Armed police once again entered college campuses in Swaziland as students across the kingdom boycotted classes in protest against unpaid government allowances and poor educational standards.
On Monday (2 October 2017) a police officer was badly injured when a stun grenade he held exploded in his hand.
Police were at the kingdom’s state university, the University of Swaziland (UNISWA); the private university, Limkokwing; and also at the William Pitcher teacher training college.
Campuses have been closed and reopened across Swaziland several times since the semester began nearly two months ago. The Government had promised to pay all allowances by the end of September but this had not been done. Swaziland, which is ruled by King Mswati III, who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, is in financial crisis. Bills to suppliers remain unpaid and government health facilities have run out of drugs.
At UNISWA, which reopened after the administration sent students home following a class boycott, students were told that the mid-semester break and reading week had been cancelled in order to make up for lost time. The university has banned the Student Representative Council (SRC) from holding meetings.
The Swazi Observer reported on Tuesday (3 October 2017), ‘Sakhile Ndzimandze who is the Secretary General for the dissolved SRC informed students about the latest developments saying that the university decided to send them home for raising genuine concerns and have again called them back to class. He said they were worried that none of their concerns including allowances were addressed but instead the university added petrol into a blazing flame.’
The William Pitcher Teacher Training College was closed on Monday after students boycotted classes. College administrators immediately issued a memorandum informing them that they should vacate the premises. Armed police were called to escort students from the college.
The Times of Swaziland reported that an officer from the riot squad the Operational Support Service Unit (OSSU) injured his hand at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology when a stun grenade prematurely went off.
It said, ‘There were fears that the officer might have had his hand chopped off, judging from the intensity of the blast. It went off as some students stood near the institution’s gate while others were singing and chanting by Ka-Sonny Shopping Complex.’
Last week the Swaziland College of Technology (SCOT) was closed after student protests. The Swaziland Christian Medical University remains closed after the Ministry of Education ruled did not meet approved standards.
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