Swaziland. In January, the country’s largest trade union conducted a two-day general strike demanding democratic reform. At the same time as Parliament was debating a new constitution, the union demanded that King Mswati’s absolute power be limited. A large array of police and military guarded the capital, where demonstrative workers came in buses.
According to countryaah, Mbabane is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Swaziland. While two-thirds of the population lived on less than a dollar a day, 40% of adults were estimated to be HIV-infected and an equal proportion were without work, the king’s intrinsic luxury life continued. The criticism of his purchase of his own car for half a million US dollars had not been able to settle until the king in February bought his ten wives was his new BMW. In May, the king’s eleventh wedding was held.
When, after eight years of preparation, the draft constitution was adopted by Parliament, the king refused to sign it because he was dissatisfied with certain elements. Eventually the conflict was resolved and the law was signed in July. Although freedom of speech, freedom of opinion and freedom of religion were enshrined in the new constitution, political parties were still banned. In practice, the guarantees of civil rights were not expected to bring about any major change in the closed social system.
In August, the king ordered, without stated reasons, that the country’s girls and young women should throw away the cotton fabrics which he had the year before invited them to wear as signs of chastity. The scheme was initially intended to curb the widespread spread of HIV. Prior to World AIDS Day, December 1, the King declared that they planned the events, including The Prime Minister’s speech, would be canceled on the grounds that they clashed with a traditional harvest party. AIDS activists were very critical because Swaziland is the world’s worst HIV-affected country.