mercredi, 21 août 2019

Swaziland : PUDEMO President Mario Masuku speaks on Swazi crisis

When we embarked on this road to raise the consciousness of the world on the crisis in Swaziland we had as our main intention that the people of the world must see for themselves the brutality of the Swazi regime. We wanted our friends across the world and the peace loving people of the world to know that what they have been made to believe is a peaceful kingdom ruled by a benevolent monarch is actually an open air prison, a roofless abattoir where political activists are butchered and harassed. We wanted the world to see for itself that there is nothing as freedom in Swaziland. That word does not exist in the vocabulary of the Swazi regime. We wanted to demonstrate how un-armed civilians, peacefully marching, in a legal march can be publicly ambushed by the state security forces. We wanted to expose the intimidation by chiefs and traditional leaders. Many chiefs called community meetings prior to the action that if people go when they come back they will be evicted. Others issued statements in the daily papers. The government instructed employers to dismiss workers who will participate despite that the action legal. The government intimidated bus owners not to transport marchers, and if they did they risked losing their licenses. The army was deployed throughout the country, manning joint roadblocks with the police and the paramilitary unit. On the days of action other buses were turned back or at the worst the people were forced out of buses and told to wait for buses going the opposite direction. Despite such intimidation, the people still came out in numbers to support the action. And of course as expected on the eve of the day of action scores were arrested, including our comrades from South Africa and Denmark and were immediately deported. And those of us who are Swazis had to pay a visit to his majesty’s guest houses (police cells). Among us was the president of PUDEMO Mario Masuku, the President of the youth league (SWAYOCO) Wandile Dludlu, the Deputy Secretary General of PUDEMO Wonder Mkhonza.

We believe we have achieved our mission !

After the global week of action the world now knows that Swaziland is a butchery. The world now knows that the Suppression of Terrorism Act (STA) is actually the Suppression of the Truth Act. We in PUDEMO want to salute the workers of our country under the collective leadership of the SFTU, SFL, and SNAT for mobilizing thousands of workers to support the action. We salute the Swaziland Democracy Campaign-SDC for rallying the whole world around this action. We salute the workers of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Ghana, Denmark, UK, Greece and Australia for acting in solidarity on the week of action. We welcome and salute the massive support and commitment shown by the international trade union movement, particularly through the actions and statements of the International Trade Union Confederation-ITUC and the World Federation of Trade Unions-WFTU. What we see is the emergence of an all inclusive global movement in support of the democratic struggle in Swaziland as led by the people’s liberation movement, PUDEMO. The SDC has achieved more than it has set for itself and we are hopeful that this is the beginning of the end of the road for the Swazi dictatorship. And we want to declare to the world that the SDC has the full mandate from PUDEMO and all other democratic forces under the umbrella of the Swaziland United Democratic Front-SUDF to drive this global campaign for democracy in Swaziland. But we are also aware that while we were being arrested and the workers beaten by police back in Swaziland, there are individuals who crossed the border to South Africa in the pretext that they want to brief the world on what is happening. Others have used these to profile their donor driven agendas and without acknowledging the organisers of the action, which is the Swaziland Democracy Campaign. Others have appointed themselves as spokespersons for the Swazi people and we don’t know on whose mandate. Swazi organisations have given that mandate to the SDC.

We have seen the intensification of repression in unprecedented measures, while the king in 2008 ordered that political activists must be killed through strangling ; the prime minister during the week of action has announced new measures to deal with non Swazis who support the democratic cause. He has instructed that they must be tortured through a method called “sipakatane” : which is a plank with nail where you are then forced to walk on those nails barefooted. Those of us who come from Swaziland know what that is. Its one of their most painful torture method they have used in the past against activists. And we do not believe that these are empty threats because after the king ordered that people must be strangled, people have died and one of our members was indeed strangled to death under police detention.

Hence we make the call for the world to continue supporting our struggle. We call for the escalation of pressure against the regime. We call for targeted sanctions against the regime. We call for isolation of the regime. We call for global condemnation. Now that the world agrees with us that there is no democracy in Swaziland, We call for global support for our demands, which we believe are legitimate. We call on SADC and SA in particular to stop appeasing the Swazi dictatorship.

Our demands still stand that we demand :

· The unbanning of PUDEMO and all other political parties

· A new all inclusive constitution process

· Return of all exiles

· Release of all political prisoners

· End to suppression of the media and the judiciary

· End to statutory rape disguised as culture

We are proud of what we have been able to achieve in the past and we are confident of the future that lies ahead. We have resisted provocation ; we have maintained our cool under difficult and harsh treatment. We have been so far managed to convince the people that the route to democratic rule in Swaziland must be a peaceful one. But the Swazi regime daily convinces the people that the route to democratic rule must be a confrontational and bloody one. Perhaps that is why the king has just appointed his 23 year old son to be the training officer of the army, with no experience ; nothing only royal blood. Tell the world that PUDEMO wants peaceful change ; for the sake of not only the people of Swaziland but also the region. When the people are under attack, are defenceless and the state can’t protect them and in actual fact the state is the perpetrator of violence against the masses. Therefore, it cannot be guaranteed that this struggle will remain peaceful ; the state has declared war on the people ! What do we do ?

Source from COSATU

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