Swaziland union workers would be embarking on a strike
action today (Thursday) to raise awareness on what they described as gross show
of opulence and corruption by the government. The protesters expressed
indignation claiming the government has been condoning corruption and depleting
the country's coffers extravagantly. This follows a recent European trip by the
thirteen wives of King Mswati III on a shopping spree. The protesters
say it was unacceptable for the monarch to show such opulence when majority of
the people live in abject poverty. However the prime minister dismissed the
accusations as without merit.
Dlamini is the main organizer of today's protest march. He tells reporter Peter
Clottey from the capital, Mbabane that King Mswati's display of opulence is
detrimental to all workers.
"First of all, all the
workers and other interested citizens who are concerned about the issues that
we are raising will gather at the Coronation Park in Mbabane this morning at 9
O'clock, Swaziland time to get ready for demonstrating around the city of
Mbabane, and then there would be of course marches to the cabinet offices,
which are also located in Hospital Hill, here in Mbabane, Swaziland," Dlamini
He said today's protest
March begun yesterday after describing the demonstration in Swaziland's
largest, city Manzini as successful.
"That is a continuation of
the protest march against the opulence of the executive monarch in our country,
which opulence is within the face of extreme poverty in Swaziland, but yet we
have having extravagant expenditure, which we would be witnessing this coming
Saturday. We would be having a grand birthday for the 40th as well
as the 40 years on Independence of this country," he said.
Dlamini denied the purpose
of the protests are fraught with political undertones.
"Our main objective is to
ensure as workers that we are properly governed because we are citizens first
before we are workers. And therefore, the manner in which the country is
governed is of particular interest to us. Now, we are saying the system of
government in Swaziland is not working for us as workers. It is this system
that is of course encouraged corruption in the pubic service in our government.
But we are saying let there be a good system, a democratic system of governance
in which our will as citizens would be helped," Dlamini pointed out.
He said workers want the
government to respond to their demands.
"What we want to achieve is
that we want a situation where the government will respond positively to our
demand. And secondly, we want to highlight the political crisis in our country
so that the world knows that Swaziland is not a peaceful country, but a country
in silence. And we want the international community to understand that there is
a difference between silence and peace. We have been silent for too long and we
have been living under a state of emergency that has existed since 1973," he
Dlamini said there was need
for both the local authorities and the international community to know about
the discontentment in Swaziland.
"So now we have to highlight
the plight and we want to say to the international community that Swaziland has
problems, which must be resolved. And then we also want the king himself to
under stand that because most of the problems emanate from the concentration of
power in his hand, he must relinquish that power," Dlamini noted.
He said although the prime
minister received their petition, but doubts whether anything positive would
come out of it.
"After our march in Manzini,
which was a resounding success, the prime minister was trying to respond, but
he did not give any tangibles. He was just waffling about in terms of the
issues, telling us the same old stories that things are being looked into and
that they will consider some of these things, but the demand for multi party
democracy, he said there is nothing they can do about that," he said.
in Swaziland's largest city Manzini yesterday criticized what is expected to be
a costly 40th birthday celebration for King Mswati III this weekend, which
reportedly coincides with the 40th anniversary of independence from
colonialists Britain. Opposition
political groups seeking democratic reforms have become more active in the
country, where the opposition has been effectively banned since 1973 by royal
decree. Parliamentary elections are scheduled for Sept. 19.