The vigil is gaining momentame every Surtuday as the weather is on our side, passerby are continueing to sign our petitions without fail. A report in the Times of Swaziland (Sunday, 8th May 2010) entitled ‘Swazi Protest in UK gains Momentum’ speaks of several protests outside the Swazi High Commission in London and outlines the petitions we are running. The article quotes Vigil co-ordinator Thobile Gwebu as saying that there is good support from the public who read and sign the petitions. She speaks of supporters’ anger at the quashing of a political activists’ event in Manzini and also says supporters are encouraged by the launch of the Swaziland Democracy Campaign in Johannesburg. She ends by saying that Swazis have suffered enough and it was high time there was political freedom, democracy and respect for human rights in Swaziland. ‘Let us run with endurance in the race that is set before us’.
In a separate article ‘…they should come back home – govt’ the Times quote Clifford Mamba, Principal Secretary of the Swaziland Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, saying the protesters should come back home where their issues would be raised. He said his government had an open door policy on such issues. He said the Vigil’s picketing and petitions were ineffective because the place to address these issues was in their own country.
Well our response to Mr Mamba is, if these issues are being addressed:
· Why is there still a state of emergency after 35 years?
· Why are political parties banned, activists imprisoned, and the judiciary, media and other bodies controlled by the monarch?
· Why are women suffering gross violation of their human rights?
· Why do seventy per cent of the population live on less than $1 a day?
· Why are more than 1 in 4 Swazis living with HIV / AIDS?
More bad news from home that demostrate the violetion of human rigts is without fail . Swaziland’s illegally-appointed Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini has made it clear that he is in charge of the kingdom’s police force and will use it against democracy activists.
Dlamini, who has an international reputation as an enemy of freedom and democracy, was explaining why dozens of police invaded the funeral of democracy activist Sipho Jele two weeks ago. Officers tore up pictures of the deceased man and confiscated banners belonging to opposition group, the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO).
He said police would break up gatherings and make arrests even if no crime had been committed. The police just needed to believe that a crime might be committed.
Dlamini’s remarks at a gathering of the kingdom’s senior media people fly in the face of comments by Swaziland Commissioner of Police Isaac Magagula that the police were a service to the people of Swaziland and would treat people as ‘clients’ and with respect.
Dlamini told the meeting that police suspected crimes would be committed at Jele’s funeral so they broke it up.
‘At Jele’s funeral, the police would not just sit back and wait for something to happen first before responding to the situation. But they had to do something about the information brought by the Intelligence Branch,’ the Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, reports him saying.
Dlamini said that at future funerals or other occasions if the Intelligence Branch happened to detect a security threat, police then they would attend to ‘ensure law and order’.
- Parent Category: News
The vigil went well as the weather was on our side,supporters were stoping by reading and signing our petitions. We joined the Zimbabwean vigil activists as it was their independance day in lighting caddles outside the South African Embasy. More upsetting news from undemocratic Swaziland, as more protester for democracy were arrested during the weekend for demostrating.
Despite a court order obtained by the Swaziland chapter of the SDC granting them permission to continue with the public launch of the Campaign inside Swaziland, the royal police clamped down; arresting and detaining two of the coordinators of the Campaign, raiding the home of a third member of the Campaign coordinating team preventing him from attending the launch, preventing the attendance of the PUDEMO President, Cde Mario Masuku, and frightening off supporters of the Campaign. This action follows the royal police clampdown of the 12th April commemorations which marked the 37th anniversary of the banning of political parties in Swaziland.
The king is continueing with his ridicilus spending. On Wednesday (14 April 2010) reports were circulating in Swaziland that King Mswati, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, had spent E5 million (about 500,000 US dollars) on a new Roller, even though Swaziland was broke and cuts in health, education and every other government department were being made. Thise speculations was confirmed by The Financial Mail reports, ‘The free-spending ways of Africa’s last absolute monarch, King Mswati III, continue to amaze his subjects, two-thirds of whom live on food rations donated by UN agencies.Swazi people will continue to die from poverty Aids and suffer because of unemployment as the King is less concerned with their well being.
- Parent Category: News
The people who hold vigil in support of democracy and rights in Swaziland outside the Swaziland High Commission every Saturday are not paid; they volunteer to attend in their own time. Some are Swazis, some have visited Swaziland and some have never stepped foot on African soil but what they all have in common is a desire to support the people of Swaziland in their efforts to establish freedom and democracy in their country. The Saturday vigil is not organised by ACTSA but we have held vigils in support of democracy and freedom outside the Swaziland High Commission in London.
The plight of the Swazi people has been overlooked for far too long by the international community and I am delighted that the Swazi government has taken note of the Swazi-led demonstrations in London. All over the world there are Swazis who are at the forefront of organising and protesting for democracy and rights in their country. The support they receive is based on solidarity with their cause.In Southern Africa the Swaziland Democracy Campaign is an outstanding example of how Swazis and non-Swazis can work together for the common good of the people of Swaziland. ACTSA is the successor organisation to the British Anti Apartheid Movement, and many of those campaigning for democracy and rights for Swaziland now are the same people who campaigned for freedom and democracy for South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Angola and against the attacks of the apartheid regime across the region. ACTSA works in solidarity with the people of Southern Africa for development, democracy, peace, rights and justice for the region.
There is a growing movement across the world calling for an end to the denial of political freedom in Swaziland and ACTSA is proud to be amongst those standing in solidarity with the people of Swaziland as they work tirelessly for democracy and rights for their country.
Director ACTSA (Action for Southern Africa)
Mario Masuku recieved more praises from Democracy supporters AMNESTY PRAISES MARIO MASUKU The following is a speech made at the ceremony to present Mario Masuku, president of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) with a Democracy Award, in Denmark, earlier this month (March 2010).It was made by Lars Normann Jørgensen, general secretary of Amnesty International in Denmark.Amnesty International has for many years criticized the widespread persecution of opposition in Swaziland, and has within the past year, been particularly concerned about the consequences of the terrorism legislation, the government introduced in 2008. It is the organization's view that certain provisions of the legislation are clearly contrary to the human rights.
Amongst other things the act has caused random arrests of some Swazi people, mistreatment of detainees, and taken legal actions without a sufficient evidence base.
More interesting news from home is about the corrupt detecting Mswati gorverment.On 25 March 2010, the Prime Minister (PM), [Barnabas] Sibusiso Dlamini, answering a question from editors on why government has refused to register the MCC, hinted that there was no need for the MCC as the statutory Media Commission was on its way.The PM's comments confirmed recent reports by lawyers representing the media and helping to register the MCC that government had declined to register the MCC arguing that its objectives overlapped with those of the proposed statutory Media Commission.
The media is currently weighing options of going to court to compel the government to register the MCC. However, the media are yet to meet with the Minister for Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) on the way forward with regards to the MCC.This is the corrupt Gorverment's way of having their way of dectacting all the moves of the media.
We would like to thank all our suppoters to mention a few Actsa,Kelvin and Godfrey for helping with petition signing and playing the drum.
- Parent Category: News