The People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), the best known of Swaziland’s banned pro-democracy groups, has welcomed a report from a Commonwealth mission calling for the kingdom to democratise.
The Commonwealth Observer Mission observed the national election held in Swaziland in September and said they were not entirely credible.
In a report, the group called for the constitution to be reviewed and for the influence in political affairs of King Mswati III, who rules as an absolute monarch, to be reduced.
PUDEMO in a statement said, ‘It has validated our position and critique to say we can`t talk of credibility, fairness and democracy for a process which does not allow for political parties, separation of powers, freedom of the media, gender equity and democracy as a modern standard.’
PUDEMO was among a number of groups and individuals that boycotted the election held on 20 September 2013 under a political system known as ‘Tinkhundla’.
Politcal parties were banned from taking part and the people were only permitted to select 55 of the 65 members of the House of Assembly. King Mswati appointed the remaining 10. None of the 30 members of the Senate House are elected by the people. The House of Assembly elects 10 and the other 20 are appointed by the king.
PUDEMO said, ‘We are happy that our arguments and position on the elections has been vindicated and shall stand the test of time as long as the elections are held under the undemocratic, discredited and condemned Tinkhundla system of governance.’
POLL OBSERVERS: ‘REWRITE CONSTITUTION’