Nov 13th, 2013

  • Richard Lee

    Zambia’s Technical Drafting Committee deserves a very loud and sustained round of applause. As well as the vocal support of people across Zambia and, indeed, across southern Africa.

    Because the members of the committee tasked with drafting the final version of Zambia’s new constitution have done something that very few officials, technocrats or bureaucrats ever do – they have refused to bow to the illegitimate demands of the authorities and have sided, instead, with the wishes of the public rather than the president.

    constitution, Sata, Zambia, Law

Nov 08th, 2013

Nov 06th, 2013

  • Richard Lee

    It’s been a dreadful year for gay rights in Zambia with waves of homophobic hate speech interspersed with spurious arrests and public harassment of same sex couples. But last night an astonishing thing happened – the country’s First Lady, Dr Christine Kaseba-Sata called for an end to discrimination against sexual minorities.

    court, gay, HIV, homophobic, lgbti, Sata, Zambia, LGBTI

Oct 29th, 2013

Oct 28th, 2013

  • Richard Lee

    Buoyed by the unprecedented criticism of Swaziland’s recent elections by the African Union, SADC and the Commonwealth, some optimists believed that this might be a turning point, that King Mswati might consider a more conciliatory – even reform-minded – approach. No such luck.

    Instead, he re-appointed Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini as the country’s Prime Minister – giving the two-fingered salute to everyone who has called for Swaziland’s absolutist monarchical system to change.

Oct 16th, 2013

  • Richard Lee

    The Zambian constitution is like Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. Lots of people spend a lot of time talking about it and boldly proclaiming when it is going to be spotted (and the goodies it is going to bring) but no one has actually seen it. Well, the members of Technical Drafting Committee claim to have drafted it but until they hand the document over, no one is really going to believe them. Because they have missed a whole calendar full of deadlines already, including the latest one.

    constitution, Zambia, HRDB

Oct 14th, 2013

  • Richard Lee

    I don’t often feel sorry for Swaziland’s King Mswati III. He is after all the absolute ruler of an entire kingdom, where his word is law. Indeed, where he – and all he does – is actually above the law. But it seems that I – like many others – have been misled about his wealth. Apparently he is not nearly as rich as we thought.

Oct 11th, 2013

Oct 09th, 2013

  • Richard Lee

    Some people believed that ZANU-PF’s overwhelming victory in the recent Zimbabwe elections would see the ruling party moderate its policies and the security forces scale back their abuse of people’s rights. Unsurprisingly (except to the starry-eyed optimists out there) President Mugabe’s new cabinet is anything but moderate and as for the security forces – well, clearly no one told the police in Mashonaland West that it was time to adhere to the rule of law.

Aug 06th, 2013

  • Richard Lee

    I was wrong. I thought that President Mugabe and ZANU-PF would rig the vote just enough to win – just enough to be ‘crediblish’. You’d think that I – and many others – would have learned by now. You should never underestimate Mugabe or ZANU-PF. And you should never believe that electoral thieves will be content with stealing ‘just enough’ to win – if they can, they will steal the whole bang shoot.

    Including Matabeleland.

  • Richard Lee

    As southern Africa’s leaders lined up to congratulate President Mugabe on his unbelievably crushing victory in Zimbabwe’s elections, it seemed as if the region was once again putting pals before people – siding with aged liberation leaders rather than letting the voters choose. Zuma was very quick off the mark with his ‘profound congratulations’, while Angola’s dos Santos and Namibia’s Pohamba swiftly followed suit.

    Botswana, elections, Mugabe, ZANU, HRDB

Aug 01st, 2013

  • Richard Lee

    Another month, another drafting deadline missed. July 31st was meant to be the day when the Technical Committee handed over its final draft of the new Zambian Constitution to the Ministry of Justice. But guess what? Nothing happened. There was no handover. And Zambians are no closer to knowing what their next constitution will look like. Or indeed whether they are ever going to get a new one.

    So what happens now?

    constitution, Sata, Zambia, HRDB

Jul 31st, 2013

Jul 25th, 2013

Jul 24th, 2013

  • Richard Lee

    It’s a week until the technical committee is due to hand over its final version of Zambia’s draft constitution. But I wouldn’t hold your breath. This is just the latest in a string of ‘deadlines’ – the most recent being June 30th – and, like its predecessors, it is very unlikely to be met.

    constitution, Zambia, HRDB

Jun 13th, 2013

Jun 11th, 2013

Jun 07th, 2013

Jun 04th, 2013

  • Richard Lee

    The judicial system in Swaziland has failed once again – failed to uphold the country’s constitution, failed to stand up to the unlawful actions and greed of the powers-that-be, and failed to protect the basic human rights of the poor and the vulnerable. Indeed, people should no longer talk about the judicial system in Swaziland. There is no real ‘judicial’ aspect to it. It is simply part of the system – a system that ruthlessly exploits the majority for the benefit of a tiny political, economic and monarchical elite.

May 30th, 2013

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