Swaziland: Mswati, you are on your own …

Published on Pambazuka News, by Sokari Ekine, April 14, 2011.

Hundreds of Swazis have been arrested after they took to the streets on 12 and 13 April, to demonstrate against the monarchy. Swaziland’s King Mswati has presided over a ‘system of governance’ that protest organisers say has left the country’s ‘people divided, poor and powerless’. Sokari Ekine reports on southern Africa’s first uprising and provides updates on the situation in Djibouti, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Côte d’Ivoire and Libya.

I am at the point where I have the utmost respect for those who have or are considering engaging in some level of protest against their governments. I can only think of a few countries on the continent that don’t need to be overthrown or at the very least need a complete overhaul – possibly the same thing. Swaziland is the site of the first uprisings in southern Africa, so it will be interesting to see if there is any overspill into South Africa and Zimbabwe, which have had many uprisings over the past few years.


Tuesday 12 April was the planned day of protests in Swaziland. The Facebook page of Swaziland Solidarity Network Forum has been an important source documenting and reporting on the Swazi uprisings. The forum reported as early as 4 April that the Swazi government was going to target trade unionists and student organisations in the lead up to the 12 April protests.

Richard Rooney notes that: ‘Labour unions and civic society organisations in Swaziland have placed themselves on alert after what is being described “as credible information” was received that they are about to be raided by Swazi state authorities in an attempt to disrupt the “uprising” scheduled for next Tuesday (12 April 2011)’ … (full long text).

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