This week our activist Tintswalo Ngobeni had this to say “King Mswati is a demon; his interest is to indulge himself in young women. Swaziland’s poor economy makes these young girls think it’s better to marry the King and be a queen because of the lavish lifestyle to which itentitles them. When they look into the future in Swaziland, they don’t see many windows of opportunity. Mswati indulges his wives with a luxurious lifestyle but they are being mentally abused by very limited freedom. I almost became one his victims but I managed to escape from it all by coming to the United Kingdom. His luxurious lifestyle didn’t entice me into becoming one his many wives because I was unhappy with the way he is running the country. His priority has got nothing to do with uplifting the country but instead to uplift himself and the Royal Family.” The Swaziland Vigil would like to point out that Tintswalo Ngobeni’s story is not only sad in that the young girl was a victim of Mswati’s advances, but that she was forced to leave her country. Tintwaslo Ngobeni went on to say that she will protest outside the Swazi Embassy here in the UK to save other young girls from the evil beast Mswati.
Jabulile Simelani had this to say “Today (14th July 2012) we were outside the Swazi Embassy protesting about lack of democracy in Swaziland and we were soaked by the rain which shows our seriousness. The support we are getting from the public is massive and I'm really grateful that now Swaziland is in the limelight. I urge Swazis residing in the UK to come and join us in this war. Back home as I'm writing teachers are on strike, so I'm urging teachers not to stop! Forward ever!!! natsi asikathuli mgalana as long as he comes into this country SITOMUHLAZA until we see change back home MSWATI MUST GO!
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The Swaziland Vigil with the help of the Zimbabwe Vigil had a busy week protesting against King Mswati’s visit to the UK for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. We were disappointed that the Queen should invite Africa’s last absolute monarch to what we would regard otherwise as a joyful celebration.
The protests against Mswati culminated after the regular Zimbabwe Vigil today when we processed from the Zimbabwe Embassy to the Savoy Hotel about 200 yards down the Strand to greet Mswati’s guests as they arrived for a dinner he was hosting. About 30 of us gathered with our drums and posters (‘King Mswati buys £30m plane while his people eat cow dung’, ‘Mswati and his 30 strong entourage stay in £400 a night Savoy Hotel while his people starve’, ‘End human rights abuses in Swaziland’, ‘Mswati must go NOW!’ and ‘Democracy now for Swaziland’). As Mswati’s guests went in we heckled them with cries of ‘Shame on you, Shame on you’. Protesters also shouted ‘women abuser’ and ‘save the young girls of Swaziland’. We were not surprised by the news from South Africa that one of the king’s 13 wives has spent the past month in the Presidential Suite of the Westcliff Hotel in Johannesburg costing $2,000 a night (see: http://africajournalismtheworld.com/tag/swazi-queen-runs-up-huge-hotel-bill/).
It was a long day for the Swaziland Vigil which had gathered for their regular demonstration outside the Swaziland High Commission at 10 am today before presenting a petition to 10 Downing Street at 1 pm protesting about the human rights abuses in Swaziland. For the letter to the British Prime Minister that accompanied the petition (see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/401-swazi-letter-to-the-british-prime-minister).
On Friday night activists from both the Swaziland and the Zimbabwe vigils joined the human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell in a protest outside Buckingham Palace (see; http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18099937 - Diamond Jubilee: World royals gather in UK for Queen).
King Mswati must have been left with little doubt about what the Swazis and Zimbabweans in the UK thought of him after we greeted him when he arrived at the Savoy Hotel on Wednesday (see report below). The efforts that we and others have made resulted in totally negative media coverage for him in newspapers, television and radio. As the Times reported ‘Swaziland’s King Mswati III is said to enjoy a lavish lifestyle while his subjects starve’.
The success of the demonstrations was largely down to the hard work of three members of the Swaziland Vigil: Flora Dlamini, Margaret Dlamini (who came to the protest on Wednesday straight after dialysis) and Jabulile Simelane and Zimbabwe Vigil management team member Fungayi Mabhunu.
Prptest against King Mswati of Swaziland – 16th May 2012
Protestors demonstrated outside a leading London hotel against the visit of King Mswati III of Swaziland – Africa’s last absolute ruler – who is in the UK to attend a diamond jubilee banquet for the world’s monarchs hosted by the Queen at Windsor Castle on Friday 18th May.
The protest was organised by the Swaziland Vigil which stages regular demonstrations outside the Swaziland High Commission in London in protest at the king’s autocratic rule. They were supported by the Zimbabwe Vigil which protests against Mugabe and by Action for Southern Africa (the successor organisation to the Anti-Apartheid Movement) along with members of British trade unions.
Amid drumming, singing and chants of ‘Mswati must go’ the demonstrators outside the Savoy hotel in the Strand carried banners reading: ‘King Mswati buys £30m plane while his people eat cow dung’, ‘Mswati and his 30 strong entourage stay in £400 a night Savoy Hotel while his people starve’, ‘End human rights abuses in Swaziland’, and ‘Democracy now for Swaziland’.
A spokesperson for the Swaziland Vigil Flora Dlamini said the Swazi people were demanding democracy and an end to the feudal regime under which no political parties were allowed and freedom of expression was curtailed.
‘We have one of the richest kings in the world and yet we live in poverty. People are starving but he is here with more than 30 people in one of the most expensive hotels in London.
King Mswati (44) who has married 13 women was said, by two young women who came out of the Savoy, to be flirting with them asking about the best night clubs and shopping in the area.
A BBC photographer passed by and took photos. He has posted this on twitter: ‘What the King of Swaziland might see if he looks out of his window at the Savoy Hotel in London’ (#royal http://pic.twitter.com/bNEcIcm6). He has also posted a sound bite on the following link: http://audioboo.fm/boos/804353-demo-against-swaziland-s-king-mswati-iii-outside-savoy.
Thanks to Fungayi Mabhunu, Flora Dlamini, Margaret Dlamini, Mary Muteyerwa, Georgina Makaza, Bernard Hukwa, Ellen Gonyora, Kelvin Kamupira, Ndana Sanyanga, Edward Mutamiswa, Tim Rusike and Rose Benton who attended the protest.
Swazis in London protest at visit by playboy king Mswati III
Exiled Swazis living in the UK are to protest outside the Savoy Hotel in London on Wednesday 16th May when their king Mswati III is due to arrive to attend a diamond jubilee banquet for the world’s monarchs hosted by the Queen at Windsor Castle on Friday 18th May.
The protest is organised by the Swaziland Vigil which stages regular demonstrations outside the Swaziland High Commission in London in protest at the king’s autocratic rule. He is Africa’s last absolute monarch and has, at the last count, 13 wives – although there are reports that some of them have fled. Forty-four year old Mswati III, educated at Sherborne public school in Dorset, is said by Forbes magazine to have a fortune of more than $100 million while his people live in poverty.
The co-ordinator of the Swazi Vigil Thobile Gwebu said people in Swaziland had been reduced to eating cow dung so that they could fill their bellies as required for the AIDs medicines provided by NGOs. She said the king had recently taken delivery of a DC-9 twin-engine aircraft claiming it was a gift from ‘anonymous sponsors’.
Ms Gwebu said she understood the king was travelling with the entourage of 30, staying at the Savoy where room prices start at £400 a night.
She said Swazis in the UK didn’t want to spoil the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and had written to her explaining that, as Queen of the Commonwealth, perhaps she could have a word with Mswati so that they could return home to a country where human rights were respected. For text of the letter see: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/397-swaziland-vigil-letter-to-the-queen.
The Swaziland Vigil is also planning to picket the Swaziland High Commission on Saturday 19th May when king Mswati is due to hold a dinner.
Date: Wednesday 16th May from 12 noon – 3 pm
Venue: Savoy Hotel, Strand, London WC2R 0EU
19th May 2012
Dear Mr Cameron
On the occasion of the visit to the UK by King Mswati III, we respectfully submit the following petition: “Petition to the British Government: Exiled Swazis and supporters urge you to put pressure on absolute monarch King Mswati III to allow political freedom, freedom of the press, rule of law, respect for women and affordable AIDs drugs in Swaziland.”
The petition has been signed by people passing the Swaziland Vigil which holds regular demonstrations outside the Swaziland High Commission in London in protest at the human rights abuses in Swaziland.
For your information we have sent the following letter to the Queen, who invited Mswati to a lunch at Windsor Castle on 18th May to mark her Diamond Jubilee.
"Letter to the Queen - 9th May 2012
An Appeal to the Mother of Monarchs
We wish to record our disquiet at the visit to the UK by our King Mswati III on the occasion of your Jubilee. We are a group of Swazis driven into exile because of the arbitrary behaviour of King Mswati, the last absolute ruler in Africa. He lives like a medieval monarch while his people suffer. He now has his own £30 million aircraft while some women with HIV are reduced to eating cow dung because they have to have something in their stomachs for the medicine they must take. King Mswati has banned all political activities so we are left without a voice at home. We stage a regular protest outside the Swaziland High Commission just down the road from Buckingham Palace.
We realise that your hands are tied by protocol and wish to assure you that the protests we plan against King Mswati during his visit to London do not indicate any disrespect to you. But we would humbly ask you, as the Mother of the Commonwealth, to have a word with King Mswati so that we can return home in freedom to a democratic country observing international human rights. We are sad his education in England seems to have made him think his people are slaves."
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We had a very cold vigil on the 21/04/2012, while back home Mswati was celebrating his 44th birthday. Passers-by were shocked to hear that Mswati was demanding a cow from each of the suffering Swazi people as gifts for his birthday. Our coordinators Flora Dlamini, Margret Dlamini and Jabulile Simelane had the following to say about the Brutal regime of Mswati.
Flora Dlamini says, “We noticed that there was a notice on the door at the Swazi embassy here in the UK informing people that they will be closed on 20 April 2012 due to the king of Swaziland ‘s birthday. It is such a shame and really saddening to learn that a country like Swaziland where people are living in such poverty, are still forced to take part in celebrations. King Mswati is such a selfish individual who only thinks of himself. Money spent during these celebrations can help a lot in many ways in the poverty stricken country. This is the time where by all his 13 wives will be travelling to different countries abroad doing their expensive shopping in preparation for the birthday. Each women is given more than £50.000 in cash for the shopping, while, there is no medicine in Swaziland hospitals yet more than 50% of the population is living with HIV. King Mswati is all about himself and his family with his children attending the most expensive schools here in the UK. As Swazis we have had enough of himi and the country can do better without him. Swazi people wants democracy in the country. We shall fight until we see the changes in Swaziland. BACKWARDS NEVER!"
Jabulile Simelane who is an activist residing in the United Kingdom says, “I’m very much against what Mswati is doing I will always keep saying what a ridiculous king we have. He is such an embarrassment in this world. He tortured my father who once served the royalty but he was kicked out like garbage. Yesterday we were at the Swazi Vigil where we demonstrate every other a week. I was dumbfounded to see a note about the dictator on the door that on the 20 April is going to be a public holiday for who???? Even the Queen of this country (UK) never makes a public holiday - this is so ridiculous. He has just bought an island in Qatar which shows what he can afford while his people are living in grinding poverty."
"Maswati lahlala lapha e ngilandi ase nivule emehlo nicabangele tihlobo tenu letilambile emakhaya sifuna inkhululeko barnabas na mswati wakhe abahambe! balibulele live lemaswati akunatibhedlela make uyagula tinso uma angabuyela ekhaya angafa ngeliviki.
"I would like to urge Swazis who are residing in the United Kingdom to come and join us every other week at the Swazi Embassy to fight together in this war. If the Libyans could topple Gaddafi who was the most powerful leader in the world why cant we? sesingahlulwa ngulembungulu Please open your eyes don’t let this dictator brainwash you.
"How can u go to every household demanding that a cow be given to the dictator for his birthday? This man has plenty of cows which can feed his nation for over 10 years what is most painful is the concern of the elderly who get paid once in 6 months yet his wives have a lavish lifestyle. This womanizer must go - we are ready for him when he comes for the Queen's Jubilee."
Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 5th May from 10 am - 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB. Nearest stations: St James's Park and Victoria.
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