Friday, June 30, 2006


Prepared by :
Muzi Masuku
Swaziland Programme Manager OSISA

The fact that Swaziland has already reached her milestone in terms formulating a constitution that will meet the demands of a democratic order is a highly contested issue. However, merely having a constitution does not mean that a country is automatically committed to constitutionalism. If the touchstone of constitutionalism is the limitation of unfettered government power and respect for the rule of law not every country that has a constitution meets the standards of constitutionalism. It is in this respect that a distinction is made between a normative and nominal constitution. In a recently held Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) funded regional conference on constitutionalism, held in Swaziland participants agreed that the appropriate normative standards for any content of a constitution worth its salt would be the following: a multi-party system of governance, separation of powers, systems of government, independent judiciary, a Bill of Rights, accountability and transparency, regular free and fair elections, institutions protecting constitutional democracy and procedure for amendment. The following discussion however attempts to look at the specific position of the Swaziland Constitution Act of 2005 in so far as it purports to set up a democratic order in Swaziland thereby replacing the hugely unpopular Kings Proclamation of 1973 anchored constitutional order.

Separation of Powers:

Being one of the cardinal tenets of a democracy, the area of separation of powers was going to be one of the areas likely to draw the most attention in so far as the new national constitution in Swaziland is concerned. A distinct and widely held understanding has been created that the notion of separation of powers is closely linked to checks and balances. It is a given that there should be three arms of government which are vested with co-equal powers, which enjoy relative autonomy with one arm complementing the other while concurrently holding each other in check. The ultimate test for our current constitution was always going to be how much of a departure does it make with the past position which has been authored by the King’s Proclamation to the Nation of 1973 in terms of which all the original powers of the three arms had been concentrated in the office of the King who then delegated some of his powers to what passed for an executive, judiciary and a legislature. It would therefore be critically important to closely follow the pervasive influence of the King’s powers as they are set out in the Constitution Act to help us discern whether indeed there is any semblance of separation that has been achieved or not and how much of the notion of separation would be compromised by the powers that are enjoyed by the King. My contention though is that our Swazi constitution places the King above the constitution and protects his powers over that of the legislature, executive and judiciary. There is no check in the authority of the monarchy. Such a position is therefore likely to result in a situation where the current system of patronage and lack of accountability is perpetuated. It would have been very important for the drafters to ensure that separation of powers provides for a system of checks and balances that ensures and protects good governance and democratic processes. I find Tawanda Mutasah‘s article on Volume 1, issue 2 of OSISA’s Open Space instructive on the concept of good governance where he lists the following:
· The rule of law, by which is meant not only a general atmosphere of legality, but also the existence of good laws that are generally respected by the executive organs of government;
· Accountability of government for its decisions, traditionally relating to the executive but increasingly also to the judiciary and parliament, as well as para-government bodies such as parastatals, government appointed commissions, etc;
· Predictability of government decisions, essentially meaning government is better if it governs rationally, in a way that enables citizens to anticipate public processes and their impact on private citizens lives;
· Checks and balances in the traditional Montesquean sense of separation of powers and functions and the development of appropriate accountabilities between the three branches of government, the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary;
· Transparency, including access to information held by government and /or government agencies which are in public interest;
· Anti corruption and a general commitment to ensure integrity in the management of public affairs;
· Auditing of governmental transactions by oversight bodies;
· Decentralisation whereby the state genuinely devolves authority for local level decision making to democratically elected local entities. This is to be distinguished from local client patron relationships and from decongestion of central functions to local authorities without resource and policy back up.

Chapter 2 of the Constitution avails immunities to the dual office of the King and Ingwenyama, the Indlovukazi and the authorized person. This immunity is availed against legal suits and legal process in any cause in respect of things done or omitted to be done by these offices. The Immunity if also availed for these parties against being summonsed to appear as a witness in any civil or legal proceedings. This is a position that is not new in Swaziland’s political landscape as even the Independence Constitution of 1968 articulated the same position although in not so much detail as in the current constitution. The major implication of this is that when the King’s name or any of the other parties as enjoying those immunities, is cited in any legal proceedings, whoever is seeking legal redress, will not be able to obtain that redress since the citation of the King’s name will be seen as embarrassing His good office and a personal affront on his name and character. In explaining the rationale for this position, the former Attorney General Phesheya Dlamini indicated that it would be wrong to suggest that these immunities catapulted the King to be above the law noting that this was merely an affirmation and recognition that a person holding that esteemed position will not stoop so low so as to commit crime and therefore be a subject of court proceedings. Swaziland has in the recent past and even to date been seized with issues surrounding the rule of law or the lack of it. The matters that related to the transgressions on the rule of law have unfortunately impinged on the immunities availed to the King which then puts to test the position as stated by the former Attorney General. Moreover when availing these immunities, the constitution has failed to anticipate a situation wherein other people who perceive themselves as appendages to these offices might also seek to benefit from the immunities availed. The bottom line is that it has become difficult to tell who else can benefit from the immunities availed to the King. Surprisingly though even before the constitution is put to a rigorous test in this respect, the Attorney General, Mr Majahenkhaba Dlamini, instead of preparing to defend government as per his office’s mandate, is already throwing his hands in the air as a form of submission in terms of the interpretation of this clause in the case of the Inkhosikati who is suing the police for defamation. His contention is that defending the suit will be tantamount to fighting the King yet Emakhisikati are not availed immunities in terms of the constitution.

The most severe assault, in so far as I am concerned on the judiciary occurred when the King submitted his proposals to parliament through the special message which unfortunately found its way in its entirety to the text of the constitution. The King proposed the inclusion of subsection 8 of section 151 in terms of which the High Court was being stripped of its original and appellate jurisdiction over matters that relate to the office of Ingwenyama, Indlovukazi, the authorized person, the appointment, revocation and suspension of chiefs, the constitution of the regimental (libutfo) system, the constitution of the Swaziland National Council. The courts have since the founding of modern day Swaziland had unlimited original jurisdiction over any matter. This position was also captured in the Independence Constitution of 1968. However, the institution cited above were listed in Schedule 3 of the Independence Constitution as being outside the purview of parliament which meant that parliament could not legislate on these matters. To that end the listed matters were identified as the sole preserve of Swazi law and custom in so far as legislating on them was concerned. This position was not changed by the Proclamation to the Nation of 1973. However in his “wisdom”, the King found it proper to list these matters as being outside the competence of the courts and for them to be the sole preserve of Swazi law and custom. Ironically the ultimate authority of Swazi law and custom is the Ingwenyama which literally means that the King with the assistance of our parliament has found it prudent to appropriate these matters to his traditional office. It should be noted that Swazi law and custom is a very nebulous institution subject to manipulation and different interpretation depending on who you are talking to at a given time save for the fact that in terms of Swazi law and Custom what the Ingwenyama ultimately says, cannot be contested by any other office since it is taken to be the Nicodemus truth” the mouth that never lies” (umlomo longacali manga).

The Judicial Service Commission is in terms of this constitution slated as the structure that will advise the King in the appointment of judges and other members of the judicature. It is generally held that if a structure advises, there will be a recording of minutes capturing whatever advice that may be given. However the position that has been alluded to above has to be looked at in light of the rather disturbing position articulated in section 65(3) and (4) which indicates that when the King is called upon in terms of this constitution to exercise any function after consultation with any person or authority, he may or he may not act on the basis of that advise given. The literal interpretation of that position is that the King is not necessarily enjoined or compelled to act on the basis of any advice even by the Judicial Service Commission. This concern is raised in light of the many positions that are suggested to be filled by the King after he has sought advice from one structure or another.

Section 78 of the constitution provides for the setting up of a prerogative of mercy committee which is a structure that I perceive not to be seriously intended. The reason that this is seen as not being seriously intended is because this section suggests that the fact that a non member can sit with and influence proceedings of this committee will not serve to nullify proceedings. Similarly, the fact that the prerogative of mercy committee sat without forming a quorum will not serve to nullify proceedings. The effect of the position that is stated in section 78 is that court judgements could be undermined by a structure that is not seriously intended thereby militating against the rule of law.


Section 64 (3) of the constitution states that the King can exercise executive authority directly or through cabinet or a Minister. While it is generally accepted that the repository of executive authority in any jurisdiction is the head of state, it becomes untenable in a Kingdom for the King to then exercise executive authority directly when there is a cabinet that is supposed to be doing the day to day business even going to the extent of advising that head of state on the government of the country. Maybe this situation mirrors the executive nature of our monarch and is suitable for political dispensations that do not have political parties. The question however is how tenable is this position in advancing the notion of the separation of powers? In other monarchs such as Lesotho for instance, while the King is the repository of executive authority, that executive authority is exercised by the Prime minister and his cabinet ministers.

In terms of the Constitution Act of Swaziland, the Ingwenyama shall appoint a King’s Advisory Council which is identified as a structure tasked with advising the King on matters of Swazi law and custom. Their mandate however is extended by the fact that it is said that they will also advise the King on any matter that the King may refer to them. This position has to be juxtaposed with the traditional role of cabinet which is that of advising the King on matters of governance. Ironically the Prime Minister is in terms of this constitution a product of advice by the King’s Advisory Council whereas Ministers are appointed by the King on the advice of the Prime Minister. Problems of superiority and or seniority of the structures which are all anticipated to advise the King are likely to arise as they have in the past. The problem with this duality of structures which are known to be in competition could serve to compromise the ability of the executive to take decisions that further their objectives and or policies.

There are a plethora of positions that are proposed by this constitution which it is stated will be appointed by the King on the basis of advice from one structure or another. However this position has to be looked at against the position that is stated in section 65(3) and (4) which does not compel the King to act in compliance with any advise literally giving the King latitude to totally ignore advice and act on his own.


Section 108 of this constitution empowers the King to withhold his assent to Bills thereby giving him veto power. This position comes about because of the silence of the constitution in stating what should happen if the number of days that is given to the King to indicate his displeasure about a Bill lapses. This position also affects Bills that seek to amend the constitution

Section 134 empowers the King to disband parliament before their tenure of office expires without giving any reasons for that. This is a dangerous position for a country like Swaziland where parliament remains our only bastion of hope in ensuring accountability and curbing excesses by the executive. The fear that abounds is that if parliament in exercising their oversight role takes decisions which may not find favour with the authorities they could be disbanded prematurely without any reasons being advanced for their premature disbanding.

Bills that impinge on Swazi law and custom have been removed from the competence of the popularly elected House of Assembly and they can only be tabled before Senate and the Council of Chiefs. It is a well know fact that Senate is not populated by people that are elected by the electorate. Twenty (20) of the senators are appointed by the King and the other ten (10) are elected by the House of Assembly once it is fully constituted. Further more the Council of Chiefs comprises of people that are wholly appointed by the King. It is worth recalling though that parliament has during the debate of the constitution tried to get a certain quota of the Council of Chiefs to be elected to serve in this structure. That position was however altered after the introduction of the special message from His Majesty which indicated that the King wished to appoint all the members of the Council of Chiefs. The fact of the matter is that the structures that will be determining the position of our law in so far as it relates to Swazi law and custom is not answerable to the general electorate no matter how unpopular and repressive the law they will enact will be. The introduction of the concept of Council of Chiefs puts to question the claims by our constitution of the bicameral nature of our parliament if another structure besides the House of Assembly and Senate can legitimately engage in the process of making law.

A lot of hullabaloo has been made about how the national constitution should be given a chance as it represents work in progress and can be amended as and when the need arises. This position has to be understood in light of the provisions articulated in section 108(3)(a) which only indicates the number of days within which the King should have indicated whether he assents or withholds assent to a Bill. It does not go on to state for instance what will happen when the stated number of days lapses without the King having assented to a Bill or what should happen if he indicates that he is withholding his assent to a particular Bill. It does not even enumerate or state instances when the King cold be enjoined not to withhold his assent anymore. Effectively this section makes us alive to the hardcore fact that any amendments can occur at the benevolence of the King or at worst the King can veto a Bill that seeks to amend the constitution. A reading of section 246 along with section 108 would indicate that the constitution leaves very little room if any for amendments of specially entrenched clauses if those amendments are not in the King’s interest. This argument is being advanced in light of the fact that this constitution demands a three quarters majority of a fully constituted bicameral sitting. The three quarters majority that the constitution requires of the full 104 members bicameral sitting would be 78. It should be recalled that the King has a quota of 30 appointees to parliament. This means that the King’s quota of appointees can frustrate the attainment of that three quarters majority. Even if by some stroke of luck the King’s appointees were to vote in favour of any proposed amendment, at no stage does the constitution indicate that the attainment of a majority vote will compel the King to subsequently assent. Even though this section alludes to the conduct of a referendum, nowhere in the constitution is it suggested that a majority vote by the electorate in favour of amendments can then compel the King to assent. Moreover, the list of matters listed as being specially entrenched in section 246 is unnecessarily long. This will mean that proposed amendments will now be expensive given the number of times that a referendum will need to be sought to effectively comply with the legal requirements for effecting amendments.

Bill of Rights:
The Bill of Rights has severe derogations and claw-backs which at the end of the day render the Bill of Rights to be useless. Some of the derogations are couched in generalized and spurious terms such as national security, public interest, public morality et al which ultimately avail a lot of room for denial of rights to the citizenry. It would therefore have been appropriate to just list the rights and treasured freedoms that are intended for the Swazi citizens without making any derogations or limitations and then formulating a generalized derogation formulated as follows:

“The rights in the Bill of rights may be limited only in terms of law of general application to the extent that the limitation is reasonable and justifiable in an open and democratic society based on human dignity equality and freedom taking into account all relevant factors including;
1. The nature of the right
2. The importance of the purpose of limitation
3. The relation between the limitation and its purpose
4. Less restrictive means to achieve the purpose”

A lot of discussions have been had on whether section 25, which affirms freedom of assembly and association, now creates an environment where political parties can now exist legally thereby changing the position that was introduced by the King’s Proclamation to the nation of 1973. Section 25 has to be understood in light of the provisions of section 79 which clearly states that one’s assumption of political office will be premised on individual merit. We also have to understand that political parties exist primarily so that they can contest for political office and avail the electorate an alternative to whatever government is holding fort at any given time and are not merely entities that exist to hold “Sunday picnics”. The closure of space within which they can contest for political office could serve as a denial of their existence in the first place. It should be noted that constitutions that do not contain a clause committing the country to multi-partyism cannot be considered as having a culture of constitutionalism. To further indicate the authorities’ paranoia for any form of political grouping, the words political and civic under section 58 of the Bill were ordered to be removed in terms of the special message communicated to parliament by the King. In their analysis of the draft constitution, the International Bar Association Expert Panel stated that the right to form and join political parties should be expressed and clearly guaranteed. This observation is pertinent and necessary for a country that has a history of a one party or no party rule.

Some major contradictions obtain in this constitution. An example would be the right to life which is given and subsequently derogated upon in section 15 while section 38 on the other hand identifies the right to life as one of those rights that cannot be derogated upon. We can only wait and see what happens in this arena when the courts continue handing down capital punishment on offenders as per the dictates of section 15 and those offenders invoke section 38 of the same constitution which cited the right to life as inviolable.

A whole set of rights which are part of the four United Nations Conventions that Swaziland ratified in 2004 which encompass social, economic and political rights have been removed from the Bill of Rights and are located under the directive principles of state policy in Chapter 5 and are made non enforceable. Directive principles of state policy generally refers to aims and objectives of the state and do not place an onus on government to provide for services such as health, education, housing, shelter and adequate nutrition. This means that we have now missed a chance as a country to domesticate some very critical instruments to which we had entered no exception or reservations. The obvious counter argument to this critique could be that some developing countries in the region and some of the celebrated democracies in the world such as India have a similar formulation as Swaziland in so far as socio and economic rights are concerned. It is often said that the rationale for this is that these countries do not want to be burdened with providing for these rights as they lack the financial means to meet such entitlements. In fact in some of these celebrated democracies, their courts, have in interpreting the directive principles of state policy in so far as they contain the rights enumerated above, actually affirmed these rights even though they had been clearly cited as being non justiciable. Whereas judicial activism abounds in most jurisdictions, one tends to doubt that that could be the case in Swaziland especially if we look at the fact that almost the entire bench is working on an acting capacity thereby not enjoying security of tenure. It is human nature that where there is no security of tenure, you do not find instances where people will act in a manner or take decisions that will offend the master lest they put their chance of further employment in jeopardy. Moreover, the democratic culture does not exist in Swaziland which could help in nurturing that environment where judges will act in a way that they will know that their decisions will not be visited with severe repercussions on their careers. It would therefore be important that the rights located under the directive principles of state policy are located in the Bill of Rights proper and as already suggested, rather than specifying in each right the circumstances where a limitation of such right is reasonable or justifiable or is impracticable to implement, a universal limitation clause should be included which will indicate the general requirements for limiting rights and providing for limitations of limitations such as the principles of proportionality or necessity in a democratic society and the prohibition of interference with the essential content of specific rights and liberties. Again the location of political rights under directive principles of state policies is indicative of government’s attitude to plurality.

The constitution sets up a Human Rights Commission. However section 165(3) (c ) of the constitution states that the Commission shall not investigate a matter relating to the exercise of any royal prerogative by the Crown. Effectively this means that the King and his functionaries, cannot be reported or investigated by the commission if the King’s name is cited as a result of the transgression on one’s rights.

By its very nature a Bill of Rights avails to the citizenry a shield with which they protect themselves against any transgressions on their rights from primarily their state and other citizens, institutions and organisations. This stems from the understanding that government and especially the executive arm of government is vested with too much power which it could use to run roughshod over rights of the citizenry hence the vertical and horizontal operation of rights. However section 169 of the constitution bars the commission from investigating any matter leading to, resulting from or connected with the decision of a minister, inquire into or question the policy of government in accordance with which the decision was made. This position is totally unacceptable as it permits the adoption of policies that will be in variance with the spirit of the constitution in so far as it espouses people’s rights. All rights must be enforceable and have practical application. The constitution must provide that when people allege that their rights have been violated, they have access to a court and if the alleged violation has occurred, an adequate remedy is applied for the violation. Without such a provision, a Bill of Rights has as much worth as the paper it is written on. A Bill of Rights that is implementable and enforceable is one of the most powerful protections that citizens acquire against tyranny, oppression and abuse.

The absence of the right to information is quite glaring for a country like Swaziland where certain national budgetary lines do not fall for debate such as the Swaziland National Treasury and the army budget. Infact accountability and transparency are two terms that are frequently used as indicators to assess a country’s democratic processes. A generalized assumption is that if a constitution provides for an open and democratic society, based on public accountability, transparency, freedom and equality that country is committed to democratic governance. This may not always be the case as the manner in which systems seek to provide transparency and accountability may pose problems. Moreover the amount of corruption that this country has reached suggests that the right to information is needed yesterday as the perpetrators are almost all in high echelons of power.

The enumeration of variables against which discrimination can obtain falls short of the appropriate standard as segregation on the basis of sex, marital status, language, conscience, social origin, and culture have not been listed. This could create room for discrimination to lawfully obtain if it is premised on these variables.

In relation to women’s rights, section 28 of the Bill of Rights contains the rights to equality with subsection 3 stating that a woman shall not be compelled to undergo a practice to which she in conscience opposed. The major problem with this formulation is that it places the onus on the woman to identify the practice that she does not want to undergo instead of simply making unlawful or unconstitutional any custom that offends against women. Women will find themselves fighting lone battles against their families, communities, churches and other groupings with which they interact if those structures will hold a contrary view to that which the woman will have on that given custom.

Moreover parliamentarians had sought to amend the section 28 to enumerate culture as an additional basis upon which women should be equal. This again was a timely intervention as most of the inequality is premised on custom. That was changed in compliance with the message from the throne. One is yet to understand the rationale that informed the rejection of parliament’s suggestion on this section.

Whereas section 211 purports to give land to all citizens across gender lines, the problem comes about in the formulation of the section wherein it anticipates and accommodates “exigencies of a particular situation”. This statement can provide an overarching basis for denial of access to land since those exigencies are not enumerated. Further section 211 cites the usage of the land as being limited to only domestic purposes thereby limiting the ability of ordinary Swazi farmers residing on Swazi Nation Land to farm commercially.

Citizenship can still not be passed on by Swazi women to their children or their spouses yet we have a clause purporting to introduce equality.

In conclusion, the million dollar question is “Is this the kind of constitution that we want for ourselves and our children? It is worth recalling that Swazis have been largely classified as a passive society that does not read which places them in a position wherein they cannot critically engage documents and structures that map out their identity and subsequently their destiny. A lot of instruments have been signed and or ratified by our government which spell out a general direction that countries the world over want to use as bench marks for determining the relevance of their structure to a democratic polity. Our constitution offends most of these standards that the rest of the world has set in order to create open societies. It remains critically important that the citizens wakeup from their deep slumber and become part of the critical mass that will challenge our government not to take its citizenry for granted. This piece therefore challenges every Swazi to acquaint themselves with their constitution and constructively seeks means and ways of engaging our government to create a proper democratic order if our country is to embrace a proper democratic order.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Mlumati Resolution

June 28 - July 1, 2006


We, the sons and daughters of the majority of the poor and marginalized Swazi citizens, the true patriots of our beloved country Swaziland, have met here in the Republic of South Africa's Mpumalanga province's Mlumati Technical College to reflect on our historical struggle for a democratic and free Swaziland. For a period spanning three decades (1973 to 2006), our people have been yearning for freedom from the Royal oppressors and this basic right has been continually denied to them. We meet in foreign lands for the same reason of oppression in our own country where a simple political meeting is enough to be charged for high treason. We meet in these foreign lands not out of choice, but because a minority regime have been denying us this right for the past 33 years.

We are aware of the noble role that history has bestowed on us, and that is to continue to lead our people in their struggle for freedom from the yoke of Royal oppression. We know we shall overcome because history is on our side. There is no regime that will survive forever if its very existence is derived
from sucking the blood of the people it purports to govern. Ours is just to guide the people's energy and collective effort and channel such towards a struggle that the Royal family will find it difficult to repel.

Our time is now, and the bells of freedom are ringing. We believe we shall overcome someday soon.

As we meet in these three days, we have resolved that we should put in motion the following programme as per the resolutions taken by a body of true soldiers
of democracy and liberty.


Whilst PUDEMO has been accepted by our people as the sole organization that has demonstrated its selfless sacrifices over 33 years for the liberation of the majority marginalized people of Swaziland, it still has the challenge to:

- Provide leadership and confidence on the people in order for them to stand up and be part of the liberation agenda.
- Reach out to the rural areas of the country where the majority of our marginalized and oppressed people live and bring awareness of the daily problems they face as a result of the repressive Royal family and its Tinkhundla system of government.
- Unite the fragmented progressive motive forces so to build a strong and united front that will be able to bring about democracy and social liberties in our country.


- It is through our Movement's collective political objectives that our society can be transformed to a democratic one.
- Our cadres must be visible in the length and breadth of our country with a clear mandate to organize and give direction to all members of our communities.
- Through our movement's efforts, the people will be empowered to rise against the Royal regime and be their own liberators.

1. Create and define an aggressive political programme for mass insurrection.
2. Set a programme with clear demands based on objectives and / or goals: flood the country with activism
3. Identify and define clearly who the enemy is
4. Campaign and advocate for a democratically established constitutional forum.
5. Form and forge alliances with civic organization
6. Work towards an enabling environment for workers to participate meaningfully in politics.
7. Root PUDEMO ideals within the communities and integrate the movement's programmes in community-based struggles.
8. Empower and train all marshals on minimum defense skills.


- The movement is weak in terms of structures on the ground as most regional structures are yet to be built. Out of the 14 regions that form the structure of the movement, only 4 are active and functional.
- The movement requires resources in order to develop cadres.
- There is a need to implement the programme of action which is a vehicle for liberation, and hence there is a need to mobilize the society around these programmes.


- Only a strong PUDEMO can bring down the Royal family and replace it with a democratic political system
- PUDEMO has not developed and engaged the Royal family at its full potential because of its own weakness as a movement
- The Royal family is not in power because it is strong, but because the movement has not done enough to galvanise the people around a liberation programme that could create an irresistible wave that will ensure liberation sooner.


1. Establish units and enhance their operations and visibility.
2. Instill and ensure proper and feasible coordinating process.
3. Ensure effective communication within and among all structures of the movement.
4. Put in place a clear and workable program of action, articulating time frames for all programmes and a practical reporting mechanism.
5. Create the organs of people's power within all communities.
6. Engage in perpetual and constant empowerment of Movement's personnel to sustain cadre ship and Movements' programmes.
7. Establish and empower the Movement's international offices and representation to profile the Movement and solicit funds.
8. Put in place a Working Committee to facilitate and monitor all programmes of the movement.
9. Establish a high-powered Directorate of Policies to ensure the Movement haspolicy documents that are written in both SiSwati and English and are distributed to as wide a population as possible. This will bring to the fore that the movement is ready to govern.


- Currently the balance of forces favour the regime as it has a police force of 3211, an army of 4300 soldiers, and correctional services members of 1222.
- The King has increased salaries and bettered living conditions for these forces to ensure continued support.
- More resources are spent on initiatives like the Tinkhundla soccer tournements which are made to buy some lost favours from the population.
- The progressive forces is weak and divided as can be seen by the dysfunctional of the Swaziland Democratic Alliance.
- The fragmentation of the labour force particularly developments within SFTUare not helping the cause for pro democracy forces.
- The continued retrenching of workers has both negative and positive effects. Retrenchments bring about diminishing worker complement and weak trade union
movement as a force for change. On the other hand, retrenchments bring about high unemployment, which in turn bring about civil strife that can bring about the fall of the Royal regime.
- There is increased pressure on the monarchy to embrace democracy from the international community.
- The economy is doing badly partly because of the Royal extravagant spending and mismanagement of resources


- There is an urgent need to tilt the balance of forces in the favour of the Movement as a vanguard for the liberation of the Swazi people.
- Unity within the progressive forces is of paramount importance
- Strengthening the trade union movement is key in ensuring the balance of forces become favourable to the liberation programme.
- Political education on the motive forces is key to ensuring all the motive forces know and understand the role they have to play in their liberation.
- Taking charge of all spheres of our society by the movement is critical in order to ensure political hegemony in the Swazi struggle.


1. Revive and develop a competent deploying committee to strategize and ensure all those deployed remain accountable to the movement regardless of positions they hold in whatever sector of society they might be deployed to.
2. Build units within sectors of interest to the Movement's revolution and capacitate them to ensure a sustained PUDEMO conscious society.
3. Harmonise the multi-class character of the movement with the ultimate goal of liberation and democracy.
4. Develop a clear PUDEMO programme on the motive forces.
5. Establish a fully operational intelligence and underground operations.
6. Ensure there is a relationship and interface of the four pillars of the struggle in the Movement's Strategies and Tactics.
7. Establish a Communication and Propaganda Desk.


- History has it that it was the people through PUDEMO who demanded a democratic constitution for the country.
- The Royal family had consistently rejected the need for a constitution, let alone a democratic constitution for Swaziland. The Royal family always maintained that there was no need for a constitution, as everyone knew his or her position in the semi-feudal Swazi society; a society it acknowledged to be based on master and servant or King and commoner relationship.
- The Royal family yielded under PUDEMO orchestrated pressure; internal and external, and decided to hijack the constitutional making process. A result of
this process is a constitution that is fraudulent and is only aimed at reinforcing the unlimited and abusive powers of the king and his stranglehold on our people
- As expected, the majority of the freedom loving people of our country and the world rejects the Royal constitution.

- It is the people who can force for an all inclusive and democratic constitutional making process through their concerted efforts.
- The Royal family will always resist any effort that will give birth to a society that accepts all its people as equal, and hence we must brace ourselves for a stiff and brutal resistance to such noble endeavours
- We shall have a democratic constitution after we have managed to win a lot of battles on the ground. What we could not win on the battlefront, we shall
not win on the constitutional making table.
- PUDEMO is right in calling for a democratic constitution and rejecting a constitution that serves the minority Royal family


1. Establish a competent Constitutional Task team.
2. Advocate for establishment of a Constituent Assembly to realize civic education, interim government and subsequently democratic elections.
3. Publicize PUDEMO Way Forward outlining and highlighting the masses demands and subsequently a People's Charter.
4. Continue to use PUDEMO way forward, subject to review by Congress.
5. Tirelessly work with all stakeholders for a democratic constitution that is written by a free Swazi nation for themselves, their children and the many generations to come. The prerequisite shall be the unconditional return of all political exiles, unbanning of political parties and removal of all impediments
like the monopoly of the media, the allowing of free access to the people and the removal of political threats on all those who have differing views.

Secretary General
People's United Democratic Movement

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Presidential Annual Report 2006

I can hear the roars of thunder in the streets of Swaziland as the masses proclaim…The day of liberation!

PUDEMO President – Cde Mario Masuku

Political Report to the Annual Conference of PUDEMO

28 June – 2nd July, 2006

Table of contents:
  1. Introduction
  2. History is on the side of the poor and oppressed
  3. From spontaneous mass resistance to sustained liberation struggle
  4. The world we live in today and prospects for a democratic victory in Swaziland
  5. Political tasks of the movement
  6. The future belongs to the people

Cde Chairperson of the session,
Members of the National Executive Committee,
International friends and allies,
Representatives of fraternal organizations,
Esteemed delegates


In the Political Report we submitted to the Piet Retief Annual Conference of PUDEMO, we said, “In any struggle it is important to recognize the critical moment, the time when decisive action can propel the struggle into a new phase………………..and when the moment of revolution arrives, only a political organization which has been with the people through all their earlier experiences can hope to command their support”.

Indeed, we gather today at this important and Special session in the life of our movement, not out of tradition or being used to it, but fundamentally because we have work to do. We are entrusted by the mass of the poor and oppressed people of Swaziland with the historic duty of destroying the system of tinkhundla royal rule and in its place, creating a new and truly democratic Swaziland.

We are not here to lament about the extent of tinkhundla brutality, neither are we here to make rhetoric about what are the problems we face, but we are here to plot how best to intensify the on-going offensive and accordingly make the necessary changes to our programme regarding the prosecution of our political tasks on the ground.

As we gather today, we wish to pay tribute to all our comrades who happened to pass on during the period between now and the Piet Retief Conference, in particular we pay special tribute to the gallant fighter, revolutionary and firm cadre of our movement; Dumsani Shosholoza Khoza.

We also acknowledge the heroic sacrifices that our member make daily in the trenches of struggle in and outside the country, as they face jail, exile and daily persecution by the forces of tinkhundla royal tyranny. We salute the firmness and boldness that has forced the enemy to accept that change is inevitable in Swaziland.

The Piet Retief Conference of PUDEMO clearly stated what are the concrete tasks of the movement at this phase;
·Building PUDEMO’s political capacity to lead the masses
·Mass mobilisation and deepening a culture of democracy in our society as a whole
·Clear programme for Gender equality and the transformation of land ownership patterns as central elements of social transformation and fundamental change
·Development through the radical growth and redistribution of the economy
·International solidarity for democracy in Swaziland, sovereign development in Africa and justice in global governance.

Therefore, we are here to evaluate how far have we remained true to our own commitments. We must certainly differ from the tinkhundla system not only in terms of our superior political vision, but also our style of operation and honesty to our cause. We make declarations and must live by them, otherwise, this Conference must not even begin, if its one of those usual gatherings and social clubs we can think of.

In seeking to do so, we are inspired and guided by the following key documents of the movement, whose basic outline of our political vision and what should be done to realise it, is correct and clear;
·The People’s manifesto
·PUDEMO Strategy and tactics
·The Sikhawini 5th General Congress Declaration and the subsequent Programme of action
·The Piet Retief Declaration and Resolutions

As well as other such important documents of the movement generally;
·The Ermelo Declaration
·The Mzinti Conference resolutions
·Manzini Conference resolutions
·SWAYOCO and Women’s league documents, resolutions and programmes, particularly the historic 5-year Strategic Plan of SWAYOCO

It is exactly 5 years now since our last Congress at Sikhawini in 2001, and we have a task to clarify whether we have, in concrete terms, made progress since then or not. When we do so, we dare not romanticize issues, but engage them critically so that we can be able to clarify the truth behind the real state of PUDEMO today.

History is on the side of the poor and oppressed

The struggle for social justice, equality and democracy is a struggle for the fundamental change of society, because in the way society is organized today, such noble values cannot be realized.

Therefore, this realization is the very basis of our struggle for a society free from the shackles of royal monopoly and tinkhundla semi-feudal crisis.

The history of every society is but a means to change the ownership of the means of production and the wealth of society in general, it is a struggle rooted in the need to destroy all elements of injustice and structural inequality built and sustained by the system of parasitic rule.

History has proven that every struggle is rooted in the core foundations of class struggle, the real roots of all exploitation and suffering. In this sense, every struggle is a struggle by the poor and oppressed against the oppressive minority of parasites.

In the specific context of Swaziland, the royal minority, who are the puppets of international capital have always used narrow tribal ideology (culture being the manifestation of that) to whip up emotions of reactionary patriotism and breed values of passivity and active compliance with the interests of the ruling royalist minority.

The exploitation of the majority of workers, the rampant abuse of women, the legalized abuse of children and the youth, the brutal exploitation of the rural landless majority and the general subjection of the people to the reign of royal terror is all in the name of Swazi culture.

This is why we must contest and win the battle of ideas in the public space. We must do all and everything in our power to push back the frontiers of tinkhundla backwardness by exposing the political bankruptcy of the system. In this sense, we can boldly claim that history is on the side of the poor, because they are the ultimate victors in the struggle for human dignity, whatever the odds at the moment.

We must never allow a few parasites to opportunistically define what is Swazi culture and what our identity should be as Swazis. We are first and foremost, human beings and aspire to the highest ideals of the human race, the most civilized and progressive traditions that humanity as a whole has so far been able to develop and the most supreme values governing human relations. In this sense, our uniqueness is not about a detour from these basic values, but fundamentally their affirmation in context.

From spontaneous mass resistance to sustained liberation struggle

From humble beginnings in 1983, PUDEMO has risen to be a giant of stature in the political arena of Swaziland. It has become accepted as an important element of any serious and lasting political solution to the problems of our country. In this sense, we can confidently affirm that what we seek to resolve here these few days is of significance far beyond the walls of this building.

It is awaited with keen interest by the whole Swazi society, and of course, the international community.

PUDEMO organized and built a network of underground structures of mass resistance to open space for public debate and struggle. In doing so, the movement sought to deepen a culture of vibrant engagement, but more than that, to deepen a culture of resistance and rebellion against royal exploitation in all its forms. This is why we can boldly and proudly claim that we are now getting into a new era of a sustained liberation movement in Swaziland.

The era we have just emerged from is that of a society in rebellion against oppression, but we must now turn that rebellion into active struggle and a conscious movement for democracy. We must turn the massive anger into political energy through a sustained programme of liberation. This was well articulated by our historic programme of PUDEMO, The last Mile to freedom.

In building a sustained liberation movement of the people we need to learn from the past experiences of the mass resistance movement, which could not turn the massive anger into political energy against the tinkhundla system. Lets turn the struggle against landlessness into political energy, lets turn the massive anger against poor wages and working conditions into political energy, lets turn the massive anger against the abuse of women and children, the HIV/AIDS genocide, the poverty crisis and collapsing state institutions into political energy and deal the tinkhundla regime a serious blow.

We can only announce the political funeral of the tinkhundla system if we are able to develop a comprehensive programme that clarifies our intentions in the short-term, medium term and long term. We must know what we seek to do now, what we seek to do next year and what we seek to do in the next ten years. In this way we can claim with confidence that we are capturing the imaginations of poor, hopeless and desperate masses. They would begin to believe that they are not vesting their energies in the wrong vehicle. PUDEMO must not only prove itself, but demonstrate its determination to be an alternative to the dying and crisis-prone tinkhundla system.

This means we must establish an infrastructure that is equal to the task of making a decisive blow to the forces of tinkhundla tyranny. The Piet Retief Resolutions of the movement are quite explicit about what should be done in this regard, particularly as regards the following core areas of our work;

  • Political work
  • Organisational work
  • Financial work
  • International work

Balance of forces in Swaziland

The state of forces in Swaziland as regards the actual balance of relations between the enemy forces and progressive forces is an important element of our work, hence the need for regular evaluation to assist us position the movement and the forces of revolution in general, in a proper position. In our Political Report to Congress, we shall deal with these at length, but for now, there is a Comrade who shall deal with the actual balance of forces.

In this regard, the following forces are critical;
  • Trade unions
  • Youth and students
  • Women
  • NGOs, professional bodies and Social movements
  • Churches and religious organizations
  • Rural and landless masses

Then on the other hand are the;
  • State
    • Government
    • Judiciary
    • Legislature
  • The institution of the monarchy and the royal family as a whole
  • The state of capital or business in general
  • The security forces; military, police and intelligence forces
  • Ideological apparatus of the regime

It is important that we properly understand these and how they affect or determine the pace of our struggle, as well as what should be done. These must be understood in the context of an on-going class struggle and the forces contesting hegemony in our society.

This also applies to the issue of the constitution which shall be under serious scrutiny in this Conference. But we must clarify one thing about it, our main concern is not whether the constitution is legitimate or not, but it is what is the impact of the recent developments in the country for our struggle. We are fighting a political struggle and not a constitutional struggle, which means we need a political solution, in which case the constitution shall be an element and not the be-it-all of our struggle.

We stand firm in our position in the midst of intimidation and cowardice, we affirm our position and wayfoward that says the constitution should be a product of a democratic process and only then can PUDEMO actively participate in it. We however, remain committed to genuine dialogue and not royal imposition or political circus.

The world we live in today and prospects for a democratic victory in Swaziland

At the beginning of this century and during colonial times, western countries saw their colonies in Africa, Asia and Latin America as sources of raw materials and cheap labour, for industry in the mother country. They used the colonies to generate wealth on terms of trade beneficial to the industrialised countries, which laid the basis for the perpetual unequal relations.

Factors that accounted for the deepening of the unequal relations, inter alia are, particularly the third world debt;
·Crisis in the world economy which could only be bailed out through a transfer of loans to the crumbling poor countries, as well as to bail out the economies of western countries themselves which were undergoing deep-seated structural crisis in their profitability indices. In this sense, loans sought to stimulate the market in the north and set the economic ball rolling;

·OPEC profitability which was invested in western commercial banks that became too loaded with money and decided to plan for a loaning system to developing countries, as a means to service their systems;

·Arms became a key part of the external debt, which was in the interest of western profitability and part of the arms race, so central to the cold war conflict

The crisis and dilemma of Africa’s development prompted the development of the Lagos Plan of action in 1979, which was heavily criticised by the World Bank as not giving enough room for private sector participation, not emphasising enough on the need for reforms in the public sector and being too ambitious in its projections on what Africa could achieve in terms of industrial growth [1].

The world bank therefore went ahead to set up its own assessment of the possibilities to jump start African economies and in accordance with its mandate as the forebearer of capital’s interests throughout the world. It appointed Professor Elliot Berg as the leader of the commission, which came up with a two-pronged solution to the problems;
·Rolling back the state from involvement in the economy through privatisation; and,
·Opening up the economy to more private sector participation and the rule of the market through liberalisation.

In this regard, this is the background to the imposition of Structural adjustments programmes (SAPs) defined as IMF economic policies imposed by western creditors whose ultimate purpose is;
·To generate hard currency to repay debts; and,
·To open up developing country markets to foreign imports.

These cannot be achieved unless a country is so indebted that it can be forced to open up its foreign capital and trade markets. The way to get a country to open up is to offer loans or bail-outs and then apply conditions. Western creditors cannot intervene unless a country becomes indebted. Then the IMF is sent in to put adjustments policies in place.

The conditions tied to SAPs in general impose;
·Higher interest rates
·Cuts in public expenditure, including cuts in health, education and social welfare budgets
·Currency devaluation, making exports cheaper and imports more expensive
·Limiting state interference, which means the removal of state subsidies, such as on basic foodstuffs
·Privatising state industries and agencies, such as transport, agricultural co-operatives, hospitals, schools, etc
·Increasing exports, such as plantation cash crops instead of subsistence food crops.
·Encouraging international investment, such as the establishment of export-processing zones, allowing profit repatriation, limiting the power of unions and other organised mass organs, promoting the unlimited rule of transnational companies, etc.

This is the era we characterize as neo-liberal globalisation. This means all the tragedies of privatization, massive retrenchments, unemployment, cut backs in education and health can only be explained in relation to the dominant system of heightened capital accumulation, particularly driven by and favouring rich elites in the north and their junior counterparts in developing countries.

The Swazi case as an example of Africa’s corrupt elitism

A cousin company to Britain’s defence export services organisation (DESO) is BESO, which is the British Executive Services Overseas, which specializes in cushioning the economic and other interests of the corrupt political elites of certain countries all over the world in line with the fundamental interests of British capitalism, through these puppet elites.

This is the same company that has over the years run the strategic and commercial interests of king Mswati. All the Swazi money he acquires through robbing the Swazi people and invest it in Crown Agents in England, is a classical example of how the systematic looting of Africa’s wealth and its transfer to Europe is being perpetuated.

Certainly the rich and powerful are benefiting from this official looting and historic plunder, hence its interest in maintaining not only undemocratic systems, but also the very corrupt elites, aside their public relations stunts about their much proclaimed commitment to democracy and human rights in Africa, a very convenient political posture indeed.

There is no doubt that a further illustration of this classical example would also indicate that, the primary reason why Swaziland survived for so long as an undemocratic country was due to the fact that the British military intelligence (M16) and its whole security establishment, took full responsibility for protecting the political and economic interests of the Swazi monarchy, since the days of king Sobhuza 11 and worked actively to frustrate all efforts towards a genuine democratic dispensation by the forces of progress in the country.

Maintaining in power the puppet royal regime of Swaziland is in the interests of British imperialism. The role of Tibiyo and Tisuka are to oil the wheels of imperialist accumulation to ensure the effective participation of the royal aristocracy in the process of global capital accumulation and exploitation of the world’s poor majority.

This is what explains the double standards applied by Britain, particularly in dealing with Swaziland as opposed to how they are dealing with Zimbabwe.

Britain has been the most vocal opponent of smart sanctions being applied against Mswati’s regime in the European Union, yet the foremost proponent of the same for Zimbabwe, purportedly for the reason of human rights and democracy, what a shame on a neo-colonial bully!

In the context of all these forces at play and the political architecture globally, we need a proper response and that response must take full advantage of the global balance of forces, whilst exercising extreme caution with regard to the dangers posed by these at all times.

It is in the context of the above that we take this opportunity to salute the work of our international friends and structures, key amongst them are the South African tripartite alliance components, our European counterparts in Denmark and Netherlands in particular, our newly established Canadian structure of the Swaziland Solidarity Network and its main body, the South Africa based Swaziland Solidarity Network (SSN), our international offices in Australia, and South Africa, all of them have done us proud. Without their active and consistent support, we would not be where we are today. We dare not let down their contributions, but demonstrate renewed commitment to the cause.

The recent and highly successful border blockade which was organised jointly with COSATU by the Swaziland Solidarity Network confirmed the practical will by our comrades in South Africa to really make practical the commitment to solidarity with the oppressed people of Swaziland.

Political tasks of the movement –

Towards the renewal of the political giant of the Swazi people to reclaim its rightful place as the leader of their struggle

In 2003, immediately after the Piet Retief Conference, we adopted an Organisational Renewal Strategy called, Imvuselelelo Plan. It was a coherent plan to renew and strengthen PUDEMO through building a very vibrant and dynamic organisation guided by clear and advanced political perspectives.

However, we have not been able, as yet to make the plan work or at least, there has been half-commitment from many of us to this plan, for various reasons and this Conference must affirm the urgency of that plan, otherwise we shall lament forever.

Let us remind each other about what that plan sought to do and what is required of us now. This strategy sought to address the following core issues and tasks of our movement;
·The task of implementing PUDEMO programmes and resolutions on the ground
·The task of linking theory and policies of the organisation with the day-to-day experiences in the concrete realities we face in our daily political practice in our communities and work
·The task of mobilising into active participation, all cadres of PUDEMO to become fully involved in the work of building PUDEMO and advancing the whole struggle on a daily basis
·The task of proper co-ordination, cohesion and organised planning for maximum impact and clear understanding amongst all structures of the movement and all the people of Swaziland.

The tasks ahead – How much work needs to be done on the ground?

The following areas have been identified as critical to our work;
·Recruitment and induction of new cadres
·Political education, leadership development and building mass political consciousness
·Effective information dissemination and popular agitation for mass action
·Active participation in the raging struggles of the masses on the ground, as well as in all social structures; trade unions for worker’s rights, community organisations for basic services, church struggles for moral renewal and social justice, rural masses for land, students for free education, women for human dignity and gender equality, etc.
·Building a strong and visible PUDEMO on the ground, actively leading community struggles and mobilising the people for consistent mass action, which includes building a strong SWAYOCO and Women’s league.

The movement has problems which have gone beyond being internal matters, but they are now public matters. Some of these most pressing problems include;
*Weak or none existent structures and campaigns, particularly in regions and branches as they are there in name or individuals;
*Poor communication within our own structures, first, and with the mass of the people, generally.
*Poor co-ordination and coherence by higher structures, particularly the NEC and regions which are key power centres in the political language of PUDEMO;
*Weak cadreship in terms of; theoretical clarity and understanding of key issues, as well as in terms of frontline militancy and active participation and leadership in the daily struggles of these masses
*Poor profiling of PUDEMO leadership, which makes the masses have less confidence in the movement itself, because people should associate the movement with a particular symbol of resistance and hope.
*Inability of PUDEMO to correctly take up and rally the masses around issues of daily concern to them and their lives, such that we are walking parallel to the struggles of these masses, though we claim to lead them.

Therefore, if we are serious about reclaiming our historical position as the leader of these masses, the above picture must be removed immediately. We must work tirelessly to change the outlook and political posture of the movement to reflect seriousness, urgency and undying commitment, underpinned by unity of purpose and superior methods of organisation in actual struggles.

The idea behind the Plan

Organising PUDEMO into a superior political force guided by advanced political theory and sophisticated methods of organisation on the ground is the real motive behind this plan. It requires the following qualities, in order to succeed;

*Willingness on the part of all members and leaders of PUDEMO to admit that the situation within the movement has reached a serious situation;
*The luxury of casualty is not in the interest of the movement and the suffering masses, hence urgency must be the driving force behind this plan and the whole effort to renew PUDEMO;
*As leaders at all levels, including regions, branches and leagues, we must not be defensive, but upfront about our weaknesses and failures so that we can begin the process of correcting them and improving our work;
*We must allow for honest debates and reflection amongst ourselves, our allies and general structures of our society;
*Frank and vigorous political debates must form the central part of our organisational culture, which requires that we encourage it and not stifle it as has been the culture in some of our structures, particularly in regions where forums for discussions have not been so pronounced;
*Sacrifice is the only guarantee for victory in any revolution, which therefore requires that cadres stop lamenting, but put all their energies at the disposal of the struggle and work for these masses tirelessly. We cannot have both worlds of comfort and normality living side by side with political struggle, because struggle by its very being presupposes sacrifice and abnormality in one’s way of life;
*Finally, We must identify and uproot all elements that hinder progress and frustrate this plan, which is about the future of our movement and the people it represents. We must be upfront about the need for this plan to succeed at all costs.

PUDEMO has two choices; fail in positioning itself properly and regret forever or timeously make a difference and reposition itself properly and remain relevant for years to come.

We all agree that 20 years is a lengthy period for any movement not to have undergone any serious process of renewal, because the conditions change daily and require that we reorganise our machinery on a constant basis to adapt to the ever changing circumstances on the ground as imposed by the scientific reality of the terrain.

What kind of PUDEMO can be considered organised and ready to lead the people of Swaziland into the promised land;

*Fully functional structures; holding regular meetings, reporting constantly to members, carrying out tasks efficiently, uniting the people, etc;
*All cadres fully mobilised and in action. The attitude of people who are militants only in conferences or in social gatherings, without daily active participation in political work is failing the movement and must be defeated;
*All structures carrying out political work amongst the masses and organising popular campaigns around issues affecting the poor in their communities;
*Political education, propaganda work and building strong regions and branches is central to the future of PUDEMO and must be carried out daily by every member of PUDEMO;
*Guaranteeing the full and effective participation of women, disabled people, rural poor, youth, workers and all elements of the marginalised community of our country, in the daily affairs of PUDEMO
*Clear documents, internalised and fully understood by the whole membership, so as to spread PUDEMO hegemony throughout all sectors of our society is a condition for victory;
*Leadership guided by the motto; first in commitment, first in sacrifice and first in discipline at all levels; NEC, RECs and BECs;

NB: Regions shall also be expected to hold their own renewal exercises once this exercise has been completed, to take down the process until it reach the lowest level of PUDEMO organisation, The same shall be expected of the leagues; SWAYOCO & the WL

The future belongs to the people

The future of our struggle, not least of our own glorious movement, PUDEMO, is what we make of it. We are called upon to demonstrate a particular level of determination and seriousness in this effort of seeking to make PUDEMO the real leader of our people in terms of its; superior ideological and theoretical clarity, as well as organisational methods on the ground. The future is in our hands.


[1] Lagos Plan of Action

Thursday, June 22, 2006

PUDEMO goes to annual conference

22nd June 2006

PUDEMO goes to annual conference
28th June to 2nd July to reflect on achievements and repositioning itself as it marches to democracy.


PUDEMO, like every organization need to reflect, reorganize and renew itself if it wants to remain relevant in the ever-changing political world of today. This week PUDEMO will be meeting in RSA’s Mpumalanga province it its annual conference to map a way forward.

The question one may ask why in RSA when the country is said to be opening up to democracy with all its freedoms. There is nothing further from the truth. Swaziland has never changed a bit. Swaziland is still a monarchical dictatorship where all power is centred on one man, and that man is the King or Ingwenyama, the mouth that never lies. Preparing for an annual conference is taxing in terms of time and resources. It would have been unwise of PUDEMO to risk all the effort by holding this meeting in Swaziland where the Royal hit squads marauding as police would disrupt the conference.

Another factor is that Swaziland is second only after Zimbabwe to generate exiles. We have quite a sizeable number of our members who fled Swaziland over the years because of political persecution. They are in Australia, UK, RSA and other countries. They need to attend the conference as well so that they can contribute to the liberation plan as it is unfolded.

Invited guests

We have extended our invitation to our external fraternal friends and allies in the ANC, SACP and COSATU. We have also invited various unions, which are affiliated to COSATU and are based in Mpumalanga. These are the people who have been there for the struggling masses of our people over the past 23 years of our struggle.

We have also invited local organizations like the SFTU, SFL, NNLC, SNAT and SNACS. Others included SNA for nurses and STAWU for transport and allied workers unions.


We expect the following papers to be presented;

*The state of the nation address by the president
*Building Alliances
*Building a new PUDEMO profile -
*The current constitutional framework
*The balance of forces analysis
*The state of the Swazi economy – we want our members to appreciate the grave economic situation that has been brought about by Royal mismanagement and looting over the past 38 years.

Expected outcome:

*A much stronger PUDEMO capable of making the last push to democracy
*A new way forward document
*A firm position on the new Royal constitution
*A firm position on the motive forces and how we can continue to unite the various sectors of our society against Tinkhundla
*Fresh mandate to our structures and the international offices so that we can continue the campaign to isolate the King of Swaziland and his Tinkhundla system of government.
*There is no time to delay our freedom as the economy of the country is being looted at an alarming rate.

2.0 We call upon the international community to isolate Tinkhundla and the Swazi Royal family

2.1 Swaziland is a time bomb waiting to explode. The people have been suffering for so long and yet there is not much that we hear from the international community. If there is no deafening silence on the repression in Swaziland, there is active support from such organizations as the UNDP and the Commonwealth. Shame on the people who are in the corridors of power who elect to look the other way when our people are suffering from a minority family masquerading as a Royal family. We congratulate the people of Nepal and we wish to take a leaf on how they managed to deal with a similar problem. Whilst PUDEMO has no problem with a constitutional monarchy, it has a lot against an unproductive family that loots the resources of our country at the expense of a poor people. HIV/AIDS is ravaging our people. Some of the cultural practices like forced marriages, reed dance ceremonies where young girls are paraded half naked for the lustful men from the corridors of power both inside and outside Swaziland to satisfy their lust. A lot of these girls are sexually abused in these ceremonies and hence the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS.
2.2 Unemployment is rising to uncontrollable limits, health facilities have nothing more than painkillers and orphaned and vulnerable children are littering the Swazi schools.
2.3 Recently the King took with him lots of people to entertain some of his friends in Taiwan and Indonesia at the expense of the country’s meager resources

The question is for how long will the Swazi suffer before the commonwealth do something.

We thank the ambassadors from USA, Italy, UK and the Netherlands for telling the king that the time for repression is over. We are calling upon all peace loving people of the world to come to the aid of the Swazi people.

PUDEMO welcomes the investigations into the death of freedom fighters in Swaziland

We believe that the process is long overdue. We are happy that a decision has been taken to have the investigations. We are ready to assist with any information that can help get to the bottom of this atrocious act in our country. The people of South Africa and family members of the cadres who were killed in Swaziland must be assured of PUDEMO’s absolute support to the investigations. We are calling our people to come up and make presentations to whatever structure that will be put in place to investigate the killings in Swaziland. But we wish to warn the investigators that they should not hope to get anything from the regime and the Royal family in Swaziland. The reason is simple; it was the same people together with the Royal police who engaged in human trade with the apartheid regime. Some of the police bought farms with the blood money. PUDEMO is ready to assist with the investigations. This is a small contribution we are prepared to help for the families who lost their beloved ones at the hands of a few unscrupulous people.

International solidarity.

Our thoughts are with the people of Darfur and wish that a speedy resolution should be found in order for them to live a normal life.

Our solidarity goes to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. We are calling upon the world to help resolve the problem in these areas. Too many lives have been lost and any life lost is one too many. We support the creation of two states in the Middle East, the Palestinian and Israeli states living in peace side by side.

We remember the people of East Timor, the Cuban people and all people who are suffering, and we say our solidarity goes to them as we fight our own war of freedom.

IB Dlamini
Secretary General