Tuesday, April 14, 2009


People are being urged to take to the streets to defend the Swaziland Constitution.

The call comes as the Swazi Government refuses to meet its constitutional obligation and deliver free primary school education for every child in the kingdom.

The High Court ruled that the government must comply with the constitution but ministers say Swaziland can’t afford it.

A protest march organised by the Council of Swaziland Churches takes place on Thursday (16 April 2009).

According to reports it will cost about E225million (25 million US dollars) a year to deliver primary schooling.

The banned People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) in a statement in support of the march put this spending into context. The Swazi Government has just agreed to give members of the Swaziland army and defence forces pay increases that will cost about E200 million (this came after the president of Madagascar was overthrown with the help of his own army and is seen as an attempt by King Mswati III to keep his own military sweet).

PUDEMO also reckons that the 40/40 celebration last year (2008) to mark the anniversary of independence from Britain and the king’s birthday cost about E100 million and more of Swaziland’s money is expected to be spent when the king celebrates his latest birthday later this month.

PUDEMO called the demonstration a ‘legitimate and noble cause’ and urged people to ‘go into the streets and demand their right’. It added that people ‘must not be deterred by the fact that the regime might as usual deploy all its armed security forces to crush the protest action’.

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