WINDHOEK: The Trade Union Congress of Namibia (TUCNA) on Wednesday condemned the deregistration of the newly formed Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) in that country, claiming that it is a violation of human rights.
The trade union aired its disapproval on the occassion of the current five day state visit by King Mswati III of Swaziland to Namibia at a press conference held in the capital here.
¨We do not generally concern ourselves with state visits that are undertaken between our leaders and their counterparts on other countries particularly African countries,¨ Secretary General (SG) of TUCNA Mahongora Kavihuha said at the conference.
Kavihuha said it is only when the countries leaders interact with leaders who have a proven track record of human rights abuse and the abuse of workers that it (TUCNA)becomes worried.
He stated that the trade union does not discourage such interactions between leaders as the relations anger well for the unity of African people, who so much yearn for the while issue of global fraternity.
¨The rights of workers are sacrosanct just like political and other human rights and must be respected and protected not only by us, but by our friends and neighbors,¨ he stressed.
He explained that Namibia has forged a relatively trouble free industrial relation adding that the constitution provides for the protection of workers which grants them rights to pursue unions interests in peace and freedom.
Kavihuha indicated that if the countries friends and neighbors do not act in the protection of the rights of their citizens at least Namibia should be seen to engage them to change their errant ways.
¨Thus our honorable visitor, the Swazi King who is the last remaining absolute monarch on the African continent, is a well known violator of the rights of workers and political activists,¨ the SG of TUCNA lashed.
Therefore the trade union raises concern Kavihuha said regarding the Namibian government hosting the Government of Swaziland headed by King Mswati III as their guest.
The SG of TUCNA then called on the deregistration of its sister organisation to be lifted by the King and his government adding that flimsy grounds of a lacuna was used within the labor law. ¨Meanwhile, everyday life in Swaziland continues to be marked by serious violations of democratic, human and trade union rights,¨ he noted.
These violations he said include, extrajudicial killings by security forces, mob killings, the use of torture by police, beatings and the use of excessive force on detainees, police impunity, arbitrary arrests and and lengthy pre-trial detentions.
Other violations are, restrictions on political activity and harrassment of political activists, discrimination and violence against women, the harrassment of labour leaders and restrictions on workers rights.
¨To date, political parties remain prohibited, in spite of the adoption of a new constitution in 2005 which purports to provide democratic rights and Swaziland belonging to regional, continental and global bodies that uphold the principle of respect for human rights, democracy and rule of law,¨ Kavihuha said.
The trade union then called on the Southern Africa Development Community(SADC) to effectively deal with undemocratic and totalitarian regimes in regions by exposing them and isolating them until they govern in trust of the will of the people.
Echoeing the same concerns, NamRights Executive Director Phil Ya Nangoloh also condemned the deplorable and precarious human rights situation in the Kingdom of Swaziland in a press statement availed to Nampa on the same day.
¨We severely condemn the human rights situation in Swaziland, which remain characterised by inter alia gross and systematic disregard for the rule of law, severe and chronic absence of the independence of the judiciary,¨ Ya Nangolo states.
According to him a marathon strike by inter alia public services unions which began in June 2012 is underway in Swaziland by which protestors are pressing for cost-of-living salary increases adding that the King ordered his security forces in an apparent movement to suppress the demonstrators.
Approached for comment Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Wilbard Helao could not respond at the time of going to print but promised this reporter a response.