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

    Video US Observes Memorial Day With Wreath-laying, National Concert

    Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora