First it was Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini, now it is you Mandvulo! How long are we, as a nation, going to be deprived of our human rights? New PM is just doing the same as Barnabas was doing. When the king chose you Mandvulo, the nation was assured that you were going to build a country that all Swazi people will be proud of and you promised human rights to all people, but instead you are continuing Sibusiso’s evil legacy, which means you are failing to deliver on your promises.
This is “like father like son”, no change for the Swazi people. The king misled the nation and the world on the 21st of September 2018 when the new PM was elected. The king appointed Mandvulo because he is former PM’s (Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini) son. The king is still denying the nation its human rights and the new PM is following in his father’s foot-steps.
The situation is getting worse, in September 2019 the public sector workers, including teachers and nurses under the umbrella of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA), embarked on protests over salaries across the country. Police responded in a heavy-handed manner, beating and injuring protesters. Earlier in June, police injured at least four workers protesting alleged corruption in government. These incidents occurred despite the new Police Service Act of 2018 that provides that “the police shall respect and protect human dignity and human rights,” and that “police officers are prohibited from inflicting or tolerating any act of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”
No respect of human rights, no freedom of speech, no freedom of assembly and association. The PM is imposing more severe punishment for those who protest or demonstrate for their own human rights. Intimidation and threats have never been a solution.
Under the new PM’s government, the health sector is deteriorating, no medication and the government is not resolving the ongoing shortage of medication and people are dying as they can’t even get basic medication including antibiotics.
It is not only medication and injections that are unavailable, in some big hospitals, sometimes there is no food for patients as the hospital kitchens have not received funds for ingredients.
One of the biggest referral hospitals in the country is facing the same problem - food shortages. Health workers in the country say the government has prohibited them from disclosing the direness of the situation in the country. They are threatened that should they disclose this information, they will lose their jobs.
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.
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.
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