5 September 2011
Mswati III must go!
The Botswana National Front (BNF) joins the rest of the progressive forces who are currently in solidarity with the people of Swaziland during the Global Week of Action against Swaziland (5th-11th September) led by the Swaziland Democracy Campaign. We are proud to associate ourselves with this struggle for Justice and democracy as we believe the time for a new dispensation has arrived.
To those who have thrown away fear and are fighting for the liberation of Swaziland we say, we salute you for your bravery. The revolutionary upsurge of the Swazi people is welcome. A time comes when silence is betrayal and that time has come in the case of Swaziland. We are also still to hear what the position of the ruling neo-liberal Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is. True to its neo-colonialist nature, the BDP has ironically been too quiet on Swaziland but very noisy on Zimbabwe, Ivory Coast and Libya! The oppression of the people of Swaziland by Mswati III can no longer be tolerated. Mswati III who is the last absolute monarch must go!
The beginning of an end to the despotic rule of King Mswati III is now a reality and we are humbled by what we are seeing on the ground regarding the struggle for change in Swaziland. As we mentioned in our "April 12 Revolution" message, a revolution has never in the history of mankind lasted for just one day.
No amount of force can stand on the way for Democracy and Freedom.
Emergency measures enacted in 1973 continue to be used to repress opposition and these have been strengthened by the enactment of the so-called Anti-terrorism and Suppression of Seditious Activities laws. These instruments are being employed to suppress all forms opposition to the state and the king. Opponents of the dictatorship are frequently intimidated and arrested as it happened in October 2008 when the king authorised the use of extra-judicial means including murder to silence his opponents. A number of prominent and ordinary Swazis who have dared to speak out against injustices have been jailed, exiled or killed.
To the progressive forces in Swaziland led by our ally, PUDEMO, we say, borrow a leaf from the people of Tunisia and Egypt. They did not need the input of NATO with its heavy firepower to unseat their governments; they did not allow themselves to be used as pawns or mortgage their country in their fight for Democracy. They are now charting their country's destiny without apportionment of their countries' natural resources. While the Oppressor uses guns, you have your power to remove him. Use that power!
The International community cannot continue to keep quiet while Swaziland is crumbling. SADC and AU should intervene and push Mswati III to relinquish state power and allow for free and fair elections. All that the people of Swaziland are asking for is simple, the right to Democracy and justice. They would like to determine who leads them. They want to be like other citizens of this region. Though their efforts are met with force, they are peaceful and are not a group of bandits armed with powerful weapons of war.
The Swaziland situation is a threat to stability, justice and peace in the region. In fact the biggest threat is the King himself and we are wondering why the Botswana government which has a penchant for breaking ranks with the rest of the region and the continent in silent. The attitude of the Botswana government of waiting first to pick a cure from the West is disturbing. This attitude lacks principle and is a threat to peace and stability in the region.
Mswati III must give way for free political activity and genuine democracy in Swaziland. All those who have been forced to go on exile should be allowed to come back so that the people themselves, but not one man, could find the solution to their problems.
Swaziland is not in a state of economic, social and political decay because it lacks resources. It is because Mswati III, as a despot has not been able to get the nation's priorities right. He is accountable to himself and the national resources are misspent.
Mswati III who has been in power since 1986 is the last absolute monarch in Africa and oversees a country that had a per ca pita income GDP of $4,964 in 2008 and uses 60% of the annual national revenue to fund the exorbitant lifestyle of the top elite, while the bottom 20% of the poor receives less than 4%.
Republic Now! Power to the People!