Thursday, June 18, 2015


News of the campaign to stop two top South African football clubs taking part in a tournament to honour King Mswati III of Swaziland is spreading globally.

South African newspapers, wire services and Internet sites across the world are reporting opposition to Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates taking part in the King’s Super Cup in honour of King Mswati, who rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.

The tournament, to be played this year for the first time, is due to take place on 18 July 2015 at the Somhlolo National Stadium in Lobamba.

In Swaziland political parties are barred from taking part in elections, the King chooses the government and top judges and opposition groups are labelled ‘terrorists’ under the Suppression of Terrorism Act.

Swazi campaigners for democracy said if the two football clubs took part in the tournament it would be a ‘mockery to the many activists that have died at the hands of the government and those who are presently languishing in jail for having dared to talk against the atrocities obtaining in Swaziland’.

The People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), in a statement that has been reported by news organisations across the world, said, ‘Almost 70 percent of Swazi citizens live under the poverty line of less than a dollar a day, while Mswati III’s preoccupation is buying private jets, luxury cars and touring the world with his throng of wives at the expense of the Swazi people.’

The statement added, ‘PUDEMO implores the two soccer giants to reconsider their decision to be involved in a tournament that seeks to put a human face on a government that has made it its prime occupation to govern the people with fear and dispossession. 

‘The fact that the tournament’s namesake is to honour an individual who uses fear and corruption to accumulate riches which he then uses to further suppress freedoms and curtail human rights, should be an indicator enough that the good game of soccer is being taken to the sewers, and this tournament will forever taint the good name of these two soccer giants for having dared to give credibility to a king who sits executive over cold blooded murder and the incarceration of innocent citizens.’

The Communist Party of Swaziland in a statement said the participation of the two football giants in the tournament undermined the efforts of democrats to isolate the King.

In an open letter to Irvin Khoza, Chairman of Orlando Pirates Football Club and Kaizer Motaung, Executive Director, Kaizer Chiefs Foodball Club, the Swaziland Solidarity Network said, ‘It is clear from the name of the event that this is not just a sporting event meant to promote goodwill but rather a political event meant to legitimise a despot who has lost credibility in the eyes of the world and the country that he rules with an iron fist.’

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