samedi, 23 mars 2019

Swazi regime arrests union leader, attacks solidarity protests !

The Swaziland Democracy Campaign is shocked that the President of the National Public Service and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU), Comrade Quinton Dlamini has been arrested as he was making his way to support the industrial action being taken by the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT). Both NAPSAWU and SNAT are key affiliates of the new (and banned) trade union federation TUCOSWA. The arrest of Comrade Quinton is an attempt to prevent all public sector workers from uniting and supporting one another, and from putting their pledges of solidarity into practice. We immediately demand the unconditional release of Comrade Quinton, and for an end to police interference in the legitimate activities of the labour movement.

At this time, the Royal Elite is desperately attempting to fragment civil society, and especially to curtail the actions of the trade union movement. The feudal Tinkhundla regime can only work if there is division, if there is patronage to be dispensed, and if there is no accountability. Swazi society is now universally understood to be characterised by poverty, hunger and corruption, and the trade unions, and their civil society partners in the Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF) stand out as a beacon of hope and morality.

The public support for TUCOSWA and its affiliates, despite the government’s attempts to criminalise it, is continuing to grow. Informal sector traders, the self-employed, the unemployed, impoverished farm workers, peasants and many others who survive on the margins of society are increasingly aware that the demands of TUCOSWA and the SUDF provide a way forward. Many new and emerging structures are now openly pledging their support for a radical break away from Tinkhundla rule to a Peoples Government, elected by universal suffrage.

The Royal Elite are frantically attempting to hold on to power until they can stitch up the so-called elections scheduled for 2013. They hope that they can fool the world into believing that they have in fact adopted a democratic approach, and allowed free and fair elections to be held.

The reality is very different. It is quite impossible to talk about democracy until political parties are unbanned, political prisoners are free, and normal political activity is allowed to take place. The phoney elections planned for 2013 will be energetically exposed during the Global Week of Action on Swaziland that is taking place in September. The arrest of Comrade Quinton is all the evidence that is needed today of the real intentions of the Swazi regime.

Swaziland is fast approaching a crossroads, and the choice between further barbarism or to a multi-party democracy is now being presented for all to see. It is the responsibility of all those who believe that a democratic Swaziland is the only way to address poverty and hunger, to demand the immediate release of Comrade Quinton, for end to state violence against civil society, for full support to all those workers fighting to defend their living standards and the services they provide to the poor, and for the maximum mobilisation during the Global Week of Action on Swaziland in September.

Release Our Leaders Now !

Support the Workers’ Struggle to Defend Jobs, Services and Living Standards !

Down with State Repression and the Criminalisation of our Organisations !

Unban Political Parties and Prepare for Multi party Democracy !

Free Political Prisoners and Allow Exiles Home Now !

Towards a Peoples Government !

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