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Friday, 9 October 2009

NEW SWAZI POLICE: OLD TRICKS

Swaziland’s newly-appointed police commissioner Isaac Magagula says his force will treat people with respect.

According to the Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, the police will treat ‘clients’ (that’s ‘people’ to you and me) ‘with empathy and courtesy’ and will ‘uphold the highest standards of professionalism in the execution of their duties’.

Come off it. Are these the same police who last month fired on peacefully striking workers in Big Bend?

The police didn’t treat their ‘clients’ with ‘empathy and courtesy’ when officers threw teargas canisters and shot at the strikers with rubber bullets.

Workers at Tranship were protesting against poor wages. According to the workers’ trade union, the major concern of the workers was that a chief, who had recently been made a shareholder at the company, had allowed Tranship to start paying the workers E200 (27 US dollars) per week when the rate had previously been E350.

Oh hang on. I get it. The ‘clients’ the police are supporting aren’t the ordinary people of Swaziland, they’re the exploiters.

So, new police commissioner: but nothing else changes.

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