Down to the waya (waya)
Government is taking completely the wrong tack in addressing the peoples’grievances. This is not an ordinary protest or strike action – the teachers’ protest has the potential to snowball into general unrest for one simple reason: the teachers are not the only ones fed up with government’s constant dodging of their responsibilities.
Everybody is. The decision by the Swaziland Transport and Allied Workers Union (STAWU) to support the strike is an indication of the widespread unhappiness at government’s handling of the peoples’ plight. Now; with teachers, pupils, university students and kombi operators all joining in, there is not a person in Swaziland who can say they are unaffected by this discontent – except of course for those who never have to take public transport or send their children to school in this country.
In this environment, suddenly standing on the law and classifying rioting teachers as mere criminals and vandals, as Government Spokesperson Percy Simelane has done, is not only short-sighted, (because these are no ordinary idle delinquents, but citizens with a purpose) but actually serves to fan the flames of discontent. In fact, one move that government should immediately take to restore calm is to prevent Simelane from speaking publicly. The man has a knack for saying the wrong things and insulting the very people he is supposed to be reassuring. Instead, the Prime Minister needs to address the Swazi people, to try and bring us together to form a consensus of how we, as a nation, are going to resolve this deadlock.
The recent indepe
ndent investigation into the Manzini Bus Rank riots shows us that government can, in fact, react with sensitivity to these crises and can, in fact, build popular support by using the tools of transparency, fairness and consultation. This is what we desperately need to see now before this situation snowballs out of control.
And snowball it will, because the protestors are not being selfish; they are frightened for the future and are angry that government does not want to inform them, on a daily basis, of what is being done to improve the economy. But threats of incarceration (‘30 days detention’ reared its ugly head once more in relation to the executive of SNAT) and labelling protestors as criminals will not help.
The Swazi people want to help government to hold the nation together, but they do not feel that government wants to be their partner.
Complicating matters is the fact that this current Parliament only has a year to go and at the end of the year they will get fat perks from Circular No. 1 of 2010 - which virtually guarantees that Circular No. 1 won’t be reviewed until the Tenth Parliament is convened. But we can’t afford to wait that long.
Something is going to give way in this country before then. When law-abiding Swazis take to the streets in defiance of court orders, then you know patience is wearing thin. It has been two years of gradually sliding further into poverty and the people cannot wait any longer, especially as they have been given no reason to believe that their leaders share even an ounce of their pain.
The people of Swaziland are afraid of an unknown future and are only too happy to pass that fear on to someone else, in this case the people they blame for creating the fear in the first place. But a government that is afraid for its existence is a danger to all around it because it is governments which control the means to calm or exacerbate conflicts.
Fear, not government or protestors, is the real enemy in this situation and fear can only be faced down when people feel they can exert a measure of control over their lives. In this case, the protestors believe they can control government’s hold on the national purse through violent acts and government believes it can restrain the protestors with the use of violent acts. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where this is heading.
You took the words right out of ma mouth.....this gov is careless and arrogant in dealing with its citizens the very people who make this country i just wonder how long before a real revolution takes place because one thing for sure each strike does give the people the urge that they can do more and by so gaining the confidence there is only one end result and it will be like we all saw this coming when things finally fall into place and there will be no sympathy non what so ever
Jun 29, 2012, 7:43 AM, sgacamabhande (email@example.com)
TEACHERS IN THIS COUNTRY MUST UNDERSTAND THAT GOVERNMENT IS IN ORDER WHEN ISSUING THREATS LIKE 'YOU WILL BE FIRED', YOU WILL BE DETAINED FOR 30 DAYS WITHOUT TRIAL', YOU WILL WHAT EVER IT MIGHT WANT TO SAY. IM SURE THEY ( TEACHER) ALSO WERE EXPECTING THAT. WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT FOR THEM TO KEEP IN MIND IS THAT, AS ONE PASTOR PUTS IT, "WHEN A HUGE OBSTACLE APPEARS IN YOUR WAY, ITS GOD'S WAY OF SHOWING YOU HOW HIGH YOU CAN JUMP." ITS IMPORTANT FOR TEACHERS TO START CELEBRATING THE FACT THAT GOVERNMENT KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE CAPABLE OF AND IS NOW SHOWING THEM THAT THEY CAN JUMP SO HIGH THAT IT (GOVT) NEEDS THE SERVICES ITS CORRUPT COURTS TO STOP THE TEACHERS. CHUBEKANI BOTEACHER. GOD KNOWS YOUR PLIGHT AND WILL NOT LEAVE YOUR SIDE. AKALINGANI NGALOKUNGETULU KWEMANDLA AKHO. DOWN IS BY THE DOOR STEP. AMAAANDLA!!!
Jun 29, 2012, 3:13 PM, PRESTIGE (MOTSATP@GMAIL.COM)
Enough has been said. I have no comment about this useless government of ours but waiting for the revolution, I can see it, I can feel it, I can here its knocks. I am ready to fight for my rights. I argue all the true citizens of the country to use force to scrap out the Tinkhundla system, thats the only solution.
Jun 29, 2012, 3:13 PM, zinjazikhamunwabu (firstname.lastname@example.org)