MBABANE: Thulani Mkhaliphi, the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare has labelled all protesting University in the country as Emahlongandlebe(disrespecting individuals), he said government will monitor them closely and make sure they don’t get the scholarship they are fighting for.
Speaking during a talk show program in the State owned radio on Wednesday, Mkhaliphi said protesting was clear demonstration of disrespect towards government hence those students should forget about getting the scholarship.
Worth-noting is that the Constitution supports freedom of expression and the right to protest, however, in eSwatini protesting against government decision is perceived as showing disrespect towards the authorities and might attract criminal charges.
“When we award scholarships, we analyse even the conduct of that child, respect is part of those qualities, we cannot award government scholarship to Emahlongandlebe(disrespecting individuals). They want a government scholarship but now they are protesting, we will monitor them very closely” said the Principal Secretary.
Reached for comments, Mlamuli Gumedze, the President of the Swaziland National Union of Students(SNUS) said the students took a decision to protest because the PS was not willing to engage with them to give an explanation why they were denied scholarships.
“The PS is not willing to engage with the students, it’s hard to engage him in the table, he only takes action and listen to our grievances once we protest, that’s how he operates” said the students President.
Gumedze further refuted the sentiments of the PS suggesting that protesting students were showing disrespect, but clarified that they wanted to be awarded scholarships so they can continue with their education.
Speaking to this Swaziland News, Mbongwa Dlamini, the President of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers(SNAT) said they will definitely collaborate with the students and put pressure on government to award them scholarships.
“As teachers, we don’t want to see the children in the streets just because government denied them scholarships, this is undermining the work we did as teachers on these students”’said the SNAT President.
University students protesting