Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Media Invitation: Invitation To Political Alternatives in Swaziland Indaba - Johannesburg, 18 August 2012


Dear Journalist/Editor

Invitation To Political Alternatives in Swaziland Indaba – 18 August 2012

The Swaziland Diaspora Platform (SDP) cordially invites you to a historical moment in the Mass Democratic Movement in Swaziland; the Political Alternatives Indaba taking place on 18 August 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The past few months have been very busy with regards to movement and pressure on the Swaziland regime to democratise, after 29 years of ruling Swaziland under a State of Emergency where political parties are banned and civil rights are censored. Teachers have been on a 7-week strike and go-slow in demand for a 4.5% pay increase, the first in three year; which has since escalated to a demand for the democratisation of Swaziland.  Other unions have joined, including nurses who are embarking on a strike due to unsafe working conditions, 4.5% pay increase and a lack of medication and medical instruments.

The last absolute monarch in Africa, King Mswati III on 6th August 2012 responded by using an old trick of calling the nation to the cattle kraal to “discuss” issues affecting the nation, instead of holding discussions with aggrieved trade unions.  The King has lashed out at the international community and pro-democracy movement for pushing for democracy, instead of unbanning political parties so that there is a people’s government that works for the people and accounts for the people.

To assist in the push for democratisation, the Swaziland Diaspora Platform is hosting the Political Alternatives Indaba, where all “active” political parties have been invited to present their vision for a democratic Swaziland.  The people of Swaziland are ready for change but need to understand what exactly multi-party democracy means that is different from this self-serving Monarch. 

The Swaziland Diaspora Platform is a civic organisation formed by Swazis living outside of Swaziland to support pro-democracy movements, promote a culture of human rights and socio-economic equality for all Swazis.

Swaziland is going through very tough economic times and these are caused by the global recession but the biggest causes are the policy choices by the Monarch and its government.  The people baring the brunt of the economic hard times are the rural poor who constitute 70% of the 1.5 million Swazi population.  Swaziland is renowned for its lack of an accountable and transparent government and has a parliament that has no power to perform oversight, inform government policy and monitor budget allocation and expenditure.  The King has legislative, executive powers and heavy influence on the judiciary.

The calls for democracy have been increasing over the years as more and more Swazis realize that they are being denied the dignity to exist and be recognized as humans as well as citizens that have control and influence over their own destiny and that of their community and country.  As more and more Swazis lose the ability to provide themselves and their families with food and shelter, and government fails to provide quality health, education and social services, the people of Swaziland want a People’s Government Now!

The Political Alternatives Indaba will be taking place as follows:

Date: 18 August 2012
Venue: Sunnyside Park Hotel, Parktown, Johannesburg
Time: 09h00

Attached is the programme as well as poster-invitation, please note that S’dumo Dlamini – President of COSATU will be giving a keynote address as well.

Should you have any queries please contact the spokesperson for the Swaziland Diaspora Platform, Ms Ntombenhle Khathwane on 072 1899 361 or ntombenhlek@yahoo.com and swazidiaspora@gmail.com




SWAZILAND POLITICAL ALTERNATIVES INDABA

Organized by the Swaziland Diaspora Platform

Johannesburg, Saturday 18th August, 2012

08:00 – 09:00

Arrival and registration of participants (Tea/Coffee)

09:00 – 09:15

Opening and welcome of participants by Swaziland Diaspora Platform

09:15 – 10:40

Session One: Political Parties’ presentations

Party A:                        09:15 – 09:40

Party B:                        09:45 – 10:10

Party C:                         10:15: - 10:40

Rules and structure of these sessions:

Parties will each be allocated twenty-five minutes. Each will be allowed fifteen minutes to make presentations and ten minutes to take questions from the audience, including the media but not members of other political parties. The order in which parties speak will be determined by random draw of lots on the morning of the indaba.

Political parties fifteen minute presentations must be structured as follows:

Part I: A presentation of the party’s vision for a new Swaziland. This part should address the following questions:
A.    What is the political ideology underpinning the party and its objectives for a new Swaziland?
B.    What form of government does the party envisage for a democratic Swaziland?
C.    How does your party plan to tackle corruption and mismanagement within the public service?
D.    What are your party’s plans to grow the economy, create jobs and reduce poverty?
E.     What policies do you have for resolving the crises in the education, health and welfare sectors?
Part II: A presentation of your party’s plan for arriving at this new Swaziland. This should address the following questions:
A.    How does your party plan to engage with the population of Swaziland?
B.    How many members does your party currently have? How is your party organized internally and are there democratic elections to senior positions within the party?
C.    What strategies does your party have to create more political space in Swaziland?
D.    How does your party plan to get the government to the negotiating table?
E.     What is your party’s position on the use of violence to achieve political freedom?
F.     How will your party enlist the support of international allies to support the democratic movement in Swaziland?

NB: All parties must take note of the following ground rules:
·       Time limits will be strictly enforced.
·       Deviation from the structure of the presentations as outlined above will not be permitted and any parties presenting material that departs from this will be interrupted by the facilitator.
·       This is a unique chance for your party to present your forward looking and forward thinking plans for the Swazi nation and the facilitator of this meeting has been instructed to be active and firm so as to avoid the meeting moving away from that purpose.
·       If the facilitator is not satisfied that the speaker is addressing one of the points outlined in the above structure, he/she will intervene.
·       No personal or party insults are allowed to be made.


10:40 – 11:00

Tea/Coffee

11:00 – 13:00

Session Two: Political Parties’ presentations

Party D:                        11:00 – 11:25

Party E:                        11:30 – 11:55

Party F:                        12:00 – 12:25

Party G:                        12:30 – 12:55

13:00 – 14:30

Lunch Break/Media Interviews

14:30 – 16:00

Session Three: Inter Party Discussion

This session will allow political parties to ‘cross-examine’ each other on the plans, strategies and policies that each have presented in the morning. It will provide an opportunity for robust and open political debate as might be imagined were these parties sitting together in a freely elected Swazi Parliament.



Format

Each party leader is allowed one question plus a follow up to each of the other leaders.  Answers limited to 1 minute for the main answer 30 seconds for the follow up.

Each party leader will respond to all of the questions directed at him consecutively.

Again, the order will be chosen at random.

NB: Again, all parties must take note of the following ground rules:
·       Time limits will be strictly enforced.
·       Deviation from the structure of the presentations as outlined above will not be permitted and any parties presenting material that departs from this will be interrupted by the facilitator.
·       This is a unique chance for your party to present your forward looking and forward thinking plans for the Swazi nation and the facilitator of this meeting has been instructed to be active and firm so as to avoid the meeting moving away from that purpose.
·       If the facilitator is not satisfied that the speaker is addressing one of the points outlined in the above structure, he/she will intervene.
·       No personal or party insults are allowed to be made.


16:00 – 16:20

Keynote Address By S’dumo Dlamini – President of COSATU

16:20 – 17:20

Session Four: Plenary

One representative of each political party will sit on a panel of seven people and the audience will be able to ask questions on any issue to any party leader of their choice. The media will be encouraged to also ask questions at this stage.

17:20 – 17:30

Closing and words of thanks by SCCCO

All political parties are please requested to sign and return this document as agreement that they will abide by the rules as well as present on all the questions listed.


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