King Mswati Ordered Police to Shoot Protesting SNAT Teachers and Arrested One
Swaziland (Eswatini) is stooping further down low in her political and social norms. How can a police officer, who by job description is supposed to protect the public, pull out a gun and point it at unarmed peaceful protesters???
In light of what happened so far as far as the peaceful protest where Mswati is ordering police to shoot unarmed and defenceless people its high time we looked at our methods and change tactic accordingly!!!! King Mswati is trying to silent dissenting teachers and any dissenting voices by ordering police to shoot peaceful and unarmed SNAT protestors. Today one SNAT activist Maxwell “Zond'iyinkundla” Musa Myeni was arrested by Mswatis CIDs.
Swazi Vigil UK are unreservedly condemning what the Mswati’s Swazi Police force are doing, police are there to protect citizens, not to attack and shoot them. We condemn in the strongest of terms what Mswati and his cohorts, brutal corrupt police force are doing. Such attacks on unarmed teachers should be reported to the international human rights court, it is a violation of basic human rights. People are scared now, and that fear is manifesting itself in the confrontation that took place on Friday outside the SNAT centre, that's why Maxwell Myeni ended up wrestling with the police commander. This has to stop. Police are there to protect. Swazi citizens have a right to protest peacefully. We say no to police brutality!!!!
SNAT members were protesting about the Mswati’s government’s failure to increase teachers’ wages by factoring the Cost Of Living Adjustment (COLA). It is employees’ rights to be compensated with at least the cost of living, no one should have to have their wages reduced by not factoring inflation rates into salaries. It was a peaceful protest, so why did the Mswati regime shoot unarmed protesters??? This is immoral and evil, and we as Swaziland Vigil UK say this must stop, it is gross violation of human life.
Mswati stop your murderous acts and reprehensible behaviour, Swazis have rights to protest and assemble peacefully.
Swazi Vigil believes all humans should have the right to peaceful assembly, freedom to exercise their socio-political rights, they should have freedom of thought, freedom of a belief system of their choice, freedom to express political opinions and certainly freedom to challenge and call the government on the carpet for its actions or lack thereof.
We call upon the Mswati’s government to stop these atrocious attacks on its civilians and law-abiding nationals, professionals, expatriates, and any other resident of Swaziland. The police are under the prime minister’s office, so effectively this kind of violence lands back at the head of the perceived head of government. We say it is the perceived head of government because we all know that the Swaziland Government is a smoke screen and front end of king Mswati’s totalitarian power-hungry regime which will do anything to kill, torture, and quench any dissenting voices.
The killing and wounding of innocent citizens is very much inhumane. Every citizen of a country has a right to complain, be listened to and be heard. If people are silenced through the use of brutal force, how then can change and progress come. We need change in Swaziland, as a matter of urgency. Police brutality must come to an end. Problems must be addressed without killing the citizens who voice them out. Shedding innocent blood will never bring peace but only strife and misery, hatred and pain. The police must stop the killing, stop the brutality, stop destroying lives, and respect citizens of Swaziland. A country is a country because of its citizenry.
According to some of Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) eye witness members the story began on Friday morning when SNAT members who were holding a peaceful protest in Manzini as part of their Candlelight Vigil, when they were confronted by a few armed police officers. Reports by the Swazi Observer highlighted two main incidents that transpired as a result of the clash between a few police officers and the protesting teachers. One teacher (Willie Dlamini) was rushed to hospital after he incurred injuries in his arm from a police gunshot who used live ammunition on unarmed protesters, the report said. Swazi News headlined the story as shown in Photo 2 below.
Photo 1: (Courtesy: SNAT Vigil Coordinator) Shows Willie 'MaWillies' Dlamini bleeding from a police gunshot wound in his arm on Friday morning 24th August 2018.
Photo 2: Swazi News newspaper headline of Willie Dlamini's story.
Police fired live rounds to unarmed teachers… where are our human rights to life as eMaSwati? The idea that protests are meant for police to disperse and squash, where does that come from? Protests are meant to convey a message to the relevant stakeholders in any environment, how come that Swaziland Police think they should intervene and disperse people who gather to voice their discontent with government… unless of course the government is behind the attack on unarmed professionals.
This is a cry-out for help, where are we going to turn to for redemption if peaceful protests are met with such excessive brutal force and violence, if teachers voicing their discontent with the government wage handouts is treated like an act of war against an oppressive government?
The other incident reported by the Observer involved Maxwell Myeni who strangely man-handled Manzini Station Commander - Raphael Maseko - to the ground, Maseko had his pistol drawn-out all this time but did not pull the trigger according to witnesses. This may have earned Maseko some accolades, but the bigger question is why was he pointing a gun at an unarmed civilian?? Maseko’s duty as a police officer is to protect the very public he threatened with a gun, that is no honourable thing. Maseko should be charged with wielding a gun in public to peaceful protesters who did not come after him, but instead he provoked them with his firearm.
Photo: 3 (Courtesy: Swazi Observer) Manzini Police Station Commander - Raphael Maseko - floored by Maxwell Myeni and vice-versa during the clash between SNAT members and the police on Friday 24th August 2018.
Such police disregard for human life and dignity has spiralled out of control, and the threat police are posing to the public is beyond belief. Police should ensure public safety (to sound like a broken record) not to fight with them nor to squash their peaceful gatherings. This is police abuse of power, the power that was vested to them to keep us the ordinary eMaSwati safe, not to kill, nor hurt nor threaten us or any other human being within the borders of Swaziland.
The latest reports from SNAT say Maxwell “Zond'iyinkundla” Musa Myeni has since been arrested by the police CIDs. We say to SNAT leadership, we stand with you in this situation whilst trying to mount a legal battle on behalf of Maxwell, he’s a true freedom fighter and a true comrade to the struggle for freedom in Swaziland.
Again this is a gross violation of human rights and the Mswati regime should stop all such reprehensible activities at once!!!!
Viva Swazi Vigil… we will continue the struggle until Swaziland is free of this oppressive regime run by draconian Mswati.
Issued by: Swaziland Vigil UK Office.
- Written by Super User
It is Time – We Shall Speak
Swaziland Vigil UK stands in solidarity with the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) in its quest to call upon the Swaziland (Eswatini) government to stop the exploitation of its workers. This Candlelight Vigil marks one of those unpalatable epochs in the history of Swaziland since independence in 1968. Obviously, the Swaziland we got from British rule is not the Swaziland we ended up with post the 1973 king’s decree. We got a country that is on a count-down to self-destruction due to the repressive political regime that took over our beloved country post-independence. Swaziland is continuously in a state of emergency… it is time to end that!
We are “Swazi Vigil UK activist group” based within the borders of the United Kingdom (as can be inferred from the “UK” in the name). We comprise Swazi Nationals from all walks of life, and from every political spectrum who live in the United Kingdom. We, by definition then, have members who have no political affiliation, and those who are card carrying members of political parties both inside Swaziland and outside Eswatini. We welcome views and political leanings from various political persuasions and therefore we support and stand with those who are fighting for the survival of Swaziland as a country and the pro-democratisation of Swaziland.
Earlier this year, we stood in protest against the prime minister of Swaziland at the Commonwealth meetings in London on the 19th of April 2018. We protested with other groups including the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA), ACTion for Southern Africa (ACTSA) - https://actsa.org/, UNISON - https://www.unison.org.uk/, etc - who support the struggle for democracy in Swaziland. Swazi Vigil is committed to the process and struggle to see Swaziland become a fully democratic country.
The plight of teachers in Swaziland has been in the public arena for so long but the Swaziland government is doing nothing to address them, but instead they are the perpetrators of the gross violation of workers rights and basic human rights. Swazi Vigil UK completely and utterly condemns the government’s “behaviour” of extravagantly spending on events that bring no value to the ordinary Swaziland citizen which includes teachers and other academic professionals. The millions spent on an aeroplane that no one needs, and forced contributions by government sector employees for the 50/50 celebrations, are a gross violation for Swazi citizens’ hard earned efforts. The tax funds used for such events are just one way of making the country poorer than it already is.
The international community is watching and mocking us Emaswati for letting this happen in our watch and doing nothing about it. International organisations think we must not be financially lacking enough if we can afford such luxury, and yet this perceived luxury comes at a very high price on the hard earned money from the ordinary Swazi national.
It is therefore time to shout on the top of our voices as a nation fighting for survival that WE DO NOT WANT this kind of ludicrous behaviour from the government. We the people of Swaziland want an accountable democratic government that will be held responsible by the populace for all its actions or lack thereof. The time to be ruled by “labadzala” – the invisible elders is over. We live in the 21st century and the time for holding onto mythical elders, who rule with an iron fist is over, we, the nowadays Emaswati are speaking out on the world stage and say enough is enough, Swaziland needs to rise from the ashes of the monarchy and become a 21st century nation that embraces modern livelihoods, respect human rights for freedom of assembly, freedom of thought, freedom of affiliation and the list goes on.
To SNAT we say “Aluta continua”, let us march on with hearts courageous to demand and claim our place in the world stage by ridding ourselves of the repressive regime in our so beloved country. Whatever legitimate means we can use to pressure the monarchical powers to end this oppressive conduct and behaviour, let us explore them comrades, and use them to change our country to be a liveable and prosperous place for every Liswati, young or old and male or female. We want equality before the law and before any sort of authoritarian entity, therefore we call upon the monarchy to ditch its practices of oppressing the ordinary Liswati whilst elevating themselves above the law and beyond reproach.
We say It is Time for Swazis to speak out in every sphere, in every forum they can find, and shout to the world that we may be heard and have the attention of the international community and may be, just may be, they can help us regain our country. We can have a country where the rule of law is respected unconditionally, and everyone is subject to the same laws. We want a country whose natural resources shall serve its citizens. We want a healthy and prosperous Swaziland.
Viva!!! Swazi Vigil UK Viva!!!
From the Swaziland Vigil UK Office.
- Written by Super User
The Kingdom of Swaziland, now known as the Kingdom of eSwatini is a member of the commonwealth, yet it does not comply with principles and rules of the commonwealth of promoting democracy and human rights. Every citizen has a right to participate in their country's affairs.
The Commonwealth values, which include the promotion of democracy, human rights, good governance, the rule of law, individual liberty, egalitarianism, free trade, multilateralism and world peace, emerged in independence movements and the struggles for self-government.
The Commonwealth promotes democratic consolidation, members of the commonwealth should correlate strongly with the presence of democratic processes and institutions.
Swaziland is failing to reach an acceptable standard in democracy, the Swazi government uses the 1973 Kings decree, which banned all political parties, to supress all political freedom in the country. This 1973 decree ushered the country into a state of emergency which has been in effect since 1973 up to-date. The Swazi Government also uses the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act of 1938, and the 2008 Terrorism Act to imprison those who are fighting for democracy.
The Commonwealth is well placed to be an influential player on the world stage in the years ahead. Indeed, one could even say that it has a responsibility to play such a role. Its diverse membership is committed to a set of values founded on democracy and the rule of law and embodied in the Commonwealth charter.
In Swaziland, the king is the only person who makes political, executive, and judicial decisions pertaining the country's governance, whether right or wrong no one has the right to challenge any decision that is made by the king because by Swazi tradition he is infallible (in SiSwati: he is the mouth that never lies… meaning he doesn’t lie, his word is final, it cannot be challenged). Political parties, as they are illegal, are banned from taking part in elections. Civil and political rights are constantly denied by the country's authorities.
Human rights, democratic principles, consultation, cooperation, and consensus-building are fundamental political values of the Commonwealth, yet Swaziland does not abide by these principles.
According to reports from the Commonwealth Heads of Government - Swaziland is in the lowest quartile of countries in the world for press freedom. The Sedition and Subversive Activities Act, which still remains in full force, restricts freedom of expression by criminalizing alleged seditious publications and use of alleged seditious words, such as those which “may excite disaffection” against the king. Many journalists told Human Rights Watch that they practise self-censorship, especially with regards to reports involving the king, to avoid harassment by authorities.
The Swazi law and culture does not allow citizens to voice their concerns even if they are being oppressed. Swaziland government should respect human right.
The constitution provides for equality before the law, but also places the king above the law. A 2011 directive, which protects the king from any civil law suits, issued by then-Swaziland Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi after Swazi villagers claimed police had seized their cattle to add to the king’s herd, still remains in force.
Restrictions on freedom of association and assembly continue, the government has taken no action to revoke the King’s Proclamation of 1973, which prohibits the formation and operations of political parties in the country.
In 2017, Swaziland struggled to fulfil the rights of its estimated 1.4 million population amid numerous political and socio-economic challenges, including the highest HIV infection rate in the world at 26 percent according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
We say no to intimidation, harassment, beatings and arrests of freedom fighters. We want freedom of speech, assembly, association, thought and religion.
Article 20 of the Swazi Constitution provides for equality before the law and non-discrimination, but does not prevent discrimination on the grounds of sex, language, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Swaziland’s dual legal system, where both Roman Dutch common law and Swazi customary law operate side by side, has resulted in conflicts leading to numerous violations of women’s rights.
Swazi culture also discriminates against women and girls. Swazi culture is failing on new dynamics, it is still rooted in the old culture, it does not embrace the new world of equality and equal opportunities. Women in Swaziland are not allowed certain positions. Swazi culture also discriminates grieving widows mourning the passing of their spouses. The culture dictates that women in mourning should not go to certain places for a period of 2 years.
In August 2017, human rights groups Southern African Litigation Centre and Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) challenged Swaziland on these discriminatory laws in court on behalf of a married Swazi woman, who upon being deserted by her husband, was unable to sell any of the livestock she purchased with her own money because she did not have her husband’s consent. At the time of writing the matter had not been finalized in court.
The 2005 constitution allows four female members of parliament to be appointed from each region, but up to today, it has not happened. The Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill has been in discussion since 2006 by the house of commons, and it was passed in 2009 but it is still awaiting the king’s signature to put it into law to protect women’s and girls’ rights, and to outlaw child marriages.
In September 2017, King Mswati told the United Nations General Assembly in New York that Swaziland is committed to peace and a decent life for all. He said his government grants every citizen an opportunity to voice their views in order to constructively contribute to the social, economic, cultural, and political development of the country. He failed to mention, however, the recently passed amendments to the Public Order Act, which allows critics of the king or the Swazi government to be prosecuted, and upon conviction be fined E10,0000 (US$770), imprisoned for two years, or both for inciting “hatred or contempt” against cultural and traditional heritage.
The Commonwealth should put pressure to Swaziland to follow their principles and values.
By: Juliet Zodwa Dlamini
- Written by Super User
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