4 July 2021
The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) notes with dismay the 30 June statement of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) concerning the protests for democracy in our country and the fierce oppression of the Mswati regime in response.
SADC frames the problem as, first, the destruction of property, followed by, second, injuries to people, third, “at least one death”, and, fourth, the disruption of economic activities.
This is at best a lazy response, at worst one that is blind to the realities of the situation in Swaziland.
SADC has no interest in the democratic aspirations of the people of Swaziland, now the subject of protests by our youth in particular.
SADC has no interest in condemning the violations of human rights in Swaziland. It is perfectly content to see these violations continue.
SADC pays the most despicable lip-service to the need for democracy in Swaziland, lauding the monarchic regime for any minuscule concession.
SADC seems to think that the terrible poverty and oppression our people live under can be categorised as “grievances”, which need to be “channelled through the appropriate national structures”.
The CPS asks: who has written this rubbish? Perhaps Mswati himself drafts SADC statements on the situation in out country. The statement does not even once mention the word ‘democracy’!
SADC needs to wake up: the reality is that after decades of forced impoverishment and lack of democratic rights our people have had enough. The violence, involving targeted attacks on property owned by the monarch, is a simple reflection of the frustration our people feel.
In response, the regime has unleashed violence against defenceless people, has killed several young protestors, beaten and abused many more, and has imposed media and internet blackouts to block reporting on what is taking place.
SADC’s statement mentions none of this.
SADC needs to learn that people denied democracy and freedom will struggle to attain them. This happened in all other countries in the SADC region in the form of anti-colonial and anti-apartheid struggles.
SADC must stop taking the side of the dictatorship in Swaziland.
SADC must fully investigate the behaviour of the regime, the denial of human rights, the enforced economic depravation of our people to sustain the ruling elite. SADC should investigate the lack of press freedom, the banning of political parties, the lack of free and fair elections.
We call on the current SADC Troika – Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania – to fully review SADC’s positions on Swaziland and to stand up for the realisation of democracy and freedom in our country.
If the Troika goes ahead with plans to visit the country to “find a lasting solution” to the crisis, it must do so honestly by meeting all opposition groups and parties, including banned ones, and by investigating the grievances of those who are engaged in the current protests for democracy.
ISSUED BY THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF SWAZILAND