lukhele. 

AFP quoted The Times of Swaziland daily newspaper as saying that that the country’s chief justice Bheki Maphalala had instructed judges to contribute at least $165 each towards the festivities.

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