THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has castigated the Prime Minister of Swaziland Sibusiso Dlamini for threatening trade unionists from his country who attended the United States-Africa Summit in Washington, DC, with strangulation upon their return to Swaziland.
Dlamini, in an address to Parliament, called for the strangulation of Sipho Gumede of the Swaziland Lawyers for Human Rights and Vincent Ncongwane of the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) for taking part in a free speech demonstration at the summit.
In a statement, ZCTU secretary-general Japhet Moyo said the government of Swaziland had a history of violating workers’ rights, adding other governments should immediately urge Dlamini to withdraw his statements.
“Over the years, the Swaziland government has engaged in serious and systematic violations of the fundamental rights of workers,” he said.
“These violations include the jailing of trade union leaders, the deregistration of the trade union federation [TUCOSWA] and the banning of strikes and demonstrations.”
Moyo said a high-level International Labour Organisation fact-finding mission to Swaziland in January this year had found that the country had made no meaningful progress in promoting freedom of association.
Deputy spokesperson for the US State Department Marie Harf also expressed concern over Dlamini’s statements, saying they had a chilling effect on labour and civil society in Swaziland.
Swaziland is Africa’s last absolute monarchy and has been under intense international pressure to implement governance reforms.