PRESS STATEMENT: AUGUST 08, 2012
SWAZILAND: PEOPLE’S PARLIAMENT (SIBAYA) IS SHAM AND OUGHT TO BE REJECTED!
As King Mswati III holds his cattle kraal consultations as a way of duping Swazis and the world into thinking he is democratic and cares about the difficult conditions under which Swazis find themselves living under, there is one thing that is certain, the King does not intend to lose or concede an ounce of power by permitting democratisation or unbanning of political parties in Swaziland.
King Mswati III has called us to the kraal under the pretense of a people’s parliament to ensure that he shapes and moulds their opinion and attitudes and defines for them what is normal and acceptable.
He already has set the stage for doing so by elevating the importance of culture amongst Swazis and rejecting Western influences that encourage democracy. He has further demonized the idea of democratisation by blaming the problems plaguing Swaziland on everything happening in the global economy and no blame apportioned to the poor policy choices he and his government make everyday.
We, the people of Swaziland ought to reject these efforts by the King by not participating and giving his theatre show legitimacy. He will use our attendance to justify his continued neglect of the Constitution, neglect of human rights, neglect of people-centred service delivery, neglect of social welfare and refusal to run an accountable and responsive government.
Instead, we, the people, should use the opportunity to march on his residence and demand a people’s government, NOW! We should demand that the King declare a process of democratisation and surrender power to the people in order for us to determine our own priorities, determine our own parliament, determine our own government, and determine our own future.
King Mswati III is trying to make it seem as if he is running a direct democracy and therefore Tinkhundla is the most democratic system. But for that to be true there has to be so many fundamentals that have to exist, such as people determining priorities and every person having an equal vote on those issues. It also requires that all citizens be equally knowledgeable on issues and governance and the impact of the choices available. This is not the case in Swaziland and cannot be possible with the current political infrastructure.
Political parties form a pivotal institution in a healthy democracy. Without well-functioning parties, governments and legislatures have little chance of representing wider society in a meaningful way. Political parties are the bridge between government and society, both in the ways they translate society’s demands into political ideas and programmes, and in the way they hold government to account on society’s behalf.
While rejecting the use of Sibaya to address governance issues, the Swaziland Diaspora Platform would like to challenge King Mswati III to show if he cares for the people of Swaziland by using the forum to unban political parties, dismiss parliament, set up an all inclusive interim government, give all civil servants 4.5 percent salary increase, reinstate all fired teachers as well as stop the sham Tinkhundla elections.
SWAZILAND DIASPORA PLATFORM
Spokesperson: Ntombenhle Khathwane
+27 72 1899 361