We had a passionate Vigil outside the Swaziland High Commission here in London. We were happy to hear that there is going to be a mass demonstration on 12/13 April in Mbabane against the excesses of King Mswati III. Most Swazi,s at the vigil feared there would be violence given the intolerance of the regime. The Vigil noted an article in the UK’s Sun newspaper that King Mswati has demanded a cow from every family as a 44th birthday present. Since the average daily income in Swaziland is only around $2 this is a ludicrous demand. The Swazi Vigil gives warning to Mr Mswati III that they will be waiting for him when he comes to London to pollute the Queen’s birthday celebrations in June.
We were pleased to receive a phone call from one of the champions of Swaziland Democracy campaigners, a true hero in our eyes one who has sacrificed a lot, Mphandlana Shongwe. Mphandlana applauded us for the Swazi vigil and encouraged us never to give up until there is democracy in Swaziland. One member of the management team Flora Dlamini gave us a detailed suffering life story of Mphandlana Shongwe. Flora told the vigil that, Mphandlana Shongwe who is the Deputy President of SWAYOGO was jailed in 1996 for false allegations against him. During a strike which was organized by SFTU (Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions) a Swazi flag fell down inside the Trade Fair in Manzini and he was the first suspect. Was taken and beaten up by police. Later discharged and banned from teaching. This was just to get him out of his profession as a teacher. He has been living a hard life in the hands of the police and army people. His movements are monitored all the time; he has no social life at all. He must not be seen in a company of more than 3 people.
We at the vigil so it fit to publicize this evil behavior by Mswati, what has happened to Mphandlana Shongwe is totally unacceptable and we want to warn those perpetrators that the world is watching and their actions will be brought to justice. We are encouraging all Swazis to compile a list of those police officers and soldiers who are committing those atrocities and they will be brought to justice. We want to also send this message to the police officers and the soldiers that if they beat torture or imprison the peaceful demonstrators on the 12th and 13th April, they will be brought to justice.
We are encouraging all Swazis to come out in their thousands and join the demonstrations on the 12th and 13th April, this is the only way that will force Mswati to allow democracy in Swaziland.
Thanks once again to Margret Simelani for coming early to set up the vigil, it should be noted that Margret is physically not well but she is prepared to make sacrifices for the freedom of the Swazi people. Thanks to Kelvin Kampira who hastily learned Italian to persuade the number of Italian tourist to sign our petitions. Thanks to Georgina Makaza, a Zimbabwean activist who came to our vigil to support us, she was moved by the suffering of the Swazi people that she promised to be coming to our vigil every Saturday. Last but not least Thanks to Francesca Toft, who brought an article in the Sun and thanks also to Fungayi Mabhunu for the tremendous support.
We had an exuberant vigil on Saturday 24th March outside the Swazi High Commission here in London, with a lot of tourists visiting Buckingham Palace stopping by and signing our petitions. One passerby had this say "Make sure when he attends the Queen's Golden Jubilee, he (Mswati) gets a hard time . . . he went on to say that we must show him that this is a democratic country people are allowed to demonstrate!!! At the vigil we totally agree with this supporter, this time we will make sure we will give him a hard time, we are going to dress him down, we will make sure the whole world knows about his evil deeds, DICTATORSHIP, the abuse of human rights, abuse of women, rape, torture, murder, imprisonment of political activities and lavish life stlye while 90% of the swazi people are starving.
What the Swazi people are clamouring for was summed up by a group of Swazis who attended our vigil, the group included Jabulile Simelane, whose father (Paulos Majaji Simelane) was Commissioner of Police in Swaziland and was accused of plotting to kill the king and thrown into jail. She said all his relatives were being penalized, as indeed was everyone in Swaziland where there was ‘grinding poverty, hunger, no jobs, no medicine in hospitals, let alone sheets for hospital beds’.
Jabulile said that the Swazi High Commission is London should be closed as it did nothing for Swazis except look after King Mswati’s children studying in the UK who were given £30,000 a month to spend while children at home had no books. She added that Swazis in the UK were to write to the Queen to protest at the invitation to King Mswati to her Jubilee celebrations in June. She said ‘I am sure that Her Majesty cannot know how monstrous Mswati is. Our people are starving but he has £16 billion in Qatar. He should go and stay there. Why is Mr Cameron not doing something about Mswati when he is acting against people like President Assad of Syria.'
Thanks to our founder member and coordinator Kelvin Kamupira, who brought the drum and his singing, Kelvin Kamupira is a human rights activist, who has campaigned for a long time against the obnoxious regime of Zimbabwe's Mugabe. It is Kelvin's ideal to see a free and democratic Southern Africa, in which all the peoples live in peace and in harmony, that is why he helped found the Swazi Vigil. His commitement to the cause in no doubt unquestionable, a true revolutionary indeed.
Special mention also goes to Flora Dlamini who was at the vigil early to help with the banners, Senele Msweli who helped in writting articles and publishing our website, Jabulile Simelani and Margret Dlamini who brought the banners and a new table. Last, but not least Francesca Toft, Fungayi Mabhunu and the Zimbabwe Vigil who helped with our publicty while our website was down.
NOTICES Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 7th April from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria.
Come rain, snow, sleet or thunder we will be outside the Swazi embassy protesting about democracy and respect for human rights in Swaziland. It rained just as we were setting up but lucky we have a cloth banner and a few placards that are covered in plastic. As usual news from back home is horrific and depressing, to the locals who stopped by to ask about the situation back home and sign our petitions its shocking. Barnabas Dlamini, the illegally-appointed Prime Minister of Swaziland, is victimizing the senate leader who said he and the Swazi government are answerable to parliament. We told the passing public that these are the few stories that they hear, the more horrific ones are swept under the carpet by the propaganda swazi press who are a mouth pieces of Dictator regime by the King because he closes the paper if they report against him. We were happy to hear that the launch of the Swaziland democracy was a success and we were glad that the Swazi vigil UK received words of encouragement from their report. On Friday the 5th of march we will join our friends the zimvigil to protest our side the South African embassy. We will be there between 1130 am to 1230pm to meet Jacob Zuma on his visit here in the UK. Please check www.zimvigil.co.uk. We will present to Mr Zuma our demands for democracy and respect for human rights in Swaziland we will also encourage Mr Zuma to speak out on Swaziland as he seems to know what is happening in the Kingdom. We are also pleased to let our supports know that so far we have more than 2000 signatures on our petitions, which is very encouraging. Thanks once again to our stewards Godfrey Madzunga, Kelvin Kamupila, Thobile Gwebu, Francesca Toft and many more who stood by us in the rain. The Swazi embassy staff were also surprised to see us protesting in the rain. Once again one of our supporters reminded them that will be here until Swaziland is free. Our singing and drumming once again attracted a group of brownies who stopped by and their teachers signed our petitions, but most of these children were so sad to hear that children in Swaziland are suffering with hunger and starvation and most of them can not afford to go to school at all, while Dictator Mswatii III is squandering money on his so many wives. What a sham said one teacher who signed our petition. Hopefully the weather will be on our side next weekend. Just as we were writing this diary we received yet some more depressing news