Updates on Botswana and Swaziland Protests

I wanted to update the fallout from the Swazi protests and the strike in Botswana, which I posted earlier. In the case of Swaziland, government repression appears to have quieted things down, with the regime taking advantage of the term “terrorist” to justify brutality to its own citizens. Today, two activists were denied bail for illegal possession of explosives.

In Botswana, the government is imposing a “no work, no pay” policy, effective as of May 1. According to a recent report, state worker unions will strike until this Friday, after which they will carry out a work slow-down. Workers have demanded a 16 percent pay hike, and so far the state has only offered 5 percent.

In no way am I trying to equate these two mass actions or the respective government responses – the former is dictatorial repression, the latter is pretty much regular democratic politics. But in both cases, ordinary people are expressing substantial frustration with leadership at the top.

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