samedi, 16 février 2019

Swaziland : We must bring down - not get into bed with Mswati

Statement of the Communist Party of Swaziland

Once again, the workers and the poor of Swaziland are faced with elite interests – which have no representation among the people and are purely concerned with securing positions of political and economic power – attempting to decide their future.

The CPS refers here not to the monarchic autocracy that rules Swaziland but to the dubious individuals and their backers who hope to circumvent any true democratic transformation in our country through their so-called “Talks about Talks” and other agendas.

We view the Talks about Talks ruse, headed by one of the most corrupt and erratic (and inebriated) figures in Swazi society, Ray Russon and his jogger “Bishop” Mabuza, is an obvious attempt to preempt any full democratic change in our country. It is simply a channel for engaging with the Mswati regime in order to create a window-dressing of transformation that in reality seeks to keep the monarchy and its capitalist support structures intact.

As the CPS has said on many occasions, the Talks about Talks farce is a recipe for the continued exploitation and degradation of the Swazi people by other means.

It is curious that IDSA, the African Democracy Institute, is allowing its offices to be used for an initiative that has no traction in the wider pro-democracy movement in our country and no ties or representation among the mass of Swazi people. We can only conclude that Russon - Mabuza and the Talks about Talks effort have been falsely introduced to IDSA as credible elements of the struggle to bring about freedom in Swaziland.

They are not and neither are the various individuals who feature almost daily in the incoherent babble they impose on the Swaziland Solidarity Network’s (SSN) discussion forum and who pretend to be major players in the pro-democracy movement.

None of this has anything to do with the terrible situation facing our country. There is no interest among the individuals tussling for positions of leadership, and those, such as the darling of the US Mandla Hlatshwayo, who claim to be the bona fide leaders of all pro-democracy forces in Swaziland, in involving the ordinary people of our country as architects of their own future.

They offer no solutions to end the drastic poverty, disease, suffering and dysfunction that plague our country. They talk about democracy and civil society but without any substance or definition, using such terms as mere catch phrases to appear legitimate and concerned. They hide their political identity and claim they are doing this as only enlightened and are just supporting PUDEMO and the mass movement. Who are they fooling with such gesture.

We need true, direct democracy in Swaziland and the creation of a national dialogue to involve all our people and communities in shaping a new future for the country. It is precisely this that the Talks about Talks proponents, their backers and the individualist “comrades” do not want.

The CPS calls on all activists in the pro-democracy movement to seriously examine the content of these individualistic and undemocratic distractions. What do they stand for ? What change do they envisage ? What is the sort of ‘democracy’ they offer ? Where are the masses of the people in all their chat and strategizing ?

The Talks about Talks fiasco opportunistically makes a shopping list drawn from the coherent demands and concerns of the freedom movement, including those of PUDEMO. But it’s idea of entering into negotiations with the Mswati regime on these demands is unfocused, wholly without leverage and disingenuous.

The CPS argues that only continued mass action by and campaigning with and among the poor and the workers of our country, particularly through the trade union movement, can exert the pressure necessary for the regime to retreat into the position of weakness – or preferably collapse – necessary for any democratic changes to be made.

As recent events have seen, the regime is not prepared to change or to entertain democratic changes that would undermine its own dictatorship over our country. The mass actions of this year have sent shockwaves through Mswati’s establishment, but they have not yet significantly weakened the regime to the point where the freedom movement can assert its demands with reasonable certainty of them being met.

Who’s pulling the strings ?

This is what those behind the Talks about Talks dead-end hopes to obscure in order to allow the ruling class that make up the regime to continue their business as usual.

We note here that some support for this approach is coming from the ‘diplomatic community’ based in Swaziland and South Africa.

The diplomatic community is traditionally a conservative or reactionary force in any liberation context, and this is equally true of the role it is playing over Swaziland. Judging by its contributions at discussion forums concerning Swaziland, this community has no real interest in ending poverty and oppression in our country but is mainly concerned that there is no “instability” that might impinge on regional international relations by affecting capitalist trade relations.

This is a mealy mouthed and shortsighted approach to the crisis in our country. The diplomatic community is totally ignorant of the destructive instability that is already taking place, imposed on the lives of the majority of Swazis by the current dictatorship, and of the far-fetched notion that the situation in our country might bring about regional instability.

Reflecting the anti-progressive policies of its governments, mainly in the West, the diplomatic community and its shady intelligence work is supporting elements and individuals who pose as key voices in the pro-democracy movement that it wants to take over PUDEMO or constitute a ‘credible’ new political force, should the current government of Mswati founder and collapse. They hope to subvert any progressive, leftwing or socialist solution for Swaziland by the imposition of liberal capitalism as the permanent new order of our country.

The poison of anti-socialism and anti-communism

The CPS believes that only a socialist democracy (not social democracy !), where the people and their communities are power holders, where the resources of society are devoted to ending poverty, food insecurity, disease and lack of education – that only such a new dispensation can begin to address the catastrophic situation of our country.

The attacks on the CPS from elements within the pro-democracy movement call our strategies and tactics obstructionist and diversionary.

The CPS is the only force in Swaziland and the pro-democracy movement that advocates and defines a socialist path for our country. When we criticize the strategies and tactics and behaviour of our opponents we do so from a socialist perspective. We have no interest in sectarian politics or of considering ourselves as above and superior to the pro-democracy movement. But this does not mean that we will not work for socialist transformation in Swaziland.

We note that those in the pro-democracy movement to condemn us often do so while leeching support and succor from the South African Communist Party – a party that also advocates socialism in all countries of our region, and indeed in the world. But when we advocate socialism for our oppressed country we are labeled as ‘divisive’.

The ideology and practice of anti-socialism and anti-communism extend well beyond the situation we face as Swazi communists. They are long-established ideological currents within all nationalist forces that have down the years been involved in national liberation struggles.

But the struggle against anti-socialism and anti-communism remains as crucial today as it ever did – such as within the ANC in South Africa in the 1940s and 1950s. The bottom line of anti-socialism is the effort to keep society run along the lines of the capitalist exploitation of the working class and the poor and the suppression of their efforts for freedom.

The CPS is willing to work with all forces that want truly democratic change in Swaziland, no matter what their overall ideological orientation happens to be. In doing so we will continue to press our case for socialism and be present in our country so that people who desire radical social change have a voice. This is not sectarian or a divisive approach. Anti-socialism and anti-communism, on the other hand, are deeply sectarian and divisive as they attempt to stifle debate and dialogue on progressive solutions and alternatives to capitalism.

Redoubling pressure on the Mswati regime

The crisis of Mswati regime is clearly being compounded by its continued lack of revenue with which to run the government. This has seen drastic cuts in health, education, care for the elderly and OVCs that are deepening the misery and desperation of our people. There is no shortage of wealth or cash in Swaziland to solve this crisis. It is just that the royal family and the rest of the ruling class jealously guards this wealth in order to protect their way of life while the rest of the country is in meltdown.

The regime is now selling off state assets to keep itself afloat and to avoid having to accept the loan, and attached conditions on democratic change, offered by South Africa. It is possible that the regime will be able to pay the public wage bill this way for a few more months. But its time is running out and collapse and disintegration are drawing ever closer.

This is all the more reason for the pro-democracy movement to push its demands more forcefully and to act to make the regime unworkable and to campaign to tackle key areas of oppression and injustice.

The CPS has initiated a campaign for the release of all political prisoners and detainees and for the safe return of exiles – the Break the Chains campaign. It is also running its Land for Food campaign to end food insecurity and to release land held by the regime for use by rural communities. We also support the human rights, press freedom, women’s rights and other campaign work of other forces in the pro-democracy movement.

Now is the time to assert true visions and arguments for the kind of democracy we need to end poverty and oppression in our country.

We need to reject any efforts that seek to engage the regime as an equal partner.

We need to bring down the autocracy and begin the process of building a new and progressive dispensation based on social ownership and rights, full equality and ending poverty.

No amount of Talks about Talks or the individualization of our struggle around a few unrepresentative protagonist will achieve this.


General Secretary

Kenneth Kunene

Tel : +2772 594 3971

Email :

International Organizer

Felix Mabaso

Tel : +2774 922 8277

Email :

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