Thursday, 26 July 2012

PRESS STATEMENT, 26 JULY 2012: Swaziland: It Is Time For Travel Bans and Sanctions On The Monarch, Parliament and Government

Swaziland: It Is Time For Travel Bans and Sanctions On The  Monarch, Parliament and Government

The Swaziland Diaspora Platform calls for increased international solidarity with the people of Swaziland through the imposition of sanctions and travel bans targeted at King Mswati III, all members of the institution of the Monarch,  including members of parliament and senior government officials, who continue to give legitimacy to a dictator that is treating Swaziland as his personal piggy bank. 

The King and government's lavish spending continues whilst hundreds of thousands of Swazis are forced to continue to struggle to make ends meet and depend on aid in a country that should be able to sustain its people were it managed by an accountable and transparent government delivering on a people's mandate.

Public Service trade unions such as teachers have been engaged in strike action in Swaziland for almost 5 weeks now over demands for a small salary increase of 4.5 %, which would be their first increase in 3 years.

Government, under the authoritarian command of King Mswati III has been brutal in response, setting the police and army on workers, preventing them from exercising their rights to strike, freedom to assemble and freedom of expression amongst others.

It is beyond deplorable that King Mswati III in the midst of this crisis finds in appropriate to use millions to take a huge entourage of his household on a luxury holiday and shopping trip to one of the most expensive holiday resorts in the world - Las Vegas via a 5-day trip to Namibia.  

It however doesn't surprise the Swaziland Diaspora Platform because it is in keeping with his character, which is self-serving, lacks empathy and lacks the will to put the people of Swaziland first.

This trip will cost millions in cash that could be used to address the plight of civil servants. Once again the poor and struggling workers are left to bare the brunt of an economy that is in crisis and a government that claims to be cash-strapped, yet continues with purchases of luxury cars for government officials to the tune of $20 million and funding luxury trips for the Monarch, and increasing the police salary budget by $2.5million, which will have no benefit for the impoverished majority and financially distressed workers of Swaziland.

As King Mswati III travels to the United States of America using millions of Dollars that could address basic services due to the people of Swaziland, the Swaziland Diaspora Platform urges governments like the USA to seriously consider travel bans and sanctions on this authoritarian government. 

Whilst the US government issued sanctions on countries like Syria and Iran because those regimes are censoring Internet activity on social media such as Facebook and Twitter by human rights activists; Swazis have long been censored. 

Internet penetration even with cellphone technology is very low, at less than 10%, yet media is controlled by the Monarch and his government. All radio and television broadcasting stations are owned by the State and most newspaper media is constantly under pressure, therefore the use of media to disseminate information that critique government or encourage citizenship is not possible.  

The banning of political parties, freedom of association, freedom of expression and freedom of the media in Swaziland is just as bad as the authoritarian regimes censoring Internet activism, it is therefore within reason to request that King Mswati 111, his children, family, parliamentarians and senior government officials be penalized and sanctioned.




Twitter:      @swazidiaspora

Spokesperson: Ms Ntombenhle Khathwane
                            072 1899 361

Thursday, 12 July 2012



The Swaziland Diaspora Platform has read with utter dismay reports that the Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku has called the ongoing public service strike illegal and therefore advised that it be called off. The Swaziland Diaspora Platform would like to reiterate its unconditional support and solidarity with the striking civil servants of Swaziland.  

The strike started by the Swaziland National Association of Teachers over two weeks ago and recently joined by the National Public Service and Allied Workers Union and the Swaziland Democratic Nurses Union illustrates a people at odds with their government, a people who want a democratic, representative, accountable and responsive government.  This strike action is a declaration that Swaziland is run by an illegitimate system, and the people want change.

The government of Swaziland should see this as a vote of no confidence.  Workers who were unhappy with how government was managed and the policies adopted toppled governments in Romania, Greece and Egypt, just to count a few.  A government that fails to manage its resources and plan effectively is a failed government and ought to step down.

The lack of empathy in the manner that government is handling the stand-off with civil service unions is indicative of the attitude government has to the Swazi people in general.  On Wednesday July 11, whilst government employees protested for a 4.5% salary increment, the Prime Minister arrogantly reaffirmed his statement publicly that there will be no salary increment for civil servants for three years.

Government is purposefully not prioritizing the delivery of quality health and education to the people of Swaziland and instead focusing on projects that will benefit cronies of the Monarch.  And to ensure that the Monarch continues to use Swaziland as its personal piggy bank and farmstead, the government sanctions Swaziland becoming a police state where the few remaining civil liberties are being infringed upon on a daily basis.

To facilitate Swaziland becoming a police state, Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini is able to allocate R22million to give to the Royal Swaziland Police for the hiring of more police, for purchasing of armory, and the promotion of some police officers to higher ranks.  This is to ensure that police act as violently as they have been these past few weeks as civil servants embark on legal strikes.  

The recent reappointment of a very unpopular Chief Justice, who is known to overlook the Constitution in passing judgements that favour the Monarch and its government, ensures that the judicial machinery is also instrumental in suppressing the rights of Swazis and further entrenches a very illegitimate government.

The Swaziland Diaspora Platform joins the calls for a democratic Swaziland to ensure that Swaziland is governed by people who care for all Swazis all of the time…Waya Waya!!!

Issued by:

The Swaziland Diaspora Platform
Spokesperson – Ms Ntombenhle Khathwane

Twitter: @swazidiaspora