Sunday, November 16, 2008


Swaziland Solidarity Network

16 November, 2008

The Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) has learnt with dismay about the sudden increase in political repression in Swaziland. On Friday the 14 November, 2008, [King] Mswati’s undemocratic regime criminalised political opposition by ‘banning’ legitimate progressive formations and branding them ‘as enemies of peace, stability, security and national progress, whose sole aim was to plant seeds of division, fear and strife in the Swazi nation.’

The organisations are The People’s United Democratic Movement [PUDEMO], Swaziland Youth Congress [SWAYOCO], Swaziland Solidarity Network [SSN], UMBANE [the Swaziland People’s Liberation Army]. The irony of this banning is that political parties were banned in 1973 in Swaziland. What the latest decree does is essentially to CRIMINALISE progressive political parties in Swaziland.

The illegitimate Swazi government has since demanded that Swazis should resign from these organisations with immediate effect. The banning even goes further, by criminalising ‘any person found to be abetting, aiding, sympathising with, sheltering and giving any logistical support to these organisations.’ This means that any PUDEMO sympathiser is now a criminal.

Yesterday the 16 November, 2008 the People’s United Democratic Movement's President Mario Masuku was arrested and subsequently charged for contravening the Suppression of Terrorism Act.

According to media reports, the royal police are alleging that Comrade Mario Masuku was found in unlawful possession of ‘terrorist’ literature. These trumped up charges are clearly ridiculous given the fact that the ‘evidence’ was found in Comrade Mario’s home a day after PUDEMO was branded a terrorist entity. The PUDEMO president is currently held in Siteki police station in the Lubombo region.

It is clear that the action of the government in arresting the PUDEMO President has nothing to do with fighting terrorism, but is a determined strategy to crush PUDEMO.

The trumped up charges are nothing other than a ploy to try and crush PUDEMO. They have nothing to do with terrorism. By arresting the President (and initially the Secretary General Sphasha Dlamini as well) out of all the members, clearly shows that they think this will be most effective in debilitating the organisation.

The SSN is not intimidated by these actions and calls for the immediate release of the People’s President, Comrade Mario Masuku. No amount of repression will deter the struggle for democracy in Swaziland. Neither will we allow Mswati to prescribe how struggle against his regime should be conducted.

SSN therefore, calls for the international community to isolate Mswati’s despotic regime. We further call for the immediate suspension of Swaziland from SADC.

We call on SADC [South African Development Community] to intervene to the Swaziland political stalemate before it worsens. Let SADC change its reactive strategy to such situations as was the case with Zimbabwe, prevention of a crisis is always better. Furthermore, the SSN calls for the following to be acted on by SADC with immediate effect

We also call for immediate lifting of all draconian laws including the recently enacted Terrorism Suppression Act of 2008.

a. Increase the pressure on the Mswati regime to with immediate effect release comrade. President Mario Masuku and all other comrades who might already have been arrested by the time of releasing this statement.

b. Lift all draconian laws in place to allow for the country to start working on a transitional period

c. Unban all political parties and allow for the unconditional return of all exiles.

d. Initiate under the SADC supervision, an all inclusive participative dialogue that will lead Swaziland to a multi party democratic dispensation.

SSN supports unwaivingly, PUDEMO’s position over the years of a political negotiated settlement with the Mswati regime. This position the SSN still supports even to this day. The SSN however also supports PUDEMO and uMbane’s right to defend the people of Swaziland, its leaders and its cadres against Mswati’s death squads.

Issued by the Swaziland Solidarity Network [SSN]

For More information contact
Lucky Lukhele- SSN –spokesperson
072 502 4141

See also

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