- Students President blames Mswati’s Government on expired drugs, urges Swazis to collectively confront the system
- Trade unions allowing Mswati’s Government to play political mind games on salary review
- Legalize Political Dissent in Swaziland
- The People of Swaziland Need Our Support in their Liberation Struggle
- ‘I am exhausted by Israel’ — hear Sylvain Cypel on the risk to Jews of supporting the ‘thug nation’
- Israeli forces kill 2 Palestinian teens in 24 hours, 5 Palestinians in a week
Students President blames Mswati’s Government on expired drugs, urges Swazis to collectively confront the system
Thursday, 17th February, 2022
By Zweli Martin Dlamini
MBABANE: Colani Maseko, the influential President of the Swaziland National Union of Students(SNUS) has blamed King Mswati’s Government for exposing patients to danger through expired drugs in the various hospitals.
Speaking to this Swaziland News on Wednesday, the Students President said the health crisis including other social ills affecting the country cannot be solved by merely marching to the Mbabane Government Hospital to deliver a petition but a collective effort by all Swazis in confronting the current system of governance.
“This family Government is destroying the health system because those in power always fly to other countries for medical treatment as we saw Indlovukazi(Queen) being airlifted. The Swazis are supposed to access health-care with their taxes but the Government is failing to fulfil that obligation. But we are not surprised because we know this Government is not for the people, this is a Government that belongs to a family and a minority. So when we say we want democracy, we mean a Government that will take care of the people including access to health-care”, said the Students Union President.
On another note, Dr Vusi Magagula, the Director of Health Services in the Ministry of Health said he was investigating the expired medication scandal and would provide an appropriate response today (Thursday).
This comes after a patient told this Swaziland News that he received expired medication from the Mbabane Government Hospital on Wednesday.
Responding to this publication on the subject matter, Dr Magagula said he was still investigating the matter adding that it seemed deeper that he thought.
“Still investigating matter, seems deeper that I thought. I will get to the hospital tomorrow and will respond precisely, it needs serious investigation so as to get to the bottom of what happened. Then will make a response by noon tomorrow”, said the Director of Health Services.
Eswatini is in the midst of a health crisis as the Government struggles to procure medication, hundreds allegedly died since the crisis erupted.
Trade unions allowing Mswati’s Government to play political mind games on salary review
Wednesday, 16th February, 2022
By Zweli Martin Dlamini
It is now clear that civil servants will continue to struggle with stagnant salaries for the next five(5) years, at this juncture trade unions should be blamed for failing to lobby government employees for a mass industrial action.
Civil servants are subscribing as members of the unions but these entities are failing to come-up with a clear plan that would force Government to consider awarding civil servants Cost of Living Adjustment(COLA) and or a salary increase.
On Tuesday, the Public Sector Association(PSAs) were told that government might consider reviewing salaries by the year 2024 after receiving a report from a consultant, this is a clear delaying tactic by the regime.
Firstly, the current Cabinet is aware that by 2024, there would be a new government and they are shifting this mess to the next Cabinet.
The next Cabinet might claim to be new in office and request more time to discuss the matter, at the end, civil servants will be left with nothing in their pockets but false hopes.
But whenever these trade unions attend the negotiations meetings they always come back with the same answer that does not add any value to the lives of the civil servants, on the other hand, these financial struggling government employees will continue paying subscriptions.
It should be noted that the Industrial Relations Act 2000, is very clear on what should be done in the event Government as the employer undermined the rights of the civil servants particularly, on issues surrounding salary reviews.
But we are seeing these trade unions running to the courts of the oppressor trying to enforce the rights of employees and that would be the end.
Legally, it might be an appropriate decision to approach the courts but what do you do in a country where the judiciary is accountable to the dictator?
The power to force Government to award civil servants a salary increase is not with the captured courts but is vested in the collective action or voice of the oppressed civil servants.
It is the duty of the unions to capacitate these Government employees with information on how this regime plays politics in this matter and subsequently lobby them to participate in an industrial action in numbers.
Government is always represented by the office of the Attorney General(AG) and the costs are paid by taxpayers, taking Government to court will never change the financial situation of the civil servants but it will always remain a delaying tactic for the regime.
It is only a mass protest action that normally forces an oppressive Government to consider the grievances of the masses not endless court cases.
this regard, it is important to state that there is no crime in defying unjust laws, this Government always stops protests and legal strikes through a court order signed by captured Judges and the leaders of these trade unions have no ideas on what to do thereafter.
While government claims to be broke, Mswati continues to live a lavish lifestyle with taxpayers money and as long as trade unions ignore the calls to remove Mswati from power, they will continue fighting a losing battle through the courts owned by the King.
But despite the failure by trade unions leaders, civil servants contributed immensely to their financial struggles, some always snub protests and strike actions organised by trade unions in fear of the “no work, no pay” rule.
One wonders what can you achieve in life if you are not prepared to lose something in order to gain something?
We can blame trade unions leaders but at the same time, we must understand that it’s not easy to force this Government to increase salaries of the civil servants without the collective efforts of the workers.
Even soldiers and the police who are financially struggling contributed to their plight by shooting protesting civil servants who were fighting for their welfare as well.
It is therefore important for members of the security forces to understand that as long as they continue arresting trade unions leaders,shooting and assaulting protesting civil servants, they will continue to sink deeper into poverty.
Working for Government is no longer an achievement in this country and we hope civil servants will one day come together and participate in an industrial action that seeks to force Government to review their salaries.
As the situation stands, with soldiers and the police trying to be heroes in the eyes regime yet they are trapped into financial challenges, civil servants might be soon be counted among the about 70% of the population living below the poverty line.Reference
Legalize Political Dissent in Swaziland
When mass uprisings in Swaziland broke out in the spring of 2021, the world watched as the Swazi people, in the face of mass murder and torture, mobilized against the continent’s last dictatorial monarchy. Many of us in the United States drew immediate parallels to not only the struggle against apartheid in neighboring South Africa, but also to the uprisings last year following the state’s murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. We also understood that the road ahead for the people of Swaziland would not be an easy one, and that a campaign of international solidarity was needed to take the Swazi peoples’ demands to the world stage.
Swaziland, officially known as eSwatini since a unilateral decree by King Mswati III in 2018, is a country held captive by the active legacies of feudalism and colonialism. Since the inception of the Swazi state in the early 19th century, a single ruling family has controlled the country, collaborating with British colonization before the granting of formal independence in 1968. Throughout the colonial period and continuing up to the present day, the Swazi monarchy has overseen the ceding of vast tracts of land and resources to foreign interests, coupled with the monopolization of domestic political and economic power in the hands of the Dlamini royalty. Total control is invested over the executive, legislature, and judiciary is invested in the monarchy and the tinkhundla system of feudal rule, an arrangement felt most pressingly by the country’s workers and peasants. Political parties have remained banned since 1973, forcing the country’s democratic movement into exile and the underground. Underdevelopment, extreme poverty, landlessness, and the HIV pandemic remain fundamentally unchallenged, as does bigotry against the country’s LGBTIQ+ community. When the people finally rose up in mass last year against these crises, the response was typical of an autocratic regime: mass bloodshed, totaling to the deaths of more than 100 young protesters. Last year’s massacre served as a wake-up call for the region at large and the whole world that the time for change was long overdue, with a heavy cost.
As a solidarity organization working to promote democracy and social justice in Swaziland, Friends of Swazi Freedom condemns the recent attacks on student leaders by the Mswati regime. The king’s targeting of the Swaziland National Union of Students in recent weeks is part and parcel of a brutal assault on the youth, all for the crime of demanding democracy and people’s rights. We specifically condemn the persecution of SNUS President Colani Maseko in the kangaroo courts of the Swazi “justice” system, as well as the assault, abuse, and torture of other SNUS leadership by the police. In lieu of legal political parties (and in tandem with those that exist illegally), SNUS is perhaps the most important vehicle of political struggle existing in Swaziland today.
We join hands with SNUS and the whole of the Swazi democratic movement in demanding:1. The lifting of the 1973 ban on political parties;
2. The unconditional return of all political exiles;
3. The reopening of the country's universities in collaboration with student leadership;
4. The cancellation of student fees and free, quality education for all;
5. An end to evictions, displacement, and harassment in the countryside;
6. The protection of the rights of workers to organize, and an end to the victimization of trade unions and their leaders;
7. An end to the reign of terror by establishing the rule of law;
8. The establishment of an independent investigation on the June/July massacre that led to the deaths of over 100 protesters;
9. The withdrawal of charges against Colani Maseko and the release of all political prisoners, including Amos Mbedzi and MPs Mthandeni and Bacede;
10. A democratic transition and reorganization of society to meet people's needs.
The People of Swaziland Need Our Support in their Liberation Struggle
The People of Swaziland Need Our Support in their Liberation Struggle
This article is an adaptation of a report given to the CPUSA International Department by Joseph from the CPUSA Virginia District. Additional information and editing were contributed by Jack D.
With the disintegration of the British Empire in the 20th century, a little country called Swaziland, which is landlocked between South Africa and Mozambique, was granted nominal independence after decades as a British protectorate. This process began with the imposition by the British in 1963 of the first Swazi constitution, which was opposed by all segments of Swazi society. With the backing of the White Swazi settler bourgeoisie, foreign multinational capital and apartheid South Africa, the monarchist party made a clean sweep of the inaugural elections to the Legislative Council in 1964.
The upshot of this was the consolidation of the traditional Swazi monarchy as the dominant political force in the country upon independence in 1968. Whereas in most newly decolonized African states power was handed over to Western-educated élites at the expense of traditional authorities, Swaziland bucked the trend. The British had imposed a constitutional monarchy before independence, but King Sobhuza II’s position was strong enough that in 1973 he was able to carry out an autogolpe, suspending the constitution, banning all political parties and establishing himself—with the backing of apartheid South Africa and other imperialist interests—as the absolute ruler of Swaziland.
Since 1973, the Swazi monarchy has ruled over its people with an iron fist and Western imperialist interests, such as from the U.S. and Israel, have been increasingly involved in the country. While repression has grown heavier, this has gone hand-in-hand with a growing resistance. The national democratic movement in Swaziland—officially renamed Eswatini in 2018—is a growing force that is presently engaged in various areas of struggle, many of which should be of direct interest to us.
Comrade Pius Vilakati, International Secretary Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS), spoke at an online event put on by the Friends of Swazi Freedom before an audience of over 400 on Monday, Feb. 7. Cde. Vilakati has been in exile in South Africa since 2010. This same fate is shared by many of the leaders of the Swazi liberation movement.
Political parties were officially banned in 1973 by the monarchy. However, in 1983 the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), a Democratic Socialist Party, was founded in opposition to the monarchy. Members have been arrested, and allegedly killed. One such incident included the death of Comrade Sipho Jele in police custody in 2010. Cde. Jele had been arrested for attending May Day celebrations organized by the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU) while wearing a PUDEMO T-shirt. His family’s first attempt at a funeral for him was cut short when 500 armed police assaulted mourners, arresting several and destroying pictures of Jele along with other materials, including a PUDEMO flag that had been laid on his coffin.
Cde. Vilakati has been in exile in South Africa, because if he returns to Swaziland he will likely be charged with sedition, as many others have, for attending the funeral of Cde. Jele. Cde. Vilakati shared that other forces are at play on the ground, include Taiwanese separatist interests—who have a close relationship with the monarchy—and the Israelis. The U.S.’s involvement in suppressing the Swazi people is unquestioned, as attempts by protesters to deliver a petition to the U.S. embassy in June 2021 resulted in a crackdown that saw the deaths of over 27 people.
The opposition to this neocolonialist nightmare is a broad coalition, from PUDEMO and the CPS to the SFTU and the Swaziland National Union of Students (SNUS), whose president was recently arrested.
The situation in Swaziland today is critical. Founded in 2011 by organizers from PUDEMO and the growing labor movement, the CPS has dedicated itself to the struggle for an independent and democratic Swaziland and has asked for solidarity and support.
Members of the Communist Party of Swaziland march in the struggle for liberation in their country
The Friends of Swazi Freedom is an independent nonsectarian organization that helps spread information about the struggles of the Swazi people and helps encourage allies to do what they can to aid the Swazi people. It wishes to serve as a broad mass organization for supporting the Swazi cause and it needs as much help as people can provide. This aid is urgent because, based on the information available, it is expected that the situation in Swaziland will heat up again around April.
All too often, the struggles in Africa go unnoticed in the United States and the rest of the so-called Western world. This is an egregious error that must be corrected immediately. The U.S. and its allies are accomplices in the persecution of the Swazi people. Therefore, it is especially important for Communists in the imperial core to stand with the Swazi people in their struggle. All Communists and freedom-loving people must stand with the Swazi people as they fight for liberation from oppression.
‘I am exhausted by Israel’ — hear Sylvain Cypel on the risk to Jews of supporting the ‘thug nation’
BY PHILIP WEISS FEBRUARY 11, 2022
I’m excited by the publication of Sylvain Cypel’s book “The State of Israel Vs. the Jews” (Other Press) because it bluntly states a heresy: Israel is endangering American Jews. By insisting on “blindfold”-ed western Jewish support for an “ethnonationalist” segregationist state that borrows the worst of white supremacist ideas, Israel is destroying Jewish traditions and putting American Jews at risk, Cypel says.
Not to mention Israel’s destruction of the Palestinian past, present and future (the part of the story Cypel tends to gloss).
“I am exhausted by Israel,” Cypel says. Israel has become a “terrible burden” dragging Jews into an “ethnocentric past.”
That’s why we’re co-sponsoring a talk between Cypel and Robert Herbst next Tuesday at noon. ICAHD — the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions — is another cosponsor. A civil rights lawyer, Herbst is co-chair of the board of ICAHD-USA and member of Jewish Voice for Peace. Here’s the link to register for the Zoom.
Cypel urges western Jews to wake up to the “thug nation.”
“Will diaspora Jews gradually emancipate themselves from a thug nation that claims that it alone can speak in the name of Judaism?”
Cypel is hopeful about the growth of anti-Zionism.
More and more American Jews are awakening to the idea that [Israel’s] political rightward drift is a calamity, and that the consequences for them could be disastrous. And that explains the anger of those among them who turn their back on Israel.”
Obviously these are parochial concerns, but I regard them as larger social questions because people are tribal, because Zionism is a Jewish ideology, and the Israel lobby is such a powerful force in U.S. foreign policy making, and in the U.S. discourse too. Just google Cypel’s book, and you will see that for all the power of its ideas it is getting very little attention in the American press. The New York Review of Books has published a great essay about the book by David Shulman focused on Cypel’s own transformation from Zionist to anti-Zionist, a road that many Jews are now walking. And no surprise, the Washington Post has slammed the book as “a one-sided condemnation of Israel’s ‘contempt for international law.'” While we have run laudatory reviews by Robert Herbst and Joshua Gold…
But where are NPR and the New York Times for such an important event? Cypel is of the elite; he worked for many years for Le Monde.
Herbst is sure to ask Cypel about his own journey out of the Zionist fold, and his use of withering epithets in the book: Israel is a “belligerent, intolerant faith-driven ethno state,” Israel “seeks salvation in the application of force and if that doesn’t do the job, it applies more force,” Israel is a “racist, bullying little superpower.” (I like these phrases because I think they meet the highest standard for speech, accuracy).
Cypel is sure to ask Herbst about the lawsuit he filed last month on behalf of Jesse Sander, the teacher who was fired by Westchester Reform Temple in 2021 for her anti-Zionist post.
The call will go 90 minutes so there will be lots of time for listeners to ask Cypel questions. I am sure that one theme will be the reflexive effort by Israel lobbyists to defend Israel by hurling the antisemitism charge at critics, and the ways that this strategy actually fosters antisemitism. The newest definition of antisemitism (IHRA) equates “intolerable racism to a criticism, however radical, of Israel and its policy,” and thereby equates “all Jews to the latter’s misdeeds,” a French human rights leader tells Cypel.
Cypel says that this identification is a dangerous one: Israelis are “trying to drag the world’s Jewish communities on to the path of radical Islamophobia while promoting the fraudulent use of the accusation of anti-Semitism and the assimilation of anti-Zionism as the embodiment of modern anti-Semitism.” They are turning these communities into “weapons to defend the worse policies.”
The historian Daniel Boyarin is quoted saying that if Christianity died for many Christians at Auschwitz, Treblinka and Sobibor, “my Judaism may be dying at Nablus, Dheisheh, Betein [Beit El] or El Kahlil.”
While the sociologist Eva Illouz says what I believe, that Israel is going to lose the battle among American Jews over anti-Zionism. “For Jews the choice now is between clinging to an ethno-tribalism that rejects modern Judaism’s tradition , or joining a Judaism embodied by a group that is renewing it.”
Years ago, Jewish leaders resolved that “no Jewish culture could develop in the diaspora without a connection with Israel,” Cypel writes. The French writer is now a leader in what my friends in Palestine would call a thawra — or revolution.Reference
Israeli forces kill 2 Palestinian teens in 24 hours, 5 Palestinians in a week
Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian teenager in the occupied West Bank village of Nabi Saleh on Tuesday afternoon, bringing the total number of Palestinians killed by Israel over the past week to five.
BY YUMNA PATEL FEBRUARY 15, 2022
Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian teenager in the occupied West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, north of Ramallah, on Tuesday afternoon, bringing the total number of Palestinians killed by Israel over the past week to five.
The young man, identified as Nihad Barghouti, a resident of the town of Kufr Ein, was reportedly shot in the abdomen during confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinians in Nabi Saleh.
Barghouti is the fifth Palestinian, and second teenager, to be killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank over the course of a week.
On Monday Israeli forces killed 16-year-old Mohammad Akram Abu Salah during a raid on the village of Silat al-Harithiya in Jenin.
Israeli forces were raiding the village in order to prepare for the punitive home demolition of Palestinian prisoner Muhammed Jaradat, who was accused of killing an Israeli settler last year.
The raid sparked protests in the village, which drew crowds of Palestinians from Silat al-Harithiya and the surrounding villages, including the neighboring town of al-Yamoun, where Abu Salah was from.
According to Defense for Children International – Palestine (DCIP), Israeli snipers were stationed at positions around the village. When a Palestinian gunman reported fired towards Israeli military jeeps, Israel forces fired heavily towards the area where the shots came from.
After the confrontations had subsided, however, Israeli forces “ suddenly and without warning” began firing indiscriminately at the crowds of Palestinians, DCIP said, injuring dozens of people.
Among those injured were Abu Salah, who was shot in the eye, while his cousin was shot in the hand as he attempted to aid Abu Salah. DCIP said that the two were running away when they were shot by a sniper positioned approximately 250 meters (820 feet) away.
On Tuesday February 8th, Israeli forces shot and killed three Palestinians during a targeted raid in Nablus, in what the Palestinian Ministry of Health condemned as an “assassination.”
The three Palestinian men were identified as Adham Mabrouka, Ashraf Mubaslat and Mohammed al-Dakhil, all members of Fatah’s al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
Israeli forces, who were traveling undercover in vehicles with Palestinian license plates, surrounded the men’s vehicle and opened fire on it in broad daylight, showering the car with bullets. Photos and videos of the vehicle show it riddled with dozens of bullet holes.
The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned Israel for its “heinous brutality”, saying in a statement: “This crime is part of a series of criminal field executions carried out by the occupation forces in accordance with the instructions and directives of the political and military level.”
Israeli forces and settlers have killed 11 Palestinians since the start of 2022.
Issued by NEHAWU International Service Centre
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