Press Releases

Press Release from the Swaziland Vigil – 9th September 2012

The British trade union group, the Trades Union Congress, says it is to call on the Commonwealth to suspend Swaziland because of human rights abuses.  The call echoes an appeal in a petition to the Commonwealth signed by hundreds of people at a regular vigil held outside the Swaziland High Commission in London (www.swazilandvigil.co.uk).  

 

The co-ordinator of the Swaziland Vigil, Thobile Gwebu, told a committee meeting at the Houses of Parliament (on 5th September) about the oppression by the country’s absolute ruler King Mswati III who, she said, had recently bought an airliner while his people starved. She said women were particularly victimized because they had few rights.

 

‘Swazis are reduced to eating cow dung so they can fill their bellies as required for the AIDS medicines provided by NGOs’, she said.

 

Tony Dykes, Director of the NGO Action for Southern Africa, said something must be done before the situation in Swaziland gets even worse. Polly Jones of Unison, Britain’s biggest public sector union, said workers in Swaziland had had no pay rise in years despite annual inflation now reaching 9%.

 

The Labour Shadow Minister for International Development, Rushanara Ali MP, said Swaziland was not being challenged enough by the outside world about its human rights record.

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.

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. 

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!

Swaziland Vigil Diary  It was a very warm day considering it is winter; people at the vigil were still fuming at what is going on back home. Mswati’s oppressive machinery was at the full throttle for the past month thwarting peaceful demonstrations, abducting and arresting student leaders.  On a positive note the official launch of the Swaziland Democracy Campaign in Johannesburg kept our spirits so high with our coordinator Thobile Gwebu telling the crowd that IT IS THE LAST MILE TO DEMOCRACY IN SWAZILAND, she goes on to tell us that Swazis have suffered enough it is high time there is political freedom, democracy and respect for human rights in Swaziland. “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, she chanted. The gathering and passing crowd clapped, whistled and chanted FREE SWAZILAND!!! One passerby who stopped to sign our petitions asked why the king had so many wives and we told her that he picks a virgin every year and the lady said ……it not me then because I am not a virgin ! A lot of people were worried that the world is watching while Swaziland is dying, one supporter was very angry that the UN is not doing anything to stop the horrific abuses and oppression in Swaziland. We noticed that one of the embassy neighbours was moving out and we realised that now that we have exposed the obnoxious regime they did not want to be staying next to people who have no respect for human rights. It was good to see our friends from ACTSA who have been very supportive of the Swazi vigil since its launch and they are running a campaign on Swaziland crises and are encouraging people to put pressure on the ambassador in the UK go to the link http://www.actsa.org/page-1223-Swaziland.html.  Thanks once again to Mark Beacon and his team. The vigil ended at 1pm with the singing of NKOSI SIKELELA AFRICA! (GOD BLESS AFRICA!) Our coordinator Thobile Gwebu explained to the vigilantes that the singing of Swaziland land national anthem will undermine our cause as it is nothing but the praise of the Dictator Mswati III. A lot of people stopped by to take pictures of our colourful l banner that was hand made by our coordinator Thobile Gwebu which reads NO TO DICTATORSHIP IN SWAZILAND!