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Swaziland: Jailed liberation fighter Mario Masuku: `A brief autobiography'

PUDEMO President Mario Masuku.

Mario Masuku is the president of the People's United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) -- Insika Yenkhululeko YeMaswati -- of Swaziland. Since 1983 this organisation has been banned in Swaziland because political parties are illegal. PUDEMO has called for multi-party democracy since its formation and believes the people shall govern. In November 2008, Mario Masuku was again arrested and put in prison by the repressive regime of King Mswati III, where he remains. The Swaziland government has no case and continues to delay his trial. Most recently, Masuku has been subjected to humilating and degrading treatment in prison. Meanwhile, on May 9, Mswati was feted in Pretoria at the inauguration of South African President Jacob Zuma of the African National Congress.

* * *

By Mario Masuku

I am the sixth born from a family of five boys and five girls. My father Malcom, the famous Sihlahla, was a worker -- a mineworker, and later a cattle guard under the Ministry of Agriculture to be specific. He was based in the Shiselweni region until he retired from government. My mother, Fakazile, popularly known as Mavalane, was just a simple and humble housewife born from a Zwane family.

There was an interesting contrast between my parents. My mother never saw the inside of a classroom, but grew up herding cattle and later working as a maid in farms. On the contrary, my father was educated and very well educated by standards of the time as he got trained as a teacher at the then prestigious Adams Mission at Amanzimtoti.

I grew up in the lowly but humble village of Makhosini located about thirteen kilometers from Nhlangano town, past Ngwane Teachers College in southern Swaziland. Our homestead has always been situated very close to the banks of Umfuzane River. Like all young boys, I passed through the experience of looking after the family cattle. I eventually enrolled in the local Makhosini Primary School. Life was never easy at all. It was quite usual for me and my siblings to occasionally run out of school fees, sometimes as low as 50 pence. My tasks included taking the cattle to the dipping tank and looking after them after school and on weekends. Each day became a duplicate of the other with me going to school, coming back in the afternoon, eating whatever there was and changing clothes. Then I would run as quickly as I could to the veld to relieve those who were looking after the cattle.

In 1966, while doing standard six, I and a local boy, Raymond Ndlangamandla got invitations to enroll for Form 1 at Evelyn Baring High School provided we passed our examinations. Evelyn Baring, situated in Nhlangano, was a prestigious ``whites only'' school that had recently been deracialised. We were to become part of the first contingent of ``black'' students to enroll in this school. Early in the following year, I was on my way to my new school. The first born and eldest sister, Dudu, had to walk me to this new school where I became a boarder and for the first time in my life I had to sleep and stay away from home!

At the time my father was involved in party politics in preparation for a democratic Swaziland that was under British colonial administration. He was a member of the Swaziland Democratic Party, a political party that also involved the likes of Sishayi Nxumalo, Dr Allen Nxumalo and many others. My elder brothers Patrington and Thanduxolo were also involved in politics. I could only listen to the many informative debates that were taking place around me.

In 1967, the Nxumalos convinced a conference in Mbabane that they were going to attempt to change King Sobhuza II’s party, Imbokodvo National Movement, from within. Consequently they disbanded the Swaziland Democratic Party.

That same year, I and a friend, Charlton Mncwango, together with one Shedrice Bhembe were involved in an altercation with one white teacher, a Mr Vall. He had wanted us to play football which we did not like, but had preferred to do something else instead. As punishment, he instructed us to write an essay about ``Wild animals in Africa''. We felt completely provoked and in return, we decided to write about ``Wild animals from Europe'' that had come to spoil our Africa. I was eventually expelled and had to stay the whole second term and partly the last while looking for alternative space. My father had to come down from the South African mines where he was employed and negotiated my return to school with the then king, but no nonsense principal Mr H S Telford. We had nicknamed him Nsizwa. I then continued with my studies until 1971. During those years, I eventually developed not only into a footballer of note, but also captain and a school prefect.

My early political experiences

At the end of 1971, after writing my final examination, I came straight to Mbabane in search of a better life. Luckily for me, whether by fate or design, I got myself employment at the then prestigious Barclays Bank. At the time there was a huge influx of freedom fighters from both the Republic of South Africa and Mozambique. Those from South Africa were struggling against the apartheid regime, while those from Mozambique were in a bloody fight for freedom against Portuguese colonial rule. In the process and interaction with these various freedom fighters, I was able to make a lot of friends with whom we shared political ideas and experiences. As a bank worker, I eventually joined the then Swaziland Bank Workers Union and was very active.

While still enjoying my new found life and experience of living in the capital town as a worker, a very strange occurrence just took place. This was like the biblical apocalypse! It was an incident that was not only to raise my political consciousness, but also of many fellow Swazis and the beginning of calculated and systematic oppression of the people of this country. In the year 1973, King Sobhuza II, in what was to be known as the King’s Proclamation to the Nation made a very strange announcement that was to change the political landscape of our country. The King had summoned the Swazi people to his traditional headquarters at Lobamba while parliament was in session. In the proclamation, he announced that he was now suspending the national constitution and assuming all powers including legislative, executive and judiciary powers. This proclamation effectively banned political parties and free political activity in the country.

Subsequent to this proclamation, there was heightened tension, repression and fear orchestrated by the state. In spite of all this, there were growing political activities and discussions that took place underground in an effort to reverse the environment created by the king’s proclamation. I soon found myself amongst a group of such and we eventually formed an underground political organisation called the Ngwane Socialist Revolutionary Party (NGWASOREP). Some of our members were former members of the Ngwane National Liberatory Congress (NNLC) and the Swaziland Democratic Party (SDP). As a result of our activities, some were detained under the 60 days' detention without trial order. Others, of course, decided to go into exile while others including myself opted to remain in the country. Due to the heavy clampdown and the scattering of the members, the activities were seriously curtailed and became non-existent.

However, the student uprising of 1976 in South Africa and those of 1977 in Swaziland were to prove to be a crucial catalyst for the revitalisation of political activism in Swaziland which spread into the local university at Kwaluseni.

In 1982, the old king died and soon there was a huge cloud of uncertainty amongst the people of Swaziland -- mainly they believed the country could not survive without the ``wise and magical king''. Compounding the uncertainty, was the growing tension within royalty with regard to the question on who was to become the next prince to ascend to the throne? In the absence of the king, a supreme council of state, Liqoqo under the leadership of the all powerful Prince Mfanasibili, took charge of the responsibility of governing the country. In the ensuring conflict within royalty, the Liqoqo eventually dethroned the Queen Mother of the nation at the time who was Dzeliwe Shongwe. This did not only infuriate people within royalty, but also a lot of ordinary people within the Swazi populace. This resulted in university students led by a very powerful Student Representative Council deciding to march to the High Court grounds in protest of the dethroning of Queen Dzeliwe.

Me and PUDEMO – the early years

In midst of the deep-seated arrogance and repression by the state, a group of workers, intellectuals and students assembled on the banks of Mbuluzi river near Mantjolo dam on the July 6, 1983. It was in this historic gathering that the People’s United Democratic Movement was born. I was part of that historical gathering. A gathering that gave birth to an organisation aimed at uniting the people of Swaziland in the struggle for liberation from the manipulative and oppressive Tinkhundla royal regime.

The organisation was born during trying conditions when the apartheid regime in South Africa was in strong collaboration with the Swazi authorities under the rule of Liqoqo. In their collaboration, they mounted the fight against cadres of the South African liberation movements who were in hiding in the country. Our alliance with these organisations dates back to that time.

The Swazi regime further waged attacks on PUDEMO members. As a result of this political repression by the regime, some of our cadres were forced into exile. Such cadres included Jabulani Matsebula, Dumezweni Dlamini, the late Dr Gabriel Mkhumane, Gavin McFadden, David Vilakazi, Lucky Mthembu and others.

In 1986, I was elected into the position of president. It was in this period where we waged a fierce campaign in mobilisation and information distribution. I still remember the New Year message I made on behalf of PUDEMO. We called for combined mass resistance by students, workers, the church and the poor against the Swazi regime to achieve a democratic Swaziland. In January 1990, I made a similar call at a New Year ``party'' that we had organised at Mawelawela on the banks of Usuthu river and was attended by various people across the social divide.

Further addresses were made to the people of Kukhanyeni about the ills of this government. This campaign continued even to other forums. More members were incorporated in carrying out this campaign. Such cadres included the late Dominic Mngometulu and Benedict Didiza Tsabedze. The campaign was so successful that it badly shook the regime to its core. As a result, the state rounded eleven of us and charged with treason. Our trial was at the High Court with Justice. Nicholas Hannah was the presiding judge, while Adrinka Donkoh, one Thwala and some South African legal experts prosecuted on behalf of the state. Renowned attorney Peter Dunseith was our defence counsel and instructed one Advocate Elna Revales who was from South Africa.

Immediately on my indictment, my employer Barclays Bank terminated my services. The trial commenced and we were all acquitted of the main charge of high treason, but were found guilty of attending ``illegal meetings''. Mngometulu, Peter Shongwe, Sabelo ``Brazo'' Dlamini and Boy ``Qhawe'' Magagula engaged in a hunger strike and were subsequently admitted to the Mbabane government hospital. We appealed against the sentence and were successful.

I went back to my employer and negotiated for my reinstatement. In February 1991 I was successful and was finally reinstated and continued with my work.

New leadership, new beginnings

The year 1991 was to be yet another historic chapter in our ever growing and strengthening struggle. It was in this year that we held our congress at Ipelegeng Centre, Soweto, because of the very harsh political environment in our country. It was in this congress that Comrade Kislon ``KP'' Shongwe was elected the new president while I became his deputy president.

This is where again PUDEMO crafted one of her most important documents, The Way Forward: Towards a Constituent Assembly Through a Negotiated Settlement. We further demanded a new people-driven national constitution. We also took a decision to unban ourselves in order to pursue our activities openly and challenge the state and mobilise our people for democratic change.

This is the year in which our youth league, popularly known as the Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO), was formed under the leadership of our departed young lion Benedict ``Didiza'' Tsabedze. Working with our youth league, we were able to challenge and exert more pressure on the state.

The domestic pressure consequently led to international pressure being exerted on the state and forcing it to introduce political changes. In 1996, King Mswati III established and announced the discredited Constitutional Review Commission chaired by Prince Mangaliso now carrying the title Chief Logcogco. Twenty-nine Swazis including myself were appointed by decree into this commission.

PUDEMO and other progressive formations objected to the terms of reference on the commission put forward by the king. We began to engage the king on the shortcomings of the commission, but we were ignored. The Swaziland Democratic Alliance (SDA) wrote many letters to the king and his office highlighting the wrongs in the commission and suggested solutions, but no response was ever received.

In 1997, PUDEMO took a strongly resolution to withdraw my participation in this royal project. Shortly thereafter, Jerry Gule, Mhawu Maziya and Nkonzo Hlatshwayo also withdrew their participation from the commission. This left behind chiefs, royal praise singers, stooges, princes and princesses as members of the commission.

The post-1996 struggle

As noted previously, 1996 was a politically eventful year for PUDEMO and the country. It was to be a year that heralded even more social unrest and political activities in the coming years post 1996.

In 1996, I was again voted in as the president of PUDEMO. It was in this same year that the country experienced massive labour protests that brought the country to a standstill. I, on behalf of PUDEMO, was unequivocal in publicly expressing our support for the labour protests with their Popular 27 Demands that expressed nothing else except total social transformation in the country. However, this public support was to eventually cost me my job as the human resources manager at Barclays Bank. I was given an option to either support capital or the suffering working class and the poor. As I opted for the latter, I was then made to lose my job.

During these trying times, I had countless meetings with political leaders and other leaders in the broader Swazi society. This even led me into having secret meetings behind closed doors with the king at different times. He was the convener of these meetings. In our engagements, the king openly and completely refused to see and accept any other view that was contrary to his. It became very clear that he was not prepared to see reason and find common ground that would take Swaziland forward. Indeed it was time and energy wasted. Maybe Swaziland would not be in this political mess and crisis if the king had been prepared to see reason instead of demanding to have his way and nothing else!

In the year 2000, the turn of the century, a chieftaincy dispute erupted at Macetjeni and KaMkhweli areas. This was a direct result of the country’s traditional authorities at Ludzidzini brutally imposing the king’s brother, Prince Maguga, as the new chief of both areas. This action and decision automatically meant that the ruling chiefs of both areas were now demoted into becoming ordinary members of their communities. The people in these areas strongly objected and challenged this imposition. After several attempts at resisting this decision, an eviction order was issued by the then minister for home affairs, a brother to the king, Prince Sobandla. Swiftly, the country’s security forces were deployed to these areas to forcefully evict and drive out scores of people from their homes, especially those that were seen as anti-Maguga. They were taken in the still of the night in police, army and government trucks to be dumped in faraway areas unknown to them. This was one of the cruellest acts of oppression ever visited on the people of Swaziland, on the poor and helpless, by the royal rule.

With all these mounting social and political crises, the general Swazi population was thoroughly shaken and it brought both fear and anger on almost everyone save for the royal bootlickers and hangers-on. Consequently, the SDA decided to call for a national gathering in Manzini to deliberate on the ills engulfing the country. However, the state banned such a meeting and deployed its security forces to ensure the meeting never took place. Faced with this danger and arrogance from the state, the SDA resolved to hold this mass meeting outside the country in Nelspruit at Nelsville. Over 5000 people from the country travelled to Nelspruit. After many lengthy deliberations, the Mpumalanga Declaration was drafted. Many resolutions were put forward and one of those was to continuously organise and hold rolling mass action all over the country. It was in October 2000 during one of these mass protests that I was arrested and charged with sedition and subversion.

I was eventually given admission to bail with one condition, that I must report at the Mbabane police station every Friday, which I tried very hard to comply with although it was tough and at times annoying!

Beyond 2000

As mentioned before, the bail conditions were felt so unfair and annoying. It made no sense that I was outside the prison walls because the conditions never made me feel completely free. To make matters even worse, the state never seemed prepared to bring me to trial.

In 2001, PUDEMO held her general congress at Sikhawini in the month of September. After serious and long deliberations, it was resolved that we defy all the bail conditions. I implemented the resolution and never went to report at the police station as expected. In October I was detained for not complying with my bail conditions. I was booked into Matsapha Maximum Security Prison and put in solitary confinement.

I was in detention through the remainder of 2001 without the trial resuming. Sometime in the year 2002, the trial began. The prosecution was led by the attorney general, one Mr Ngarua. Appearing for the defence team was Advocate Piet Ebersshon instructed by local attorney and friend Paul Shilubane. Justice Josia Matsebula was the presiding judge.

After a long period, the trial was finally concluded in August 2002. I was acquitted of the charges. In October of the same year, I busied myself with seeking solidarity by travelling abroad to countries that included South Africa, Denmark and Holland. Wherever I went, I was able to address large audiences and met influential people on the question of Swaziland and its lack of democracy. In all my travels, I was very successful because from then on many people internationally began to understand our plight and took strong and active interest in our struggle for democracy. In the process, PUDEMO was able to create friends and allies that were to prove very valuable and effective in assisting us to carry the struggle forward.

From 2003 to 2005, there was huge focus on the national constitution making process in the country. It was during those years that I met the Commonwealth team, ambassadors from the European Union, United Kingdom, the United States of America, the Republic of South Africa and many others on the question of Swaziland. In spite of all these efforts, the king refused to take advice from all these groups and consequently went ahead to gazette a document he called the ``national constitution'' in July 2005 at his traditional headquarters at Ludzidzini. However, the constitution was suspended and it became effective in 2006!

In December 2006, I experienced a life-threatening challenge when I was attacked by diabetes and pneumonia in combination. I was admitted in the Mbabane Clinic where they failed to handle the condition and was transferred to the Mbabane Government Hospital where I was taken straight into the intensive care unit where I spent four days. For the whole of December I remained hospitalised. Very close to the end of December, I was discharged and for the first time and went home. This was one of the most trying and painful moments of my life ever.

When the 6th PUDEMO General Congress was held in Matsulu while I was lying in the ICU. In spite of my medical condition at the time, the delegates elected me as the president of the organisation again. I however, spent the whole of 2007 recuperating while doing all I could to serve the organisation.

No surrender…

In life, besides one’s own affairs, there will always be people who make you what you are. In this case, my wife Thembi uLaMkhonta has been my pillar of survival. She has on many instances held fort while I engaged in battles with the state even in the most of trying times. She not only raised single-handedly our six children, but further withstood state pressure and even some derogatory and reactionary advice from all angles. Thembi is the main link between me, PUDEMO, the church, my mother, my siblings and the entire extended family. She has walked and hiked daily to wherever I was incarcerated to come and see how I was doing even if she had nothing to give me. If ever anyone deserved revolutionary humility and perseverance honours, it can be none other than Thembi.

As a freedom fighter, leader and family man, there are moments when you find yourself alone, lonely and helpless. You simply feel conditions around you are in collusion with the state enemy and ask yourself- which way now?

Never in my life have I felt pain like when I lost my son Tsepo in the year 2000. This was because of what he told me about the torture he went through in the hands of the police. But even worse, the assassination of my comrade leader, brother and patriot, the former deputy president of PUDEMO, Dr Gabriel Mkhumane. I could not and still cannot accept why Dokotela had to depart in this manner. I still shed a tear alone when his memories resurface. The organisation, his wife Zoraida, sons and family all lost immeasurably.

I knew Africa Magongo very well and he was no doubt a leadership material for PUDEMO. I also knew that he was not well, but when reports came that he was had gone, I was shattered.

I have cried when we lost comrades Dominic Mngometulu, David Mngometulu, Didiza Tsabedze and many more, but the loss of comrades Musa ``MJ'' Dlamini and Jack Govender really disempowered me. All these were comrades I knew from their early lives in the struggle and had very high hopes on them. I still respect them even where they are today, deep in the belly of this unkind earth.

I believe the journey must one day come to finality. I remain committed even today to walk this steep and difficult last mile to our freedom. No amount of torture, beating, murder, victimisation or incarceration will hinder me from fulfilling the ultimate goal of the fundamental democratisation and transformation of Swaziland. I stand by this ideal and will do so all my life. Many times I have said that nobody, yes not even me, is bigger than the people’s organisation!

PUDEMO is my life. I will serve the disadvantaged and poor people of my country until POWER GOES BACK TO THE PEOPLE! SURRENDER IS NOT AN OPTION AND SHALL NEVER BE!!

AMANDLA!

[This article first appeared on the Free Mario Masuku website on May 14, 2009.]

Comments

SUPPORT FOR MASUKU

I can understand the suffering that Mario Masuku is going through. I went through the same treatment before I ran away from my country- Uganda. I support the democratic struggle of PUDEMO in your country as I do in mine. If there is any help and advice in furthering your struggle please do not hesitate to ask.
AMANDLA!!

Major Twaha Mukiibi

hi I was reading old post on

hi I was reading old post on PUDEMO, doing some research I came across you post. I am currently the Secretary General of PUDEMO.

It will be good to extend the networks of our movement.

Skhumbuzo Phakathi

PUDEMO programme of action

PUDEMO programme of action
Zakhele Mabuza, 21 May 2009

This serves to re-assure the general membership of PUDEMO and our friends domestically and internationally that we are still alive, committed and vigorously working to achieve the strategic objective of liberating our people from the clutches of the oppressive Tinkhundla royal regime. The NEC of PUDEMO met on the 17 May 2009 to re-affirm the main Programme of Action for the year to encompass the following:

Regional Congresses – as per our constitutional requirement, our regional structures are expected to hold their congresses this year. The dates for the congresses have been set as follows:

Shiselweni Region – 21 June 2009
Manzini Region – 28 June 2009
Lubombo Region – 28 June 2009
Hhohho Region – 28 June 2009
External Region – 28 June 2009

Strengthening the Swaziland United Democratic Front – we still maintain that the SUDF is a crucial vehicle in the fight for the transition from the oppressive Tinkhundla rule to a democratic dispensation. We have the responsibility and commitment to ensure that we continue to make our contribution towards advancing the objectives of the SUDF. As we go for the congress of the SUDF next month, we shall aim at nothing, but make it stronger and more effective.

Release Mario Masuku Campaign – as long as the President of PUDEMO remains in detention, the calls for his release will not cease. We have put in place programmes and strategies to ensure the call echoes day and night at home, in the palace and abroad until our President is set free unconditionally.

PUDEMO Day – 2009 marks the 26th year of our existence as an organization fighting for a democratic dispensation in Swaziland. The 4th July 2009 has been identified as the day we will both renew and re-affirm our commitment in the struggle to liberate our people from the royal regime and make Swaziland a giant of democracy.

Intensifying international work – raising the profile of our struggle internationally is very crucial at this stage to ensure unbearable pressure and isolation is applied on the oppressive royal regime by the international community.

Mass mobilization – this is an on-going task by the movement to conscientize the oppressed people of our country. Emphasis is to be made in rural Swaziland where royal hegemony and hostility is strongest towards democratization.

Leadership development – programmes have been put in place to build and develop more leaders at all levels within PUDEMO. This will ensure the organization’s work and programmes are carried out efficiently.

Contacts:
Deputy President - Sikhumbuzo Phakathi – 073 142 7594 (external)
Publicity - Zakhele Mabuza - +268 607 3453 (internal)

Mario Masuku's lawyer arrested, charged with terrorism!

PUDEMO media statement, 3 June 2009

The Swazi regime has gone mad beyond recovery!

Advocate Thulani Maseko, lawyer of PUDEMO President was arrested yesterday on charges of TERRORISM!

This is a clear indication that the Swazi regime wants to do away with all
human rights activists.

Thulani Maseko is a founding member of the Swaziland Association of Students, former president of the Student Representative Council (SRC) at the
University of Swaziland, former Secretary General of PUDEMO, founding member of Lawyers for Human Rights Swaziland, founding member and chairperson of the National Constitutional Assembly.

He has represented many comrades in their legal battles against the regime including the successful case by the ex-miners in which the court ruled in favour of the people for free education.

Advocate Maseko is a well respected lawyer around the world, having been recently invited by the
Foreign affairs Minister in the UK and the EU to state the case for Swaziland.

It is not clear as yet where he is kept and what is happening to him.

But we fear for his life.

PUDEMO
International Relations
c/o Head of Publicity
Manzini, Swaziland

cell numbers
268-607-3453 (Swaziland)
27-73-142-7594 (South Africa)
27-82-923-1401 (South Africa)

from
http://freemariomasuku.blogspot.com/

 

********

SWAZILAND: Human rights lawyers arrested for sedition

 
 
JOHANNESBURG, 3 June 2009 (IRIN) - Swaziland's most prominent human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, was arrested at his home on 3 June and charged with sedition, Muzi Masuku, of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, told IRIN.

Masuku said the charges arose from Maseko's comments at a May Day rally in Swaziland's commercial city, Manzini, that the Lozitha Bridge, near the capital, Mbabane, should be renamed after the two saboteurs who were killed when they attempted to destroy it.

Musa Dlamini and Jack Govender were killed on 20 September 2009 after the explosive device prematurely exploded at the bridge, a few hundred metres from one of the palaces of King Mswati III, ruler of Swaziland and sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch.

Maseko was a founding member of Swaziland's Lawyers for Human Rights and recently won a legal action compelling Swaziland to abide by its constitution and provide free education, but lost a suit to overturn a ban on the formation of political parties by a split decision in the Court of Appeals.

go/he


Themes: (IRIN) In Brief

[ENDS]
Report can be found online at:
http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=84683

 

SSN:The dementia of an authoritarian King leading a banana state

The arrest of Advocate Thulani Maseko - the senile dementia of an
authoritarian King leading a banana state

The Swaziland Solidarity Network [SSN] strongly condemns the dictatorial
King Mswati for his arrest of lawyer Thulani Maseko, the lawyer to The
People’s United Democratic Movement [PUDEMO] President comrade Mario
Masuku whom since 15 November 2009, has been jailed under trumped up
charges of terrorism. Maseko was whisked away early this morning from
Bhunya, 21 Km outside of Mbabane, dragged to court under heavy police
guard and appeared on charges of sedition. His case has been referred to
the High Court.

Maseko’s arrest follows May Day comments attributed to him that, the
bridge at which two great struggle heroes, comrades Jack Govender and
Musa Dlamini died, should be named after them.

In the view of SSN, this is a pathological knee jerk reaction from a
crumbling royal banana state led by a schizophrenic King. It is a
violent manifestation of its internal crisis of legitimacy and a growing
obsolescence.

State violence, state terror against the people’s demands for multiparty
rule, is an expected consequence of the structural constraints of the
feudal Thinkundla system in its elementary stages of decay.

For the past few months, the Royal Kingdom has faced severe internal and
external limitations. Its complete inability to reconcile the parasitic
system with the basic needs of a struggling people, a hard hitting
economic recession at the downturn of capitalist economies throughout
the world and increasing international attention to its corrupt private
family accumulation practices.

As the world is enlightened regarding his intolerance to political
criticism, the practice of random arrests and dispersion, authoritarian
legislation and growing state imposed media censure, Mswati has chosen a
rigid and confrontational path. He is unable to deal with the democratic
movement inside the country. He has rejected the path for peace,
negotiations and dialogue. This un-acceptable situation cannot be
tolerated anymore. Either we act now or we anticipate a colossal chaos
that will make the recent Zimbabwe crisis like a Sunday picnic

For SSN this is a confirmation of a firm rejection of Mswati royal rule
by the people and the need for its replacement with a democratic
multiparty political rule.

We call on King Mswati to resign as the head of state, release Masuku,
Maseko and all political prisoners.

SSN is growing impatient with SADC, turning a blind eye on a
dictatorship and demands firm steps to be taken in recognition of the
rolling back in Swaziland of common values in the region and the respect
for human rights and dignity.

We will mount a full protests this Friday at 12h30pm in Johannesburg,
Braamfontein Centre, Jorrissen Street at operationalise our plans to
boycott Mswati and his financial interests

Issued by the Swaziland Solidarity Network [SSN] South African chapter

For more information contact

Lucky Lukhele –SSN –Spokesperson

072 502 4141

Call for direct, open, credible talks in Swaziland

June 12, 2009

Call for direct, open, credible talks between the monarch and the representatives of the people in Swaziland

We, the undersigned South African civil society organisations, affirm that Swaziland is at a major strategic turning point in the course of its political history. In our vehement protest at the detention of the Peoples United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) President, Mario Masuku, his lawyer Thulani Maseko, and all political prisoners, we recognise the unique political moment and appeal for reflection leading to an urgent and different approach. We recognise that the actual crisis is much more structurally endemic than its appearance. The Swazi royal Thinkundla state is a people disoriented system and cleary confronting major limitations.

Of all major historical moments, it is our view that 2008 marked the beginning of a decisive transformational cycle. From social policy to the political arena, the regime is confronted with a deep crisis. All of its political capital will be lost. The coercive attempts to subdue the people’s resistance by terminating their rights of access to education, healthcare, housing and social protection, the denial of employment opportunities is major disaster.

The arrest of PUDEMO President, Mario Masuku, and other leaders, the appointment of the Prime Minister Dlamini, assassinations of political leaders, the passing of the Suppression of Terrorism Act, the looting of the national fiscus by the Royal family, and the arrest of Thulani Maseko are all elements of this major transformation. In all poles of Swazi society, Thinkundla is in a spiral of social, political and economic backlashes, with very negative consequences for the people.

The situation calls for decisive action, to overcome a state of no guarantees, to mitigate the peoples most profound needs for basics, for food and medicines, for jobs and coherent livelihoods. In the absence of any political detours, there’s a single course out of the crisis. That path is for the start of genuine dialogue and negotiations inside of Swaziland. The main objective of this joint representation is therefore, to call for direct, open, credible talks between the Monarch on the one hand and the representatives of the people on the other.

We appeal to the South African government, progressive forces and all our people to for their support and for the region and international community to back this decisive call and for all to prepare for this paradigm shift. Relevant institutions of SADC and the AU, must step in, exercise leadrship, provide political and technical assistance. A credible national dialogue agenda is desired and the opening up of all channels of communication. This is the only framework to safeguard peace, social and economic progress and remains the only viable option outside of anarchy and confrontation.

Endorsed by

African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL)
Congress of South African Students (COSAS)
Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU
Free Burma Campaign (FBC-SA)
Friends of Congolese Associations in South Africa (FOCAS)
Jubilee SA
Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (OSISA)
Refugee SA
South African Commercial and Catering Workers Union (SACCAWU)
South African Communist Party (SACP)
South African Council of Churches (SACC)
Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN)
Young Communist League (YCL)
Zimbabwe Revolutionary Youth Movement
Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum (ZSF)

forward with pudemo struggle

forward with pudemo struggle 4ward. viva mj viva

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