Saturday, April 21, 2012


The Swaziland Attorney-General acted unlawfully when he deregistered the kingdom’s only trade union federation.

His action could only be done by the Industrial Court after due legal process, one of Swaziland’s leading prodemocracy commentators said.

Vusi Sibisi, who writes for the Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily newspaper, said Attorney-General Majahenkhaba Dlamini had no legal standing when it came to deregulating the Trades Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA).

Sibisi wrote in the Times, ‘Nowhere does this law give or provide the Attorney-General unfettered powers, or any powers for that matter, to constitute himself into a court for the purposes of interpreting the law.’

There has been an outcry since the deregulation was announced earlier this month (April 2012), with claims that it was politically motivated because TUCOSWA, which is a federation of the kingdoms main trade unions, had called for a boycott of the 2013 national elections because political parties are banned in Swaziland, which is ruled by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
TUCOSWA also played a leading part in thwarted protests for democratic reform that were held on 11 and 12 April 2012.

The deregulation has been condemned across the world. Earlier this week the US Embassy in Swaziland publicly called for greater democracy in Swaziland.

Sibisis wrote that the attorney-general should have challenged TUCOSWA’s registration in court ‘and not constituted his own court for this purpose’.

He added, ‘The Constitution is unambiguous when it comes to the interpretation of the law; it is the prerogative of the courts and no other authority.’

To read Sibisi’s full article, click here.

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