Swazi Teachers strike Today
Pro-democracy Protest in Swaziland earlier this Year
Teachers in Swaziland are on strike today in pursuit of their salary claim
The Swazi teachers are demanding a modest increase of 4.5%, and are due to go on strike today. This is the latest round in an ongoing struggle in Swaziland - both for proper funding for education and for democracy in the country which is still governed by an absolute monarch, whose extravagance is legendary while his people live in poverty. The teachers and students have been in the forefront of the struggle over the last year and as a result many have been arrested and their demonstrations attacked.
King Mswati III does not rule alone. He is aided and abetted by the International Monetary Fund which gives its economic prescriptions to the country. This is an extract from one of its latest pronouncements:
Swaziland’s government is committed to move forward with an ambitious reform agenda on public finance management, drawn up with assistance from the IMF and other development partners. Significant technical and financial assistance will be available to support the government’s implementation of the reform agenda, once it is approved by the cabinet. Key priorities for 2012 include a revised public financial management bill, improving budget reporting, strengthening expenditure control, and enhancing budget preparation.
Continued efforts will also be needed on the revenue side, as the Swaziland Revenue Authority will need resources to successfully implement a value-added tax planned for 2012, and to strengthen further its large taxpayer unit.
The IMF is telling Swaziland to cut its public sector wage bill and introduce VAT for an already impoverished populace, in cooperation with a tyrannical government. Meanwhile the teachers, who are struggling to provide education under conditions where huge sectors of education have remained unfinanced for months are continuing to fight back.