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Swaziland liberation movement leader: 'Build an unstoppable tsunami for freedom!'

Mario Masuku, president of the People's United Democratic Movement.

By Mario Masuku, president of the People's United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) of Swaziland

September 9, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Over the past few days, the mass of the people of Swaziland: workers, students, women, rural and landless masses, churches and other faith-based organisations, social movements, NGOs and the rest of civil society networks have confronted the tinkhundla system on a scale unheard of before.

This week alone has seen an unprecedented 30,000-40,000 people fill the streets of our country to demand freedom. This must be the beginning of intensified action. As we regroup and organise for April next year and the third global week of protest in September 2012, let us mobilise even more. Let us build the profile of the global week to reach an unprecedented 100 cities around the world. Let our allies across the world build more chapters of the Swaziland Democracy Campaign (SDC) to intensify the global offensive.

In resolute action, we have literally rendered the whole country ungovernable and tinkhundla system unworkable. We have demonstrated that our desire to destroy the system of royal oppression and build the foundations of a new and democratic society, as comprehensively articulated by our political program, The road map to a new and democratic Swaziland, is real. As we have always said, the unity of all progressive forces is a prerequisite for our freedom. Let us build more unity in action. Let us build more disciplined unity and cohesion within our ranks. And let us build an unstoppable tsunami for freedom.

The time has come to take the struggle to the comfort of the royal family and its friends, both national and international. The royal family cannot be at peace while we in the schools, townships, workplaces, institutions of learning and rural communities face naked brutality and the whole country is in flames. They must not be allowed to relax while we suffer. They must not be allowed to enjoy a good life when our children can’t go to school. They must not have the luxury of stealing our money and siphon it out of the country. We must use every means at our disposal to make their life difficult. They must not receive any bailouts until they commit to a process for democratisation.

Linked to that is the reality that the regime and its generals have resorted to martial law and full-scale repression against all forces for democracy, with PUDEMO and its auxiliaries as the prime targets, in an attempt to cow us into submission. We refuse to be intimidated and are daily getting more confident that the system is on its knees and we must make the final leap now.

By using all forms of struggle, occupying all frontiers of the revolution and closing all spaces internationally, we have thrown the tinkhundla regime into permanent disarray. It is for that reason that the people of Swaziland are now boldly declaring that the issue is not whether tinkhundla system will die or not, but the announcement of the funeral date is the issue. From the intensive care unit tinkhundla has gone straight to the mortuary and that is why we can no longer afford to delay its funeral. It is for that reason that we proclaim that today, the closing day of the second global week of action, must be a clear statement to all doubting Thomases that tinkhundla is no more and that the people are ready for power. We call on all our international friends to join us in this last mile to freedom.

We also send special greetings and salutations to all our comrades who shall be on the streets today throughout South Africa, having started with the well-organised march in Cape Town to the national parliament of South Africa and those in other parts of the world organised in more than 23 cities across the world. We can feel your presence here with us and are further inspired to act and sacrifice more for our cause.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)-led delegation and the humiliation and abuse it suffered at the hands of the brutal security forces are in our hearts at all times. By physically brutalising the COSATU leadership, the regime has shown that it has no respect even for the people who seek to assist in the current crisis. The regime has demonstrated for all to see that it is brutal, undemocratic, intolerant and arrogant. We hope the world has seen what this regime is capable of. It does not understand peaceful activity. It does not understand tolerance. All it knows is violence and more unprovoked violence.

We salute Swazis staying outside of the country for organising and joining activities as part of the global week. In particular, we salute the Swazi Diapora Forum for organising a very successful event on September 8 in Johannesburg. We salute the solidarity activities undertaken by the affiliates of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) during the week and we are also happy that the WFTU will be hosting an international solidarity conference on Swaziland in Strasbourg, France, on September 12-14.

We further take this opportunity to salute the mass of the people of Swaziland, particularly the coordinators of this highly successful global week of action, the Swaziland Democracy Campaign (SDC) under the leadership of the Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF) and the Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organisations (SCCCO). You have done us all proud and we shall always rally behind your proven coordination efforts in order to maximise the unity of our people.

PUDEMO salutes its members who came in their numbers throughout the country to be part of the protest actions. The regime has failed to kill the people’s movement. The people have unbanned PUDEMO. We salute the leaders of our trade union movement for cohesion and decisiveness. We salute the students and the youth.

Build unity!

As the people’s liberation movement we will be at the forefront until freedom comes.

The national momentum towards democracy is on course!

The time is now!

PUDEMO calls on the people to render the country ungovernable and make tinkhundla unworkable!

The people of Swaziland want democracy, freedom and they want it now!

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PUDEMO leaders brutalised by Swazi police

09/09/2011

5pm

Senior leaders of PUDEMO and trade unions were today brutally beaten up by police on the last day of the global week of action. The protest was held in the capital and according to organisers was attended by more than 7000 people. The government had earlier on tried to interdict the protest but lost in court.

The problem started when the protesters were to be addressed by the President of PUDEMO, Mario Masuku. The police tried to stop the president from speaking and the protesters defended the leadership. Police then without any provocation started beating up everyone in their work. Surprisingly police allowed the other political parties to address the march. The attack here is against PUDEMO.

This is uncalled for. Nonetheless PUDEMO salutes our people for coming out in their numbers to close the Global Week at a high note. This has mobilised our people even more. The workers and students are even more determined to carry on with the activities and our members will continue to organise for more radical action.

Speaking from hospital, the national Organising Secretray of PUDEMO Wander Mkhonza, who is also Deputy General Secretary of the Processing Union, condemned the brutality and said that the police pounced on them without provocation injuring scores of people. These include many mineworkers from the quarry union.

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