Sunday, October 26, 2008


The People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), one of the banned political parties in Swaziland, has criticised King Mswati III’s call to arms.

PUDEMO says the king declared war on the Swazi people earlier this month when he appointed Barnabas Dlamini Prime Minister and publicly instructed Dlamini to get the ‘terrorists’ in Swaziland and all who support him.

Since then, the king’s call has been echoed by MPs and traditionalists who identify anyone who is arguing for democracy as ‘terrorists’ or ‘terrorist sympathisers’.

There is a very real possibility of state-sponsored violence breaking out in Swaziland. The chief of police Edgar Hillary has been appointed by the king to the Swazi senate and there is an expectation in the kingdom that his successor will be someone seconded from the military, thus strengthening the state’s ability to wage war against its own people.


24th October 2008.

A Country at war with itself

PUDEMO observed with great concern the country's leadership's reaction to the political turn of events in our country in the past few days, in particular following the recent people's actions including marches, protests in their quest for their freedom. PUDEMO and, no doubt thousands others, heard with profound dismay the utterances to the effect that the state will and must ruthlessly fight and 'throttle' those with diverging views, including their families and relatives.

Most shockingly this speech came from the throne, the one who is (supposedly) a uniting figure and is Head of State, urging citizens to take up arms – a very unfortunate situation! PUDEMO expected that, if it was necessary, the authorities to call for calm, unity and dialogue in spite of anger, disaffection and conflict - for that is his duty.

Now, only six days later, on Tuesday a former Royal Policeman, a Zionist priest, thief, thug and former convict, one Magongo a recently turned legislator echoed the Head of State's call and committed himself and other so-called legislators to 'pick up guns' against those labeled enemies and proponents of a democratic dispensation. Our leadership have commissioned a war, and we in PUDEMO believe there is still space for a constructive dialogue, but if war is declared (as has been) it is unfortunate.

Let the whole country, the SADC region, the Continent and the International Community see for themselves and decide as to who the aggressor is after all. War is waged by the Chairman of the Organ Troika for Security, Defense and Peace under SADC! Who will be the commander of this war? Who will be in the battlefront and who will be the enemy to be maimed, displaced, shot at and throttled?

The Swaziland 2008 National Elections Report

We are neither surprised nor excited but reassured by the explicit report of the Commonwealth Expert Team on the national elections conducted on the 19th September 2008 in Swaziland. The Team delivered according to The Terms of Reference given it by the Secretariat which, according to the Report was:-

"to consider the various factors impinging on the credibility of the electoral process as a whole, and to determine in its own judgment whether the elections have been conducted according to the standards for democratic elections to which Swaziland has committed itself, with reference to national election-related legislation and relevant regional, Commonwealth and other international commitments".

True to its mandate, the Team's Report goes through the Adoption of the National Constitution, Executive Power and the Monarchy, the Bill of Rights, Powers of Parliament, Appointment of the Judiciary, the Elections and Boundaries Commission, Constitution and Court Judgments, the Electoral Law and Assessment. In most of these topics, the Team discovered inherent contradictions that would hardly render the national elections anywhere near democratic, let alone free and fair. The root cause here is the National Constitution.

As we have humbly been saying in the past, while the current Constitution was demanded by the people of Swaziland, its crafting did not involve them and as a result the objectives of coming up with a supreme document to fuse both the modern democratic and cultural demands were defeated. Instead, the King's Proclamation of 1973 was merely rewritten and constitutionalised. Following their General Congress at Ipelegeng Centre in Soweto in 1992, PUDEMO suggested constitution making process under a proposed methodology as indicated in our document The Way Forward To a Constituent Assembly Through a Negotiated Settlement. This was proposed to the highest authority and government, but it was arrogantly rebuffed.

The overview on the Political Environment reaffirms the universal belief that national elections conducted in an environment subduing fundamental rights will always be suspect, as in:-

"Political organizations are currently unable to register and participate as political parties in elections in Swaziland. Instead the electorate votes for individuals. Minimal voter education has been provided and the voters appear to have little knowledge of the democratic systems which are available to other countries in the region and the whole world".


The conclusion by the CET gives hope that our constant demands for broader democratization deepsitted within the full people's participation is not unfounded. No national elections or any project for that matter can succeed if not intertwined within that country's social fabric. Swaziland must systematically move towards a more democratic dispensation and modernize our culture to fall in line with the rest of the civilized world or we shall experience harsh changes as history teaches us.

PUDEMO remains committed to the peaceful democratization of our country, and that nobody else will liberate us but ourselves. Denying this as those in authority prefer to, is like merely burying our heads in the sand. There are no mercenaries. But the world is full of those people and organizations acting in international solidarity with the poor, marginalized and oppressed, everywhere.

For more information please contact:

Mario Masuku- PUDEMO PRESSIDENT- : +268 608 83338 or

Sphasha Dlamini- PUDEMO Secretary General - +268 608 9783

See also


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