Morten Nielsen: Democratisation in Swaziland must come from below
The repression and persecution of the democracy movement in Swaziland has increased, says Morten Nielsen from Africa Contact. On the positive side, there has been an attitudinal change in Swaziland that can be seen in the strikes by 10-20.000 women in the textile industry in 2008, as well as in the of the steady progress of the democracy movement.”
These strikes violate all gender and cultural norms in Swaziland”, says Morten Nielsen, “and the democracy movement is gathering strength. The regime is worried”.
Amongst other things, this change in attitude is due to the increasingly repressive nature of the regime and because the Swazi economy is “in free fall”, he claims. This has led to cuts in public services and benefits such as pensions, education and the health system, which in turn has led to “an increasing social anger in Swaziland that can be felt when speaking to Swazis, although people are also scared”.
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