Friday, May 23, 2008


From Swazi Media Commentary

Things are beginning to get interesting as Swaziland prepares for Parliamentary elections later this year (2008).

Opposition groups are set to boycott the polls and instead campaign for multi-party elections.South Africa’s Independent on Line (IOL) reported on Sunday (3 February 2008)
that a dozen political parties, civic organisations and student groupings met to endorse the formation of a united front within two months to challenge the status quo in Swaziland.

IOL quoted Mphandlana Shongwe, founder member of the banned People's United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), saying that taking part in elections would give the state a sheen of false legitimacy. PUDEMO is one of six political parties taking part in the broad movement.

IOL reported that Shongwe told a rally on Saturday, ‘For the past 24 years we have been able to deny the state legitimacy so we are proud of ourselves and we must not rest until we attain the goals we set for ourselves.’

Boycotting the polls in their current format would send a message to the world that change was required, he added.

‘Does it mean we have to start butchering people before the western world can realize that there was something wrong with the way the country was governed?’Any member of the front who wanted to stand in elections, likely to be held in October or November, would have to resign from his party, delegates concluded.Political parties were banned in 1973 when the late King Sobhuza II, father of incumbent King Mswati, determined that Westminster-style democracy promoted hatred.The constitution, rewritten in 2006, allows for freedom of association but people can only stand for elections as individuals.The front will be officially launched at a conference in early April where a name and constitution would be adopted.


First published 6 February 2008.

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