February 11, 2012
In light of the changing dynamics in Swaziland socio-political and economic landscape and the resultant shifting of balance of power within the democratic forces, the Executive Committee (EC) of the Swazi Diaspora Platform (SDP) met for a strategic session on 4 – 5 February 2012, in Johannesburg South Africa to discuss and reflect, on amongst others the:
· Socio-economic and political crises in Swaziland
· SDP Annual programme of Action
· SDP Mass mobilization
· Fundraising for the SDP
The session was addressed by several speakers and facilitators some of whom were drawn from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU). The experience in international solidarity work and Swazi solidarity in particular of these speakers and facilitators, was not only valuable in drawing lessons from other countries but also in contrasting the forms and methods of struggle that are suitable to the concrete conditions of Swaziland. The EC also had a presentation from a leader of the Zimbabwean Diaspora who was able to shape the strategic approach of our organization. The SDP EC therefore noted that:
· The Swaziland government, as recent as King Mswati 111’s State of the Nation Address on February 4, 2012, is still committed to maintaining the status quo against logic, reason and international opinion.
· The Swaziland government has announced that elections will be held in 2013 under the Tinkhundla system and political parties will neither be permitted to campaign nor participate. This effectively means that the system seeks to renew its illegitimate hold onto power.
· Swazis continue to be at the mercy of charity for their well-being especially women, children and the elderly.
· The Swaziland government has no concrete actions to address the economic stagnation in the kingdom. Moreover, it continues to suffer from intellectual snubbing as demonstrated by the calibre of people it promotes and appoints to positions of power.
· The democratic forces in Swaziland continue to show a renewed level of unity and commitment as ably demonstrated by the formation of Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) and the running battles at the University of Swaziland where students continue to grind the government into a state of permanent crisis.
· The enormous abuse of women by uncultured sections of our society who still exhibit backward levels of thinking, untransformed by the equally backward system of governance.
As the SDP EC therefore we resolved to adopt a Program of Action which seeks to compliment the already existing programs of the mass democratic movement as well as scale up our own efforts of uniting Swazis in the Diaspora towards democratic transformation in Swaziland. To reach these goals we have resolved to:
· Draft and adopt a Plan Of Action (POA) for the year 2012 to ensure that the SDP becomes a visible and active voice in contributing towards the democratization of Swaziland.
· The SDP will partner and synergize programs of actions with democratic forces and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) whose interest is in human rights, inside Swaziland as well all solidarity organizations outside the Kingdom, especially those in neighboring South Africa.
· The SDP will commence projects that will empower Swazis to be self-reliant as opposed to relying on charity for their livelihood. The POA is geared towards mass political education and mass mobilization.
· The SDP noted that dates like April 12 are historic in the struggle for democracy in Swaziland and we therefore we will participate in events planned for the day.
· The SDP will establish SDP chapters where ever it is humanly possible and to ensure that all Swazis in the Diaspora make a contribution towards change in the country.
· The SDP will also scale up its fundraising machinery so that our organization has the financial resources needed to carry out our programs.
· The meeting resolved that more work has to be put into mass political education and mobilization in 2012.
· Alternative methods of communication need to be engaged to get the messages to as many Swazis as possible in light of the fact that government controls radio [which most Swazis rely on for information], TV and some of the print media.
· Planned periodic demonstrations must be held at key events and institutions such as the Swazi Embassy) to elevate awareness and increase pressure for Swaziland to democratize.
· Engage South African and international media to keep the attention on Swaziland constant and exert pressure on government.
The SDP is a teething organization that is alive to the fact that like many human rights activists and organisations, we may face challenges which are both political and organizational but it is the commitment of seeing our people free that fires everyone of us into action. We can no longer lament and stand on the sidelines as our only country is ravaged by unscrupulous self-serving politicians whose only mandate is to serve royal interest and not that of Swazis. We will also not allow our story to be told only through the experiences of South African internationalists who have raised high the banner of the Swazi struggle.
Swaziland Diaspora Platform