Senators in Swaziland don’t know what to do about the ‘uprising’ planned for 12 April.
The best they can come up with is to invite the ‘organisers’ to appear on state-controlled television and radio to tell what is on their minds.
The ‘uprising’ is being coordinated by a Facebook group called the April 12 Uprising. On its site it is very clear that its wish is to ‘topple’ King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
Swazi senators discussed the ‘uprising’ yesterday (22 March 2011) and, according to media reports in Swaziland, they didn’t know what the demands of the group were.
They didn’t know? Either the senators simply haven’t done their homework (just go to the site. Click here) or the newspapers are too scared to tell their readers that there are Swazi people who want to get rid of King Mswati.
The senators are assuming that the ‘uprising’ will consist of a march, but the exact activities for the day have not been disclosed by organisers.
According to the Swazi Observer, the newspaper in effect owned by King Mswati, senators called on Magobetane Mamba, Minister of Labour and Social Security, to do something and quickly. There are only 20 days until the ‘uprising’, they said.
Senator Bhutana Dlamini asked, ‘... what has the minister done to engage those who intend to march to ensure that he gets their side of the story and see if anything could be done?’
Senator Themba Msibi, said, ‘As legislators, we need to know what you are doing pertaining the march that has become the talk of the day.’
The Times of Swaziland, the only independent daily newspaper in the kingdom, quoted him saying, ‘Will government deploy police or guard the whole country? What will happen?’
The Minister didn’t know what to do. ‘The big question is what exactly those perpetrating for the demonstration really want? We have written to them with a view of hearing what they want.’
All he could come up with was to suggest that the leaders of the ‘march’ could go on local radio and television where they would say what their demands were and give people the chance to respond.
The Times quoted Mamba saying, ‘Let me ask those who are aggrieved to write to the ministry and tell us of their problems. We should not hear about news of the uprising in the media.’
So, what happens next? What is the point of the ‘uprising’ organisers talking to government when their demands are for King Mswati to go and for a new democratic system be put in his place in Swaziland?
Not much room for negotiations there.
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