STATEMENT ON THE PUDEMO YOUTH LEAGUE (SWAYOCO) RALLY
ISSUED ON 1 MARCH 2009
The Youth League of PUDEMO successfully organized and held a rally yesterday (28 February) in the township of Msunduza in Mbabane. This was against the backdrop of arrogant threats by the Swazi regime that the rally must not be held because SWAYOCO is banned and so cannot freely operate in the country.
It must be noted that the objectives of the rally centred on the very issue of lack of democracy in the way the country is governed. Thus the Youth League demanded:
The release of the PUDEMO President, Mario Masuku detained under the Suppression of Terrorism Act of 2008 that is meant to target and deal with all those who are perceived as anti-status quo. The regime still refuses him visitation rights in complete and arrogant defiance of a ruling by the High Court of Swaziland that the rights must be restored.
The introduction of a constitutional multiparty democratic order in Swaziland that will guarantee freedom of speech, assembly and association.
The provision of basic, very necessary services to the people including free education, quality health care, meaningful social grants to the elderly, clean water, accessible roads, etc.
We further note that the regime continued to display its arrogance by deploying scores of armed security personnel in the capital city just to ensure that the rally does not succeed as the Police Commissioner had promised. However, against all these threats the rally went on and was successful, marking an important victory in the struggle for democracy in Swaziland.
That the state decided to unleash a huge amount of force in an attempt to stop the rally is further proof that the country is a dictatorship that cannot be accepted in the modern world. In its effort to stop the youth from expressing their demands, the whole area was turned into a war zone by the state police. In the process, young children, vendors and the whole community was not sparred from the police violence. Several comrades including the SWAYOCO President Wandile Dludlu are currently detained under the Suppression of Terrorism Act and the state security agents still continue to hunt down more with the intention of detaining them. However, this is victory to the struggle for democracy and a huge blow to the dictatorial regime in Swaziland.