Author Topic: Activists threatened with strangulation have nothing to fear, says Swaziland  (Read 1585 times)

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Offline mayya

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Activists threatened with strangulation have nothing to fear, says Swaziland



THE Swazi government said on Tuesday that two activists threatened with strangulation by Prime Minister Sibusiso Dlamini, have nothing to fear when they return home.
Africa’s last absolute monarchy is under mounting international pressure to implement governance reforms.

Sipho Gumedze of the Swaziland Lawyers for Human Rights and Vincent Ncongwane of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland took part in a free speech demonstration last week at the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington.

While addressing Swaziland’s parliament after the summit, the prime minister — a key ally of King Mswati III — called for the activists to be strangled.

The prime minister later withdrew the remarks, government spokesperson Percy Simelane said. "If the activists returned home nothing would happen to them," he told Business Day.

But Mr Gumedze said that he was fearful. "We have an intention to go back home but there is no guarantee that we will be safe," he told a press briefing yesterday in Johannesburg.

The US said earlier it was deeply concerned by the prime minister’s threat.
"Such remarks have a chilling effect on labour and civil rights in the Kingdom of Swaziland," Marie Harf, deputy spokesperson for the US State Department, said on August 11.
Because of concerns over workers’ rights, Swaziland will be excluded from the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), if the US Congress renews the legislation when it expires next year.

Swaziland’s textile industry is heavily reliant on Agoa, which allows for goods and services from eligible African states to enter the American market at preferential tariffs.
Mr Simelane said that at least 14,000 people work in the textile industry in Swaziland but said it would not disappear without Agoa.

King Mswati is expected to represent Swaziland at the August 17-18 summit of the Southern African Development Community in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
President Robert Mugabe, 91, will take over the chair of the regional bloc for the next 12 months.

With Bloomberg