Labour unions in Swaziland predict the kingdom will grind to a halt on Friday (18 March 2011) as they hold a mass protest in Mbabane.
They will march to the Prime Minister’s office to protest about a raft of issues, including student scholarships, the pay and perks awards members of the government recently gave themselves, public expenditure, and the cost of celebrations to mark the 25th anniversary of King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, coming to power.
The protest is likely to cause disruption to services in public institutions as government employees, including teachers and nurses, are expected to join.
The Times of Swaziland, the only independent newspaper in the kingdom, reports unions expected to take part include the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions, Swaziland National Association of Teachers, Swaziland Federation of Labour, Swaziland Nurses Association and the Swaziland National Union of Students.
Initially, the students had planned on holding their own demonstration today but shifted it after discussions with the labour unions.
Tertiary institutions expected to join the protest include the University of Swaziland (Kwaluseni, Luyengo and Mbabane campuses), Nazarene University, Swaziland College of Technology, Ngwane Teacher Training College and William Pitcher Training College.