By tradition, the king reigns along with his mother or a ritual substitute, the Ndlovukati (lit. She-Elephant). Political activities, especially by pro-democracy movements, are suppressed. In 2001 King Mswati III appointed a committee to draft a new constitution which was strongly criticized by civil society organizations in Swaziland and human rights organizations elsewhere. In 2005, the constitution was put into effect amid much debate. From the early seventies, there was active resistance to the royal hegemony.
Swaziland's economy is dominated by services industry, agriculture and subsistence farming. Growth has been hampered by the effects of HIV and AIDS, the prevalence of which is the highest in the world at 38.8%.
In Swaziland male same-sex sexual acts are illegal although as of May 2008 the legal status of female same-sex sexual acts was unclear according to the International Lesbian and Gay Association's 2008 "State sponsored homophobia" report. According to the Prime Minister homosexuality is an "abnormality and sickness". According to Swazi tradition however, two women can lawfully marry.
News & Reports:
- Africa: Few Programmes Target Gay Men, Other MSM and Transgendered in Southern Africa, Study Says, 2013/Jun/04
- 70% Of Swaziland’s Sex Workers HIV Positive, 2012/Jun/01
- Rest in Peace, Pitseng Vilakati, 2010/Jan/07
- Swaziland News & Reports, 2009/May/26
- The Killing Disease, 2006/Nov/19