Wednesday, February 11, 2009


The voices of opposition to Swaziland’s fake democracy will not keep quiet.

Despite increasing attempts by Swaziland’s illegally-appointed Prime Minister Barnabas Dlamini to silence pro-democracy activists, the message is getting out.

A series of weekly pickets against King Mswati III start this Friday (13 February 2009) in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN) is calling for support in a campaign to free Mario Masuku, President of the outlawed People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), who is in jail in Swaziland awaiting trial on terrorist charges. If convicted he could face up to 25 years in prison.

SSN says the campaign will ‘highlight the horror of Mswati's fear of democracy and the deteriorating social, economic and political conditions in Swaziland’.

The protest against the rule of King Mswati III aims to highlight:

Political parties have been banned in Swaziland since 1973;

The 2008 Suppression of Terrorism Act prohibits any criticism of the King and his autocratic rule;

All elementary democratic rights to freedom of association, speech, and political activity have been outlawed;

The random arrests of political leaders of PUDEMO, trade unions and civil society and individuals;

Mario Masuku was charged with terrorism for his call for democracy and peace. He remains incarcerated since 15 November 2008;

King Mswati consistently flies his wives on expensive shopping trips costing the kingdom millions, while thousands of children die of malnutrition and HIV/AIDS and thousands are without jobs;

The King illegally appointed an ‘evil Prime Minister’ Barnabas Dlamini to tighten the grip of state repression on the citizens of Swaziland;

The King and his family lives lavishly, they spent 100 million on his 40th birthday party in 2008.

The campaign has the following objectives:

Introduction of constitutional multi-party democracy in Swaziland;

The unconditional release of PUDEMO President Mario Masuku and all political prisoners;

The removal of the draconian 1973 decree which bans political parties, trade unions and all forms of legitimate political activity;

The unconditional return of all exiles;

The establishment of a democratically elected constituent assembly to draft a legitimate constitution for the country.

The first of the regular Friday pickets takes place at 12hr30 on Friday 13 February 2009 at Braamfontein Centre, Jorissen Street.

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