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Swaziland : CPS Remarks to ALNEF meeting, Dakar, Senegal

D 25 novembre 2013     H 05:01     A CPS     C 0 messages


Thank you for offering the Communist Party of Swaziland the opportunity to address the ALNEF and take part in its discussions.

It is important to us to be able to address you, as we are a relatively new left party, founded in 2011. And we are keen to make the situation in Swaziland better known to throughout our continent. Imperialism has a marked interest in keeping a lid on the situation on Swaziland, and the lack of knowledge and concern about the situation in our country plays very strongly into the interests of imperialism.

We live under an absolute monarchy. Political parties are banned and civil society activity severely limited. Imperialism (by which we mean principally the US and the EU states) would like to make a few reforms to limit the power of the king somewhat and have multi-party elections, but it is uninterested in addressing the real problems of our 1 million-or-so inhabitants.

Those problems include severe degradation of living conditions, the world’s highest HIV-AIDS and tuberculosis rates, and a terribly low level of life expectancy. Rural communities in our country are the hardest hit by deep poverty, lack of services, a collapsing education system, and the dangers of scant access to clean water and sanitation.

The reasons for this situation are simple : the rapacious exploitation of the economy by the feudal royal family, which rules with an iron fist and extends to all areas of public and economic life.

Swaziland combines a feudalism rooted in supposed cultural traditions with various trappings of liberal capitalism. But everything revolves around the king and his family (including 13 wives, soon to be 14, each with their own palace).

Swaziland is classified as a middle-income country in terms of its ability to generate wealth. So why is it that the majority of our people live in abject poverty ?

Only the removal of the aristocracy and the diversion of their wealth and the resources of the country to a programme of development and reconstruction will offer our people a chance to put an end to the dire situation in which they live.

Our programme envisages a transition to socialism, as we believe that it is only this that will accomplish the truly democratic and economic changes necessary to rebuild the country, and offer a decent life for the people.

Imperialism has been busy recently with respect to Swaziland. The king held elections in September to revamp his power base. No parties could take part, and no political platforms were allowed that challenged the power of the monarchy. The elections were a sham.

Our party and the broad pro-democracy movement called for people to boycott the elections.

But the British research think-tank Chatham House took the opportunity to visit the country and South Africa and urged people to take part in the elections.

Then the Commonwealth sent a monitoring mission to report on the conduct the elections. Both bodies were mildly critical of the present regime and urged change, but their position is to champion minor reforms to make the current system sustainable.

They have no time for the pro-democracy movement. Some in our broad movement welcomed the Commonwealth’s cautious criticism of the regime. We respect their right to this opinion. But we beg to differ. It is all too evident to us that Swaziland needs a democratic revolution to sweep away all forms of exploitative rule. We cannot simply hope that it will become slightly less exploitative.

Imperialism is also busy trying to inject liberal capitalist attitudes and programmes into the pro-democracy movement. This takes place through a championing of right-wing elements of – and viewpoints within – civil society. Foreign NGOs with liberal capitalist agendas have been spending much time and money on trying to influence the pro-democracy opposition in Swaziland.

Our second point is that while we in the CPS are busy building our party inside the country, we recognize more than ever that we need to join with, and help strengthen, international left activity on our continent. This is currently very weak. The internationalism the left enjoyed in the past has been reduced to an over emphasis on purely national issues – important though they are.

It is with this in mind that in our party building we are keen to develop the sort of cadres that have a truly international outlook. This, we feel, is one step towards building the sort of left networking and practical solidarity that is needed on our continent. For a small country such as ours, we are all too aware of the need for strong international solidarity if our struggle is to succeed. But in our view the same applies to all countries of our continent.

The lack of contact and absence of practical solidarity among cannot go on. It is of course by no means intentional, but a rut that has developed by default. Comrades, we need to examine very closely what we can do to overcome this and to make our network fully functioning. We cannot afford not to.

Comrades, we will have more time to discuss these issues, and I will be glad to explain more about the situation in Swaziland, as well as about our programme and campaigns.

Thank you.