News / Africa

Swaziland Attorneys Vow to Continue Strike

King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Summit in Johannesburg, (file photo)
King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Summit in Johannesburg, (file photo)

Multimedia

Audio
  • Clottey interview with Titus Mlangeni, Swaziland's Law Society chairman

Peter Clottey

Lawyers in Swaziland have resolved to continue a strike despite recently signing a memorandum of understanding with the Judicial Services Commission.

Law Society chairman Titus Mlangeni says their protest will continue until their concerns are fully addressed.  Among their demands is a meeting with King Mswati III.

The lawyers embarked on the strike three months ago after the chief justice issued a directive banning them from summoning him to appear in court.

Under the constitution, the king cannot be summoned. But the lawyers argue that since he is the head of all national territory, it is impossible to avoid involving the king in land dispute cases.

Some lawyers have expressed concern the strike is taking a toll on their finances. Mlangeni agrees.

“It is certainly affecting bread and butter issues. The boycott has gone on for longer than we had expected,” said Mlangeni. “But, obviously for a position as serious as a boycott, there must be a reason for it and until we achieve something tangible, it is [unlikely] the boycott can be sustained.”

Observers say the lawyers may not be able to hold out much longer without pay, and the government could gain the upper hand during negotiations. Mlangeni said the administration is nevertheless negotiating in good faith.

“That is probable but I think the experience has been a little different in the past two weeks because the present minister for justice and constitutional affairs has taken a key role in mediating between the Judiciary Services Commission  and the Law Society,” said Mlangeni.

Mlangeni praised the efforts of the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Chief Mgwagwa Gamedze, for some compromises reached with the lawyers.

“The minister has been quite proactive and the compromise that has been achieved so far has been largely due to his initiative.”

The standoff between the Judiciary Service Commission and the lawyers, observers say, has contributed to the ongoing strike. They also said the strike has crippled the justice system.  The absence of lawyers from the courtroom means many Swazis have been prosecuted without access to a court-appointed defense attorney.

“What’s happening is extremely unpleasant because people have been denied the right to legal representation, not because they can’t afford it but, because they cannot access it because of the boycott.” said Mlangeni.

Mlangeni said there are reasons to believe that their concerns would be addressed to ensure the lawyers return to work.

“It is difficult to tell [when we will go back] but my own prognosis will be that we are getting close to getting a settlement of the issues because a memorandum of understanding was signed just about a week ago and we are in the process of tidying it up.”

You May Like

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' More

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.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs