To: Mswati III Kingdom of Swaziland
CC: The High Commissioner, Pretoria
From: People’s United Democratic Movement – PUDEMO
MEMORANDUM OF DEMANDS TO THE KINGDOM OF SWAZILAND
It is 45 years since Sobhuza II, the father to the current absolute monarch Mswati III, passed the 1973 tinkhundla royal decree and bestowed all legislative, executive and judicial powers upon the monarch. The decree outlawed political parties, dissolved parliament and placed legislative, executive and judicial powers in the hands of the king.
After close to five decades of heinous attacks on the living conditions of the Swazi people, your rabidly intolerant regime is a dismal failure. It has sustained all its regressive policies that impoverish the people at the barrel of a gun.
Close to 70% of the people of Swaziland live below the poverty line – survive on less than US2 dollars a day. Many children are orphaned due to neglect by your tinkhundla regime! The rural masses face malnutrition and hundreds of thousands require drought relief. In 2017, by the Swaziland’s government’s public admission, over 350 000 Swazis were in urgent need of food aid, but your regime pleaded poverty. Meanwhile, a second private jet for you had already been ordered for purchase.
In complete disregard of the people’s will, the establishment of a democratic system of political rule remains forbidden.
Many political activists and unionists are not allowed free activity and countless have been criminalised with fake charges including sedition and terrorism. The most recent example is the Friday 13 April 2018 protest action led by the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland (TUCOSWA) where peaceful protesters were attacked by your police, with some workers and leaders harassed after the action!
Away with the lavish birthday party
PUDEMO condemns the insulting ways in which hundreds of millions in monies will be wasted to celebrate absolute monarch Mswati’s birthday party. Whilst hundreds of thousands of the people of Swaziland remain in abject poverty, your regime has seen it fit that over E300 million be spent on one day for an extravagant birthday party for a hated dictator!
This birthday is an insult to the impoverished people of Swaziland. Anyone with half a brain would have cancelled this wasteful party and instead used the money to improve the lives of the people of Swaziland. The people do not have medication in clinics and hospitals, they do not have access to clean running water and they do not have access to education due to extreme poverty. These are the facts of Swaziland! Meanwhile, you have ordered community members to donate cattle for your birthday extravaganza and have deducted salaries of police, soldiers and members of the Correctional Services in that regard.
The 2018 elections are nothing but another ploy to continue the enslavement of the people of Swaziland. The parliament which will be a product of these useless elections will have no power to call upon your executive to account to the people. Swaziland’s parliament is nothing but a rubberstamp for you as an absolute monarch to implement your commands.
PUDEMO calls for the immediate resignation of your government and to allow democratic elections to take place, based on a new democratic constitution. All political parties must be unbanned and your regime should furthermore end all forms of repression against political opposition. Your regime should stop its corruption and blatant misuse of state resources which induces heavy burdens on the people and fuels their suffering and misery.
We call for the immediate removal of the draconian 12 April 1973 decree which bans political parties, trade unions and all forms of legitimate political activity.
We demand a democratically elected constituent assembly to develop a new constitution for a new constitutional multi-party democracy, and for the people of Swaziland to elect their own government.
We demand the unconditional release of all political prisoners
We demand the unconditional return of all political exiles.
We make these demands with the full knowledge that there is very little chance of a change of heart from your dictatorial ways. We therefore commit to fight for these demands by all means necessary! All our energies will be employed to ensure that your regime is swept away from the face of the earth and that you and all who have been leaders of such brutality are punished severely for such crimes against the people.
Indeed, one day the people of Swaziland shall prevail. And they shall impose justice on all who have transgressed their interests!