Times of Swaziland
5 May 2008
Workers told to boycott elections
By Arthur Mordaunt
SIMUNYE – The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) has its work cut out for it as workers have been told to boycott this year's national elections.
The message: "Boycott the elections," was loud and clear yesterday at the Workers' Day celebrations at Simunye:
Speaker after speaker, particularly those from labour movements and progressive formations, were candid in their remarks that this year's elections should be boycotted. Short of calling the elections a farce, the speakers said there was no way one would expect a free and fair election under the prevailing circumstances.
"Don't participate in the elections. Don't even register," said Ngwane National Liberatory Congress (NNLC) President Dr Alvit Dlamini.
People's United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO) President Mario Masuku reminded the workers that Swaziland was a member of many international organisations that promoted democratic principles, which were specific on how elections should be held.
He said the United Nations and other organisations were very clear that elections should be democratic but Swaziland insisted that ours should be held in a different way.
Another proponent for the elections boycott was Swaziland Federation of Trade Unions (SFTU) Secretary General Jan Sithole, who informed the workers that the only free and fair elections were those held under multi-party democracy.
"You can't be a referee, match commissioner and a player simultaneously and also tie your opponents in the change rooms outside the pitch and then declare that the game was fair. This is what's happening with the Swaziland elections and we can't participate in that," said Sithole.
Aubrey Sibiya, newly elected civil servants leader, also called for the elections to be stopped until a way is found for the representation of all.
The workers seemed to agree with their leaders as they ululated and whistled loudly with each of the remarks calling for the boycott.
Sibiya even asked the workers whether they thought the elections were going to help them and they responded with a resounding no.