Wednesday, August 30, 2006

PUDEMO Letter to The African Human Rights Commission

The African Human Rights Commission
The Director

Dear Madam

PUDEMO is pleased for being afforded the opportunity by the commission to brief it about its position regarding the adoption and coming into force and effect of the Swaziland Constitutional Act 001/2006.


The purported ‘acceptance’ of the Constitution by His Majesty the King and a small section of the Swazi nation it to be lamented as it will be recalled that such“acceptance” was done amidst objection by organised civil society, basically for the reason among many that the process was exclusionary, in that it prevented and prohibited a large section of the people of Swaziland from participating and making submissions to both Constitution Review Commission and the Constitution Drafting Commission. While the said reception of the Constitution by His Majesty the King andsome members of the Swazi nation cannot be said to have been acceptance by all the people of Swaziland, the enactment thereof by Parliament was also flawed inthat Parliament was not authorised and mandated to do so, particularly giventhat it is not itself a product of a democratic process representing thegeneral consensus of the people of Swaziland.

In this regard, it should be noted that in as much as the Tinkhundla system of Government was imposed upon the Nation by King Sobhuza II, it does not represent the exercise of sovereignty by the people. This is the main faction of the Tinkhundla system of government which criminalises and bans political parties. The electoral process under this system, is an important element of deception as evidenced by the fact that both the candidates and the voters donot decide anything fundamental and basic, but are used to rigidly set the term and parameters on acceptable position of major political question. The report of the Commonwealth Expect Teamof October 2003, it stresses this point by saying “We do not consider the creditability of the national elections as an issue; no elections can be credible when they are for parliament which has no power and when political parties are banned’.

It must not be left out of account that this electoral system and the regime governing its operation which this constitution purports to enshrine in section 79 thereof does not come any closer to the electoral bench mark envisaged by the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa.

Note further that the African Commission, after due consideration and determination of the Swaziland Lawyers for Human Rights petition found that the Swaziland Constitution making process was exclusionary and in the result undemocratic and contravening some international conventions which Swaziland was signatory to. This constitution is a recipe for national strife, whose consequences are too ghastly to contemplate.


After ong preparatory discussions and consultations with various stakeholders and legal experts, PUDEMO and other organised civil society groupings have ultimately resolved to institute legal proceedings to challenge the validly ofthe 2005 Swaziland Constitution on the following grounds.
a) That the process did not comply with spirit, object and purport of the provisions of the King’s Proclamation to the Nation of 1973, particularly paragraph 2(e)thereof which reads thus:-

That I and all my people heartily desire at long last after a long constitutional struggle, to achieve full freedom and independence under a constitution created by ourselves for ourselves in complete liberty and without outside pressures; as a Nation we desire to march forward progressively under our own constitution guaranteeing peace, order and good government and the happiness of all our people.

The fact that the said Proclamation was a legal nullity from its inception is no longer an issue served to show the propensity on the part of the powers that be, even in future to act unconstitutionally and unlawfully and to the further detriment of real and genuine national interests. It should be noted that interms of the constitution at issue, His Majesty the King can even unilaterally and/or on the advice of the prime minister, who is appointed by him, repeal this constitution.

b) The2005 Swaziland Constitution was not accepted by the King and the whole Swazi nation as envisaged by Section 80 (2) of the 1978 King’s Order Council,pursuant to the spirit of the 1973 Proclamation. PUDEMO holds the view that a process of returning the country to a constitutional multiparty parliamentary democracy has to be initiated and implemented by a body that has been created through universally recognised democratic principles. Anybody else, inclusive of the said Constitutional ReviewCommission (CRC) and the Constitutional Drafting Commission (CDC), created outside this minimum standard invariably lacks the mandate and is unable to command national respect and support and as such it cannot create the necessary foundation for peace and good government. Note further that the commissioners for both the said CRC and the CDC were hand-picked and appointed by an individual [the king] who further imposed on them the terms of reference. If this, on the part of our absolute monarchy does not amount to absolute dictatorship, the latter needs to be redefined.

c) TheCRC and the CDC were wrong in giving a narrow meaning to Decree No.2 of 1996 and in the result, prohibiting, preventing and refusing all organised groups,particularly the applicants, from participating and to receive submissions from them.

d) In any case, the constitution making process was instituted by Decrees, yet His Majesty the King did not have power to legislate by decree; see Ray Gwebu vs. The King. Given that even the repeal of the Swaziland Independence Constitution was done unconstitutionally and unlawfully, the said propensity poses a real and immediate threat to the peace, prosperity and stability of the nation as pointed out in paragraph [a] herein supra.

e) In interpreting the provisions of the 1973 King’s Proclamation to the nation as read with the 1978 Establishment of Parliament Order, the 1996 Decree No.1 of 2002,the CRC and the CDC were obliged to take into account the provisions of international human rights instruments and international law, in order to giveeffect to the rights of each and every citizen of Swaziland, whether individually or as organisations especially in the context of constitution making. For these reasons, PUDEMO andthe other applicants request that the Court declares the 2005 Swaziland Constitution null and void, and of no force or effect.

In the alternative, it will be requested that the provision of the Bill of Rights,particularly Section 25 thereof must be interpreted to mean that the people of Swaziland have the right, not just to form associations such as churches,farmers association, community development schemes and others, but fundamentally that they have a right to form, join and belong to political parties and organisations on their own free will and of their voluntary choice for purposes of forming a Government. This is so particularly given that eight times the constitution pays respect to democratic principles, values and standards. In this respect Section 79 which purports to prevent and prohibit multi-party parliamentary national elections must be set aside as being null and void from the inception.

It is the view of PUDEMO, the other applicants and all right thinking and reasonable men and women of the Swaziland that democracy and good governance have been adequatelyand correctly defined and articulated and in the light hereof, Swaziland cannot re-invent the wheel. The basic tenants and attributes of democracy and governance are no longer in dispute even behind the façade of the so called unique Swazi culture and custom, which in order to survive the assault of time, should adapt to socio-economic and political transformation. It is accordingly unreasonable and as such, unacceptable the Swazi authorities in their Constitution Review Report undertake to domesticate the various international conventions, which the country has ratified only if they are not inconsistent with the not yet codified Swazi law and custom.


PUDEMO wishes to plea with the people of the country, just as African leaders did under NEPAD agreement. Good governance,human rights and constitutionalism have been long denied in Swaziland. This so-called new constitution is not worthy the paper it is written on. It entrenches a system of government which,we as a people, have not agreed upon. That system is a discriminatory system and not giving value to the dignity (buntfu) of all Swazis. We have not only a moral obligation, but a duty to strive for a constitution that will ensure equitable sharing of resources, equal treatment of all people before the law,as well as the creation of independent structures that will guarantee the growth and development of constitutionalism.

It is not only for the reason of being excluded in the process that PUDEMO and other applicants denounce and reject this cattle byre Constitution, it is also because of the unacceptable contents thereof. We call upon the Swazi people to galvanise themselves so that, at the end of the day, they can all enjoy a better life under a government truly created by themselves, for themselves and accountable to them for all intents and purposes. We want a constitution that will create a conducive environment for peace and prosperity. A constitution that will, within the framework of civilised and acceptable constitutional law, provide an enabling environment wherein the people of this country can severally and/or jointly pursue, to the fullest, their separate and/or combined interests in social,economic, political and other fields of public life.

It is not only in the interest of the Swaziland, but the whole SADC region and Africa at large that Swaziland should be assisted to amicably resolve her constitutional and political problems. In this connection, pre-emptive action by the said region cannot be overstated.

The struggle continues.

Yours in the struggle

cc: Electoral Institute of Southern Africa –Victor Shale
Southern African Litigation Centre – NicoleFritz

Monday, August 14, 2006

State violence against SWAYOCO: a reflection on Commonwealth and Sibahle Sinje complacence about political repression in Swaziland.

The People's United Democratic Movement of Swaziland


International Office
Australia, Asian and the Pacific Region

August 14, 2006

State violence against SWAYOCO: a reflection on Commonwealth and Sibahle Sinje complacence about political repression in Swaziland.

For ten years the Commonwealth Secretariat has been misleading the international community by promising that a new constitution would bring about political change in Swaziland. It refused to listen to public concerns about the arbitrary and discriminatory approach to the constitution making process. The process excluded political party participation and was purely driven by the royal family and the Commonwealth Secretariat. Consequently, the new constitution is a product of a negotiated deal between the royal family and the Commonwealth. Many Swazis have come out to disown it.

PUDEMO and its youth wing, SWAYOCO, reaffirm the people’s commitment to continue the struggle for a system of governance that reflects the public’s aspiration for a new culture of responsible governance and respect for human rights. The recent peaceful protest led by SWAYOCO on August 5, 2005 is a reflection of this commitment. Since the adoption of the new constitution, PUDEMO and SWAYOCO have organised numerous peaceful protests which were all violently suppressed by the police. Surprisingly, no public statement was ever issued by the Commonwealth calling upon the government to stop this brutality. However, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Don McKinnon was quick to condemn the so-called bombings in Swaziland. The government and the local media accused and persecuted our members of “bombing” state infrastructure between 2005 and 2006. A total of sixteen PUDEMO and SWAYOCO members were charged with High Treason and are now on bail awaiting trial under the new constitution supported by the Commonwealth. Under this Constitution, a conviction of High Treason can result in the death penalty.

When King Mswati III signed the controversial constitution in February 2006, the Commonwealth Secretariat renewed its commitment to support the dictatorship. On behalf of the Commonwealth, Don McKinnon, pledged further support to assist the Government of Swaziland to implement the constitution despite widespread public rejection of this law. Ultimately, this means that the Commonwealth is fully behind the application of the death penalty and would support the execution of our members if convicted on these trumped up charges.

In many of its deceitful statements, the Commonwealth Secretariat hid behind inclusion of the Bill of Rights in the constitution. The assumption is that the Bill of Rights guarantees and protects basic freedoms such as freedom of expression, association and assembly. We argued that the Bill of Rights will have no meaning and effect under the current political order. The royal family made it clear throughout the constitution making process that it is opposed to a Bill of Rights. It was only adopted as a deal between the Commonwealth and the royal family to give a semblance of respectability to the constitution. In this regard, the Commonwealth acted as a political spin-doctor for the regime and never, at any stage, showed any deep concern about the protection of basic rights and freedoms in Swaziland. Hence, to the general population these freedoms and rights remain an illusion. The judiciary is helpless because it has limited powers to enforce the Bill of Rights. Past experiences show that when the judiciary takes decisions to protect citizens against abuse of power by the state, the royal family moves swiftly and aggressively against such decisions and attacks the judiciary itself.

In 2002, the royal family government responded ruthlessly to the High Court’s decision to hear a case against the abduction of a school girl. It was alleged that she was abducted in order to forcefully marry her to King Mswati III. The government ordered the High Court to abandon the abduction case.

In the same year, the royal family responded ruthlessly to the Court of Appeal’s ruling to protect 200 families from Macetjeni and KaMkhweli who were cruelly evicted from their homes. In this case, the government ordered the police to disobey the Court of Appeal’s ruling. This threw the rule of law into crisis at the time when public dissent against the constitution making process was particularly intense.

As Swaziland teetered on the brink of becoming a failed state, its parliament failed the country completely. Not a single member of parliament questioned the eviction and the vicious attack on the administration of justice because it was sanctioned by the royal family. Under the new constitution, King Mswati and his family continue to enjoy total immunity from legal prosecution and political scrutiny. The courts will not prosecute him if complaints are levelled against him in his capacity as a head of state and overseer of government business. Parliament is under his iron grip and will not, under any circumstances, challenge or investigate his decisions.

The manner in which the Commonwealth dealt with the judicial issue in Swaziland was appalling. Its primary concern was to avoid a complete collapse of its constitution making project. In order to appease the royal family, it took up the role of travel agent to rebuild the damaged image of the royal family government in the international arena. Commonwealth officials told the international community that the government was doing its best to resolve the crisis. In September 2004, the government and the Commonwealth announced that the crisis was now resolved yet this was far from truth. The abduction case was never reopened and the evicted residents of Macetjeni and KaMkhweli were not allowed to return under the conditions set by the Court of Appeal. Ultimately, they returned to their homes under the conditions outlined by the royal family. Two senior police officers, including the Commissioner of Police, were found guilty of contempt of court because of their actions in blocking the execution of the Court of Appeal’s order. However, they have never been arrested and there has never been any attempt to bring the executive to account for its actions in denying the authority of the judiciary and bringing the rule of law to the point of collapse. When The Director of Public Prosecution, Lincoln Ng’arua, brought charges against the Attorney-General for his role in this matter, he was summarily dismissed from his job.

In its approach to the judicial crisis, the Commonwealth showed no concern about the gross violation of basic human rights and naked abuse of state power in Swaziland. The organisation did not concern itself with the evicted families and it offered no humanitarian assistance. We are yet to find public records of any Commonwealth expression of serious concern about the culture of bad governance in Swaziland and the poor human rights reputation of this regime. There is no substantial evidence to suggest that the existence of the Commonwealth-sponsored constitution has had positive impact with regard to the way in which Swaziland is governed. Violation of human rights, bad governance and political repression continue unabated.

As long as there is no political will and no commitment within the royal family to genuine political change in Swaziland, the Bill of Rights will remain meaningless. As has been shown by the recent police violence and determination to suppress demands for multi-party democracy, the state will continue to undermine the Bill of Rights with impunity. This clearly demonstrates the political bankruptcy of this regime. A regime that violates its own laws is morally and politically bankrupt. This is the prominent feature of the royal family government and the Commonwealth.

As we have stated on numerous occasions, the Commonwealth’s support and approval of a repressive political system in Swaziland is in stark contrast with its principles outlined in the Harare Declaration of 1991. It calls into serious question the ethics of the Commonwealth, particularly the Secretary-General who described the constitution “as a brilliant piece of work” (Swazi Observer, March 17, 2006). McKinnon honoured “…His Majesty King Mswati, who deserves our admiration for his own vision and statesmanship in having made it possible for this Nation to embrace constitutional rule” (Swazi Observer, February 19, 2006).

McKinnon must come to terms with the political reality in Swaziland. There is no constitutional rule in Swaziland. The government is cherry-picking in applying the provisions of the constitution, particularly when this concerns freedoms and rights. Why would police violently suppress peaceful protests with impunity if there is constitutional rule in Swaziland? What is the Commonwealth doing about this?

There is, therefore, demonstrated evidence that the Commonwealth and the royal family were not sincere when they included the Bill of Rights in the constitution. The primary object, it seems, is to trap and appease critics into believing that something good had at least come out of a bad process. This was the Commonwealth Secretariat trump card which it used successfully to mislead the international community. The Commonwealth continues to peddle this lie about the Bill of Rights. It recently told a Canadian Member of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick that the constitution is working well and political parties are now allowed in Swaziland. This statement is misleading at best and deceitful at worst. There is no mention of political parties in the constitution and there is no provision for parties to contest elections with the aim of winning over government. There is no single political party that has been legally registered in Swaziland. The government rejected an application for registration by the Ngwane National Liberation Congress (NNLC) - one of the pro-democracy movements.

It is irresponsible on the part of the Commonwealth not to inform the Canadian Member of the Legislative Assembly that the constitution making process does not enjoy the blessing of the majority of Swazis. Consequently, its legitimacy is highly questionable. A significant section of the population, including all pro-democracy groups, the labour movement and the church, has disowned the constitution. Even the chiefs, the most trusted ally of royal family, have now come out to disowned the constitution.

When the Commonwealth, through its representative Chief Adefuye, tried to bully us into accepting the constitution, we refused to participate in our own oppression. We reminded the Commonwealth of its obligation to the Harare Declaration of 1991 and that we will hold the organisation responsible for the continued repression and total neglect of the wellbeing of our people. By participating and continuing to support a constitution which gives false hope, the Commonwealth has turned against our people. This is a dereliction of political responsibility and duty of care to our people as citizens of the Commonwealth. It is a rude departure from the core principles of the organisation. We regard this position as a commitment to assist repression in Swaziland. It is a reflection of a determined world body to stand by the dictatorial regime as it bullies our people and suppresses political dissent.

Since the signing of the constitution into law, business has gone on as usual. PUDEMO and its youth wing, SWAYOCO, have been ruthlessly suppressed through false accusations and naked displays of violence. Recently, SWAYOCO peaceful protests in different parts of the country were violently crushed by trigger-happy police. Two of the peaceful protesters sustained serious gun shots and scores more were injured. Attempts to get medical treatment were not successful because the hospitals in Swaziland have been run down because of government neglect. As usual, the recent police violence escalated to indiscriminate attacks against members of the public who had not even participated in the protest, including children. We hold the Commonwealth responsible for this violence against our people.

Whilst the police were breaking up the SWAYOCO protest, the royal family’s surrogate political organisation, Sibahle Sinje, enjoyed all the luxuries associated with Swazi royalty during its 10th anniversary. Commonly referred to as a cultural organisation, Sibahle Sinje has declared itself a political movement. Its primary intention is to further entrench the absolute powers of the royal family in Swaziland politics. It was not surprising that the government spokesperson, Percy Simelane, immediately invited Sibahle Sinje to register with the government as a political party. This is bizarre given that the same government rejected NNLC’s application. Most importantly, there is no provision in the constitution for the registration of political parties.

Like the Commonwealth Secretariat, Sibahle Sinje pursues a double agenda. On one hand, it claims to advocate democratic change and on the other hand it is committed to the protection of the very system that resists calls for democracy. Similarly, the Commonwealth Secretariat prides itself as an organisation founded on strong democratic and human rights principles yet it actively encourages and assists human rights violations in Swaziland.

In its involvement in Swaziland, the Commonwealth Secretariat has aggressively pursued the idea of changing the system from within. It has bullied political organisations opposed to this approach and awarded those which share its ideas. The tactics used by Sibahle Sinje to recruit from the ranks of the ruling royal elite and to participate actively in formal politics, are consistent with the Commonwealth’s agenda. Ironically, Sibahle Sinje was established in 1996 when the Commonwealth actively entered Swaziland politics to rescue the royal family from a major crisis of political legitimacy. At the time, the regime was crumbling under sustained mass uprisings led by the labour and pro-democracy movements. Sibahle Sinje saw this as a threat to the monarchy and launched an aggressive fear campaign arguing that the movement for democracy would erode the nation’s cultural identity.

The use of culture as an ideology of fear and source of political power in Swaziland has a long history. It was used in the pre-independence campaign to delegitimise pro-multi party democracy movements such as the NNLC. In his infamous Proclamation to the Nation of 1973, Sobhuza II, father of the current king, used culture to justify his ruthless attack on basic political and human rights. Sobhuza II argued that multi-party parliamentary democracy and individual freedoms are unSwazi and would generate cultural disharmony. As evidenced by the recent police violence against SWAYOCO and the prohibition of political party participation in governance under the new constitution, this Proclamation remains effective. Culture remains a powerful ideology of fear and oppression, particularly in rural areas where 75% of the population lives under the watchful eyes of traditional chiefs.

By proclaiming itself to be the guardian of Swazi culture, Sibahle Sinje seeks to reproduce the repressive powers of this ideology. There is great desire within this organisation to monopolise the interpretation of our culture and hold the Swazi nation hostage of cultural practices that promote violations of basic rights and freedoms. By so doing, the organisation is actively participating in closing space for cultural growth. It is holding back the cultural intellectual development of the Swazi nation which is so vital in nation building and prosperity. When Sibahle Sinje was established, it echoed King Sobhuza’s views by publicly declaring that multi-party parliamentary democracy was culturally unacceptable. It denounced the growing number of Swazis calling for this system of governance as ‘not true Swazis’.

The Commonwealth also holds onto this notion of cultural incongruence to advance its double agenda. We have been consistently told by Commonwealth officials that multi-party democracy is not suitable to Swaziland because it is incongruent with the Swazi culture. This rigid view of culture and of democracy has been the cornerstone of the royal family political power. When the Commonwealth and Sibahle Sinje talk about Swazi culture, they speak not of the Swazi nation’s view of what this constitutes but of the royal family’s view of culture. Thus discourses of culture in Swaziland coalesce around the activities of the royal family and its surrogate bodies. The power to speak of Swazi culture authoritatively, what it is and what it is not, is regarded the preserve of the royal family. Organisations such as Sibahle Sinje and the Commonwealth have been steadfast in their commitment to preserve, if not to increase this power. In this context, the views and voices of the general population which offer alternative views are discarded as radical and delegitimised as‘unSwazi’.

Whether or not the similarity of the positions taken by the Commonwealth and Sibahle Sinje is coincidental, these developments run parallel to pre-independence politics. During the colonial era, the British administration ruled together with King Sobhuza II to suppress mass anti-colonial dissent. Referred to under the colonial administration as Paramount Chief, Sobhuza II was instrumental in ensuring corporation with the colonial administration because of his cultural influence among the population. The British government rewarded him by offering full support to his pre-independence campaign for office. Colonial representatives advised and assisted Sobhuza II to form a royal family political party – the Imbokodvo National Movement (INM).

IMN came into existence at the time when pro-independence protests, led by the labour movement and pro-multi party democracy organisations such as NNLC, was gaining influence. As can be deduced from the name Imbokodvo or grinding stone, the idea behind the formation of INM was the suppression and subsequent destruction of the pro-democracy movement. This movement was regarded within the royal family on the one hand, as advancing ideas that were alien to Swazi culture and on the other hand, by the colonial administration as communism. Culture as a political ideology was, therefore, central in INM campaigns and was effectively used to generate mass moral panic which delivered massive electoral victories for King Sobhuza II. In 1973, INM achieved its desire to destroy alternative political voices when King Sobhuza II unconstitutionally repealed the constitution and outlawed political parties and criticism against the state.

Sibahle Sinje, is a reincarnation of INM and thrives on fear of cultural annihilation. Through the politics of fear, today the organisation boasts of significant “electoral” victories. We detest the abuse of our culture for political gain, especially when it is used as a form of ideological terrorism to generate mass psychological terror among the population. In order to advance its cause, the organisation draws its membership from senior government ranks, the royal family and self-made moral entrepreneurs such as the royal palace governor, Jim Gama. Like INM, Sibahle Sinje hopes that it would, with the assistance of the Commonwealth, a British neo-colonial body, repeat history by crushing the nation’s aspiration for multi-party democracy.

If Sibahle Sinje is committed to genuine democratic change, it needs to make this position crystal clear and condemn state brutality against our people. It must rally behind the public’s demand for a fresh constitution making process with popular mandate. The Commonwealth has made its position clear that it does not support democracy in Swaziland. There is no need to involve it in a fresh constitutional dispensation. However, we are committed to persuade all Swazis, including members of Sibahle Sinje, to join hands and drive the new process.

PUDEMO will work with Sibahle Sinje if it is honest with the people of Swaziland by confronting the monarchy as a source of political repression. It has been shown from time to time that the political problems in Swaziland will not be resolved through piecemeal deals and half-baked strategies. Only honesty, boldness, innovation, relentlessness and commitment to the cause will propel us forward. PUDEMO and SWAYOCO have been bold and honest about their political convictions and objectives – the overthrow of the absolute monarchy system of governance and its replacement with multi-party parliamentary democracy. We stared the bull in the eye, frightened the weak and earned the respect of the fearless. Sibahle Sinje and the Commonwealth want us to go back and embrace the monarchy that is responsible for the current social, economic and political misery of our people. We say, NO! We shall not betray our people and principles. Our commitment is solid – improving the general wellbeing of the people of Swaziland by emancipating them from all forms of oppression.

Dr Jabulane Matsebula
PUDEMO Representative
Australia, Asia and the Pacific Region

Sunday, August 6, 2006



We salute our gallant young lions for facing up to the Royal hit squads at Msunduza location in the capital town Mbabane Saturday 5th August 2006.

The Peoples United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) a movement for the majority poor people of our country salutes the young lions who stood up to the armed Royal hit squads called police in its 15th anniversary.

We are saying to the people of our country, no amount of intimidation, violence and force can push back the hand of history. PUDEMO and its youth league have come a long way in the struggle for a free Swaziland. A Swaziland that belongs to all its citizens, a Swaziland that does not discriminate based on family background. PUDEMO and SWAYOCO is proud that it has managed to bring to the attention of the Swazi population and the international community the suffering of our people at the hands of one minority family, the Dlamini family.

We cannot sit back and allow the so-called Royal family to continue to loot the meager resources of our country just because they have a private army and police.

Our people are dying of HIV/AIDS, hunger, poverty, unemployment, lack of clean water and sanitation, curable diseases like TB and cholera just because the resources that should be helping them are misused by one family.

The following figures do not lie and they are disheartening to PUDEMO;

*69% of the population lives below the poverty line of E128 ($20 Canadian) per month.
*48% of the population live under abject poverty
*40% of households have never had enough to eat
*More than 300 000 people depend on food aid to survive
*Unemployment is more than 40%.
*HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is estimated at 42% making our country to be the highest in infection rate in the world.
*56.4% of the wealth is held by the richest 20% whilst the poorest 20% hold only 4.3%
*Total population of disadvantaged people is estimated at 756 000 and is ever escalating. This represents more than 70% of the population.
*The health facilities are worse than in colonial times. You cannot find a simple pain killer in any government hospital today.
*The education system has crumbled under Royal administration. Our children no longer have access to government scholarships when those of the Royal family attend pre-schools in England and America.

Against this background you have one family masquerading as a Royal family living like the sultans of Brunei or the rich Saudi families or the richest mafia families of the world.

Truly a mafia family runs this country. The difference is that the Italian or American mafia wakes up and sells drugs to make money, whilst this Dlamini mafia sleeps and wake up to suck the blood of our people. In short the Swazi mafia is worse of all the mafia families in the world.

The luxuries of the Swazi Royal family at the expense of the suffering masses of our people:

*Majority shareholdings in all major companies in Swaziland including the blood sucking MTN mobile network that enjoys minority status.
*Controls the sugar industry
*Top of the range BMW X% for each of the 12 or 14 wives of the king
*12 palaces for the wives
*Many state houses, both inside and overseas countries like Taiwan, and Indonesia
*The multimillion Maybach luxury car for the King
*The multimillion Pullman luxury car for he King
*The new private airport that cost our tax payers almost E1 Billion
*The Royal family children are educated in overseas schools and are paid hefty maintenance allowances and bought fancy luxury vehicles called toys.
*A well maintained army and police force that is trained to maintain the suffering of our people.

Peaceful political march to celebrate 15 years anniversary of the birth of the Swaziland Youth Congress (SWAYOCO) violently suppressed by the Royal police.

When our people exercise their inalienable right to freedom of association and assembly, the police use live ammunition, teargas and batons to suppress them. Two of our members were seriously hurt after being shot at. One was shot in the leg and the other one shot at the arm. Scores have been arrested and later released after the intervention of our lawyers. The secretary for the gender affairs in the youth league, comrade Dudu Sithole was arrested and tortured in a police cells in Mbabane.

She was arrested with another comrade. Upon release at night she was never assisted with transport and the leadership was never told of her release so that they can arrange for transport or accommodation.

Teargas canisters were randomly fired at children and women. So many of these canisters landed inside houses of the poor location.

And for this we are expected to say all is fine. To the Dlamini family we say this will never happen. This is our country as well. We own each and every inch of Swaziland. We never chose to be born in these lands, but these were given to us as a birthright by God and we shall defend this birthright with our own blood if need be.

Another pro Royal family political party is allowed to hold its 5th convention in a hotel just 10 kilometres away from where our members are brutalized.

It is not surprising that whilst the police was suppressing our youth league’s 15th anniversary, the police were giving support to another political party that is aligned to the Royal family just less than 10 kilometres away. This is the party called Sive Siyincaba Sibahle sinje national movement which was holding its 5th convention it the Royal Swazi sun hotels at the Ezulwini valley. Most members of this party are members of the Royal family and the hangers on. Adefuye and the commonwealth accept these double standards. We are tempted to say to hell with such double standards by these unscrupulous people.

The International community

When all these things happen we are told that we should accept and be tolerant. The people we trusted to be custodian of democracy and good governance are the bearers of this order. These are the powers that be in such bodies like the Commonwealth. The commonwealth sends the so-called Nigerian chief Adefuye to coerce us into accepting Royal oppression because it is an African way of authority. We are saying our people reject the notion that Africans must have different types of democracy and liberties. If the people of Nigeria are no longer ruled by Kings and chiefs like Adefuye why is he expecting us to accept such a political order? This is an insult to our people, and we shall never accept to be treated like aliens in our country of birth.

We wish to appeal to the international community to:

*Support our cause in terms of financial and material and moral support to the peoples’ movement
Isolate the Royal regime in Swaziland by pushing for smart sanctions against the family and its surrogate government leaders
*Send credible monitors to establish the facts for themselves
*Assist our exiled members with schooling, food and shelter.
*Put pressure on the King to accept our gesture for peaceful negotiations.

Our freedom is in our hands.

We have always maintained that freedom is in our hands. We have first hand experience of the Royal repression. We see the king parading his luxury convoy of cars everyday with sirens blazing. We see our people pushed aside from the roads like rabid dogs whenever these convoys pass by.

We watch in dismay the Royal family spend millions of our taxes in birthday celebrations. We witness wastages in ceremonies that never help our people like Umhlanga reed dance, Lusekwane and Incwala. Every now and again we watch the King and his family leave Swaziland to overseas countries to spend our taxes.

Against all these we bury our people on a daily basis. And these are victims of a system that has long past its sell time. These are victims of HIV/AIDS, hunger and of curable diseases like diabetes and diarrhea.

We shall struggle to rid our country of this suffering of our poor people.

The peoples’ Struggle as lead by PUDEMO is about delivering to our people the following;

  • Health facilities that can respond to the needs of our people. PUDEMO shall build hospitals and clinics and provide primary health care to all our people particularly those in the rural areas.
  • Provide ARVs and nutritious food supplement to assist the HIV/AIDS dying population
  • Provide better schools particularly in the rural areas
  • Provide scholarships to the needy. We shall use the money that is provided to send Royal children to crèches and schools overseas. Each Royal family child’s yearly school fees can help educate 10 000 of our poor children
  • We shall turn the many palaces to areas of learning and health facilities
  • We shall appropriate the so-called Royal farms under tibiyo and give them to our landless people and provide farming logistics so that they can produce enough food for themselves and their families.
  • We are fighting for a sound social grant system that shall provide support to our aged and infirm. The current E80-00 per month is an insult to our people as this is too meager to support a family as the old support most families as HIV/AIDS have killed most of the young and productive members of our societies.
  • We are struggling for universal free primary education for our poor people in order to raise the literacy rate. We know from the Royal experience that an uneducated population is doomed
  • We are struggling for the provision of clean water to our people, particularly the rural Lubombo region folk. We shall use the money for palaces and luxury cars to build dams and reservoirs so that our people can produce enough food for their families.
  • We are fighting to restore dignity and freedom to our people.
  • We shall turn the Royal police force and armed forces to people’s forces that shall be re-trained in agricultural skills so that they can work with the people in the quest for rural development

Finally, there is no amount of oppression and violence that will stop us from our march to freedom. We can hear the bells of freedom ringing and PUDEMO shall fulfill its 23 yearlong mandate to help the Swazi people attain their freedom. For our freedom we do not beg the Royal family and their hit squads called the police. We are committed to a free Swazi nation that shall share the resources of this country.

We shall continue the fight until we free ourselves from the shackles of oppression.
Yours in the struggle for freedom and social justice,
Ignatius Bonginkosi Dlamini

P.O. Box 187
Southern Africa
Office 301 SNAT Co-op. Building, Manzini
Tel: (09268) 6075479/(09268) 3838718

06 August 2006

Thursday, August 3, 2006

The Middle East Crisis is the greatest threat to world peace

The Middle East Crisis is the greatest threat to world peace

PRESS STATEMENT August 3, 2006

The Peoples United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), a movement that represents the struggling people of Swaziland is concerned about the Middle East crisis. Too many innocent lives have been lost, and it appears the world is content to stand by and watch.
  • The world must condemn the targeting of innocent civilians. There is no justification for killing children, women and the infirm in any war situation. The world seems not to have learnt anything from what happened during the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Yugoslavia ethnic cleansing, the Rwandan genocide and the apartheid era in South Africa. This is a serious indictment to the leaders of the United Nations and the so-called civilized world. To us, a liberation movement that has been peacefully fighting for the restoration of democracy and justice in our country has a cause to be concerned and afraid. We are afraid to see the world being indifferent to such mass slaughter of defenceless women and children. This has a clear message; the definition of life in world politics takes different meaning. To the world there are people whose lives are more precious than others. What does this tell the Royal family in Swaziland? It says you can practice modern day slavery and oppress the people because the world will be quiet and nothing will happen to you. This is totally unacceptable.

PUDEMO’s views;

World must intervene now.

The world, through the United Nations must intervene now and stop the war. In this way lives of citizens of Lebanon, Palestine and Israel will be saved. There must be a cessation of hostilities between the warring factions.

Humanitarian aid must be made available to the affected people in order to avoid a further deterioration of the current catastrophe.

The United Nations must rebuild the damaged infrastructure of the affected areas so that the people can go back and lead normal lives like the rest of the people of the world.

Israel must withdraw from all foreign lands; Palestinian territories and the Golan Heights.

The Israel neighbours must all accept the right of the state of Israel to exist. The Israelis must be assured of peaceful and safe existence with its neighbours.

The last two points are fundamental to lasting peace in the Middle East, and hence any attempts to overlook them will not resolve the situation.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of these affected countries and we call upon every peace loving person of the world to make a small contribution towards the end of this senseless war. More that anything else, there must be a lasting solution to these crisis for sustainable peace in the region. War has never been a solution to conflicts.

Iraq and Afghanistan

Our prayers are also with the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, and we say may these people find peace and live normal lives like all the people of the world. Too many innocent lives have been lost in these countries and there is no hope for an end to these killings.


We are calling on our brothers north of Limpompo to also find it within themselves to find lasting peace so that they can collectively rebuild their beautiful country Zimbabwe. They should not do these for themselves, but for the children and the many generations to come. They also owe these to the brave freedom fighters who died for their freedom. They must do it for the Chitepos and all those combatants who died so that the Zimbabweans can have dignity and freedom.

The people of the Daffur Region.

We cannot forget our brothers and sisters who are dying in the Southern Sudan region of Daffur. Again we ask the Khartoum government to ensure that the crisis are resolved soon as Africa cannot develop with so many wars taking place on its lands.

Yours in the struggle for social justice and peace in Swaziland,

Ignatius Bonginkosi Dlamini

P.O. Box 187
Southern Africa
Office 301 SNAT Co-op. Building, Manzini
Tel: (09268) 6075479/(09268) 3838718