King Mswati III, the absolute monarch in Swaziland, is being forced to hold talks with pro-democracy groups, according to an unconfirmed report circulating on the Internet.
Until now, the King has resisted all attempts to democratise. Political parties cannot take part in elections and opposition groups are banned under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.
According to a report written by Musa Ndlangamandla, a former editor-in-chief of the Swazi Observer, a newspaper in effect owned by the King, a meeting will take place on 30 September 2015.
Ndlangamandla is a former aide to King Mswati and has good contacts among the King’s supporters.
Ndlangamandla wrote, ‘That Mswati has agreed to the meeting is nothing short of astonishing. Even though the countdown has begun to what could be described as a summit, albeit behind closed doors, the general public has not yet caught on to this development in a country where the media tend to stay away from political developments that could cause controversy.’
He said the meeting would be chaired by Commonwealth Special Envoy to Swaziland, former president of Malawi Bakili Muluzi. The Commonwealth has been applying pressure on Swaziland to democratise and lift the ban on political parties. It also wants the constitution reviewed ahead of the next elections in 2018.
He reported that pro-democracy groups would be represented by 15 delegates.
NO LET UP IN CALL FOR DEMOCRACY