14 March 2017

Swaziland: 'We'll Stage a Go Slow Protest At Swaziland's Entry Points', Group Warns

Photo: The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa
His Majesty King Mswati III (file photo).

A civil society group has threatened to stage a go slow protest at Swaziland's entry points to put pressure on King Mswati III to end what they say is a "rabidly intolerant regime" in that country.

In an interview with News24, Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) spokesperson Lucky Lukhele said the protest was set for April 12.

"From a South African perspective we are changing tactics, and we're engaging with SATAWU [South African Transport Workers Union] to stage a go slow protest in transporting goods into or out of the kingdom.

"We believe that in order for King Mswati to take us seriously, we'll have to hit his pockets. The king loves money, so if we hit him in his pocket, he is going to listen to us," said Lukhele.

The group is demanding that Swaziland's absolute monarch repeal a 44-year decree banning political parties.

The decree which was passed in 1973 by the father to the current king, "outlawed political parties, dissolved parliament and placed legislative, executive and judicial powers in the hands of the king".

'Heinous attacks' In a joint memorandum, last week, the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), the National Health Education & Allied Workers Union (Nehawu), the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN), said that the Tinkhundla Royal decree was "a complete disregard of the people's will". Lukhele claimed that the majority of the people in the country were living under the poverty datum line, adding that the monarch was sustaining its repressive laws at the expense of the people.

"After four decades of heinous attacks on the living conditions of the Swazi people, your [King Mswati] rabidly intolerant regime is a dismal failure. It has sustained all its regressive policies that impoverish the people at the barrel of a gun," said Lukhele.

He said Swazis were now facing a difficult time as they were not able to access information regarding their human rights.

"We work with various civil society movements in the country, but because most of them are banned we're are unable to reach to the masses effectively, and also because all communication channels, including the so-called privately owned media outlets, support the monarch. Therefore, it is difficult to reach the masses.

"We live in a social media age, but we're facing difficulties because even telecommunication networks are tied to the kingdom, making it harder to distribute information. So our effective method would be to blockade the entry points," said Lukhele.

Source: News 24

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