By Alec Lushaba | 2018-06-30
Deputy Prime Minister Paul Dlamini yesterday condemned the anarchy which left some marchers needing medical attention after clashing with police.
A march to petition government ministries organised by the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) degenerated into chaos when police and marchers clashed over the route to the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office where they were to deliver one of the petitions.
Dlamini said the events that left some marchers injured need to be condemned for putting not only the lives of street vendors, passer-byes but even their own lives in danger.
“We are as Emaswati peace loving people and therefore at all times preach the gospel of tolerance. This unfortunate incident happening on my Office’s door steps was unfortunate and undermined a good process of expressing your concerns. As a country we have committed ourselves to dialogue and peace. We encourage workers to express their grievances on anything they seem not to understand and need clarity.
From my understanding of the clashes with cops, it emanated from the disagreement on the route to take to deliver the petition to my office.
“I expected them to come over and prepared our Principal Secretary, who is the most senior official, to receive their petition.
“Given that we were wary of the busy street they wanted to use which may have resulted in traffic jams agreement was reached that we meet them half way on the street behind our offices, something which did not go down well with them resulting in the clashes with police,” the DPM stated.
He said such incidents were unfortunate for a country that has made huge progress in being in the good books of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) by observing worker rights.
“This has seen us being removed from special paragraph and regained our access to the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA).
“We urge our people to follow the law and use peaceful processes to express their grievances. A number of the issues they have raised have been attended to and some of them are awaiting royal ascent.
Amongst the issues they have raised in their petition pertains to the elderly and those with disability. I can only assure them that those issues are being attended and soon we will have a law dealing with people with disability,” he said.
Meanwhile Police Information and Communication Officer (PICO) Assistant Superintend Phindile Vilakati confirmed the incidents which left one Majembeni Thobela oozing with blood.
However, Vilakati quickly explained that Thobela’s injury was as a result of the flying stones from the marchers.
“We don’t carry stones, but batons. This was an unfortunate incident caused by marchers failing to adhere to the agreed route. We are at times forced to use minimum force to enforce compliance with the rules,” she said.
Vilakati explained that to their knowledge only Thobela experienced severe injuries but others were minor.
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