A member of parliament in the small mountainous kingdom of Swaziland has suggested that gays and lesbians should be "banned ... and dealt with severely." MP Aaron Sotsha Dladla made the comments in response to reports that some Swazis had "attended the recent Gay Pride Festival" in adjacent South Africa, reports the Swazi Observer.
Dladla said gays and lesbians were not embraced in the country but a new law should be put in place to deal with "this mushrooming anti-social" behaviour by some members of the local populace."We must first pass a law that will ban this practice before it takes root. Anyone found breaking that law should be dealt with severely," he opined.
The MP said he was making these views as a Christian and with the firm belief that Swaziland was a Christian country. ... Dladla said he was struggling to understand the conduct of the gays and lesbians. "If some Swazis want to embrace such practices, they must come out clear on this issue, we have a wonderful society in Swaziland. in what way will the lesbians and gays add value in the lives of our people who are mostly Christian?"
A few notes on that "wonderful society" of Swaziland: The nation was rocked by series of student protests last summer that were violently suppressed. Since 1986, King Mswati III has ruled as Swaziland as Africa's last absolute monarch. Mswati is one of Africa's richest men, the bureaucracy is "rampantly corrupt", most of the nation lives in "extreme poverty" and human rights are widely ignored, adds The Economist.
Swaziland has been in a state of emergency for the past 37 years. Political parties are banned, critics are systematically arrested and beaten up by police and freedom of expression is severely curtailed. Ministers, judges and local chiefs are all appointed by the king, Mswati III. While he and his 13 wives flaunt their opulence, most of his 1.2m subjects struggle to survive.
HIV/AIDS has had a catastrophic effect on the kingdom. Swaziland has the highest HIV infection rate in the world—26% of all adults and over 50% of adults in their 20s—as reported in the 2012 CIA World Factbook. If the Swazi HIV/AIDS epidemic continues unabated, the "longer term existence of Swaziland as a country will be seriously threatene," reports the United Nations Development Program.