News24

13 Swazi activists held ahead of protest

2011-04-12 10:42

Mbabane - Thirteen activists were arrested on Tuesday on their way to Swaziland's main city Manzini, where they planned to lead a banned march against King Mswati III, Africa's last absolute monarch.

At around 08:00 (06:00 GMT) police stopped a mini-bus transporting several key protest organisers as they headed to Manzini.

Muzi Mhlanga, of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers, a driving force behind the protest, was speaking to AFP by telephone when he was stopped at one of the many police roadblocks around the capital, Mbabane.

He said "10 police officers with batons" had taken them out of their vehicle. He then said he and 10 other activists were being taken to police headquarters.

According to Mhlanga, police early on Tuesday also detained Sipho Kunene and Vincent Ncongwane, top leaders of the Federation of Labour.

Earlier, Mhlanga told AFP he feared police intimidation would prevent many from reaching the protest.

"Some of them are calling to say how safe is it but we have told them to come. We can't guarantee anything at the moment," Mhlanga told AFP.

The protest has been called by a coalition of civil society and trade unions marching under the banner of the Labour Coordinating Council. They have been battling a government ban on the march in the courts.

Raids


Police commissioner Isaac Magagula says the police, the army and correctional services are ready to face down "evil" protesters.

"Such evil will not be tolerated," he said in the Times of Swaziland.

Police have been raiding activists' homes since last week, with four key protest organisers arrested on Monday.

Unions are at the forefront of the protest calls because political parties are banned in Swaziland.

Last week the national organiser of the banned Swaziland Youth Congress, Mcolisi Ngcamphalala, said he was held and tortured by police for 24 hours.

Unions are calling for three days of protests starting on Tuesday in Manzini.

Last week Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini declared the demonstrations illegal and warned that anyone who took part did so at their own risk.

Comments
  • Maki - 2011-04-12 11:16

    Another Western plot to oust a decent African Leader !

      S.Soga - 2011-04-12 11:25

      You must be joking Maki. You just trying to start debate by stating something you don't believe in, right? Right Maki?? I'm sure you are being sarcastic, there's no other logical conclusion.

      tshwanecc - 2011-04-12 11:29

      Are you insane? Its people like you who make us look like idiots to the outside world. Africa needs cleansing on leaders. I doubt it we have any DECENT AFRICAN leader.

      mdabu.ntiwane - 2011-04-12 11:44

      Maki. I know what you mean, but the truth is that Mswati lost his decent facade when he left to stay in the UK at the family of Ndumiso Mamba, growing up influenced by people who recently are found in bed with his wife. There is a lot of good to be said on behalf of the Monarchy of the Kingdom, however, the King has surrounded himself with absolutely terrible advisors who have greed wrapped around them to fend off the cold. You are aware that the majority of the average Swazi does not want anything to be done to the Monarchy, but instead want a say on the election and appointment of Prime ministers, Parliamentarians and Ministers in the country. Whether this is by Multi-party or not is a moot point. Let the King be the respected, revered, loved representative of the Swazi Monarchy, but let the rest of government succumb to the will of the people of Swaziland.

      mdabu.ntiwane - 2011-04-12 11:44

      Maki. I know what you mean, but the truth is that Mswati lost his decent facade when he left to stay in the UK at the family of Ndumiso Mamba, growing up influenced by people who recently are found in bed with his wife. There is a lot of good to be said on behalf of the Monarchy of the Kingdom, however, the King has surrounded himself with absolutely terrible advisors who have greed wrapped around them to fend off the cold. You are aware that the majority of the average Swazi does not want anything to be done to the Monarchy, but instead want a say on the election and appointment of Prime ministers, Parliamentarians and Ministers in the country. Whether this is by Multi-party or not is a moot point. Let the King be the respected, revered, loved representative of the Swazi Monarchy, but let the rest of government succumb to the will of the people of Swaziland.

  • Sanegran - 2011-04-12 11:38

    You must be mad Maki. Thirteen wives and who the f..ck must pay for that. That idiot living in comfort whilst the people are suffering.

  • matumelo - 2011-04-12 11:40

    Decent in what way Maki?

  • matumelo - 2011-04-12 11:40

    Decent in what way Maki?

  • Cire - 2011-04-12 11:41

    16 arrests - desperate and brutal repression indeed! Makes Mugabe look like a sweetheart and Gaddafi like a real nice guy. I expect COSATU to march on Oshoek and on Beit Bridge soon. Bye bye Swaziland!

  • tumza - 2011-04-12 11:41

    Decent in what way Maki?

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