In Swaziland, the main opposition party, Pudermo, has announced that it will stage another border blockade to demand political reforms. This will be the second attempt to pressure the government into reforms. About 25 members of the party were arrested for demonstrating, while others are in custody, held on suspicion of involvement in the petrol bombing two months ago. Pudermo Party President Mario Masuku spoke with Voice of America English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey about their plans for blocking the border.
“Indeed it has been part of our resolutions to try and put pressure on King Mswati’s regime towards transformation. One of those resolutions was to seek solidarity with other democracy loving organizations regionally and worldwide to put pressure. And one of these was the border blockade and the other was smart isolation of the regime. The border blockade this time, they have been initiated by an organization called the Swaziland Solidarity Network, based in South Africa together with COSATU.”
Masuku said that party members arrested due to alleged involvement in the petrol bombing are just suspects and should be released and allowed the freedom of assembly, movement and association in accordance with the constitution. He adds that the party maintains the innocence of the members but stresses that all are subject to the law.
He explained how the proposed blockade would affect the business economy. “Currently the economy in Swaziland has gone drastically down because there is no foreign direct investment. The few rich people in Swaziland depend on businesses from [the] cross border republic of South Africa, and therefore we believe that by engaging in border blockade that will affect greatly the economy the businesses in Swaziland. So businesses therefore should be able to put pressure on King Mswati and say to him that they are suffering; there is no need; they do not see the benefit of investing in Swaziland if there [is] not transformation.”
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