Swaziland workers fight for democracy

This video says about itself:

19 March 2008

Police break up a meeting of the Police Trade Union in Swaziland.

In Swaziland political parties are banned.

40% of M.P.’s are selected by the king.

There is an HIV/AIDs prevalence rate of 39%.

Life expectancy is 33.

Freedom of Association is one of the human rights currently abused in Swaziland.

Swazi trade unionists and civil rights activists have defied pre-emptive arrests and police intimidation to rally for democratic reform in sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarchy: here.

Public-sector staff have returned to work in South Africa after their unions decided to suspend a 20-day strike for three weeks while members consider a draft agreement: here. And here.

Swazi police broke up a civil rights demonstration on Wednesday that saw a thousand people take to the streets of Mbabane in a second day of protests demanding political reform: here.

9 thoughts on “Swaziland workers fight for democracy

  1. Business Day (Johannesburg)

    Swaziland: Govt Arrests Pro-Democracy Leader

    Loyiso Langeni

    9 September 2010

    POLITICAL repression has intensified in Swaziland with the suppression this week of a pro-democracy march and the arrest of a prominent leader of a political movement.

    The heavy-handedness of the security forces against the marchers has fuelled anger among human rights movements in Swaziland and the region.

    About 60 people have so far been arrested and released since preparation for the protest march was started, Zakhele Mabuza, the march organiser, told Business Day yesterday.

    Swaziland is the last absolute monarchy in sub-Saharan Africa and political parties are banned. A 1973 king’s proclamation still prevents Swazi citizens from being part of any political movement, allowing the monarchy to rule by decree.

    Mario Masuku, president of the People’s United Democratic Movement, was on Tuesday prevented from participating in the march in Swaziland’s second-largest city, Manzini. “The police at Manzini grabbed me and no explanation was given,” Mr Masuku said.

    “They forcefully led me to the regional police headquarters (in Manzini), where I was interrogated.”

    Mr Masuku said a police barricade erected 2km from his house made it difficult for him to move freely in his neighbourhood. He was supposed to have taken part in a week-long pro-democracy march to demand the reinstatement of multiparty democracy in the kingdom.

    He said he “feared for his life” as “plainclothes policemen” were monitoring his every move.

    He also said that the security establishment prevented the marchers from presenting three petitions to the justice ministry. The petitions listed grievances that the marching crowd was demanding be addressed by the monarchy.

    “The security forces disrupted everything and we were forced to abandon the march.”

    The petition included the demand for multiparty democracy, removal of repressive laws, eradication of a mandatory monthly electricity surcharge of R55, and the elimination of taxation for working-class people who earn less than R800 a month.

    A follow-up two-day protest march to demand political reforms and a constitutional democracy is being planned for November, Mr Masuku said.
    Swaziland Protests Gain Momentum

    Swaziland’s high commission to SA refused to comment on political developments in the country.

    Questions sent to SA’s Department of International Relations and Co-operation were not answered by the time of going to print.

    Last month, two prominent leaders of the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) criticised the Swaziland monarchy for its autocratic tendencies.

    Gwede Mantashe, the secretary-general of the ANC, called for civil society movements to campaign against dictatorships on the African continent, including Swaziland.

    Jeremy Cronin, deputy secretary-general of the SACP, said that the Southern African Development Community was failing to engage with the Swazi monarchy to institute democratic reforms.


  2. Swaziland Bandag tyre strike

    Workers at three branches of the Bandag, tyre re-treading and repair shops took strike action last week in support of a 10 percent pay increase.

    Among their other demands is an end to pay differentials under which workers are presently paid different rates for the same work. Workers say some fitters are paid only half the rate of others.

    The original pay claim was for 15 percent and management’s first offer was 8 percent. The company since increased their offer to 9 percent.

    Workers at the Mbabane branch initially rallied in the company premises, but after being ejected they picketed the entrance and did a toyi toyi, a form of protest dance.



  3. Swaziland textile workers strike

    Workers, mainly women, at Texray textiles went on strike for two days last week, in pursuit of a 10 percent pay increase. The workers returned to work after the company was granted a court ruling deeming the strike illegal. Although represented by the Swaziland Manufacturing and Allied Workers Union (SMAWU), the union only became involved after the strike at the behest of management, to “calm them down”.

    The textile workers, like all Swazi workers, are seeing a steep increase in the price of basic commodities.
    Swaziland: Workers face dismissal

    Workers at Union Industrial Washing face dismissal after being on strike two days last week. The workers took the action in pursuit of a 5 percent pay increase, rejecting the company’s offer of 3 percent. Fifteen of the workers who took part in the action have been suspended and face the sack. Workers at the factory delayed starting work Monday for two hours, demanding the suspended workers be reinstated.



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  9. Pingback: London demonstration against Swaziland royal dictator | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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