Swaziland’s Police Chief Isaac Magagula has labelled students in the kingdom as anarchists after they campaigned for education for all.
Magagula was commenting on a leaflet from the Swaziland National Union of Students issued to all potential students seeking government scholarships which said in part, ‘right to education campaign - free education or death’. Magagula who is National Commissioner of the Royal Swaziland Police interpreted this as a call to violence.
The Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, on Tuesday (1 August 2017) reported Magagula saying, ‘[A]s the state security agency we find the message they seek to propagate via the pamphlets very disturbing.’
The newspaper added, ‘He went on to add that it is discernible that SNUS is all out to hold the country hostage through sowing fear by stirring up anarchy and lawlessness.’
SNUS is not officially recognised by the Swazi Government but it has grown in stature in recent years. It has been at the forefront of a campaign against education cuts in Swaziland.
In June 2017, media reported SNUS had asked ‘for police brutality to come to an end whenever students demonstrate’. Police routinely beat students and use tear gas when they protest.
In May 2017, SNUS launched a campaign for scholarships for all. They want the Swazi Government to reverse a decision taken seven years ago to prioritise courses and cut scholarships by 60 percent. Students want all students admitted to higher learning institutions to have scholarships, regardless of the programme they are doing or the institution they are in.
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