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  • Ncamiso Ngcamphalala

The relevance of 2015 Manzini declaration and the current call for multiparty Democracy


Swazis Marching demanding government that is accountable to them recently

The Manzini declaration that was as a result of an all-inclusive national social dialogue by the civil society organizations, the community based organizations, the unemployed, students trade unions, the church organizations informal economy organizations and political parties, who are not banned constitutionally, but banned in practicing the rights of political parties as if the 1973 decree still rules.

That is why the question and the need for the government to officially clarify whether 1973 still co-exist with the constitution, as to date, there is no clause in the current constitution that says, “by adopting and promulgating this constitution as the Supreme law of the country, the 1973 decree is accordingly repealed,”

it is saddening that several efforts to get this confirmation, there has always been an ambiguous answer from the office of the former Attorney General, that there can be no two Supreme laws running concurrently, it is automatic that the coming about of the constitution meant that the decree is no longer in operation.


The question is, if it is that simply and automatic, why do all subsequent laws repeal the former? secondly if it is that easy why does the Office of the Attorney General find it difficult to make a declaratory order to say, 1973 decree was repealed and further inform the law enforcement agencies because since 2005, government never engaged in a law reform process to operationalize the constitution, that is why, way after we had a constitution with a Bill of rights that promotes fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of Association and expression, we still had courts victimizing Thulani Maseko and Bheki Makhubu on their free exercise of the freedom of expression in the face of a constitution with a Bill of Rights.

We still had the 1963 public Order in force yet it remained in conflict with the Constitution in fact and in practice, that’s why we still had the suppression of Terrorism Act operative yet in essence undermining certain clauses of the constitution.

Following hereunder is part of the Manzini Declaration issues that were submitted for government attention with a view of engaging in an all-inclusive, result oriented and time barred national socio-economic dialogue, this was not responded to, neither was it considered and now we have a road map that has not been tested through a national dialogue, a top down approach not even parliament the peoples representatives were involved in the construction of the road map.

ON COST OF LIVING AND DECENT WORK:

1. The state is called to take positive steps, in conjunction with organized

labour employers’ associations and other stakeholders to generate

employment under conditions guaranteeing decent work; the government

to ensure that prices of basic goods and commodities remain affordable

and accessible to the ordinary people; and, if needs be, subsidized;

2. . Further that the government must:

! Provide social security for all

! Provide social protection for all

! Provide medical aid for all

! Government to upscale labour inspection and such inspections to

include local worker representatives

! All Companies operating in Swaziland must do their banking in

Swaziland in order to benefit the Swaziland economy

! Government to introduce national minimum wage based on regional

survey

! Enforce the 3 months security deposit for employers to mitigate

effects of fly-by-night employers or workers

! Abolish labour brokering

! Expatriates must be forced to transfer skills to the locals as

condition for acquiring residence permit

! Government must provide bail out stimulus packages for companies

which are severely affected by the financial crisis, but such

Companies to declare its books and further undertake to pay back

the money


ON THE YOUTH:

1. The youth demand a constitutional multi-party system where they

would have a right to belong to a political home/organization where

they can freely exercise their democratic rights in Swaziland;

2. The youth demand to live in a Swaziland without political prisoners

and where women young and old, are empowered are protected by

the laws of the land;

3. Youth issues and demands are cross cutting and reflected

Throughout this declaration;

ON EDUCATION:

1. . Scrapping of the IGCSE system of education and the implementation

of wide-ranging educational reforms that will bring Swaziland in tandem

with the demands of a rapidly advancing, technologically complex

twenty first century globalized economy through the development of an

educational system with quality and content that measures up to

International standards;

2. More universities needed in Swaziland and existing colleges should

be upgraded so that they can run degree courses; there should be

sponsorship for all colleges including vocational institutions;

3. There should be quality free education from primary to tertiary

levels; with proper salaries paid to all staff.

4. Scrap the system of contract teachers. Instead hire them on

permanent terms with proper remuneration;

5. School children in Swaziland expect the government to provide

security in all schools to avoid tragedies like eNcabaneni;


ON THE PLIGHT OF STREET VENDORS, HAWKERS,

PEASANTS AND EX-MINERS AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE

INFORMAL SECTOR:

1. Concrete measures to be taken to protect and subsidize our hard

working informal sector traders and small business people for

sustainable growth;

2. There should be more government support for people in the

handicrafts sector;

3. Social grants should be increased and people with disabilities in this

sector need special transport arrangements;

4. Government should release payments accruing to ex-miners which

have been deferred for too long leading to poverty;

5. . Peasants must be involved in determining the prices of the

commodities they produce and they need government support in

terms of implements, tractors etc; and protection of their markets

ON LAND, THE ENVIRONMENT, FOOD SOVEREIGNTY AND

AGRICULTURE:

1. The government should involve the agricultural sector, especially the

Rural based small farmers to come up with initiatives that work towards the

realization of full food sovereignty within a practical time frame and

Guaranteeing security of land tenure; that far reaching legislation should be

passed setting in motion policies to protect the environment; The

Government should provide adequate support to small farmers and

peasants in this sector and introduce irrigation and modern,

environmentally friendly methods of agriculture that at the same time allow

the Swazi people to decide on their own food policies;

2. There should be a comprehensive inventory of land ownership in the

country;

3. All Swazis living on Swazi National Land should have security of tenure

for the land they occupy and cultivate;

4. There should be equal access to water resources and concerted efforts

must be made by all to conserve our precious rivers, wetlands, forests,

mountains and other elements of our environment;


ON REGIONAL MATTERS AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

1. The government should adhere to all international treaties to which

Swaziland is party to;

2. We call on the international community to remain vigilant and engage

the Swaziland government to comply fully with universal conventions

safeguarding civic, political, economic, social and cultural rights;

3. We urge SADC to ensure that Swaziland adheres to all SADC Protocols

and allows full democratic rights to prevail in Swaziland as it espoused for

other the rest of the people in SADC member countries when it was chair of

the SADC Organ on Politics, Defense, and Security;

4. We call on the African Union to urge the government to live up to its

obligations under the African Charter, the Constitutive Act of the AU and

NEPAD’s African Peer Review Mechanism;

5. We call on the United Nations, working in tandem and/or under the

auspices of UNDP, UNESCO, WHO, ILO and FAO as well as its General

Assembly to urge the government to dialogue with all stakeholders to

ensure peace, stability, democracy and social progress;

6. We call on Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Freedom

House, Reporters without Frontiers, Article 19, FIDH and other human

Rights bodies to document and catalogue incidents of human rights abuses

and atrocities in Swaziland;

7. We call on the international media to step up comprehensive coverage

of unfolding events in the country;


ON CUSTOMS, TRADITIONS AND CULTURE

1. That Swazi traditions, customs and culture be promoted to protect our

National heritage and enhance our collective quality of life;

2. That culture remains our national identity, it should be voluntary and

Dynamic and should retain coherence with fundamental rights and not be

used for political patronage;

3. That those harmful interpretations of our culture, traditions and culture

which undermine the rights and dignity of women or any other section of

the community should be combated and rectified;

We, the citizens, with an equal claim in the country, hereby

affirm the above resolutions and demands as our freely held

aspirations and expressions of our right to self-determination.and clearly no one is prepared to listen to the people’s concerns as there is never an acknowledgement to any of the petitions presented to government.


Jan J Sithole

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