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Swaziland Democracy Campaign Declaration

Preamble

We the undersigned wish to publicly endorse this founding declaration of the Swaziland Democracy Campaign because we continue to be concerned about the deepening humanitarian, political, economic and social crisis in Swaziland. The inactivity and silence of our leaders in South Africa, and across the Continent on the crisis in Swaziland must change. It is time to speak out. The people of Swaziland need our support.

The people of Swaziland live under conditions of extreme political repression. Political activity is banned and the most basic of rights are denied. Traditional Swazi culture has been stolen by the Royal Elite from the people, and is used to instil fear and submission. Terrifying levels of unemployment, poverty and hunger are present everywhere and are compounded by alarming rates of HIV and diseases associated with poverty.

Since 1973, the Swazi Monarchy has the dubious honour of maintaining the longest state of emergency anywhere on the continent. It has literally turned the country into an open-air prison controlled by a series of draconian laws. Every sphere of society has become militarised. The notorious Suppression of Terrorism Act is the latest indication that repression is to be deepened.

We hope this declaration is a first vital step in breaking through the wall of silence and complacency that helps perpetuate the myth that Swaziland is a caring society ruled by a benevolent royal family. We seek to give voice to ordinary Swazi people and their quest for human dignity, democracy and freedom. There must be no misunderstanding about the moral duty of all who are oppressed to resist and struggle for liberation and justice.


The Basis of the Swaziland Democracy Campaign

  • We firmly believe that Swaziland will remain poverty ridden and subject to dictatorial rule as long as political, economic, religious, cultural and social life is controlled by the ruling Royal Elite.
  • We believe that the methods used by this elite to subjugate the Swazi people, including arbitrary arrests and detentions, complete disregard of basic human and civil rights, the banning of political parties and political activity and the Suppression of Terrorism Act completely contradict the norms established by the AU, the SADC and the UN.
  • We believe that only a democratic Swaziland, where all women and men are treated equally, and where the leadership is elected and held accountable to those who elect them, can free itself of years of poverty, corruption and under-development.
  • We therefore call upon the AU, SADC and its constituent parts, and especially the South African Government given its geographic and economic ties, to begin to put in place measures that will outlaw and stop the abuses of power in Swaziland, that will isolate the current regime, and give support and encouragement to democratic forces campaigning to establish a Democratic Swaziland.
  • We call upon all decent women and men, from across society, nationally and internationally, to align themselves with this declaration, to support and become involved in the launch of a broad based, non-sectarian, transparent and accountable Swaziland Democracy Campaign.
  • We call upon Trades Unions, Faith-Based Organisations, Social Movements, NGO’s, political and solidarity organisations to work together with our comrades, sisters, brothers and neighbours in Swaziland to help bring about peace and security in Swaziland. We ask that they participate in developing a concrete Plan of Action to give full active meaning to our campaign.

Let this be a new beginning.