Swazi youth to launch campaign against “undemocratic elections”

“Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO) calls upon all youth to a national rally at Msunduza, Mbabane on the 6th of April 2013 to launch an anti-Tinkhundla elections campaign – a call for multi-party democracy,” SWAYOCO said in a press release Wednesday.  “This will be a day of action that will … send a clear message to the Tinkundla regime and the whole world that the youth are giving a red card to the undemocratic elections.”

According to the press release, the upcoming Tinkhundla elections in Swaziland are “undemocratic” and “meaningless” for a number of reasons, particularly because absolute monarch King Mswati III personally appoints part – and has to approve the rest – of the parliament, appoints most of the senate, and the whole cabinet, including the Prime Minister, and because political parties are banned.

For those who are unfamiliar with Swaziland’s traditionalistic Tinkhundla system, it is a system where candidates are elected through a public gathering at the village level under a local chief. All legislation can be vetoed by the king, which means that Swaziland’s elections reinforce “organised certainty, since they reproduce the prevailing political status quo in Swaziland … elections have increasingly become arenas for competition over patronage and not policy,” according to a report by African policy research institute, the Institute for Security Studies.

SWAYOCO more bluntly refers to Tinkhundla in the press statement as “a system of royal enforced exploitation that institutionalizes the looting national resources, corrupting the whole social fiber of our society … arresting, harassing, torturing and even murdering all those who are calling for a genuine people’s government.”

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