Sunday, September 20, 2009


The following is an extract from an article by Vusi Sibisi, one of the most outspoken journalists in Swaziland against the ruling regime, published in the Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, this week.

In it he criticises the Swazi Government for introducing the Public Services Bill that ‘essentially seeks to ban civil servants from participating in the country’s politics [and has] widely been interpreted as a strong-arm tactic by the leadership to reign-in civil servants’.

Public Service Bill to add to SD’s woes

Already the all-powerful France-based Public Service International (PSI), a global union federation of organisations for civil servants, has condemned the proposed law and said it erodes the rights and freedoms of civil servants to be unionised and to belong to political parties.

The proposed law follows another controversial piece of legislation, the Suppression of Terrorism Act, which was promulgated in 2008. Already local public service organisations have put government on notice that they intended to take the battle to the streets over the proposed legislation.

As I see it, the proposed law will not help improve the international image of the Kingdom of eSwatini. For while most countries frown upon civil servants openly and publicly coming out to support political parties, especially while in the line of duty, their governments nonetheless respect the rights and freedoms of civil servants as private citizens to participate in the politics of their nations. This is why the proposed law has been viewed as an extension of the Suppression of Terrorism Act that effectively views anyone who is critical of the Tinkhundla system of government as a terrorist.

As noted by the PSI in its protest letter to the Prime Minister, Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini: “The Public Service Bill would make it practically impossible for public servants to exercise their rights to organize themselves politically or to publicly express views of a political nature. This law is formulated in such a way that it can be used to suppress trade union activity and hinder the trade unions’ efforts to represent their members’ social and economic interests.”

As I see it, the proposed law is nothing but another mechanism by the ruling elite to whip into line anyone who is critical of the obtaining political status quo. This situation is unlikely to endear this country to the rest of the democratic world and as such not even a spin doctor from the heavens can project this country in a positive light on the backdrop of sustained oppression of the people from exercising their inalienable rights and freedoms as enshrined in the Bill of Rights of the national constitution.

To see the full article click here.

No comments: