Residents in Swaziland have been fined for not attending community meetings and paying "homage" to their chief.
About 20 families were fined E900 each (US$64) "for not attending community meetings and not paying homage to the Ezulwini chiefdom."
In Swaziland chiefs are appointed by dictator Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch. Chiefs are considered to be his direct representative and they have enormous power over their subjects.
Swaziland has been ruled by Mswati since 1986. He inherited the throne from his father, King Sobhuza, who banned political parties, scrapped the post-colonial constitution, and reigned for 60 years with an iron fist. Mswati outdid his father by imposing a new constitution in 2006 that allows him to handpick the prime minister, governing cabinet, and members of the judiciary.