Saturday, April 18, 2009


Barnabas Dlamini, the illegally-appointed prime minister of Swaziland, is threatening to ban all demonstrations in the kingdom.

His announcement came the day after 2,000 people marched on the streets to demand his government respect a Swazi High Court ruling to abide by the constitution and implement free primary schooling immediately.

Armed police attacked the demonstration which led the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, the Times of Swaziland, to call for an inquiry and for police officers to be disciplined.

Dlamini told a meeting of correctional officers that his plan was for a law that would bar protestors from staging similar actions.

Dlamini ignored the violence from his own police force committed at the march and concentrated on lesser incidents in which protestors retaliated against police. One officer was reported to have been hit in the face. He also ignored the fact that police tried to have the march banned even before it started.

The Weekend Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, reported Dlamini saying, ‘It pains us as government when we note such incidents because we had given them a go-ahead as they promised the march would be peaceful. Such a change of pattern calls for action and we’re seriously considering banning persons of this calibre from staging similar action in future.’

The prime minister is reported to have received warm applause from the prison officers as he had arranged for them to receive back pay that they had been owed for some years. The Swazi Swaziland armed forces have also recently received pay increases

So there we have it: demonstrations banned and police and army personnel get pay increases. Whatever could the prime minister be planning .....?

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