Mbabane: The Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) has defied a directive from the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Prince Simelane that no protest marches are permitted in Eswatini.
Prince Simelane announced the directive last Thursday in a press conference wherein he banned municipalities from issuing permits to protesters for marches.
In total disregard of the directive TUCOSWA Secretary-General, Mduduzi Gina has announced that protest actions that had been scheduled to take place will continue. Gina said they will protest in order to register their dissatisfaction at the way that they are being governed not only at the local government level but also at a national level. According to Gina, as leaders of the federation, they notified the relevant stakeholders on time about their plan to march in the six cities and towns today.
The six towns and cities that will be involved in the civil action will be Mbabane, Manzini, Pigg’s Peak, Nhlangano, Siteki, and Hluthi. In Mbabane petitions will be delivered to the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT), and Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, together with the police.
In the other urban areas, protestors will march to the Regional Administration offices where they will deliver their petitions. The march will also be joined by members of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers (SNAT) and the National Public Services and Allied Workers Union (NAPSAWU).
Gina says they have already communicated this resolution to the police during a meeting yesterday. “At the Prime Minister’s Office and offices of the Regional Administrators in the regions, we will be demanding a genuine political dialogue, which will be free from any kind of hostilities. We will also state the type of dialogue we want.”
“At the Ministry of Information Communication and Technology (ICT), we will be reminding them that the internet cannot be shut down at the whim of an individual because the
Eswatini signed the African Charter for Human Rights. He said the African Charter for Human Rights stipulates that people have a right to access the internet and that it should not be disturbed unnecessarily. To we will be delivering a petition calling for an end to police brutality as it might make the nation consider law enforcers as their enemies.”
In a media conference, Prime Minister Sipho Cleopas Dlamini has warned members of the public from taking to the streets. The Prime Minister mentioned that it defies logic that people can engage in protests following King Mswati’s commitment to a national dialogue soon. “We urge emaSwati to remain calm and united as we prepare for the dialogue. His Majesty has continued to pave the way for Eswatini to achieve sustained peace and prosperity.”
Dlamini said as a general principle, the government strongly condemned the violence, incitement threats, and intimidation that seem to have taken hold of the society. It is in this regard that security forces are expected to use proportionate means to deal with any situation that confronts them when executing their duties.
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