MISA-Swaziland e-Forum article
The below is a press release issued by the Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organizations (SCCCO) and Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF), and appears here in MISA-Swaziland’s e-Forum. The e-Forum is an ‘online space’ for news and information on Swaziland’s civil society and NGO sector, and for more general news and information on media freedom. The e-Forum is a practical expression of MISA-Swaziland’s mission to promote free speech and access to information.
PRESS RELEASE ISSUED BY:
Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organizations (SCCCO)
Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF)
7th June 2013, Caritas, Manzini, Swaziland.
WE, civil society organisations, coordinated by the Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organizations (SCCCO) and the Swaziland United Democratic Front (SUDF) inclusive, but not limited to, trade unions, faith-based organisations, youth, media organisations, women’s rights organisations, People Living with HIV/AIDS, LGBTI groups and artists representing a diversity of the Swazi populace,
- CONCERNED about the ongoing exclusive nature of the current Tinkhundla system of governance and the continued violation of human rights, including the suppression of the will of the people through the limitation of the freedom of association and assembly, and in particular the continued prohibitions on free political activity through the non-registration and operation of political parties and their participation in a multi-party election in Swaziland.
- CONCERNED FURTHER that despite the submissions of Swazis at the Sibaya (People’s Parliament, which is constitutionally recognized as the highest policy making body of the country) which recommended changes to the current system of governance and in particular the conducting of democratic multi-party elections in Swaziland’s 2013 national elections.
- CONCERNED FURTHER that notwithstanding Swaziland being a signatory to a number of regional and international Conventions and Treaties on political participation and human rights such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance; and SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, the State does not respect and continues to violate these Conventions with impunity and is not being held accountable by the relevant structures of the SADC, AU, Commonwealth, and UN.
- CONCERNED FURTHER that the lack of democracy in Swaziland has been to the detriment of the Swazi nation as manifested in the collapse of the Rule of Law and the principle of the Separation of Powers which ensures good governance. Consequently, this has exacerbated the situation of poverty, unemployment, corruption and deteriorating standards of living of the majority of Swazis.
- NOTING that multi-partyism is not a new concept in Swaziland and that Swaziland attained her independence on a multi-party platform which was unilaterally abolished by the governing authorities in 1973.
- NOTING that the State has demonised, criminalised and sanctioned participation in activities aimed at promoting democracy and political parties to such an extent that it has instilled fear amongst the populace as one of the mechanisms to discourage and disenfranchise the Swazi nation.
- RECOGNISING that, it is imperative that, despite our diversity, a collective and unified effort must be ensured as we endeavor to realise the common goal of a pluralistic new order,
have agreed to work together to advocate for the restoration of multi-party democracy in Swaziland.
Our campaign message and call is for:
“The unequivocal and unconditional unbanning, recognition, registration and operationalisation of political parties in the country.
“This should be inclusive of the appropriate changes to the national constitution and electoral laws to enable political party participation in elections as political parties and not exclusively through “individual merit.”
The campaign objectives are aimed at mobilisation and raising the voice of the mass democratic movement in calling for the restoration of multiparty democracy in Swaziland. Through the campaign we seek to ensure that the nation successfully charts a way forward towards the peaceful and genuine resolution of the 40-year old political impasse which has adversely affected all Swazis.
For further information contact:
Musa Hlophe – Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organizations
+268 7604 8988 or +268 2505 5911 or +268 2505 5878
Lomcebo Dlamini – Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Organizations
+268 7614 7137