Saturday, December 6, 2008


An international petition to protest against the arrest of Swaziland pro-democracy activist Mario Masuku has been launched on the Internet.

Masuku, who is the President of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), was arrested the day after Swaziland’s illegally appointed Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini branded four political formations (including PUDEMO) as terrorist organisations.

Under a new Suppression of Terrorism Act being a member or supporter of a ‘terrorist’ organisation could get you up to 25 years of jail time.

The petition reads:

‘Mario Masuku is the President of the Peoples’ United Democratic Movement - Insika Yenkhululeko YeMaswati - of Swaziland. For 25 years this organisation has been banned in Swaziland because political parties are illegal. PUDEMO has called for multi-party democracy since its formation, it believes a government should be of the people and for the people.

‘After 25 years of struggle the royal family (the Dlamini clan of king Mswati III) has now forced government to label this organisation "terrorist" and Mario Masuku has been detained without charge since Saturday November 15th.

‘We of Swaziland and the international community call for the immediate release of Mario Masuku. We urge the government of Swaziland to begin sincere negotiations with civil society, political organisations, and unions so that all in the nation can prosper and reach their potential. We are shocked that the king has declared war on the people of Swaziland. We do attribute the escalating violence to his decision to use force rather than dialogue.’

To access the petition click here.

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