Ermelo Declaration: March 2003
30 years of royal slavery and tinkhundla oppression is enough
-The moment of decisive action is NOW!
We, the leadership of the movement; PUDEMO NEC, SWAYOCO NEC, Women’s league NEC and the international mission of the movement gathered here in the Ermelo town of the Mpumalanga province of the Republic of South Africa, on this date of the 22nd March, 2003, hereby declare for all members of our movement, the mass of the people of Swaziland and the world to know that;
Our commitment to the revolutionary struggle for fundamental change remains unwavered, central to which are the interests of the poor and oppressed masses of our country. This we pledge fully aware of the fact that;
·The global challenges of an unjust world order threaten world peace and development and result in wars of aggression; huge inequalities between and among countries of the south and the north, as well as between people; the globalisation of poverty and the generalised crisis of neo-liberal regimes throughout the world;
·The tinkhundla regime is in a deep-seated and permanent crisis, confusion and division over how best to concede minor reforms, without compromising the foundation of tinkhundla oppression;
·PUDEMO has remained the most consistent force for revolutionary change in Swaziland and has grown to be the embodiment of the hopes of all the suffering masses of Swaziland;
·The tinkhundla regime uses a mystifying ideology to confuse the people and make their struggle even more difficult;
·The international community is now throwing its full weight behind the democratic cause in Swaziland, but;
·In the midst of all these, the people of Swaziland have demonstrated their full determination to liberate themselves from the royal bondage of tinkhundla slavery through self-organisation and militant struggles.
This assembly of the movement’s leadership commit itself to intensifying the light of revolutionary fires through; militant struggles, building strong PUDEMO structures on the ground, providing principled leadership to the raging struggles of the people and in the process, deepening the progressive hegemony of our movement throughout all corners of Swazi society.
We are convinced that the days of tinkhundla oppression are nearing their end, which calls for maximum unity in our ranks. This, however requires principled unity as opposed to artificial unity, so that we can engage in open, honest and vigorous debates about the direction and pace of our struggle. We must not fear open criticising each other for fear of divisions, because that compromises progress in the organisation, on the ground as well.
We are also aware of the great strides and advances PUDEMO and all its components have made in mobilising the mass of the people of Swaziland to act as their own liberators
In fact, PUDEMO is committed to asserting its historic role as the political vanguard of all these masses, leading and representing their aspirations from the frontline, through selflessness, sacrifice and discipline.
In this regard, therefore, we seek to build PUDEMO to equal the tasks of the current phase of our struggle, so as to regain the confidence of the overwhelming majority of the people of Swaziland and the whole world as the true leader of the Swazi struggle in actual battles.
Finally, the movement has correctly declared the Year of the People’s manifesto as the principal site of struggle, because it presents a critical and watershed moment in the course of the Swazi people’s forward march to freedom; an inevitable destiny thrust upon us by the history of human development and social progress.
Year of the People’s manifesto
- a site of struggle
Tasks of PUDEMO in 2003
·Mobilise against the tinkhundla elections and build people’s power;
·Convene a people’s council of war against tinkhundla oppression, which the Annual National Conference of PUDEMO, to be held on the 25th – 27th April, 2003, is meant to be;
·Organise a successful 20th anniversary of PUDEMO, highlighting the historic achievements and advances of the movement in the mission to liberate the oppressed masses of Swaziland;
·Raise the profile of our struggle; both to the people of Swaziland and to the world, in order to win the support of all the people;
·Build PUDEMO’s unequalled capacity to lead the struggle through; superior organisational methods, advanced political capacity, theoretical clarity and frontline involvement in the practical battles of the people.
In this regard, the Public launch Rally of our Anti-elections Campaign shall be held at Lavumisa in the Southern part of the country on the 12th April, 2003. It shall mark the historical moment of the 30th anniversary of the 1973 king’s decree, a true indicator of 30 years of royal slavery and tinkhundla oppression in Swaziland. A task team shall be established to comprise largely of Cdes from the Lubombo and Shiselweni regions of PUDEMO, SWAYOCO and the Women’s league.
All structures of PUDEMO and the mass democratic movement as a whole are called upon to intensively mobilise in readiness for this day, during which a show of strength to the enemy, as well as to all supporters of the movement should demonstrate the state of seriousness PUDEMO has reached regarding mass mobilisation and political organisation of the people.
The Inter-regional Forum shall finalise all related logistics for this day, which shall coincide with the 12 April picket at the Swazi consulate in Johannesburg, RSA.
We commit ourselves to act in unity until final victory and to triumph over forces of division, opportunism and collaboration that threaten to disrupt the movement of the people in its consistently rapid advance to a new and truly democratic Swaziland.
Work has begun – let us intensify practical activism on the ground
A call to all our cadres to occupy the frontlines in defence of our people
On the question of leadership, it was noted that there is a great deal of work to be done in ensuring that all leaders of the movement; in all the components, layers and sites of struggle take the work of PUDEMO seriously. These shall include regular evaluation and monitoring mechanisms, strengthening internal democracy and accountability systems, building the political capacity and ideological clarity of cadres, as well as organising a strong and mass based PUDEMO on the ground.
The masses cannever be liberated until their consciousness has been transformed through effective propaganda and agitational methods, to fight against the ideas of tinkhundla backwardness and royal supremacy. Therefore, central to PUDEMO’s tasks in the current phase is the strengthening of its communication system with the masses, as well as its own members.
The on-coming Annual National Conference of PUDEMO should clarify a lot of key issues that are confusing the masses of the people regarding PUDEMO’s political approaches, pace and direction of struggle, amongst others; the question of the full application of the four pillars of struggle, the question of alliances, the transitional phase of our struggle, the issue of revolutionary leadership and a whole array of issues arising out of the concrete realities of our struggle.
The task of political education and cadreship development is a priority matter for the continuation and success of our struggle, it stands out unequalled among priorities, both within PUDEMO structures and also among the mass of the people as a whole.
Therefore, the office of the Deputy Secretary General shall lead an offensive for intensive political education, beginning with PUDEMO educators or commissars. Specific targets and deadlines were outlined as follows;
·National Induction day for all PUDEMO branches – 3 May, 2003
·Finalisation of a Political Education manual of PUDEMO – End of April
·Establishment of a Political education Task team (to include PUDEMO, SWAYOCO and the Women’s league) – Mid- April
We reaffirm our commitment to the tasks set out in the Sikhawini declaration on building a people’s movement rooted in the concrete conditions of Swazi society.
All regional and branch structures must be assisted to establish their own political education structures and programmes by the NEC immediately.
PUDEMO, SWAYOCO and the Women’s league are an inseparable part of a whole movement. There can be no PUDEMO without SWAYOCO and the Women’s league and there can be no SWAYOCO without PUDEMO and the Women’s league. Therefore, no structure of the movement can exist in isolation and the process of building the movement’s components must be mutual and central to the work of all structures and leaders.
The task of leadership is primary in any revolution. Therefore, the on-coming Annual National Conference of PUDEMO poses serious challenges for us, particularly in view of the leadership situation within our movement and in society as a whole. What kind of leadership is required by PUDEMO at this crucial moment in the history of our struggle. Certainly, the most minimum requirements of revolutionary leadership include that;
►Every leader must have a traceable mass base; community structures (Residents associations, etc), mass democratic structures (trade unions, students orgs, etc), components of the movement (SWAYOCO, Women’s league), and branch of PUDEMO.
►Every leader of PUDEMO must unconditionally carry out the mandate given by Congress, failing which he must be made to account and steps taken to deal with that.
►Every leader must have a branch from which he operates and regularly participates for mass rooted ness
►The issue of discipline in the movement requires firmness and decisiveness on the part of leadership, if the movement is to be taken seriously.
Finally, emphasis is being laid on the need to intensify the pace of work on the ground and inspire confidence in the people for radical action. This requires a firm and committed leadership; armed with advanced political skills, ideological clarity and practical involvement in the frontlines of the people’s battles against oppression.
The next session of the summit is scheduled for 31st May, 2003 to assess progress made, review outcomes of the Conference and define a clear wayforward.
All Power to the People !!