Mbabane – A civil society group has threatened to stage a go-slow protest at Swaziland’s entry points on 12 April to put pressure on King Mswati III to repeal a 44-year decree banning political parties.
In an interview with News24, Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) spokesperson, Lucky Lukhele, said the protest was set for 12 April.
“From a South African perspective we are changing tactics, and we’re engaging with South African Transport Workers Union (Satawu) to stage a go-slow protest in transporting goods into or out of the kingdom,” said Lukhele.
“We believe that in order for King Mswati to take us seriously, we’ll have to hit his pockets. The king loves money, so if we hit him in his pocket, he is going to listen to us.”
The decree which was passed in 1973 by the father to the current king, “outlawed political parties, dissolved parliament and placed legislative, executive and judicial powers in the hands of the king”.
‘Heinous attacks’ in a joint memorandum last week which included the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), the National Health Education & Allied Workers Union (Nehawu), the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN), said that the Tinkhundla Royal decree was “a complete disregard of the people’s will.”
Lukhele claimed that the majority of the people in the country were living under the poverty line, adding that the monarch was sustaining its repressive laws at the expense of the people.
“After four decades of heinous attacks on the living conditions of the Swazi people, your [King Mswati] rabidly intolerant regime is a dismal failure. It has sustained all its regressive policies that impoverish the people at the barrel of a gun,” he said.
He said Swazis were now facing a difficult time as they were not able to access information regarding their Human Rights.
“We work with various civil society movements in the country, but because most of them are banned, we’re unable to reach the masses effectively, and also because all communication channels including the so-called privately owned media outlets, support the monarch. Therefore, it is difficult to reach the masses.
“We live in a social media age, but we’re facing difficulties because even telecommunication networks are tied to the kingdom, making it harder to distribute information. So our effective method would be to blockade the entry points.”
President Jacob Zuma is scheduled to visit Swaziland for the SADC summit which will be held there on Saturday, where the current armyworm outbreak and food security will be discussed.