Advocates in Swaziland Call for Democratic Reforms, Social Spending to Address Issues Such as HIV/AIDS
September 5, 2008
About 1,000 people in the Swazi city of Manzini held a protest on Wednesday, calling for democratic reforms and increased social spending to address issues such as HIV/AIDS in the country, Reuters Africa reports. The protesters were critical of what is anticipated to be an expensive celebration over the weekend for the 40th birthday of King Mswati, which coincides with the country's 40th anniversary of independence from the United Kingdom. Mswati has "courted controversy for his lavish lifestyle" while two-thirds of people in the country live in poverty and 40% of adults live with HIV/AIDS, according to Reuters Africa (Matsebula, Reuters Africa, 9/4).
"We are also calling upon government to stop romanticizing corruption but find lasting and effective strategy in dealing with corruption," Jan Sithole, secretary-general of the Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions, said during the protest in Manzini. Sithole added, "Remember, silence means consent with the status quo. This system of government has failed dismally to be responsible to the concerns of the ordinary Swazi citizens and the electorate. Change can only come when civil society and the suffering majority stand up to be counted against such injustice" (Reuters Africa, 9/4).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.