Swaziland: PUDEMOs kongres viser vejen frem

Enhedslistens partner i Swaziland, det forbudte politiske parti People’s United Democratic Front (PUDEMO), afholdt deres årlige kongres i weekenden den 21.-23. februar. Under kongressen skulle man blandt andet vælge en ny ledelse, diskutere organisationens strategi for at sikre flerpartidemokrati og social retfærdighed i Afrikas sidste enevældige monarki, samt debattere og opdatere organisationens politikker til efter at dette er opnået.

Kongressen genvalgte præsidenten Mario Masuku, men valgte flere nye ind i ledelsen, herunder en ny vicepræsident, Read more of this post

Swazier revser landets udemokratiske regering

Swaziland’s enevældige konge, og hans håndplukkede regering, har længe hævdet at indbyggerne i det lille afrikanske kongedømme er glade for landets udemokratiske system og styreform, og at regeringen forsøger at forbedre forholdene for landets mange fattige. Demokratibevægelsen og civilsamfundet, derimod, har altid hævdet det modsatte.

Men nu har meningsmålinger, foretaget af det uafhængige researchinstitut Afrobarometer, vist at borgerne i Swaziland er endog meget utilfredse med landets styreform, samt kongens og regeringens korrupte varetagelse af denne. Read more of this post

Swazier på besøg under kommunalvalg

”I mit land, Swaziland, kan de lokale myndigheder ikke implementere deres egne politikker, fordi kongen kontrollerer alt. Under kommunalvalget i Danmark, derimod, så vi hvordan valgprocessen er velorganiseret og gennemsigtig, og hvordan politikerne er ansvarlige overfor befolkningen”, fortæller Mario Masuku.

Han er præsident for det forbudte People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), som er det største parti i det lille enevældige monarki Swaziland, og han besøgte sammen med organisationssekretæren Wonder Mkhonta Danmark i denne uge, for bl.a. at følge kommunalvalget. Read more of this post

PUDEMO follows Danish municipal elections

“I am surprised that Danish political parties are always looking for consensus. The ownership and respect for the process by the Danish people shows – why can’t we learn from that. We come from the old British political system where we are always contesting.” The President of Swaziland’s largest political party, the People’s United Democratic Movement, Mario Masuku, is speaking from a polling station in Gladsaxe, a suburb of Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen.

Together with PUDEMO’s Organising Secretary, Wonder Mkhonta, he visited Denmark this week to follow the municipal elections. The two Swazis were invited by the Danish Institute for Parties and Democracy and the Danish political party the Red-Green Alliance. Read more of this post

New film shows dark side of Swaziland, but also light at the end of the tunnel

The newly released film “The King and the People”, directed by Zimmedia owner Simon Bright, gives an historic insight into the tiny absolute kingdom of Swaziland, and it shows the brutal nature of the regime that runs the country, as well as the pervasive corruption, lack of media and other freedoms, poverty and inequality.

But the film also shows the growing hope of a more democratic and equal society that is epitomized by the country’s democratic movement, unions and civil society. Read more of this post

Will a post-democratic Swaziland be a ”nation united”?

Understandably, people in Swaziland are focused on and eager to bring about democratic change. After all, it is the corrupt and brutal absolute monarchy of King Mswati III that is to a large degree responsible for the mass-poverty, inequality, financial disorder, and lack of freedom of speech and assembly in Swaziland.

But it is equally important to focus on what Swaziland will look like upon achieving the multi-party democracy that the majority of Swazis seemingly want. Neighbouring South Africa, for example, might have had a non-racial multi-party democracy for nearly twenty years, but the ruling ANC hasn’t been able or willing to extend its political victories to widespread socio-economic progress for South Africa’s many poor.

This is why Mario Masuku, President of Swaziland’s largest political party, the proscribed People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), has recently reiterated that Pudemo must be ready to anticipate and campaign in a multi-party election, to be able to build politically on the fact that they “enjoy massive support across Swaziland while some of the other parties are merely opportunistic,” as PUDEMO President Mario Masuku puts it. Read more of this post

Swazi elections ”not credible”, says Commonwealth

“Parliamentarians continue to have severely limited powers, and political parties continue to remain proscribed … there is considerable room for improving the democratic system, in light of Swaziland’s international obligations. We therefore cannot conclude that the entire process was credible,” the Commonwealth Observer Mission, chaired by former Malawian President Bakili Muluzi, stated in a report on Swaziland’s recently held elections on Sunday.

The political system in Swaziland, although including periodic elections, cannot be said to be democratic in any meaningful sense of the word. Swaziland’s absolute monarch, King Mswati III, himself appoints the government, most of the senate, and several members of the parliament, the rest of which he has to approve, and he can veto any law he doesn’t like. Read more of this post

Preparing for multi-party elections in Swaziland’s absolute monarchy

”You need to walk twenty metres behind me so the police doesn’t find out you are with me,” we are told by  the young Pudemo member who is taking us to a meeting in Manzini with some of Pudemo’s organisers.

Given the record of Swaziland’s police forces, who almost habitually detain or manhandle members of Pudemo, and on occasion foreigners who support the democratic movement, we do as he tells us.

Red-Green Alliance candidate for the municipal elections in November, Thomas Eisler, and I are on a project visit in Swaziland. And we have been impressed with what we have seen. Read more of this post

Enhedsliste-kandidat besøger brutalt enevældigt monarki

Thomas Eisler og Peter Kenworthy er lige kommet hjem fra et projektbesøg i det lille enevældige kongedømme, Swaziland. Et besøg der for alvor satte det danske kommunevalg til november i perspektiv. Begge er medlemmer af Enhedslisten i Gladsaxe og Thomas Eisler er desuden kandidat til byrådet.

Anledningen til vores besøg var at besøge Enhedslistens partnere gennem det danske Institut for Flerpartisamarbejde, People’s United Democratic Movement (Pudemo) – et parti, der fredeligt søger at demokratisere det ludfattige Swaziland, hvor den enevældige kong Mswati III regerer med en jernhånd, og betragter alle der for alvor trodser ham som terrorister. Read more of this post

Swazi Princess debates with ”terrorists” on Twitter

Princess Sikhanyiso TwitterIn an unprecedented move, Princess Sikhanyiso (a.k.a. Pashu) of Swaziland debated for several hours with banned political movement the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) via her Twitter account on Sunday, even though her father, Swaziland’s absolute monarch King Mswati III, has branded PUDEMO as “terrorists” and refuses to negotiate with them.

The debate started with the Princess amiably asking several questions about PUDEMO, such as “who is your President,” “can you give me an example of a country that you wish Swaziland to operate similarly to,” “what is your plan to eradicate poverty,” and “what is your ultimate goal?”

Later in the conversation, Princess Sikhanyiso had some suggestions of her own in regard to Swaziland’s problems. “Countries suffer from poverty but they don’t act poor for tv to draw false sympathy from oblivious foreigners,” she said Read more of this post

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