Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Jan Sithole was twice arrested last year as the Swazi authorities continue their clampdown on the pro-democracy movement in a country where power is concentrated in the hands of the king and his hand-picked government. Despite the attempts at intimidation, Sithole and the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU) remain in the forefront of the efforts to defend workers’ rights and bring about political change in a country suffering from dire poverty and the world’s worst AIDS epidemic.

These are the opening lines of an interview with Sithole, Secretary General of the SFTU published by Spotlight.

It covers some of the issues confronting the labour movement and other pro-democracy forces in Swaziland. Sithole talks about the poverty of ordinary Swazis while the rich are getting richer.

He also talks about the lack of democracy in Swaziland, despite the new Swazi Constitution of 2005. Political parties remain banned and all power remains in the hands of the monarchy. King Mswati III is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.

He outlines how trade unions and others are working to promote democratic change and fight for justice and against corruption.

To read the full interview click here.

Read also Union View briefing: Swaziland: the repressive side of an absolute monarchy here.

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