News

Banned Swaziland Trade Union Vows Demonstration

Activists demonstrate in the streets of Swaziland capital, Mbabane (file photo)
Activists demonstrate in the streets of Swaziland capital, Mbabane (file photo)

Multimedia

Audio
  • Clottey interview with Vincent Dlamini national organizer of the banned Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA)

Peter Clottey

A leading member of the banned Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) said its nationwide demonstration will proceed Thursday, despite a court-ordered ban.

TUCOSWA national organizer Vincent Dlamini said the group aims to present a petition to Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini demanding democratic reforms and an immediate end to the group’s ban.

“We intend to present a petition to the prime minister’s office, if we would be allowed to get there. But if they disperse us violently, then of course we will disperse. But our intention is to go and make our demands known to the head of government,” said Dlamini.

“[This is] to call for broader democracy in Swaziland as well as to denounce the ban by government of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland, which is the only labor federation in this country.”

Attorney General Majahenkaba Dlamini said the government has obtained a court order banning the demonstrations. The administration contends that the organizers have failed to meet what it called the legal “industrial relations” requirement for the planned nationwide protests.

Some Swazis are expressing concern the protests could lead to violent clashes between state security forces and the pro-democracy and labor union activists.

Dlamini pledged TUCOSWA demonstrators will not instigate any violence.

“Our intention is a peaceful protest march. But we can see on the streets that the security forces are fully packed… all three branches, which is the police, the prisons, and the soldiers are there,” said Dlamini.

“We do not wish to see our people getting injured. It is the government that is violent, and we want the whole world to be aware of that, that Swaziland government is very violent against peaceful protests. Because we are protesting peacefully…but we cannot guarantee that [violence] won’t happen.”

Asked why TUCOSWA would choose to hold the protest in defiance of the government ban instead of seeking a dialogue, Dlamini said senior administration officials have refused repeated attempts to engage in talks.

“There is no one to talk to. We have been available to discuss issues even the discussing of the ban concerning the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland...but the government is refusing. They are telling us that [the ban] is an order and that we must comply,” said Dlamini.

“On the issue of democracy, they are telling us that that will never happen while they are still alive.”

Last month, several trade union organizations merged to form TUCOSWA. Within weeks, the government placed a ban on it, declaring it was a politically active organization. Political parties are banned in the tiny Southern African kingdom.

Critics say the Swazi administration has stifled political opposition by pressuring human rights organizations, trade unions, and civil society groups and banning all political parties.

Analysts say King Mswati III’s level of power is so significant - despite the 2006 reintroduction of a constitution - that the country can be considered an absolute monarchy.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs