Swaziland’s main opposition party, the Peoples United Democratic Movement (Pudemo) recently held its annual meeting in neighboring South Africa. It discussed ways of pressuring King Mswati’s government to further democratize the country’s political system. Meanwhile, party leader Mario Masuku says the official reason for convening in South Africa is due to a fear that royal forces disguised as police will disrupt the conference.
Masuku spoke to Voice of America English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey about the meeting. “The meeting was a strategy conference of all delegates and structures of Pudemo. The objective of the meeting was to review our strategies to review issues that affect our members. And that there were certain recommendations that were taken.”
Masuku says, “After receiving presentations by independent well informed speakers, it was decided that the constitution of Swaziland is undemocratic and therefore we cannot participate within it. That means we cannot at the moment participate in national elections and everything. And the second one was that we were going to strengthen our international affairs commission. That means intensifying the lobby against the regime in Swaziland. We agreed also to strengthen the alliance within Swaziland with all other progressive formations here.”
Masuku says his party chose South Africa instead of Swaziland to avoid disruptions. “All meetings that we have held in Swaziland have been dispersed by the regime. As late as March after this constitution have been approved by the King and number two we wanted to have a peaceful constructive meeting where all our members even those in exile would attend.”
Masuku spoke about the viability of their strategies. “The delegates decided after having received presentations by well informed and independent experts and we believe that with the implementation process at work they are going to be viable. We believe that we will use all means possible to ensure we go into dialogue and engage to state towards a proper democratic dispensation.”
The party leader says, “I believe that in any democratic situation the majority is considered but the view of the minority cannot be suppressed. And therefore anybody who says anyway that we are a minority those people speak from an uninformed situation. But as it is we believe that our principles are genuine. And we will stand by them until proper democratic Swaziland is in place.”
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