The Times of Swaziland, the kingdom’s only independent daily in the kingdom, today calls on the Swazi police to protect the ‘innocent masses’ from the ‘enemies of our country’ who want changes to the system of government. But, it also asks ‘security services to restrain themselves’ during the protest demonstration today and refrain from violence.
18 March 2011
Violence is not the solution
Today’s mass protest has suddenly excited many people, including the ANC Youth League, which has warned against the use of violence against the marchers, threatening to intervene should government use force.
This threat will be the least of the government’s worries should things turn ugly today—the international community will surely intensify its threat of sanctions, and perhaps a possible call for regime change.
We are aware of the plot to hijack today’s protest action by other overzealous organisations whose desire will be to provoke the authorities to the point of resorting to violence. Accordingly, we beg our officials to not allow these enemies of our country to get away with this; to protect the innocent masses who will be marching to make their voices heard. We beg members of the security services to restrain themselves. We know if they are provoked it will be hard. But we also believe that this will be for the good of this country.
There is a reason why the ANCYL is sounding this warning; it is because it has been made to believe that the innocent marchers will be shot at and beaten up by the police. It is because it has been made to believe that this march is for an uprising. Government should not therefore play to the hands of those who are selfish enough to want to throw this country into total anarchy for their selfish ends.
Equally, we must also beg the marchers to not get carried away either. We ask Swazis to remember that violence will never solve anything. We ask them to remember why they are marching today. We believe it is their right to march to speak in one voice. Government should be applauded for allowing them to exercise that right. But as you march today, remember there will be others whose right should not be infringed—the right of choosing not to join the march. Let us not intimidate others; let us not destroy property so as to provoke the police; let us not be a nuisance, for if we do, we will be sell-outs.
The reality is that violence will not give us our jobs; pay our salaries; make this country tick again. What will do is peaceful dialogue, with honesty.