Govt has brought this on itself
When government was warned that it was setting a bad precedent by awarding itself Circular No. 1 of 2010 and all the perks it gave to politicians, it refused to listen. Despite that we were already deep in a financial crisis, politicians gave themselves improved perks, arguing that they deserved to get a better salary because of the demands of the job.
To date, politicians are refusing to review the circular and accept that it was a bad move on their part to be seen fighting for an extravagant lifestyle while the rest of the population of this country was living in abject poverty.
Last year, politicians pulled the wool over the public’s eyes by pretending they were going to accept a 10 per cent cut in order to show that they were ready to accept their positions as leaders, setting the tone for belt-tightening in government’s spending.
A year later, politicians were back singing a different tune, demanding that the money deducted from their salaries had to be given back because it was taken illegally from them. They want that back-pay and no longer want the cuts.
ent is going ahead with its lavish spending, on projects that are not people-driven. It has also refused to implement the suggestions made by the International Monetary Fund which were designed to save this country money. And here we are now, with everyone—including the fattening committees such as the Border Restoration Committee and the advisors of both His Majesty the King and the Indlovukazi - rushing to line their pockets in the midst of such a financial crisis. As I have previously said, and I don’t care who says what, if you do that when you are in a position of leadership then you are setting a bad example if you want everyone else to understand that there is no money out there. Unless, of course, it is all a lie!
The message to all of us therefore is very loud and clear—the money is there. The rest of us are just being played for fools to think this country is going through a financial crisis.
Government has not showed us where it is cutting. It has refused to lead by example in its spending. It has continued to hire in the thousands, including hiring soldiers when it is clear they have no work whatsoever to substantiate the spending.
Despite the size of our economy, and the fact there is no money out there, we have a big civil service and too many ministries—which is really baffling. When the Prime Minister had an opportunity to trim the ministries - when ministers were fired - he still brought in new faces when, perhaps he should have been aligning the ministries.
I have said endless times that politicians demanding more money these days is tantamount to saying there is more money out there than we are being led to believe. In fact, I have noted with concern too that suddenly the external trips are back on. Ministers have been flying in and out of the country and many civil servants are cashing in too. So, why shouldn’t teachers make such a strong demand for an increment? Why should teachers refuse to listen to the rhetoric that this country has no money?
What the teachers are doing, therefore, is the same as the leadership is doing; getting what they feel they deserve. To paraphrase the former Tourism Minister, Macford Sibandze; they are merely demanding what they believe befits their status.
Never mind that, once again, government seems to have underestimated the impact of such a strike. Never mind that, once again, government has employed the same old tired, tried and failed strategy of meeting fire with fire, of refusing to engage in dialogue, of treating those wanting to strike as the enemy and refusing to see the opportunity that this presents.
Once again, government has been found wanting; totally out of its depth—running to court to stop strikes when it could seek an alternative, which would be to engage these teachers.
It is now pretty obvious what the outcome here will be. This strike could end up being the spark to start that revolution the Prime Minister fears is being instigated by those calling for austerity measures. How ironic would that be!
Perhaps we are closer to this dreaded revolution than we have ever imagined. Well, if the teachers’ term for this strike - waya, waya - is anything to go by, then this is just the beginning.
This is a critical issue, our government have to look what is at stake here! Thousands of children's future is in jeopardy! Teachers are not against government but they just want an increment which is 4.5% and its reasonable. Government have to start considering priorities of this country. We are not going to the first world with this mess but we are going to form our own class calld FOURTH WORLD COUNTRY
Jun 29, 2012, 1:22 AM, Wazza (Sibusisocotsa@gmail.Com)
Well articulated. You are very right. Kudlalwa ngebantfu lapha, imali ikhona batibekele bona.We are not kids, sibadzala. We will fight until sibone liciniso, hhayi lamanga lawa. Sibatse ngenhlonipho phela lesakhuliswa ngayo nani akusbenti.Kute sentiwa tilima, no we are tired mbamba kenyalo.
Jun 29, 2012, 1:22 AM, Mazwi Simelane (mazwi@YMAIL)
The time has come for this nation to choose between, as the well known revolutionary Nelson Mandela once said, fighting for what it believes is right or surrender to bullying in the name of peace. The Swazi government has never been serious with paying its civil service, especially the teaching contigent. this can be attributed to two reasons: one, the almost everybody in this country's cabinet doesn't think a teacher is important, of course taking that from the fact that teachers are not registered as an essential service. Two and most importantly, teachers have always decided to abondon their strikes right on the point where they need to keep it tightest. That the PM is even at this point in time still singing the tune of "there wont be increament for 3 yrs" is evidence to this. Still bringing more trouble upon itself.
Jun 29, 2012, 9:41 AM, PRESTIGE (MOTSATP@GMAIL.COM)
You are right man its time we stand up to fight for our rights. Let the country lokungenani to come to a standstill. We have been patient for too long now. Lets go to the streets Swazi people.phasi nge-gorvenment ya bhanabasi phasi.
Jun 29, 2012, 9:41 AM, zinjazikhamunwabu (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This is the best analysis yet. Editor, if there's been someone who's been understanding and sympathetic of government's situation, it's you. Which is why you have been discouraging any negative comments about this gov't. In private, some folk have called you 'names' in varying degrees. But, somehow, some of us knew deep down that you were in fact giving gov't a chance to repent and face this national situation with maturity and integrity. To me, only good men act like you. Lesser men like me resort to name-calling at the slightest provocation. However, in your article today, I get the sense that you, too, are about to throw in the towel. Let me say this: whichever direction you choose to throw it, there's bound to be heaps and heaps of old towels thrown by Swazis who gave up on this government as far back as 4 years ago. You could say they were much less patient than you. As for me though, I have thrown in so many beach towels that it's now a challenge how I dry myself after I shower each morning. I've got none left. Maybe the problem is that we had high expectations of this gov't for our own good. They too fed this line of thought by talking the talk, so speak. They over-promised, knowing very well that they planned to under-deliver. They talked of business-unusual as if they were going to take this country to the 21st century in record speed and in record time. Little did we know that business unusual only meant self-aggrandizement and gratification, and self-edification. We thought this cabinet, under the eye of a political veteran like Dr, Sibusiso Dlamini, will be consumed by the noble legacy which they want to leave behind, more than gathering (for their personal enjoyment) the 'spoils of war'. Circular no. 1, 2010 is an example of the spoils of war, albeit no war has ever been fought in this country, nor will we ever fight one. When confronted with war long time ago (endvulo), we showed them a clean pair of heels and ran away all the way down the Lubombo mountains shaking with fear. Swazis hate war naturally. Bashing unarmed protesters in the street, as we see everyday, doesn't count as war, by the way. As much as I like this government, what they've done leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, if Swazis loved war, I would say this government is also spoiling for a fight. And for what, only God knows. Everything they do, raises everyone's sugar level and blood pressure. Even those who have no sugar or blood problems, after this national chaos caused by this gov't, they'll contract one of the two, or both. And when they go to the public hospitals they'll find empty shelves in the dispensary, or nurses on strike, whichever comes earlier. Thanks to the same gov't. Today the PM has come out to say no increments in the next 3 years. The problem is not what the PM said, because there may well be no increments given the financial mess we're in, but it's how he said it. If I didn't respect this man too much, I'd say he's arrogant and insensitive as though he's unaware how already volatile the situation is on the ground. Of course we know things are bad financially, which is all the more reason that the PM must become the ultimate diplomat and the ultimate figure-head to these aggrieved civil servants. Arrogance and lack of verbal restraint will fan the flames of national chaos which can't even be quashed by the expensive guns which have taken a good chunk of the national budget every year. In my opinion, gov't has taught us invaluable lessons on how not to govern; on how not to lead, and on how to create disorder and chaos for absolutely no reason at all; and on how to deplete national funds on vanity projects and personal perks and forget one still has a staff complement to pay each month; they've taught us on how to get rid of effective politicians and in their place recruit average ones so that they can take suspicious and counter-productive directives from one individual. With these lessons in mind, Mr Editor, I would throw in the towel if I had one still left, and I'd hope and pray the authorities would throw in theirs too. This gov't is grossly misrepresenting them, I but can't say it's deliberate. It's lack of leadership aptitude. We need change desperately. Better the angel we don't know than the evil we already know. Having said that, I still believe in our King and as long as he's there, we will come out of this "fine mess" (this quoted expression has been stolen from the Editor, so plagiarism there!)
Jun 29, 2012, 2:56 PM, Thoughts Without Borders (email@example.com)
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