Monday, February 29, 2016


International youth organization calls for democracy in Swaziland
Kenworthy News Media, 28 February 28 2016 

The International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) passed a resolution at its 31st world congress that called for a process that would unban political parties, remove repressive legislation and introduce multi-party democracy in Swaziland, writes Kenworthy News Media.

The resolution, passed on Saturday (27 February 2016), also called for an end to the systematic harassment, intimidation and incarceration of political activists and the unconditional release of political prisoners and return of exiles, as well as for the isolation of Swaziland until these demands are met.

The IUSY is an international youth organisation with UN ECOSOC consultative status. It has 134 member organisations in over 80 countries, including the youth league of banned pro-democracy party PUDEMO, the Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO).

A positive step
SWAYOCO President Bheki Dlamini, who attended the IUSY congress in Tirana, Albania, and was elected into the IUSY Presidium as Vice President, saw the resolution and his election as a positive step forward for the struggle for freedom and democracy in Swaziland.

“This shows that our struggle is a just struggle. My election must inspire the youth of Swaziland to stand up for democracy, and I shall use every space to champion the cause of the Swazi people and all oppressed people in the world”, he said.

“The resolution calls for the isolation of the regime and pressure must therefore continue to mount. The USA started with the withdrawal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act in regard to Swaziland. The next step is that the EU that must ensure that Swaziland is not given preferential trade with the EU until Swaziland respects human rights and allows political freedoms”.

Future leaders
Several former IUSY leaders have gone on to hold office in their respective countries, including former IUSY Secretary General Per Hækkerup, who served as Minister of Foreign Affairs in Denmark in the sixties; former IUSY President Fikile Mbalula, who is the current Minister of Sport and Recreation in South Africa; and former President Jacinda Ardern, who is an MP and member of the Shadow Cabinet in New Zealand.

Friday, February 26, 2016


Swaziland’s absolute monarch King Mswati III has granted his Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini unlimited power to intervene in the business of any government department.

The move comes after the President of the Swazi Senate Gelane Zwane, questioned the power of the Prime Minister.

Neither Dlamini nor Zwane were elected to office; both were directly appointed by the King.

In Swaziland political parties are banned from taking part in elections. Elections which take place every five years (the last was in 2013) are only for 55 of the 65-member House of Assembly. The other ten members are appointed by King Mswati III. No members of the 30-strong Swaziland Senate are elected; 20 are appointed by the King and 10 are selected by the House of Assembly. 

The King appoints all government ministers and the kingdom’s top judges.

News of the change was tabled in the Swazi Parliament on Monday (22 February 2016) although the legal notice had been signed by the King in November 2015.

The Times of Swaziland reported that the King had revoked the Assignment of Responsibilities to Ministers Notice 2009 which had been in force since the current ministries were set up. 

The new legal notice N0.189 of 2015 was signed by the King on 10 November 2015 at Lozitha Palace. It confirms S70 of the Swaziland Constitution which states, ‘The King may, after consultation with the Prime Minister, assign to the Prime Minister or any other Minister responsibility for the conduct of any business of the Government including the administration of any department of Government.’

The Times reported on Wednesday (24 February 2016), ‘When asked by this reporter why he had waited so long to table the Legal Notice or working instrument, the PM said it had always been his intention to table it in Parliament and that is why his office had even bounded it to make it presentable to the legislators. 

 ‘“However, with the sudden turn of events when my responsibilities have been questioned by the Senate President, Gelane Zwane, I also felt it was proper to inform the legislators as early as possible,” said Dlamini.’

This was a reference to an on-going dispute between the Prime Minister and the Senate President about the powers of the PM. In a speech at the opening of the Swazi Parliament on 12 February 2016 Zwane warned the PM about taking powers that were not his and said he was only ‘chairman of cabinet and leader of government business in parliament’.


Swazi unions demand pay rise
Kenworthy News Media
26 February 2016 
1.500 Swazi workers marched in Swaziland’s capital Mbabane on Thursday (25 February 2016), as part of a two-day strike action, where they delivered a petition to Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini demanding increased salaries for public sector workers, writes Kenworthy News Media.

The march was part of a six-month-long demand by Swazi trade union federation TUCOSWA for the government to release a salary review report that highlights working conditions of public sector workers across the country. The salary review report is supposed to be released every 5 years, to ensure that the level of salaries keeps up with inflation, but no report has been released since 2004.

The lengthy report was finally released on Wednesday by local firm LCC Capital Consulting after the government had initially said it contained “confidential” information and was not for public consumption. According to local newspaper Times of Swaziland, the report proposed a salary increase for civil servants of between 18 and 40 percent.

Big spender, but not on workers
According to the website, the average salary in Swaziland is US$4,827 compared to $19,215 in neighbouring South Africa, $7,591 in neighbouring Mozambique, $37,029 in the United Kingdom and $72,328 in Norway.

Two thirds of the population of Swaziland survives on less than a dollar a day, and an ongoing drought in the country has further destroyed the livelihood of many Swazis.

At the same time the Swazi government has recently spent an estimated US$250 million on a new international airport and plans to buy new cars for visiting heads of state and government when Swaziland hosts the Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting next year.
Swaziland’s government and Prime Minister, as well as part of parliament and the entire senate, is handpicked by the country’s absolute monarch King Mswati III.

Sympathy for cops and warders
Thursday’s march was peaceful, unlike many previous union and other marches in Swaziland, where police often used force to intimidate or disperse demonstrators.

Perhaps this was because Swaziland’s 5000-strong police force ought to receive a US$3 million salary rise, according to the report.

TUCOSWA Deputy Secretary Mduduzi Gina said he was sympathetic towards the plight of police officers and warders, and that the government ought to consider their welfare, along with that of Swazi civil servants in general.

Broad support
The marching civil servants were supported by a number of other organisations, including the Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF), an umbrella organisation of all progressive democratic forces in Swaziland.

“Thousands of workers are marching. SUDF supports these public sector workers as they push for better salaries”, said SUDF coordinator Wandile Dludlu, who himself took part in the march.