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OPINION:Harassing and preventing Prime Minister from addressing Workers Day Celebration was uncalled for, democracy suggests that you “allow even your enemy to speak and express a different political view”.

Wednesday, 1st May, 2024

Prime Minister(PM) Russell Mmiso Dlamini was an invited main guest during the May Workers Day event held at Prince of Wales Sports Ground, only to be treated like an intruder by some workers and members of political parties.

In my view, the conduct of the workers who were seen provoking even the police after harassing the PM must be condemned not unless such behavior was part of the May Day program prepared by the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland(TUCOSWA).

It is part of democracy to protest and express your view particularly on issues directed to those in power but, there’s a time when you need to demonstrate disciple and listen to the responses from government after expressing your political view.

TUCOSWA President Bheki Mamba was seen chatting and smiling with the Prime Minister who was his guest, a political novice will say Mamba is captured just for sharing a smile with the PM.

But we will continue to advocate for vibrant politics with peaceful engagements among stakeholders, politics is,and should among others,remain a competition of ideas,there’s no permanent enemy or friend in real politics. 

As the Head of Government,the Prime Minister(PM) would have delivered a speech and perhaps, some of the issues affecting workers could have been addressed but,he was stopped from addressing the event despite being an invited guest.

The TUCOSWA Executive should have stopped Prime Minister Russell Mmiso Dlamini from attending the event by withdrawing the invitation or if, he attended as per his request, there was an option to decline on the basis that,he was not welcome.

Indeed, there’s nothing wrong with criticizing a Head of State or a Prime Minister(PM) but after criticizing, you must then demonstrate respect and show the other person to which the criticism is directed to, that you are not malicious but the criticism is meant to correct and demand accountability.

Personally,I was disappointed to see the PM treated that way, even though I strongly believe in vibrant politics and critical engagement on public issues,I don’t support wild politics with no direction.

What’s the point of criticizing a person if when it’s time for that person to respond,you switch-off the microphone and humiliate him, to make matters worse, a high profile Head of Government?.

There’s nothing wrong with some workers refusal to recognize Russell Dlamini as the Prime Minister because after all,he was never elected by the people but an agent of the royal ensemble.

But the problem erupted after TUCOSWA invited the PM and then failed to protect him from harassment and obstruction to the stage by the workers,as an invited guest.

I am a known critic of Prime Minister(PM) Russell Mmiso Dlamini’s leadership style but criticism should be disseminated with intent to correct not to humiliate without any political direction.

Notably, police behaved very well at the Prince of Wales Sports Ground, workers were criticizing and even insulting the King and the Prime Minister(PM),no one was assaulted or arrested.

But we later saw some workers assaulting or manhandling police officers,this must be condemned, there’s no reason to provoke a police officer in his/her line of duty because such provocations sometimes trigger a serious conflict between workers and members of the law enforcement agency.

Even though the TUCOSWA leadership did not command the workers to humiliate the Prime Minister(PM) but a letter of apology to the Office of the PM would diffuse the blunder.

Government remains a major stakeholder for workers, subscriptions from unionized civil servants are collected by the State and paid to unions.

King Mswati and the Government must be criticized but when an opportunity avails itself for a Head of Government to address workers and account on the demands,I don’t think harassing and threatening his security is part of democracy.

OPINION:Harassing and preventing Prime Minister from addressing Workers Day Celebration was uncalled for, democracy suggests that you “allow even your enemy to speak and express a different political view”.
PM Russell Dlamini chatting with TUCOSWA President Bheki Mamba.