Swazi regime’s end is near, says democratic movement

“Technically, the demonstrations are over, but from a political viewpoint they are not,” the Foundation for Socio-Economic Justice’s Thamsanca Tsabedze says. He is talking about the April 12 “uprising” in Swaziland, for which his organisation, that aims to build a mass-based democratic force through civic education on democracy and rights, has played an important part in making possible by its relentless consciousness-building.

The April 12 uprising was crushed by Swazi police and security forces that fired teargas and rubber bullets at demonstrators, as well as detained and beat peaceful demonstrators and ordinary citizens going about their business, but this has not deterred those who call for change.

“People are still seething and calling for regime change. They have been driven back to their places by fear, but are still continuing with activities and programmes aimed at rendering government ungovernable,” Tsabedze insists.

The democratic movement has learnt a valuable lesson in the last couple of days, he says, especially about having to expect the worst from an increasingly desperate regime. “I think in the future the democratic movement will have to ensure that the information machinery is well oiled and that people are well mobilized and ready for any challenge.”

The safety of the demonstrators was the reason the unions called of the mass protests, as the police and security forces were becoming increasingly brutal. Tsabedze agrees with this decision, on the whole. “It is very important to ensure the safety of people. They were subjected to violence, assaults, arrests, detentions and other forms of abuse, and I think it is nigh time that the democratic movement sees how it defends democracy activists from the brute ire and force unleashed by the armed forces,” he says.

Overall, though, Thamsanca Tsabedze sees the mass protests as a success. “Yes, the event was indeed a resounding success and has sent a clear message to the regime that their end is nigh”.

Read more:

Swaziland: uprising in the slip-stream of North Africa

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