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Swaziland : Boycott Mswati’s Anti-Democratic Elections

D 7 octobre 2012     H 12:30     A CPS     C 0 messages

The Communist Party of Swaziland is devoting its 2012-2013 Red October campaign to mobilising the people of Swaziland, particularly the workers and poor, who are the majority of the population, to boycott the 2013 tinkhundla elections.

The Mswati autocracy presents the elections as a fair and representative process rooted in the unique cultural traditions of the country but buoyed by the progressive 2005 Constitution. The latter supposedly provides for freedom of speech and assembly, and so the regime and its flatterers depict it as a basis of just and fair government.

The dishonest presentation of the Constitution as a progressive entity, and one reflected by the tinkhundla electoral process, is not only promoted by the Mswati regime. It is also the view of the Commonwealth Secretariat, which does much harm by lobbying for Mswati’s system internationally by presenting it as bound by a progressive constitution.

Such as view could not be further from the truth. While political parties that are loyal to the ruling system have some leeway in mobilising supporters, such as the more recent Swaziland Democratic Party (SWADEPA), no political parties are allowed to exist that challenge the ruling order and call for its replacement by a multi-party, democratic system. The banning of PUDEMO and SWAYOCO as terrorist entities is proof enough of how forces that advocate a true democratic dispensation are treated.

The CPS calls for the widest possible support for the boycott of the 2013 tinkhundla sham elections, which are being organised simply to rubber stamp the continued imposition of the Mswati autocracy. We welcome and support the boycott of the elections by the NNLC and any other political party or movement in our country regardless of any other political differences that may exist between us. The utmost unity of purpose is needed to ensure as wide a stay away from the elections as possible.

The Constitution does not provide freedoms for political parties to contest elections. It does not allow for direct representation in local or national government. The innately corrupt tinkhundla system, where candidates are carefully vetted and selected by the regime, organises wholly rigged polls for rubber-stamp voting. Universal suffrage over the age of 18 is therefore farcical, and more empty window dressing on the 2005 Constitution.

Neither the electoral process or outcome of elections nor the Constitution result in or provide any means whatsoever to guarantee the rights and freedoms of the Swazi people. The meagre emphasis in the Constitution on certain rights and equalities has no follow-up in legal or other mechanisms to ensure that such rights are protected.

In short the Constitution is designed to give the semblance of progressive and modern government while ensuring that in reality all power remains in the hands of the autocracy.

The campaign will lobby SADC on the legitimacy, freedom and fairness of the Tinkhundla election and urge the Community to improve its stance concerning the electoral process and the role of the 2005 constitution in legitimising the monarchic autocracy and its denial of democratic processes.

We need to ensure that SADC, the AU and other forums and governments that engage closely with Swaziland abandon any paternalistic notion that our country is not ready for democracy, as has been voiced informally.

It is of the utmost importance that the international community, Swaziland’s neighbours and countries further afield are aware of this situation and of the mendacity of the Commonwealth in presenting the situation in Swaziland as one of Constitutional guarantees achieving progressive change.

Elections in which no political parties can campaign, run candidates and where there is no direct representation in the country’s governing structures are a cruel sham. The people must boycott and disrupt them.

As the Mswati regime feigns to educate voters in the workings of the tinkhundla elections, the CPS will counter this with true voter education about the need for a multi-party democracy in which all political parties can openly campaign, run candidates and take part in a new dispensation that wholly eclipses royal autocratic rule.

We will campaign to expose the way the Constitution is used simply in order to support oppressive autocratic rule, and will provide information on what a truly democratic Constitution and electoral process would look like. We will campaign to convince Swazis that the most progressive and democratic thing they can do during the tinkhundla elections is not to vote.

The boycott campaign will be primarily organised in local communities in Swaziland. It will be run in our villages, urban neighbourhoods, church communities and workplaces. We will distribute printed materials about the need to boycott Mswati’s elections, hold meetings and plan ways to protest against, disrupt and coordinate stay-aways during the polling period.

At the same time, the CPS will produce information and statements on the true nature of the 2005 Constitution, tinkhundla and the way the Mswati autocracy actually runs government. Much of this will be aimed at our international work in order to galvanise opposition outside Swaziland to the sham 2013 elections. We need to ensure that the international community and organisations condemn and refuse to recognise Mswati’s electoral farce.

We will also work with all other branches of the pro-democracy movement that similarly seek to mobilise opposition to the tinkhundla elections

Boycott Mswati’s sham elections !

Lobby SADC to oppose the Tinkhundla elections !

Forward to true democracy and the elimination of the Mswati autocracy !

Unban all political formations and free all political prisoners and detainees in Swaziland !

Down with all collusion with the Mswati dictatorship !