Thursday, July 8, 2021

Swaziland's King Mswati III regime intensifies oppression — Communist Party statement

In a statement addressed to all communist and workers' parties, the Communist Party of Swaziland refers to the current socio-political situation in the country. The statement reads:

"The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) calls on all communist and workers’ parties to be alert to and to express solidarity concerning the new situation in our country, as pro-democracy protests are now gathering pace, and as the autocratic regime of Mswati III is clamping down fiercely and bloodily on its opponents.

The protests have mainly been led by the youth, who have been at the forefront of the progressive movement for change. The CPS has close ties with the youth and student movement and has worked with it during previous clashes with the autocracy over the right to education.

For some months, the CPS and its supporters have been running the Democracy Now campaign aimed at focusing demands for:

  1.     The unbanning of political parties
  2.     The safe return of exiles
  3.     The lifting of all restrictions on freedom of assembly
  4.     An end to press and media censorship
  5.     The holding of free and fair elections.

Youth activity for democracy started in earnest recently with the drawing up of community petitions to lobby local feudal governance structures for democratic rights. These lobbying efforts soon turned to demonstrations and protests against the lack of democratic rights.

Since the start of the democracy protests, the police and army have killed about 50 young activists and injured scores more.

The regime has imposed sporadic internet blackouts and is using the news media as a regime mouthpiece to spread lies about the activists involved in the protests, including that they are ‘mercenaries and anarchists’.

Swaziland is a middle-income country and yet the vast majority of our population live in deep poverty.

Most of the wealth of the country is diverted to sustaining the luxurious lifestyle of the ruling elite. Our small population of about 1.3 million people shoulders the world’s highest burden of HIV and TB, and is now being battered by the Covid pandemic, which the regime has failed to tackle.

We urge you to be in touch with us about developing solidarity activities in this new phase in our struggle. In particular, there is a need to get news of what is happening in our country widely known, to pressure the authorities in your respective countries to condemn the Mswati regime, to lobby the countries of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) to take robust positions on the situation in Swaziland, and to lobby South Africa (as the country that surrounds Swaziland territorially) to take more decisive positions against the lack of democracy and human rights in Swaziland.

The demand for democracy is, in our view, a first step in an ongoing struggle to set our country on a totally different development path towards meeting all the needs of our people and creating a socialist system.

For now, the struggle is to remove the dictatorship and to install a democratic dispensation under a new constitution that removes the monarchy and aristocracy from all areas of public life."