Swaziland Democracy Campaign (SDC) Daily News No 2, Wednesday 31st August

Keywords : Eswatini Democracy Human and trade union rights Eswatini

This Daily News is the second edition of what we hope will be an e-bulletin to help build the Global Week of Action on Swaziland, and to follow up what happens afterwards!
The SDC seeks to try and maximise support and solidarity with the people of Swaziland for a democratic Swaziland, and to undertake this vital work in a principled and non-sectarian manner.

There are now fifteen chapters of the SDC in different parts of the world, and we hope to be able to report on the activities they are involved in, as well as the excellent solidarity work that is undertaken by other organisations.

Visit the SDC website for regular updates and to find out details of actions that are underway www.swazidemocracy.org

Momentum for Global Week of Action Builds Up
The Swaziland United Democratic Front, involving the union movement, faith based and civil society organisations and the SDC have planned an extensive programme of action in Swaziland for the Week of Action. They have also said that they will welcome all those who come to Swaziland to show solidarity.

Marches are now scheduled for Monday 5th in Mbabane, Tuesday 6th in Manzini, the 7th & 8th will involve mobilisations in a range of different regions, and then on Friday 9th a major rally in Mbabane. Unions and Civil Society organisations from South Africa and across the region have committed to joining in the marches and showing their solidarity with the Swazi workers and people.

In other parts of Africa, events have been planned in most countries through the ITUC-Africa with memorandums being handed into Swazi offices where they exist, and to South African offices if they do not. There has simply not been a continental mobilisation on this scale. Over the next few days we will give more details.

All Eyes on Swaziland and How it Reacts to Democratic Protests
The Swazi regime would be well advised to behave well in the next few weeks...... if it can. The entire world is now watching how it reacts to the protests that are planned for next week. If they repeat the mass arrests, bullying, physical and verbal abuse that was meted out to perfectly innocent protesters last year, they can expect an outraged reaction from a range of important bodies.

The South African government itself will be anxious to avoid a repeat performance when South African trade unionists were subjected to shocking forced deportations laced with insults about Alliance Partners. If the regime abuse visitors and residents on this occasion, it will throw into sharp relief the terms of the recent bailout. A key conditionality, though vague, is to ‘build confidence’ towards democratisation. If the Swazi police continue to behave like their counterparts did under apartheid, the South African government will be placed under intense pressure to withhold a tranche of the bailout.

To make matters worse for the regime, the United Nations Human Rights Council will be reviewing Swaziland’s track record on October 4th and if anything happens between now and then, a report to them will definitely be submitted by Swazi civil society. Furthermore, last year Swaziland was severely criticised at the annual International Labour Conference in Geneva, and is currently under review. If they behave as they did last year, they can expect more than a rap on the knuckles!

We know that some of our readers will be hope those of our readers who are part of the regime will read this section very carefully and remember the following . You might be watching the democracy movement, but the world is watching you!

Legal Fraternity Join in Democracy Protests
The legal fraternity, still stinging with anger about the flagrant manipulation of the law by the Chief Justice when hearing the fabricated case against outspoken Judge Masuku, have decided to continue to express their anger in action! They are joining the SUDF and Trade Union march on Monday 5th September and are demanding the recall of the Chief Justice and for measures to restore the integrity of the justice system as a whole. This is a further indication of how the growing confidence of the democracy movement encourages all other sections of society to take the side of progress.

Don’t Forget The Detainees and Political Prisoners
As we busy ourselves making sure that the Global Week of Action is a success, let’s not forget those who are languishing in Mswati’s prisons for no other reason than they have stood up for democracy, and against corruption and misrule. One of the key demands of the democracy movement is for the release of political prisoners, and for the immediate release of those who have been incarcerated under the universally condemned Suppression of Terrorism Act, which is nothing more than a repressive blanket to stifle dissent. We especially remember detainees Maxwell Dlamini and Musa Ngubeni, the courageous student leaders who are being denied even the minimalist rights afforded other prisoners and Amos Mbedzi, Bheki Dlamini and Zonke Dlamini who were convicted on very dubious grounds under the draconian Act. Lets remember them when we march in Swaziland, and when we picket the Reserve Bank and the High Commissions/Embassies in more than thirty locations next week. Lets remind Governments everywhere that these comrades are being held in appalling conditions because they acted against dictatorship. Release them now!
If you wish to contribute to the SDC Daily News, please e-mail steve.faulkner@samwu.org.za

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