RUSTENBURG – Swazis face a fine for not attending King Mswati’s ongoing Incwala ritual ceremony.

The Swaziland News newspaper reported on Friday that chief Mfukama Mndzebele, the traditional leader of the Mkhitsini royal kraal in Africa’s last absolute monarchy, warned that his subjects who failed to attend the main event on December 15 would be fined E50 (about R50) as punishment.

Mndzebele told the paper that this was a way of encouraging them to demonstrate loyalty to their king by participating in traditional ceremonies and denied it was a violation of the values of democracy.

Those whose religion did not endorse the ritual ceremony were free not to attend but would still face the fine, he added.

Human rights lawyer Sibusiso Nhlabatsi said the conduct of the chief was unlawful and amounted to gross violation of human rights.

“Citizens have a right to freedom of religion. The subjects should just take the chief to court so that his decision could be set aside,” he said.

African News Agency