Police block parents from petitioning Parly
LOBAMBA – Police stopped about 200 parents and members of civic organisations from delivering a petition calling for a solution to public schools’ closure yesterday.
The parents also wanted feedback on a petition they previously served Parliament, calling for the resignation of Cabinet and a change in the system of governance.
The parents started pouring in at about 11am and assembled near the main road leading to Parliament. They were ordered by a few police officers to move away. They then gathered near the main gate of Somhlolo National Stadium.
Initially, the police were intent on moving them further away from there but they were adamant.
Among the parents were President of the Swaziland Democratic Party Jan Sithole, member of the Constituent Assembly Reverend Zwanini Tshabalala, SNAT President Sibongile Mazibuko, Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF) Coordinator Wandile Dludlu as well as Swaziland Positive Living representative Siphiwe Hlophe.
A senior police officer identified as Mbhamali tried to reason with the parents to move but they declined until he suggested that they allow him time to liaise with Parliament officials.
After 30 minutes, he returned in the company of Parliament Principal Assistant Archie Motsa aboard a government vehicle.
However, the parents declined to give him the petition, saying they wanted to march to Parliament where they would hand it to him.
"We can’t give the petition to a person we are not sure is connected to Parliament.
"We are in the wilderness here. We need to march to Parliament because the people who work there are supposed to represent us," said Sibusiso Dlamini, a parent.
Motsa told the parents that he was the right person to receive the petition as his duties entail that he has to forward such documents to the Parliament presiding officers.
Parents said they did not dispute this but wanted him to receive the petition in Parliament.
After much persuasion, Motsa left the parents and returned to Parliament, saying he would consult his superiors.
He returned about 45 minutes later and said he was unable to track the presiding officers, who are Speaker to the House of Assembly Prince Guduza and President of Senate Chief Gelane Zwane.
Reverend Tshabalala who led the parents addressed him and said parents would not receive the petition near Parliament because they were not pleased with being barred from going to Parliament.
"We will not give you the petition here until we get to Parliament," Tshabalala told him.
Motsa then went back to Parliament again and did not come back.
There was an instance of shoving and pushing as police officers stood their ground and stopped parents from marching to Parliament.
The noise died down when Coordinator of the SUDF, Dludlu, called parents to a meeting and asked them to provide solutions.
They resolved to return on a day yet to be appointed.
Other organisations and individuals present were the banned People’s United Democratic Movement, UNISWA Students Representative Council’s President Sibusiso Nhlabatsi, Magadeywile Mdluli a political commentator from Nhlangano and Trade Union Congress of Swaziland President Barnes Dlamini.
... they resolve not to send children to school
LOBAMBA – Parents have resolved not to send children to school again because they fear that the girls may fall pregnant.
In a brief meeting near Somhlolo National Stadium, the parents said it would be pointless to send their children to schools anymore because there were no teachers.
A parent who referred to himself as Mhlanga said: "My suggestion is that we make children stay at home because it they go to school some will eventually fall pregnant as there is no adult supervision there," he said.
George Hleta said this was the fifth week that pupils were not learning.
Another who said she was Zulu said: "Why should we send children to school because there are no teachers there? I suggest we keep them at home until the situation improves," she said.
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