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.