Thursday, December 17, 2009


Mario Masuku, who spent 10 months in a Swazi jail awaiting trial on a trumped-up terrorism charge, says progressives in Swaziland are ready to engage in an ‘honest’ dialogue with the government to bring about democratic reforms.

Masuku told Voice of America radio that the Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF) in Swaziland would continue to fight for democracy in Swaziland.

Masuku, president of the banned People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), said ‘Seeing that some of the political parties have been banned and there is no space for political activity, we then decided to come together with some civic societies to form a mass democratic movement…which takes into its fold the workers federation, the church… and of course the banned parties.’

The Voice of America reported that King Mswati III, sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch, says that political parties are no longer banned under the kingdom's new constitution -- a claim opposition groups deny.

Opposition groups have often been accused of using violence as a tool to demand democratic reforms.

But the king expressed his government’s willingness to hold negotiations with opposition groups seeking reforms after Masuku was arrested on terrorism charges.

Masuku said his group wants positive negotiations with the government.

To hear an interview Masuku gave to the Voice of America click here.

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