Reform Swaziland’s absolute monarchy from within, says UK think tank

In a new report, UK-based think tank, Chatham House, is urging Swazis to reform their absolute monarchy from within. “The political process is not totally undemocratic,” the report says.

One of the authors of the report, Alex Vines, told IOL News that he disagreed with banned opposition party PUDEMO’s boycott of Swaziland’s elections. “I think we will see a lot of people elected that have a reform agenda. That could mean that the king has to consider bringing some of them into government as ministers,” Vines further told the Southern African Institute of International Affairs on Monday.

But Vines’ comment hints at the problem of trying to reform the system in Swaziland: that Swaziland’s absolute monarch, King Mswati III, holds all the keys – regardless of a thin veneer of democracy. Read more of this post

Swazi women rally against “abuse and inequality”

We are against “all forms of abuse, inequality, inadequate justice system and the clashes between traditional laws and constitutional laws,” a press release issued by the Swaziland Rural Women Association (SRWA) stated in connection with the celebration of the International Women’s Day in Swaziland.

According to the SRWA, the event was held “to let the rural women reassess her value and importance in the society and celebrate her achievements by highlighting all the major roles that are done by women.” Read more of this post

Prayer for ”people’s government” in Swaziland

On February 16, The Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF) and the Swaziland Democracy Campaign (SDC) are to hold a national prayer “for a people’s government.” The prayer is to be held at Bosco Skills Centre in Manzini at 9 am.

The prayer coincides with the recent launch SUDF’s and SDC’s campaign for a people’s government and the call of for a boycott of the undemocratic elections in Swaziland later in the year.

Using the medium of a national prayer is also a call to action along religious lines. Read more of this post

Democratic movement must unite to depose Swaziland’s absolute monarch

“A group of uncoordinated lions will fail to catch a limping buffalo,” says a member of the democratic movement in Roskilde University scholar Bo Karlsen’s newly published analysis of the democratic movement in Swaziland, Struggling to Achieve Mass Mobilisation and Unity.

Bo Karlsen collected empirical data during a five week field study in Swaziland, sponsored by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Here he interviewed leaders from all of the main organisations in the democratic movement in Swaziland – a country that absolute monarch Mswati III has more or less bankrupted and whose population has been devastated due to “poor policy choices” and “heavy exploitation.”

From these interviews, Karlsen concludes that unity and mass mobilisation in the democratic movement in Swaziland are the main goals, Read more of this post

Global week of action for democracy in Swaziland

Swaziland’s democratic movement will hold its Global Week of Action, which has become the biggest campaign for democracy in Swaziland, between September 3 and 7 – in the wake of the several weeks of protests by Swaziland’s public sector employees.

According to a press release from one of the many Swazi organisations that have pledged to participate in the event, the Foundation for Socio-Economic Justice, they are “demanding a Swaziland that is socio-economically and politically empowering to all Swazis.” Read more of this post

Støtter ANC demokrati i Swaziland?

Sydafrikas regeringsparti, African National Congress (ANC) udtalte på deres politikkonference i sidste uge, at Sydafrika (der er Swazilands klart vigtigste handelspartner) støtter demokratisering i Swaziland.

Blandt andet udtalte præsident Zumas udenrigsrådgiver, Lindiwe Zulu, at ”vi støtter demokratiseringen af Swaziland”, og at budskabet fra konferencen var, at ANC skulle ”presse på” for at få partier lovliggjort i landet.

Med en ting er retorik, noget andet hvordan man rent faktisk handler. For samtidigt er ANC-regeringen i gang med at give Swazilands enevældige monark, kong Mswati III, et kæmpe lån på 230 millioner Euro, uden at stille egentlige krav om demokratisering til gengæld.

Swazis vow to continue pro-democracy demonstrations

“As we wind down the day, it would be folly for the government to think we’ve retreated. We’re going to reenergize ourselves, to regroup and to mobilise more so that we come back stronger,” Mary Pais Da Silva of the Swaziland Democracy Campaign said in a press statement about today’s protests and strikes for democratic reform in Swaziland. “These waves that are coming at them shall gather into the tsunami that shall push us into the democratic Swaziland that we fight for. We have been arrested, detained, assaulted, but we are not beaten.”

April 12 is an important day in the history of Swaziland. On that day in 1973, the king banned all political parties and declared a state of emergency. Read more of this post

Thousands protest against Swaziland’s absolute monarchy

“The walls of Mbabane were vibrating with the shouts of Viva Pudemo [banned political party], viva Swayoco [youth wing of Pudemo],” says Secretary General of Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions, Mduduzi Gina.

Between one and two thousand people took to the streets today, and between five hundred and a thousand yesterday, to demand democratisation and social reform in Africa’s last absolute monarchy, Swaziland. Read more of this post

Swaziland: uprising in the slip-stream of North Africa

A new, well-educated generation of Swazis have been inspired by the uprisings in North Africa, as well as compelled by their own increasingly desperate situation of mass-unemployment and poverty, to try and replace the undemocratic and corrupt absolute monarchy that is Swaziland with a democratic and fair system.

The know-how and tactics of these youths, combined with the mass mobilisation for democracy and socio-economic justice that has taken place for decades in Swaziland, that together comprised the campaign or uprising on April 12-15, appears to be a significant breakthrough. It may not have brought about immediate democratisation but it is surely “the beginning of the end,” as a poster held by a demonstrator on April 12 proclaimed. Read more of this post

International community must act now to stop Swazi regime’s brutality

“We will not give in; but our just cause does not benefit from an international community that sacrifices the Swazi people on the altar of silence and shameless indifference,” says Sikelela Dlamini, Project Coordinator of the Swaziland United Democratic Front.

Sikelela Dlamini is talking about the general beatings, injustices and intimidation that is a daily feature of the absolute monarchy that is Swaziland. But he is also talking specifically about the brutal clamp-down on the last weeks mass protests, that saw peaceful democracy advocates indiscriminately detained and brutalized. Read more of this post