International Trade Union Confederation
African Unions Lead Global Protests On Swaziland Independence Day
Brussels, 6 September 2012 (ITUC OnLine): African trade unions and other civil society organisations have led
international protests against Swaziland’s rulers on 6 September, the country’s independence day. A 5 September picket
in front of the Swazi consulate in Johannesburg was joined by 18 union leaders from across the continent, including
Kwasi-Adu Amakwah, General Secretary of ITUC-Africa. National solidarity actions also took place in Kenya, Nigeria,
Senegal, Togo, Belgium, Germany and the UK.
The protests are part of a week of action on Swaziland, in response to the continuing suppression of the democracy
movement there, including the banned national trade union centre TUCOSWA. Peaceful marches inside the country this week
have been met with violent repression and arrests.
Swaziland is one of the last absolute monarchies in the world. About 60% of its population gets by on less than 1.25 USD
per day, while King Mswati sends his family members shopping in Germany with his private jet. The country's economy is
in tatters after almost forty years of “Tinkhundla” rule, after a state of emergency was established in 1973, giving the
monarchy almost unlimited power. Political parties are banned, there is no press freedom or independent judiciary, and
the king himself appoints the government.
The ITUC represents 175 million workers in 153 countries and territories and has 308 national affiliates.